/ revolutions / mock /
Remember the Orange revolution? The exile's Kyrill Pankratov, very cynically gives a brief account of its apparent decay in the provocatory article linked above:
"...Revolutions do eat their children -- it is a fairly common fate. But few expected such a rapid, incredible unraveling as what happened after the Orange Revolution. In the first months of the Yushchenko-Timoshenko government the economy nosedived. Instead of attracting foreign investments, both from Russia and Europe, investors were scared away en masse by Timoshenko's militant re-privatization talk. During the spring and summer the government managed to stumble into the 'gasoline crisis,' the 'flour crisis,' the 'sugar crisis' and so on -- all of them completely unnecessary -- without producing even a fraction of promised and advertised reforms. From the rapid 12% growth of last year, and around 10% average for the Kuchma's second term in office, growth slowed down to some 5% in the first half of this year and came to a halt in recent months (in August there was even an economic contraction). The first corruption scandals of the new government already exploded, and utter incompetence in many areas became too painfully visible..."
You might recall that the revolution was heralded to be about bringing Ukraine "into the free market age", as Time magazine put it back then. Well a month ago, after firing Yulia Tymoshenko, last year's icon of the revolt, in an anti-corruption move, he was supported by the same Victor Yanukovich who (as Time and many more Western publications described) was described as "a throwback to the Soviet era". It now seems that Ukraine is repositioning itself vis-a-vis Russia [free reg. - this might help], to which it is still tied by business and geopolitical considerations (energy being prominent among them). There seems to be disappointment regarding the way the Orange Revolutionaries handled government, evident in public perceptions as well as,
"...a poll of Kyivites found that 73.1% did not believe that corruption had declined with only 20.4% agreeing (Zerkalo Tyzhnia/Nedeli, September 10-16, 2005). Another poll found that only 31% of Ukrainians believed that the government had successfully battled corruption, with 59% disagreeing (UNIAN, September 9)..."
One of the problems - evident even before the latest euroconstitution referendum, was that re-orienting towards the EU, can only be achieved if the EU is interested in expanding your way. It isn't. The Turkish accession drive, whatever its final outcome, has surely made any further addition to the accession lists quite difficult, not to mention that it is becoming more and more evident to many in the EU, that any further hasty expansion would indeed reduce the European Union to just a free trade zone. The EU isn't seriously interested in the Ukraine - but Russia is, and it's quite evident that Russian and Ukrainian economic well-being will go hand-in-hand. Joining NATO, will similarly, have to confront the unwillingness of many countries in NATO to challenge Russia - not to mention the fact that a majority in Ukraine is far from eager to join the Alliance, as public support for joining NATO is possibly less than 20%. (Α sign of rationality from the Ukrainian citizens, no doubt, as joining NATO will have exactly two immediate effects: joining a cold-war relic which nowadays serves the purpose of a fig-leaf for American unilateralism, and seriously expanding their defense budgets so as to purchase NATO-compatible weapons and equipment - from the proper manufacturers, of course). BTW the same enlightened western powers who supported Yushchenko last year, supported Kuchma a few years back - if that says something about the wisdom and idealism of western policy.
While I'm always in favour of people on the streets demanding better government, I have four points to make: a. I do think that placing one's hopes of improving democracy on a set of political actors with known oligarch/mob connections (trying to displace another mob), not taking into account that the oligarchs expect from your democrats of choice quite different things from your average protestor, and are vastly more likely to get them, is a sure sign of wishful thinking - slightly less childish than the belief in Santa Claus. b.Geography and history are to a large extent destiny, which can only be overcome by vast societal/geopolitical changes. c. If one is really determined to change things for the better, one has to persist in the original tactics: massive and repeated demonstrations and assorted hellraising demanding more democracy - and trying to be as inclusive as possible. Lastly this: Russia is a behemoth of a country surrounding much of Ukraine; the idea of a policy based on mostly snubbing Russia (even worse, with no realistic alternative on offer) is as realistic as, say, Mexico deciding to avoid any contact with the US in favour or preferential economic ties with the EU: one could propose such a policy - but it would have few prospects of success. Actually the Ukraine/Russia relationship is even more compulsive than the Mexico/US case, as a large part of Ukraine is Russian/pro-Russian - and until 15 years ago they were parts of the same country.
On a more philosophical note, this seems like a sanguine review of the myths of the Orange revolution.