Well it is no secret that I consider Ukraine will be stuck in a rut until Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and the other (in)famous political personalities which seeped from the Kuchma government into power are consigned to the history bin of Ukrainian politics.
I have said any future worthy of getting even slightly enthusiastic about will come when those further down the food chain, such as Tigipko, Yatseniuk and Korolevska get their time in the political sun. That is not to say they do not have skeletons in their cupboards because they do. They all do. It is just a matter of how scary and how big those skeletons in their cupboards are in comparison to the truly “Nightmare on Elm Street” proportions that Yanukovych and Tymoshenko try very unsuccessfully to hide.
It is also no secret that of the three, I currently prefer Yatseniuk by a very small margin, although I disagree with several of his historically stated policy positions. That said, when it comes to policy, if all manifestos of all parties were placed in front of me there would be parts of them all I agree with and parts in all of them I simply don’t.
The same can equally be said of the UK political parties and their manifestos. Quite frankly both in Ukraine and the UK, I don’t care which party is in power. I care about what they propose to do when they are in power and the policies they have to achieve what I consider are the most important issues of the years ahead during their tenure.
Anyway, this is what Arseniy Yatseniuk had to say when interviewed in Brussels.
What particularly caught my eye were these two statements:
“He said a solution to the problem could be an amnesty law, which would clear politicians of “minor felonies”, but not pardon corruption.”
He has said such things before and I have to say that whilst it is a solution of sorts, it is not a solution I am particularly keen upon. I can see the attraction, particularly given the fact no Ukrainian politician is whiter than white, and it is a way to draw a line under many wrong-doings in their past (and present in many cases one suspects).
However, what image does that display to the Ukrainian public who undoubtedly would not be subject to having their slates wiped clean in a similar fashion for “minor felonies”. How far down the political tree would such an amnesty go? Simply the RADA, or the regional administrations also? What about City Halls or district administrative organs of State bureaucracy as well?
Who decides what is and is not a “minor felony” that is subject to the amnesty? There must be parameters but who sets them?
Would such an amnesty actually release Ms Tymoshenko? Whilst it may free her from the current reasons for incarceration, an alleged $405 million debt to Russia (which she publicly admitted but disputed the amount) , $18 million pending in claims against her in the US from a US company via the US courts, and accusations of UAH several billion in tax avoidance from when she ran UESU, would hardly qualify as “minor felonies” to most people.
Considering both her companies UESU, Somolli Ent and Ms Tymoshenko are named in the US court documents that convicted her business partner Lazarenko in the US, the citizens of Ukraine may be less likely to believe there is only smoke and no fire in this particular instants. They may have suspicions about Ukrainian courts and due process, but US courts as well?
There is certainly very little trust between Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yatseniuk as has been very well reported in the Ukrainian media of late. Is it therefore Yatseniuk’s plan to be seen as willing to engineer her release from misuse of office charges to then see her incarcerated for more than a “minor felony”? That seems to be the current majority game plan as well.
That may not be such a far-fetched idea considering the next quote from him that caught my eye. When asked if he thought he would be President in 2020, he replied, “Maybe this is not fiction … Things could happen faster…”. Anyone with any first (or even second or third) hand knowledge of Ms Tymoshenko would know that there is no way on earth any opposition politician other than herself will become President of Ukraine whilst she is still active in domestic politics. She simply wouldn’t allow it to happen again after her failed tandem with ex-President Yushenko.
Therefore if Arseniy Yatseniuk really believes he could be President of Ukraine before or by 2020, then Ms Tymoshenko would have to be removed from domestic politics. I can see that happening in only two ways – via ill health or being imprisoned for more than a “minor felony”.
As always, very interesting what politicians say (or don’t say) when talking about their potential coalition party leaders and the future. Particularly so when their main opposition rivals are living through difficult times.
Nevertheless, maybe we should be thankful for the dysfunctional politics of Ukraine. Ukraine has yet to head towards the Kirchheimer Catch-All politics which seems to have enveloped many European political parties and political personalities. Hopefully that time is a long way from being reached in Ukraine.