Wednesday, August 24, 2011

20 years: Ukraine's struggle for Independence denied

"In addition, Ukraine has successfully written its own constitution and established democratic mechanisms for the distribution of power and election of representative officials."  - Kyiv post opinion

Ukraine's Constitution unlike other successful former USSR states took 5 years to agree to and unfortunately retained the autocratic presidential system of "rule by decree" governance,

Ukraine has never been a democratic state.  It came close in 2004/5 not by design but as a compromise arising from the Orange Revolution,  Ukraine managed to adopt a Parliamentary system of government.  It was a step in the right direction but it did not go far enough.  It retained provisions that allowed Viktor Yushchenko to wreck havoc and deny Ukraine the rights of self governance.

Yushchenko continually undermined Ukraine's democratic development by refusing to allow Ukraine to complete the transition for autocracy to democracy. His hatred of democratic rule was so great that in 2007 he unconstitutionally dismissed Ukraine's arguably most democratically elected Parliament causing seven months of political and civil unrest.  The parliament that followed was even more unstable and riddled with conflict. By 2010 Victor Yushchenko was so disliked and distrusted by the Ukrainian population that his support rating had dropped to below 5%. The people of Ukraine had lost faith in Ukraine's pursuit of democracy the 5 years of Yushchenko only delivered division and discontent.

In 2010 Yushchenko lost his bid for re-=election and tireless worked to extract revenge against those who helped get him elected in the first place.  He betrayed Ukraine and they abandoned him.

One by one Viktor Yushchenko betrayed his allies.

Yushchenko first went after Tymoshenko but that failed.  Then in 2006 he refused to form a governing coalition and attacked the Socialist Party by refusing to share political power and appoin Olexandr Moroz to teh position of Parliamentary speaker. This resulted in the collapse of the Organge revolution and the allowed the formation of a new political alliance which saw Viktor Yanukovych elected to the position of Prime Minister.  For good or worst.  Ukraine achieved a decree of stability yet Yushchenko continued to oppose democratic rule and consistently destabilised Ukraine's internal and external relationships.

In 2007 Yushchenko's decision to dismiss Ukraine's Parliament was the beginning of Ukraine’s down fall.

The election that followed saw Ukraine even more divided and unstable.  Block Tymoshenko and a reformed alliance under the President's party "Our Ukraine" held a majority of the parliament by one vote. Even on the first day the parliament was unworkable with members of Our Ukraine threatening to cross the floor and support a vote of no confidence in the new government.

In the days months and years that followed Viktor Yushchenko continued to further destabilise Ukraine's Parliamentary democracy.  In 2008 a new alliance was reached between Block Tymoshenko the remnants of Our Ukraine that remained committed to a democratic future and Block Lytvyn lead by Vladimir Lytvyn who was elected speaker. (The same positioon that Yushchenko refused to offer Social Pafrty Leader Olexandr Morz back in 2006) This reduced Yushchenko's influence and effectiveness.

During 2008 and 2009 Yushchenko continued to wreck havoc on Ukraine. Blocking all efforts to have him removed from office. (Something that should have happened back in 2007 when he breach Ukraine's Constitution)  Yushchenko having lost office sought to extract revenge against those that he betrayed by supporting the election of Party of Regions, Viktor Yanukovych to the office of President.

Within the first year Yanukovch, who had previously supported Ukraine becoming a Parliamentary democracy, soon abandoned that ideal and proceeded to consolidate power and manipulating Ukraine's Constitutional Court to the dismantle Ukraine's parliamentary system and revert back to a presidential autocratic system.

It greatest mistake was not adopting a parliamentary system for day one as did Poland and the Baltic States.

Ukraine had never been given a real chance for self governance. It people have suffered as a result of the power struggle between the parliament and the president, democracy and autocracy.

Its second greatest mistake was electing Viktor Yushchenko to office.  Yushchenko caused more harm than good.  If it was not for Yushchenko and his consistent undermining of democracy in Ukraine the people of Ukraine would not have stood by and allowed Viktor Yanukoyvch to wind back Ukraine's push towards democracy.  It would not have allowed Yanukoych to assume absolute power or dominance. It only did so because Ukraine was so disillusioned by Yushchenko's term of office and the ongoing division and instability he created.

The presidential system has failed Ukraine. Ukraine will never be a true democratic state under presidential authority. Given the strangle hold over power that Yanukovych has managed to secure it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to regain the momentum and opportunity to become a full parliamentary democracy based on European values and European models of governance. 

Opportunity lost opportunity denied. All thanks to one man Viktor Yushchenko, the betrayer.