Victor Tkachuk on Democracy, Ukraine & the EU

This year of the Black Dragon promises to be uncompromising for Ukraine in terms of events in the society and communication with the external world. 3 trends will have a crucial influence both for the Ukrainian people and for the authorities.

The first trend, – the Ukrainian authorities will conceal the absence of the plan for the state and society development. Two years of work of the existing authorities convincingly prove that they have no plan for Ukraine’s development at least till 2015. And, if in 2010 the government was hiding behind “the heavy inheritance” of the predecessors, then in 2011 the discrediting of “reforms” of the parliamentary majority of the “Party of Regions” took place in all directions.

As a result, – the Ukrainian society has already matured for mass social protests and is quickly getting mature for political ones. And the authorities can offer their own citizens nothing but a hurried privatization of Ukraine. Assignment of separate regions of the state to big businessmen close to the Ukrainian leadership with an unspoken permission to fully monopolize them — is a final chord of the Ukrainian politics. This is an essential step to the federalization of Ukraine according to the Yugoslavian scenario. It is unnecessary to say that it takes Ukraine back not even to the 20-th, but to the 19-th century. But it is not worth hoping that the Ukrainian people will keep silent. It is historically not characteristic of them. The answer of citizens to the authorities will come in the form of direct democracy.

The second trend, – growth of development of direct democracy in Ukraine. Thanks to the technical development which is demonstrated in the sphere of information dissemination through the Internet and social networks, a dialogue between authorities and people in the world becomes much more intense. If authorities don’t wish to notice this, then a civil protest, similar to the Tunisian or Egyptian variants, takes place. If the dialogue occurs – then the country gets an additional chance to develop, as the USA.

In 2012 manifestations of direct democracy will considerably grow in Ukraine. A new quality of development of the civil society will occur with a more perfect level of self-organization and more specific demands concerning the protection of rights of citizens to the authorities. The Ukrainian people will directly ask the authorities why the life of ordinary people in the country gets worse, and that of officials and politicians gets better. And if the people vote for other politicians at the parliamentary elections this coming autumn, and the authorities falsify elections, then they have high chances to see mass manifestations of direct democracy similar to the Orange Revolution of 2004 or December events in Russia in 2011. Admission of failure of their own policy will be seen in the readiness of the authorities to call preschedule parliamentary elections.

Hence, if the authorities don’t offer the Ukrainian people a new form of a democratic dialogue this year – they will promptly accelerate their own end. A “cooling” in relations with the West after the introduction of parliamentary feudalism and a prompt growth of corruption and irresponsibility of the judicial system is the first signal of such scenario.

The third trend, – the Ukrainian authorities will get more and more self-isolated from the world. After the failed Ukraine – EU summit at the end of December, 2011, a way of development according to the model of full-fledged integration with the European Union and transition to its system of democratic values has been closed for Ukraine. Presidential and state image of Ukraine has been irrecoverably harmed. The West, in particular the EU, has lost trust in promises of the Ukrainian authorities and their capability to come to an agreement. The existing Ukrainian power is already without hesitation perceived exclusively as an authoritative regime and preparations of sanctions for its isolation from the world have already been started. Ukraine has come close to the brink of foreign policy isolation and Tymoshenko’s case is not a sole reason for this.

It’s highly probable that this year Europeans will head for isolation. The Euro-2012 in June-July of this year won’t improve the situation, but, on the contrary, will uncover the essence of present Ukrainian problems. This will delegitimize the present authoritative regime even more both inside, and outside of Ukraine. The situation with the observance of democracy norms will get worse. Parliamentary elections in autumn of 2012, in case they take place, will probably become a “Pyrrhic victory” of the authorities, as they can no more get a real one because of a full loss of trust of the population. This is confirmed by all sociological polls.

The course for self-isolation will leave a narrow space for foreign policy maneuvering. Russia will act as a basic “ally”, China and other partners in Asia, Latin America and Africa will be situational allies. This will considerably raise risks for the Ukrainian economy which is mostly supported by the raw materials export. Hence, due to political reasons the existing authorities will blow up their own economic stability, which will become apparent by mass social protests already this autumn and will reach the apogee after elections.

At the same time, Ukraine hasn’t yet completely come into a stalemate so far. Not all bridges are burned for the president and his team. But a definitive loss of an initiative by the Ukrainian authorities in the course of communication with their own people and the world will lead to the realization of the worst scenarios for Ukraine in 2012.

Integrity of Ukraine will become a target for governmental intrigues and new unexpectedness for EU bureaucrats.

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