Someone anonymous who does this blog type of thing called Ukraine Today - A Political review left a comment on my Global Voices translation, which, among other things, had this claim:
The cost of the election is estimated to be around 150 Million dollars. Money that would be better spent on other issue.
I remembered a different figure mentioned by Davydovych back in March:
In early March, head of the Central Election Committee Yaroslav Davydovych said (RUS) an early election would cost approximately 400 million hryvnias - which is something around $80 million.
Here's the response from the Ukraine Today person(s):
when calculating the cost of elections you need to take into account the direct costs and indicate costs. The true cost of the election is expected to be well over the estimated 150 Million dollars when you take into account impacts on Ukraine’s economic development and cost of running a nation wide campaign.
I do agree that there are many better ways to spend this money.
I went out with a dear friend today, for example, who works at a budget-funded institution that's supposed to represent Ukraine in a completely non-political way. Or, in a predominantly non-political, yet very significant, way. But for all its conspicuousness, this institution has always been struggling to survive financially. And this struggle has always been reflected in my friend's salary: about $200 a month now, four times as much as he had been making some five years ago. My friend is totally brilliant in his field and works really hard - but imagine having to pay $50 out of $200 for utilities, plus there're also food and clothing to buy, public transportation costs, and yes, entertainment, because, you know, my friend isn't some old fart content with soap operas on his old TV. Everyone here, including my friend, has got other sources of income, of course, which sort of explains how people manage to get by, but his official salary is still the ridiculous $200 a month, paid to him by the state. And he's not happy about it, even though he loves his job.
I, of course, think that my friend and the institution he works for would have really benefited from those $80-$150 million that they are going to waste on their posters, rallies and other crap.
But what also bugs me is that all the Yanukovych schmucks are suddenly up in arms about this huge waste of money - as if they were not running this country when my friend was making $50 a month and as if they were not buying all these fancy cars like crazy in the past year or so (and driving them on sidewalks, but that's a different matter, I won't get into this now). As if they've really managed to lure those Rada defectors with their good and charitable deeds, and not with money and property offers - and then got their asses busted for nothing. Please.
I'm sort of undecided with this new election. I do buy the argument that if I voted for a bloc and then its members switched to the other side, they aren't being fair to the people who voted for them. It sort of doesn't concern me personally - because I voted for Pora and they didn't get in, and now Kaskiv is rumored to have been given $2 million or something to keep him quiet, but that's irrelevant. What I don't believe is that the election's gonna change anything. Even Moroz would manage to squeeze himself back in, as part of some new Party of the Regions/Socialists/Communists bloc.
And I really wish there was some way to make it all work decently regardless of the politicians' political affiliations - you are up there, you are responsible for cleaning up the big mess down here (like, raising my friend's salary) - and we are responsible for cleaning our own, comparatively small, mess (like, not driving on sidewalks and not peeing in the elevators). But - sigh - you probably need to be a German or something to make it work so smoothly...