I think I've become a Zerkalo Nedeli fan. They usually translate their lengthy Saturday texts by the beginning of the week - but here's some fresh Yulia Mostovaya anyway.
(Update: The complete translation is here - but you have to register first.)
Now that the purges in his entourage have ended and the government has been formed, there are reasons to believe Victor Yushchenko is ready to begin using his second chance. According to those close to him, the president intends to start moving forward energetically.
Let's assume this is so. What is to be expected from a responsible head of state in this situation?
According to my observations, only two politicians - Yushchenko and Tymoshenko - realize that the key people on their teams half a year before the election should be neither 'political technologists' nor PR guys, but the headhunters. On the one hand, intellectual hunger can be felt in the country, on the other - the population's demand for clear understanding of the politicians' plans. The electorate is fed up with charisma; both consciously and subconsciously it has come to realize the need to see the program of action. Today's Ukrainian political palette lacks [...] any significant politicians who have not been seen both in the opposition and in the government. All of them - Yushchenko, and Tymoshenko, and Yanukovych, and Moroz, and even Lytvyn - have shown what they can act like on either side of the power fence. All their slogans have faded, their faces have become too familiar, complaints have been heard, and promises - as well as the possibility of their fulfillment - evaluated. And it seems to me that our society is beginning to need the product that could be evaluated not with one's heart but with one's mind. And thus, only the real programs will be worth it, the ones in which goals correspond to the country's resources, priorities - to the people's demands, reforms do not contradict logisitcs, and problems are associated with faces responsible for their elimination.
Another notion - "the clean government" and "defamation" [kompromat]. During her [TV address], journalists asked Tymoshenko if she intended to continue the defamation war. Yulia Vladimirovna half-whispered some excuses, instead of asking directly: "Okay, comrade, if you obtained information about someone stealing budget funds, misusing his position, pressuring officials for his own benefit, lobbying a foreign state's interests and thus harming our own - would you remain silent?" [...]
Another question is under what circumstances do the facts that throw a shadow on this or that politician come to light? Who kept Yulia Vladimirovna from openly announcing that the president was violating the Constitution when he was signing appointment orders without bothering with her constitutional right to nominate? She was guided by nothing but her own political considerations. Who kept Yushchenko from questioning - if not in February then in March - the writing off of the debts of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine? Same political considerations. Anyway, in my opinion, defamation is the knowledge of violation of a law hidden until it becomes profitable to drag it out into the open. In this situation, the carrier of the information loses the right to moralize - but the facts that have become known don't lose their public significance and have to be evaluated objectively from a legal point of view. [...]
For, to tell you the truth, many of us are being too soft on the president, unconsciously. "Yes, of course, there are problems, but in Kuchma's times they were cutting off journalists' heads and the opposition couldn't do business at all." "Yes, of course, the country is a mess, but with Yanukovych there would've been cemetery-like order." Such comparisons are called lack of self-esteem. We compare the Ukrainian people who were out at Maidan across the country not with the Belarusian or Turkmen people, but with the Polish, Czech and Lithuanian citizens. The people have placed themselves on the same level with the rest of the citizens of the civilized world. Why, then, when we evaluate Ukraine's leadership's actions, do we look toward uncivilized leaders? Is it because their standards are the same as those of our current original's - or even better in some professional respects? There are many reasons to think this is so, but this doesn't mean that the tall ones have to stoop, and that people have to tone down their expectations and demands, and instead be happy that there hasn't been a total collapse yet.
There's lots of hard and interesting work ahead, and all of us have a chance to participate.
...I do not believe that this is possible now. But I know it is crucial. So, one more time, let's assume.
I'll post a link to Zerkalo Nedeli's own translation when it's ready. Part of me, though, wishes they knew how to make these same points in a much more concise manner.