July 3, 2012

Ukraine's Democracy is in Pain

I got back from Ukraine couple weeks ago. I was there for quite some time. But I can't still make up my mind about what I expected to see there and what I really saw there. I kept my expectations very low. But I was still shocked with the extent of cronyism and illegitimacy of government. The executive branch of power usurped other two branches of power. The constitution does not mean anything anymore. The Party of Regions and their puppets, including the Socialists, the Communists, and other twenty five parties make amendments to the constitution without calling for a national referendum. The number of the politically-motivated prosecutions is sky-rocketing reaching its peak with a physical abuse of the former prime minister Tymoshenko

What has happened to Mrs. Tymoshenko must send shivers down the spine of everyone who is a firm believer in human rights. The physical abuse of the political inmate # 1, the unmasked violence against the queen of the political opposition, and the blatant use of the prison guards' knuckles against the body of the Ukrainian woman draws a line between two stages of political life in Ukraine: one, with weak human rights and, two, without human rights. The second stage started on the same day when the pictures of Mrs. Tymoshenko's bruised body were revealed.  

Look I am not even mentioning the D word (i.e. democracy). I doubt that anyone has ever understood what the D words means in Ukraine. Neither Schumpeterian nor Przeworskian definition of the democracy can explain what is happening in Ukraine. According to Larry Diamond, democracy needs protection of individual rights, respect for the rule of law, trust in government, accountability of government, and respect for tolerance and pluralism in civil society. None of these democratic values exist in Ukraine.

Moreover, people are very confused about how democracy and rule of law must work. Everyone understands that you must report any kind of crime. But if you do it, you are a snitch. How can I tell on someone if I don't want to be a snitch? It's very confusing. So what do people do? They hide behind their smartphones, YouTube videos, and twitter accounts. Who gets these messages? Does anyone really trust a virtual social network in Ukraine?
In Europe and USA people talk smack about government on Facebook. In Ukraine a similar social network Odnoklassniki gives you impression that people do not care about what's happening with their democracy or they prefer to distance themselves from political events.  Are people apolitical in Ukraine? I do not think so because they talk about politics in private all the time. Once again, it's confusing. The civil society is either very weak or inexperienced. It could also be that the Yanukovych government's thuggish aggressiveness sent the whole nation in a very deep knockout. Well, sooner or later you need to get back on your feet, make pain go away, and fight back.


  1. It was nice to see that Leo still lives. After months of 'blank', he posts again.

    I guess he feared posting from where ever he was in Ukraine?

    Some more extensive writings are in order before recent experiences become stale.

    Good and trust worthy news from Ukraine gets more difficult to find.

  2. I am glad to see that you missed my blogging. About good and trustworthy news from Ukraine, I can recommend several blogs from my blogroll such as Kharkiv Human Rights Group http://khpg.org/en/, Maidan http://world.maidan.org.ua/, and Voice of America.