Back in the saddle againFebruary 23, 2016
So after 1 month wandering fairly aimlessly across Asia, your author has returned to Ukraine having made only a single entry whilst away.
Despite jet lag, a swift recap of what can only be described as a particularly dire month for Ukrainian policy and politics can be summarized by several key events:
Perhaps most important of all was the inexplicable and ominous dilution (almost to impotency) of the October 2014 law regarding e-declarations for officials (and their immediate family members). The amendments made to this law by Bill 3755 have no positives for the Ukrainian constituency, nor external supporters of Ukraine. Indeed the only beneficiaries of this law are the corrupt officials the October 2014 law sought to place parameters upon. To make matters worse, if that were possible, it appears this “dilution Bill” was created hastily within the Presidential Administration, and then went on to circumvent all Verkhovna Rada procedures (Committees etc), before being adopted. An ethical and procedural disgrace .
There is now also 6 months of terminal convolutions of the current government which is devoid of a majority coalition with Samopomich and Batkivshchyna having terminated their membership thereof. Should early Verkhovna Rada elections now occur it seems likely that Samopomich, “Team Saakashvili”, and Batkivshchyna would all poll above the President’s Solidarity (and in that order). Prime Minister Yatseniuk’s People’s Front still facing political oblivion. The Opposition Block would also gain (unless it divides into a Firtash Liovochkin “Party for Regional Development & Peace” and whatever Akhmetov backs under whatever name – in short splitting Opp Block).
Whatever the case, a previously feckless and dysfunctional Verkhovna Rada may well become more (rather than less) unworkable. The October 2014 predictions of early Verkhovna Rada elections in Spring or Autumn 2016 made by this blog appear to still be on track.
The resignations of Abromavicius (and deputies) as well as Kasko were significantly politically expensive for President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatseniuk with the external supporters of Ukraine – notwithstanding causing notable ire amongst Ukrainian civil society and the broader constituency. The resignation of Mr Shokin post Kasko resignation fails to mitigate the political costs – particularly when any replacement will have to be an enormous improvement upon President Poroshenko’s three previous appointments. Whether the next appointment be a servant of Ukraine, or a servant of somebody/vested interests in Ukraine, will go a long way to determining continued external support/reduced support for the current political leadership dependent upon external goodwill for survival.
To be entirely blunt, the Ukrainian constituency now requires the external supporters of Ukraine to adhere to a strict, itemised, programmed, reform for assistance quid pro quo. Any retarded backward steps resulting in reduction, rather than continuation, of assistance. More for more if progress is made. More for less cannot be tolerated if the supporters of Ukraine intend to support the Ukrainians in tackling their odious political class, and the oligarchy sitting behind the political curtain.
With German FM Steinmeier calling for political stability and reforms when in Kyiv on 23rd February, a reader may perhaps ponder whether he is fully aware that political stability is dependent upon the oligarchy either being removed from Ukrainian politics, or alternatively appeased by Ukrainian politics. If so, as many of the required reforms will not serve the oligarchy well, and appeasement therefore is not the way to go, perhaps a more robust external policy toward the Ukrainian oligarchy and their international assets/interests would be a policy worthy of consideration.
All in all, the month your (regular) author has been wandering around Asia has been something of a domestic political and policy disappointment – albeit a month that has produced no real surprises that were not foretold.
Now follows a few days of re-immersion into the political squalor (and the overcoming of jet-lag), so be kind enough to make some allowances as your author climbs back into the blogging saddle once more – the blog entries will get better.
On a final note, many thanks to MW Dabbs for keeping the blog ticking over whilst your author was away – a true gent!