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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Pinpoint strike

Will Ukraine overcome the first oligarchic barrier?
21 May, 2014 - 18:13

Open wounds are bleeding on the body of our beloved country today. An ugly aggressive and clan-based political system, raised and nurtured by Leonid Kuchma and polished to perfection by his loyal follower Viktor Yanukovych, has undermined the legal immunity of society – immunity to foreign and domestic lethal viruses. The totally corrupt, unlawful, and insatiable authorities have knowingly doomed Ukraine to bloodshed and sufferings, the death of hundreds of people, the loss of a considerable part of its territory, natural and invaluable human resources, and outbreaks of fierce conflicts.

The so-called current political elite are unable to adequately respond to unexpected and fateful challenges. And the point is not only in the outright amorality and refine cynicism of politicians. The absolute majority of oligarchs and their big, medium, small, and tiny partners in legislative and executive business are not able or prepared to change rapidly and radically and serve Ukraine professionally. And what about the judicial system which regenerates at a breakneck speed the dragons that beat the armies of those who struggle for fair justice? And only those who do not know well the true motivation of the main contenders for this country’s topmost office may be cherishing hopes that the next president of Ukraine will resolutely lead us to a radiant future. We must at least prevent the formation of a New Family and a rapid growth of its billions-worth wealth. A clear indication of the fact that presidential race leaders have secret appetites is their persistent unwillingness to publicly disclose the names the future Presidential Administration chief, National Security and Defense Council secretary, Prosecutor General, and other influential presidential appointees. Why should they grieve their voters and make them lose an already faint hope for a better life?

Enormous loans from international financial institutions can create, like a strong drug, a short-lived illusion of gradual recovery. At the same time, dire threats from a northern neighbor distract the attention of civil society from the illegal actions of the government and oligarchs, which boost the financial and organizational power of business empires. And civil society itself is now partially under the astute influence of oligarchs.

The Kuchma-Yanukovych system did not vanish after the death of Heavenly Sotnia heroes. It has just slightly modified and armed itself with the Maidan rhetoric. And even revolutionary romanticists no longer believe in the idea of true lustration of the political class that has in fact plunged this country into the whirlwind of awful turbulence. The oligarchy has again shown its wonderful flexibility and viability. But this does not mean that there are no efficacious antidotes to this powerful octopus. They are still available, but their application demands fast and well-coordinated temporary measures which do not fit in at all with the classical set of views on the mechanism of democracy.

I will openly name just one of them. And I am emphasizing it only because its application would produce the required effect right now. It is connected with the early parliamentary elections which this country needs so badly. There will be hot-heated debates over the speedy conduct of these elections and change of legislation. But we must overcome the first – oligarchic – debate as soon as today.

Canceling the five-percent barrier in the parliamentary elections would be a pinpoint ruinous strike on the oligarchic private limited companies referred to in this country as political brand parties. This barrier cements even the completely decayed political forces and, given the oligarchs’ monopoly in the TV and radio space (even though there are some fast-developing social networking sites and online media), gives a chance to enter the Verkhovna Rada only to those of the new forces that are under real oligarchic control.

Canceling the key element of the Ukrainian oligarchy’s self-protection is another test for the maturity, adherence to principles, and competence of our civil society.

Oleksandr Yeliashkevych was a member of the Ukrainian Parliament of two convocations