October 4, 2010

A Farewell to Democracy, Free Media, and Free Enterprise: Ukraine's Prospects Revised

In my old post I wondered whether Ukraine had a strong political opposition to counteract advances of President Yanukovich against democracy, economic freedon, and free media. My answer was yes. And I  was too optimistic. I thought that either former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko or former president Viktor Yushchenko could stop the Yanukovich machine. They failed again. Everyone left Tymoshenko. Her former sponsors and party members are in the Yanukovich team now, not always voluntarily. Yushchenko is a political ghost. Nobody can stop President Yanukovich and his Party of Regions, at least, in Ukraine. The Yanukovich administration did more in six months than the Kuchma administration in ten years. The Yanukovich administration curbed media freedom, oppressed small-scale and medium-size business, and installed dictatorship.     
A farewell to freedom of speech. The Yanukovich administration curbed freedom of media really fast. Ukraine's mass media looks like Russian media now. Nobody criticizes President Yanukovich openly. It got to the point that the Voice of America can lose its broadcasting partners in Ukraine very soon as it happened in Russia. 
A farewell to free enterprise. The Yanukovich administration hammered small-scale and medium-size businesses with oppressive tax policy. The new tax code promises to become the apocalypse of economic freedom in Ukraine. All small-scale and medium-size businesses move their operations to the shadow economy before the new tax code will go in effect.
Finally, a farewell to democracy! The Yanukovich administration won the case vs the 2004 Constitutional Amendment in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The 2004 Amendment was very important step in Ukraine's democratization. It was once in a lifetime opportunity.  In brief, this amendment separates powers between president and prime-minister where the former is responsible for foreign policy and the latter takes on duties of domestic policy. Not anymore! The executive power is centralized now! The Constitutional Court ruled last Friday that the 2004 amendment violated the Constitution of Ukraine and thus the Constitutional Court overruled it. Did I mention that right before the seminal ruling four judges of the Constitutional Court were replaced with four new judges affiliated with the Party of Regions.
So, Ukrainians, please, say a farewell to democracy for the next five years at least. But it's no the saddest part. It's really sad that if Yulia Tymoshenko won the presidency, she would do the same. The only difference is that the Party of Regions could stop her. Who is going to stop the Yanukovich machine?   

No comments:

Post a Comment