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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tymoshenko’s Solid Record of Solidarity

She’s spent the last four years collecting votes (including mine) by posing as the antithesis of those she wanted to do a coalition with — but failed.

She’ll tell you any “solidarity” you want to you hear. Now that “everything’s gone,” as she aptly put it in her unintended double entendre, let’s “skip backward” a little bit.

Sometime ago…

The Party of Regions faction are wearing some white-yellow scarfs. Those are ropes on their necks that they came with to hang themselves…

Let me remind Yanukovych of the aliases he had while serving his jail time out there. The alias was “Boor.”

I would appreciate if the Party of Regions would not act according to the Somalian pirates principle.

They were stealing at a rate of 60 dollars per second.

More recently...

Viktor Fedorovych, I would like you and I to become absolutely similar-minded people.

I’ve stood for, and stand for, the complete unification of all political forces and for the achievement of effective results for Ukraine.

June 4, 2009, during her visit to Poland, 3 days before the coalition talks collapsed...

In these very days, Europe is electing a new parliament. And I’m convinced that when we honor the Polish Revolution, let us again devote ourselves to carrying out Solidarity’s unfinished business: the dream of one free Europe. Niech nasza solidarność żyje tysiąc lat! [May our solidarity last for a thousand years.] Hahaha!

She’s a very charming lady. Sometime ago, I compared her to Eva Peron. I now believe she has outlived the comparison.

Because many compare her to men, and here she talks about some unfinished business in Europe, my question to her would be as follows:

Which of the following historical figures, in your most honest opinion, best represents your leadership profile:

A. Lech Wałęsa
B. Václav Havel
C. Erich Honecker
D. Nicolae Ceauşescu

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Lingüista said...

What is your opinion now, Taras? My guess is tending towards Ceauşescu...

Anonymous said...

One thing about the planners Taras, if their plans don't work, they'll plan again.
(attributed to Ronald Reagan, lately)

Taras said...


I think I share your view! She and her would-be partner came real close to the Honecker-Ceauşescu sector.

As for the Wałęsa-Havel sector, it has been largely vacant in Ukraine. It’s not that we never had our own cadre of anti-Communist leaders. We did. They came to prominence in 1989-1991 as leaders of Rukh and other pro-independence parties. But, unlike in Poland and Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), they never became presidents.

They are: Vyacheslav Chronovil, the Rukh leader who died in a mysterious car accident in 1999, widely believed to be an assassination plot; Levko Lukyanenko, a man who spent a total of 27 years in gulags; and a few others.

Instead of voting for them, Ukrainians voted for Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma. The former had been a Communist Party chief-cum-parliament speaker and the latter a Yuzhmash director-cum-premier.

Ukraine paid dearly for this failure to break from the Communist elite and its old-boy networks. These two leaders set Ukraine on a crony capitalist trajectory.

Kravchuk didn’t know a thing about reform. Kuchma used reform rhetoric to trade Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal, the world’s third-largest, for fantastic personal gains and public losses.

Meanwhile, in Dnipropetrovsk, Tymoshenko was trading billions of dollars worth of gas; in Kyiv, Yushchenko was running the National Bank of Ukraine; and, in Donetsk, Yanukovych, was managing a fleet of factory cars.

Who were these people? Where had they come from? In 1979, the lady had married the son of a Dnipropetrovsk oblast Communist Party functionary. The two gentlemen had joined the Communist Party in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

By the way, one of the gentlemen even has a jail record and... currently leads in the polls.


I agree with you. In all likelihood, they'll try again, after the election(s). If at first you don't grab seats, try, try again.

My favorite Reagan quote is “Doveryai, no proveryai.” (“Trust but verify.”)

Lingüista said...

Taras, you make it sound as if Ukrainians simply didn't believe in reforms -- was it misplaced caution ('let's stick to the guys we know, those anti-communists are an unknown quantity') or simply old habit ('we always voted for the communists')?

I don't know, but I think a lot depends on who is available at the time. Estonia, for instance, was lucky to have leaders that weren't simply anti-communist, but actually pro-work and pro-progress (and the 'protestant ethics' seems to have stuck there better than in other areas). Latvia didn't -- and it has now many of the same problems as Ukraine, despite having also chosen new faces and anti-communist candidates.

At least Ukraine has so far escaped the threat of a big dictatorial figure like Belarus' Lukashenka.

Do you see any figures in current Ukrainian politics that might give some hope of better development? Frankly, if the choice is Yanukovich, Tymoshenko or Yushchenko, then it looks as though Ukraine will be a mess for a while still. With Putin quite happy to tsk-tsk it ('I think they won't be able to pay their bill...'), maybe playing the "Velikorusskij" vs. "Malorusskij" stereotype...

Taras said...

Actually, 1991 and 1994, the two pivotal presidential elections, differed significantly.

In 1991, Ukrainians voted for the incumbent; in 1994, they voted against the incumbent, albeit by a small margin.

1991: CPSU chief Kravchuk dominates media coverage and enchants Ukrainians with his smooth speeches. By virtue of his position, and amid the turbulence of that year, he establishes himself as the champion of Ukraine’s independence. The referendum on Ukraine’s independence becomes a referendum on his presidency.

1994: Communist technocrat-cum-PM Kuchma challenges Kravchuk, capitalizes on reform rhetoric and woos pro-Russian/pro-Soviet voters. The election becomes a referendum on Kravchuk’s lack of reforms and Ukraine’s hyperinflationary economic meltdown — much of it attributed to the breakup of the USSR.

As times goes by, Kuchma morphs into an anti-reform autocrat, initially propped up by IMF loans and Washington’s nukecentric foreign policy approach. Kravchuk joins the SDPU(o), an Orwellian-like party, the pillar of the corrupt Kuchma regime.

Of course, one must admit that, under Kuchma, Ukraine enjoyed more democracy than Belarus. However, while Ukraine outranks Belarus in democracy, Belarus outranks Ukraine in GDP per capita. Why?

Lower energy costs may be part of the answer. Lower billionaire counts may be the other part.

As far as Forbes can tell, there are no billionaires in undemocratic Belarus. There are no billionaires in the democratic Baltics. In fact, there are no Forbes-rated billionaires in any of the new EU member countries.

In Ukraine, we have at least four billionaires.

Our relative democratization dwells side by side with oligarchization and its rampant corruption, lack of reforms, and unfair wealth distribution.

This social contract is depopulating Ukraine at a rate of about 20,000 people per month and poses the gravest threat to our democracy.

elmer said...

You might take a look at former Defense Minister's speech and Q&A session at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, on November 13, 2008.

This talk is in the context of Ukraine's national security and defense, but it is -----

Very, very elightening.

Extremely enlightening.

The Q&A session is especially enlightening, as it touches on politics in Ukraine.

It also touches on the failure of all 3 - Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, and Yanukovych.

As to Yanukovych, there was a commnent recently in a Kyiv Post article that Yanukovych and his party represent the interests of Donbass, as opposed to Tymoshenko, who represents only her own interests.

But that's precisely the problem, on both counts.

For example, he mentions how Yushchenko failed to implement reforms for those people who stood for him on Independence Square - small business owners and others.

It is extraordinarily difficult to form a corporation in Ukraine.

And how Yushchenko fired 18,000 government workers all at once - and promptly replaced them with family, in-laws and friends.

The list goes on as well, with Yanuk and Tymo.

The video links are here:

Taras said...

Thank you for the link!

I daresay my security report would be much more enlightening! I’d take the liberty of tackling the inconvenient truths in U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

Last, but definitely not least, I’d have a much better shot at American accent:)

After the Orange Revolution, Yushchenko should not have just fired the Kuchma crowd. He should have jailed them. He should have sent a message to every corrupt wannabe.

Instead, he simply replaced the Kuchma crowd with the Yushchenko crowd, some of whom turned out to be no less corrupt.