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Thursday, November 16, 2006

NSNU Convention Ends; Lyubi Druzi Diluted, Not Defrocked

They did it? No, they didn’t. Not much progress was been made in reinventing the party that once had symbolized progress itself. Instead of going to the core, NSNU let itself be satisfied with cosmetic changes.

Although far from straight talk, the atmosphere at the Saturday NSNU Convention was devoid of grandiloquence. Perhaps the realization that the NSNU needs help is starting to sunk in.

But that subtle mood change didn’t help much. During the three-week recess, the lyubi druzi must have pulled quite a few strings to secure their survival.

Their polished plea for mercy — augmented with ominous references to outside forces willing to drive a wedge between the two wings of NSNU (reform and counter-reform, presumably) — kept them from being cast overboard.

It’s funny how these number crunchers, who viewed the Orange Revolution and the Anticrisis Coalition as investment projects, can weather any storm.

Tymoshenko one of the sharpest-witted politicians and definitely one with the balls coined the lyubi druzi term when she made a mockery of Yushchenko’s vocabulary. Soon, it became the killer brand that made NSNU bleed profusely in the March parliamentary election, and even more so during NSNU’s summer fling with the enemies of the Orange Revolution.

No matter how hard we crave their disempowerment, the lyubi druzi always have a health pack.

Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko attended the Convention as a guest. (Even though BYuT has painted him as a tame tiger — tethered to the PRU — “Robocop” drew “friendly fire” after the event. Yanukovych strongly advised Lutsenko to make a choice between holding the office and maintaining a political profile. Keeping the “untouchables” in line poses quite an ego challenge for a micromanager like Yanukovych.)

At the Convention, Lutsenko unveiled his vision. The man reportedly wooed by Bezsmertny for the NSNU chairman position called for disaggregating NSNU and realigning it with the grassroots support base. As a way to deal with the successor problem, Lutsenko introduced the concept of primaries, something of a blood curdling chimera for the lyubi druzi. However, he neither identified himself with the Democrat nor with the Republican platform.

On hearing this, the lyubi druzi refused to suffer in silence. Petro Poroshenko, the face of the brand, said he couldn’t stomach the word primaries because of its foreign-ness. He also came up with the idea of annulling the Politreforma, as the elixir of NSNU’s fitness.

Well, all things being equal, that would be the wrong place to start. Even if the anti-Politreforma movement somehow galvanizes NSNU, as the lyubi druzi hope, it risks becoming an idée fixe that will eclipse the real problems that need to be confronted. These problems come from within; the Politreforma per se has nothing to do with them. Indirectly, though, it stands a good chance of catalyzing the disintegration of NSNU, in the event the real issues remain untackled.
With no one to fill the ideological vacuum and to repair the badly broken navigation system, the inertia and impotence of the lyubi druzi will consign their special interests club to the dustbin of history.

If that’s not the hotel of their choice, Snoozers should stop to think about their current standing. The truth is, excommunicated from the nipples of the government and despised by the grassroots supporters it has lost, NSNU is in the middle of nowhere. The end of NSNU as we knew it, when we marched with it in 2004, has eluded no one.

Katerynchuk quit. Of course, he didn’t buy the lyubi druzi’s problem externalization argument. Nor did he succeed in pushing the envelope at the convention. His recovery recipe: Put ideas first, not interests. He that he’s through with NSNU, he has a free hand in pushing his creative destruction initiatives

The Council added 29 new members. However, the jury is out on the question of whether this body of 214-member body will better represent local chapters or whether it will simply dilute responsibility.

The Convention continued well into the evening, and delegates who had same-day return tickets had to leave. Before the Convention drew to a close, a valedictory vote of “unsatisfactory” performance was passed, a don’t-give-up-on-us message to voters.

NSNU has a lot of awareness-raising to do before it lets someone special breathe new life into it.

Until then, it remains a rubber stamp for Yushchenko’s vainglorious fantasies, a leaderless bureaucratic backwater — half-dead, half-alive.

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