Posts Tagged ‘equality’


Ukraine’s European Charter for Regional or Minority languages budget

April 22, 2012

It’s Sunday.  I don’t want to rant.  It seems I have ranted for most of the week and I only write about one topical and current Ukrainian issue each day.  I can assure you there is much more than one Ukrainian issue to rant about each day, but I try to bump my gums about those things that don’t necessarily get reported on by the media as much as they could or should be.

After all, if you want to read the standard media agenda for Ukraine when it comes to reporting, you would read the standard media regurgitation from any number of sources main stream sources.  That generally, like the politics here, is personality driven with hardly a mention of policy unless it is an after-thought.

When you do get “experts” commentating it is to state the blindingly obvious that in no way requires any qualifications in political science, economics or  anything more than common sense.  Recently an “expert” stated the electricity prices in Ukraine will begin to rise towards the end of the year.

Well, no shit Sherlock!  Ukrainians pay an electric bill equivalent to about 26% of the cost to generate the said electricity.  Of course it has to rise as the government cannot afford to continue to subsidise it to that extent.  However prices are not going to rise before the next election in October for political reasons and is will make sense to incorporate any rises in the 2013 budget rather than the last few months of 2012.  Does it take an “expert” to state the obvious?

Anyway, returning to the subject of the post, we all know about the “language issue” in Ukraine which (wrongly) is simply seen as Ukrainian verses Russian by those looking to score political points given the very large Russian speaking minority.  The fact is, Ukraine recognises far more ethnic minorities and minority languages than Russian and those languages are protected by not only by the Constitution but also by Ukraine’s ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages many years ago.

Russian simply happens to be one of those languages recognised and due to the volume of Russian speakers, not to mention the usual meddling and propaganda from  Moscow, it creates a political (and when stirred by the politicians), and public issue.

When all is said and done, however, the official State language for Ukraine is Ukrainian.  People will speak what language they want to regardless of that fact, just as they Welsh will speak English or Welsh as they prefer.  The Swiss and the Belgians do the same amongst the multiple languages used in those nations.  It really shouldn’t be the big deal that it all too often becomes given that numerous nations have numerous languages used within them around Europe.

So, returning to the title of this post, and the budget allocated by the Ukrainian government in support of regional and minority language (and culture) in the national budget in accordance with the European Charter, just what sum of money has been allocated?

The answer is here.  UAH 1.7 million ($212,500) for the numerous minority languages and UAH 964,000 ($120,500) for minority cultural development.  A grand total of $330,000.

Unfortunately English isn’t a recognised regional or minority language in Ukraine, otherwise this blog (and my others) may well attract something in the region of about $3 in governmental development aid from such a massive budget.

If you are wondering which languages Ukraine does list with the ECRML, they are Belorussian, Bulgarian, Crimean Tartar, Gagauz, Greek, German, Hungarian, Jewish, Yiddish, Moldavian, Polish, Romanian, Russian and Slovakian.

I am not sure whether to give credit for the recognition of Ukraine’s responsibilities under the ECRML and doing something, however small, to adhere to those responsibilities in austere and gloomy economic times, or whether to ridicule the sums involved which may just (if you are lucky) meet the cost to purchase a reasonable apartment near the sea in Odessa.

Oh well, it’s Sunday and I don’t want to rant.  Time for some locally made Cognac and a nice cigar.  Tomorrow’s another day and my new kitchen is getting delivered.  That’ll give me something to rant about I’m sure!


Female representation in the RADA

October 28, 2011

The Ukrainian RADA comprises of 450 people of which 8% are women.

Not good enough according to the EU, where 30% are female in the pillar of politics.  The EU is citing the global average of 20% of women in political positions.

Hmmm.  Now one could argue that this is due to a lack of female interest in politics but that is certainly not true.  As you head further down the political food chain in Ukraine there are numerous females in regional and local government, so why do so few take the step onto the national political stage?

Is it through lack of opportunity?  Hardly.  In 2007/8 my good lady was offered a seat in the RADA and she could choose her party, Yushenko’s, Tymoshenko’s or Yanukovych’s.  The party was irrelevant, the fee for this position of power and absolute immunity from the law, a paltry $5 million.

Upon payment, RADA deputy status and seat would appear within 10 days. – Blimey!  If she didn’t want the national seat, for a reduced fee of $100,ooo, she could have regional party membership and ID with enough clout to give at the very least regional immunity for any nefarious regional deeds and national immunity from those pesky things like traffic laws or tax.

The offer, in case you are interested, came via a BYuT deputy but as stated was not made along party allegiance lines.

My good woman has little interest in politics to be honest, at least as far as parties or personalities go and declined both offers after some consideration.  Quite simply we don’t do anything nefarious to require immunity and generally don’t have the business interests or murky past that would require being members of the most elite business networking club in Ukraine (the RADA).

Is it more likely then that the reason there is only 8% female representation in the RADA due to the fact that there are not as many female millionaires that emerged from the Wild East during the collapse of the USSR?  Undoubtedly this is a factor as a swift glance through the who’s who of the oligarchy would display less than 8% are female (discounting wives, lovers, mistresses and female children).

Maybe there are far more women willing to part with only $100,000 to be a local big-wig.

So of the 8% of females in the RADA and Presidential Administration  make-up, are they all oligarchy, relatives of oligarchy employing the family patronage system or those that came through the old Soviet ranks with enough dirt on the male representatives to insure their continued presence in the seat of Ukrainian power?

In short, are there any that are there through ability with a genuine philosophy to act for the national good?

To be honest, most of the RADA deputies male and female are intellectual pygmies at varying degrees of rottenness with regards to self-interest, vested interest and corruption.  There few RADA deputies regardless of gender who know their arse from their elbow or who are even bothered about knowing the difference.

Of the females in power past or present, there is really only Irina Akimova who stands out as competent, educated, considered and able to hold a respectable conversation with the electorate on a two-way adult to adult level.  The rest, like 99% of the male politicians are woefully inadequate.

Now the EU cannot be blind to the patronage system of power that grants RADA seats (at $5 million a time).  Given the amount of recent interaction, it cannot be blind to the ineptitude of the majority of Ukrainian politicians it meets during the thousands of committees formed over innumerable policy issues.

It will be also be aware that because of the closed voting lists whereby any election for parliament results in voting for a party and not individual from that party in a specific electoral region, that the RADA could be 99% female in 2012 if the parties decided to make it so without a by-your-leave to the Ukrainian public.

However in a testosterone led society, with open lists it is unlikely that there would be an increase in female representation unless there was positive discrimination to make most candidates female on a national basis.  Ukraine is not a politically correct society, which in my view is a bonus more than a hindrance much of the time.  It is openly calls a spade a spade at all levels of society, an honesty long lost in the western political correctness perversity.

The EU is surely aware of this as well.

Surely the EU would be better served at pushing for a higher caliber of politician, regardless of sex, than simply a higher percentage of woefully inadequate women on the basis that whilst woefully inadequate, they are at least women.

Ukraine is overflowing with very well educated and very bright people, both male and female, but who are denied the chance to shape the nation at governmental level as they are not part of the patronage system.  This must surely be the key area for EU pressure rather than simply pushing for more substandard females from a very small pool of the corrupt elite.  Female family members or relations of business partners gaining from the patronage system despite their inability and absolute uselessness in political office is hardly beneficial to Ukraine unless you consider image more important than substance.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. –  Aristotle

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