Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

„I would like to recommend you an article of Yaroslav Mendus, my Ukrainian adviser and a former deputy to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The text was published in a popular Ukrainian Internet newspaper “Obozrevatel”. It is definitely worth reading” – Marek Siwiec

Who – whom – where

All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels.

Thomas Carlyle

My old friend – a longstanding counselor of all Ukrainian presidents – likes to joke: it is more convenient to predict for 5-10 years. In this period predictions will either come true or be definitely forgotten.
When on 1 August of this year “Ukrainska Pravda” published ( – a point of view that there would be no execution of agreement in Vilnius, no medical treatment of J. Tymoshenko in Germany, and the government will try to blame European Union and opposition for failure of European integration – it was deemed as dark story, far from reality.
By the way, in a month, this article, which was reprinted in Brussels on the website of a renowned Member of European Parliament ( did not cause any concerns, and famous experts from Brookings Institution and German Council on Foreign Relations were only saying: «We hope for the best».
Non-signing of the agreement in Vilnius was unexpected for many affluent European bureaucrats.
A couple of days prior to decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on suspension of rapprochement with Europe, some of them were still talking about their admiration with the President’s and the government’s devotion to European integration.
Massive and spontaneous rebellion against non-signing of the agreement in Vilnius came as total surprise – now not only for Europe, but also for Ukrainian government and opposition.
A lot of talks are devoted to the following issue – who ordered «Berkut» to use violent force to protesters who overnighted near the Independence column on the night of the 29/30th November. Speakers of opposition, to aggravate the situation, are talking about mythical meeting of the Prime-Minister and all security forces with the President. For everyone who has at least approximate idea on operation of de facto authoritative regime in Ukraine, it is obvious – «that’s beneath him» to go into such details. Minister of Internal Affairs or, let’s say, Secretary of National Security and Defense Council have sufficient powers for this. A different matter is substantiation of purpose. It is very likely that the purpose can be described with the wording of former head of administration of president Kuchma who (couple of months prior to the Orange Revolution) explained cruel acts of security forces with necessity to demonstrate everyone that “the government is more powerful than ever”.
And this time they have also demonstrated… And then – it exploded! Something that was accumulated not for one or two months, but for years, exploded! Country, where millions of citizens have no perspective in life, where a jump between the poor and the rich has reached a critical point time ago, where corruption has filled all spheres of state and non-state life, where relation to the government became the symbol of the highest life success, where health protection, education, quality of life – is unacceptable – this country did not want to suffer anymore and lost its last hope for the better after change of the direction from Brussels to Moscow.
This spontaneous movement surprised Ukrainian three-headed opposition which was preparing for presidential elections of the year 2015 and was occupied with internal behind-the-scenes struggles.
By the way, only Yuriy Lutsenko with his newly established public initiative «Third republic», tried to persuade political elites to have serious discussion on the ways of fundamental reformation of the country. However, all potential candidates for presidency considered his attempts only as an attempt against their exclusive right for presidency.
As a result – Maydan was not prepared to formulate simple, clear and at the same time substantial purposes and slogans, which would preclude its marginalization and populism.
Demands of immediate resignation of the government and early presidential parliamentary elections (declared by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitaliy Klichko and Oleg Tyagnobok) rather looks like a plan for self-employment than an answer to the core question of Maydan to the leaders of opposition – where is the guarantee that this would not happen again?
Generally speaking Maydan does not need a name of new leader (painful memories of years 2004-2005 are still not forgotten), it requires the “Sermon of the Mount” which would change the whole regime in the country.
And the first question the politicians shall give answer to is the public authority system in Ukraine. As only democratic and subordinated to citizens authority is capable of the long-awaited reforms.
The speech about becoming closer to Europe, about the significance of European values without implementation of the European public authority model is a demagogy irrespective of who spreads it – representatives of the authority or of the opposition.
On this way, the attempt to evade the invalid from legal perspective decision of the Constitutional Court rendered in 2010 about cancellation of the political reform and to bring back the parliamentary-presidential model of authority is only the first step.
Without implementation of the local self-government reform following the European example there will be no qualitative breakthrough. Because only transfer of the real power of authority to the local level, local communities and elected bodies formed by them will allow to create a true citizen and not a layman being far from authority, to start an effective fight against corruption and to drastically change the quality of authority on all levels.
It is the empowered local self-government that has become the basis on which European democracy, about which Ukrainian Euromaydan is so much hopeful, has been built.
Unfortunately, the political and business groupings that currently form the core of both the authority and opposition mere long for lipstick steps and staff reshuffles and not for essential changes.
That is why for several days in a row we have been hearing calls from either the former presidents or reverend fathers to arrange for a round table in an attempt to handle the situation in the interests of the major Ukrainian business groups, especially the ones whose positions suffered from the monopoly dominance of the Family and its protégées in the Government.
Economic section of the government will be the lot at the main auction. Surreptitiously the minister of internal affairs might get the stick to defuse tension in society.
From the opposition’s side the ungrateful mission of “Maydan’s gravedigger” may be offered by the lord of life in Ukraine to Petro Poroshenko. Mr. Poroshenko, as opposed to the hero of the famous soviet action film who was one of the fellows among the enemies and an enemy within the fellows, has reached political perfection long ago, having become one of the fellows among the enemies and at the same time being one of the fellows within.
Speaking about the authority, the time of shine may come, for example, to Serhiy Tigipko. Especially considering that these politicians jointly headed the Ukrainian part of the committee responsible for parliamentary cooperation with European Parliament and showed a high level of communication and ability to reach reasonable compromises. And, of course, this cannot be affected by the fact that one of them was the chief of Viktor Yanukovych’s election campaign and the second one – the right-hand man of Viktor Yushchenko. As the local political expert, whom I have already cited, likes to repeat: “Bridges do not burn in Ukrainian politics”.
Speaking about the Prime-Minister, this is exactly the case when Mykola Azarov can satisfy everyone again. As none of the influential political and business group has enough power so far to ensure that its player gets the prime-minister’s office.
In relation to Europe, it is still under the impression of not only the unexpected Viktor Yanukovych’s 180-degree turn but also of the form in which it was expressed.
To say that after such trick Ukrainian president will have problems in personal communication with the leaders of the European Union is to say nothing.
At the same time the European Union’s last wish is to have chaos and civil conflict at their boundaries in a 46-million country. In addition, the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine have been recognized democratic in general. Such position results in the following calls:
– To punish those who are guilty of excessive violence towards demonstrators;
– To abstain from further disproportionate violence on the part of the government;
– To release state institutions occupied by the protesters, to abandon violence.
And the main thing – to start negotiations and find compromise. If necessary – with assistance of European Union.
As for now, suggestions of Ukrainian oppositionists to abolish visas for the leaders of the state, to block their foreign accounts and business activities do not have any support…
We can only guess whether such ending satisfies Ukrainian Euromaydan.

Yaroslav Mendus

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