Monday, September 19, 2005

More abstract reading - a Zerkalo Nedeli text by Sergei Rakhmanin (in Russian) - very interesting, as long as I manage to keep chasing away this evil thought: it's always been interesting to read Rakhmanin - in Kuchma's times, too. (And my short attention span was as much of a problem then as it is now.) But what difference does it make?

Some selections, as usual:

On Sept. 13, the president, speaker, acting prime minister, leaders of the ten parliamentary factions and Anatoly Kinakh signed a declaration with a pompous title: "Union and Cooperation for the Sake of the Future." One Ukrainian TV channel called it a historical event. It sounded like a joke, even though the TV host was saying it in an absolutely serious manner. The president's team diligently tried to make the event appear solemn and significant. But, despite their efforts, it all looked absolutely routine, especially with all the numerous permanent and large-scale scandals looming on the background.

No one has yet had time to forget that similar collective oaths were popular with the former government. However, the new folks' attempt to use this old device looked like a talentless copy of a bad painting. It all seemed tasteless, pointless, secondary and even comic. A trite title, a threadbare text, unjustified pompousity - all this only served to emphasize the routine nature of the event. The document cannot be called the beginninng of a new alliance, nor is it a treaty of friendship and cooperation, and it is not even a non-aggression pact. Signing the declaration doesn't really impose any obligations on the signers - they wouldn't have to participate in the vote for the new government and they are free to vote for the new special temprorary investigation committee.

The only thing special about this event was this: among other autographs, under the text of the declaration was a signature of the leader of the Regions of Ukraine parliamentary faction.


There are several reasons [Yushchenko] has been forced to create such a document.

[1.] Victor Andreevich had to take initiative right away. Naturally, he had to pay much attention to the parliament. Only recently was [he] thinking about formalizing the numerous pro-presidential majority in the [parliament]. But today he's facing the threat of emergence of an anti-presidential majority, as numerous. He doesn't have much time to change the situation. He couldn't wait till some of his allies started having doubts and those who were having doubts already joined the opponents' ranks. It was necessary and urgent to demonstrate that the president elected by the people had a significant number of parliamentarians behind him. [Yushchenko] badly needed to have if not allies then those who could pass as such, as many as possible of them.


[2.] The second reason is directly related to the first. The president's goal wasn't just to draw representatives of certain political forces to his orbit - he was doing all he could to prevent them from ending up on the ex-premier's orbit.


[3.] The president needed at least relative support from the leading factions on the eve of the vote for the premier. The bargaining isn't over yet, but the declaration has allowed to begin them - to see what the prices are, to evaluate potential losses and potential dividends, to compare what's needed and what's possible, and, finally, to understand who needs who and who would suffocate without who.

[4.] The next reason has to do with technologies. The declaration and all around it are part of an absolutely obvious and quite justified PR move. The president was obliged to distract the society at least to some extent. Thus he hoped that the voters would see him as a peacekeeper, not a party in the war, and the refereee judging a conflict, not one of the conflict's sides.

To what extent has [he] succeeded? Opinions on this differ. The author of this article thinks that the attempt was clumsy. Maybe, he was a bit in a hurry. Definitely, the result wasn't as good as planned because of the scandal with Boris Berezovsky's money.


"Tell me who your friend is and I'll tell you what time it is."

If this proverb is any good, then the time now is the time of crisis. Otherwise, the president wouldn't have to look for sympathy of his yesterday's enemies. Victor Andreevich has dug up as many as 186 allies. And he was forced to look for the hidden reserves in the camp that calls itself opposition.


The revolution isn't a year old yet. The wounds haven't healed yet. And yesterday's leaders of Maidan seem to be already actively competing for their former enemies.

Can this be called betrayal of ideals? If you believe in ideals, then yes. If you don't, you're ready to be a politician. And then you'd call it a political necessity. Because the ideal of any politician in this country is power and nothing else. Tell me what time is on the political watch and I'll tell you who's gonna be my friend.

In any case, voter are the politicians' friends only during the election.


I wanted to translate some more, but I'll stop here. What's the use?

Yushchenko has had a meeting with Yanukovych today - at the latter's request, of course... (Yanukovych also met with Lytvyn and Tymoshenko.)

Following this country's politics too closely is as useless as being an expert on all the comings and goings at some obscure little company.


Zerkalo Nedeli has posted a translation of Rakhmanin's piece - here - but I think you need to register for free in order to be able to read it.

Yulia Mostovaya's translation is here.

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