Andrii Derkach
Member of
Ukrainian Parliament
Publications List

Another failure of the experiment

  • 26.04.2016
  • Left Bank

Why does it seem so likely that place switching and change in roleplaying dynamic between Groysman, Zubko, the President’s Administration, “euro-optimists”, and “honorable” Georgians, who have now joined the opposition, will neither result in success, nor make a positive impact on the quality of life of Ukrainian citizens?

It might be pomposity, which the leadership’s speeches are constantly filled with; or fake joy of their allies grateful to be employed at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine; or fakeness of the performance put on in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada filled with every plausible and implausible violation of the regulations and the Constitution of Ukraine; or richly gold standard of the President hoisted up in the Parliament and accidentally forgotten after his departure; or the bored employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations keeping watch in the corners. It was pure theatrics – pompous and fake.

Current authority clearly lacks the sense of statesmanship and appropriate scale of thinking. They are greatly precluded by wrong priorities when it comes to public self-expression. They prioritize “Facebook” over concrete achievements, because public opinion, social media activity, pretty picture on TV – those are their real priorities. They do not care about results achieved in the process of creativity, productivity, development – only about the fight between “for” and “against”. Tactics replace strategy, while showy “public maneuvers” replace the goal itself.

It is impossible to carry out reasonable public policy, deal with industry and economy, create or preserve jobs, fight corruption by appointing business partners, experts, Vynnytsa market assistants, business managers, activists, journalists to the high public offices. We are talking about people, who have zero understanding of legal, organizational, and philosophical foundation of the government agencies’ operation, have no experience in management. It is impossible to justify such actions by same old slogans on how we “need new faces”, while actually meaning “native” faces, and continuously feeding these dubious slogans to the citizens.

Usually, genuine romantics and specialists, who have no prior management experience, or any life experience at all, are the ones to produce no results more frequently than the others. Small town “managers” transferred to Kyiv from the province keep suffering from the lack of self-esteem for at least a year. And there is no way to predict whether they are able to perform their professional duties when this one-year term passes. As for the situation with Groysman’s Cabinet, they will probably spend at least two-three months merely working out the functions of Vice Prime Ministers and Ministers. These “small town managers” will not even have enough time to figure out who answers to whom at the President’s Administration before they are dismissed too. Likely, they will finally make sense of it all long after their dismissal.

The attempts of western “institutions” to form new political elite through the system of grants, various trainings, educational programs, and recommendations of the experts are a double-edged sword: they have both positive and negative consequences. On one hand, new faces really are emerging and they have the ability to explain public positions and declare correct objectives in a logical and reasonable manner. On the other hand, people are losing the ability to think for themselves, because they keep waiting for someone else’s instructions and directions.

In other words, they cease feeling responsible for the fate of their own country, understanding what exactly their responsibilities in this particular office encompass, and realizing that only their own decisions and hard work could be of use for Ukraine and its people.

Global practice is a testimony to the fact that such “grant” elite can be effective only in the short term. However, after a while, the pendulum of public opinion is inevitably going to sway the other way due to its inefficiency and lack of achievements.

What we can observe today in Groysman’s Cabinet is a messy fusion of political arrangements, “grant” progeny, and cynical business interests. If one adds the actual number of coalition members to the mix, which is barely over 200, it suddenly becomes obvious just how doomed this endeavor is. Not even certain level of training and management experience that Kubiv, Grynevych, Semerak, and Avakov have can fix this situation.

Overall, under Groysman’s leadership, this critical “governmental” mass is ready to completely demolish the remnants of state system. If one adds to the equation the fact that Gontareva occupies the position of the Head of the National Bank, as well as personal ambitions of these “chiefs”, not even the President’s profound speech, in which he tries to persuade both the country and himself that Groysman and his Cabinet are the only solution in this situation, fails to inspire or even evoke trust.

There is also a time limit to how long one is able to keep juggling the terms like “visa-free regime”, “association”, “euro-optimism”, and “European integration”. Especially when these words keep being devoid of any substance or foundation, which would correlate with the interests of every citizen.

Our compatriots are beginning to experience a state of cognitive dissonance when faced with an obvious divide between theatrical pledges of allegiance to “European values”, on one hand, and “blind trusts”, “Panama offshores”, “referendum in the Netherlands”, random coal tariffs, and consignments for South African powder. Creative class, being the generator of main ideas in civil society, is rapidly getting depressed and then – aggressive, which is evident in the content of Ukrainian segment on the web.

We need to start building Europe in Ukraine on our own. Everyone who does not want to live in the barracks or nationalist chaos, who is ready to follow in deed instead of just word, irrespective of their personal attitude towards “Maidan”, their native language, or region, must join this initiative. First and foremost, we should consider economic expediency and comfort, European and Christian values, rights and freedoms of our citizens as a basis for this development.

We must remember that 14 million of Ukrainian citizens have family residing in Russia. At least two million are temporarily employed there as well. Historical and cultural, economic, geographical ties, the similarities in conceptual machinery, enormous length of shared border and different attitudes towards freedom, towards “tsar”, ridiculous statement that “Ukraine is not Russia” constitute simplified base for further analysis and prediction.

I would like to emphasize that currently, principal agenda of the U.S. and countries of the European Union in Ukraine is, first and foremost, to form (build) an economically self-sufficient society, loyal to Western values and standards, which is dominated by Christian values and observes civil liberties, obtained as a result of adherence to the principle of democracy.

This task is impossible to realize if one perceives Ukraine solely as a “Western counterweight” to the Russian Federation, or as a “stick” of some kind, designed to destabilize the situation in Russia or serve as a basis for trade and economic sanctions.

Anti-Ukrainian propaganda on the part of the Russian Federation, just like anti-Russian propaganda on behalf of Ukrainian authority and government certainly have their own time limits when it comes to how well they are received by the population. It is impossible to deceive people for too long using the fake reality created by simulacra: people begin to sense lies subconsciously. Hence, both in Russia and Ukraine, the population’s mistrust of mass media of their own countries keeps growing, in particular when it comes to the coverage of the events in Donbass.

As long as Ukraine’s “chiefs” continue to consider as their biggest victory (since they only care about PR “victories” on TV) the extension of the West’s sanctions against Russia, instead of Donbass’s integration into Ukraine, be it at the expense of providing the local government with a wide autonomy; as long as they keep publicly supporting “de-occupation” while secretly hoping that “Russian sympathizers” just fall off on their own and stop messing up “wonderful” and convenient electoral map; as long as they keep holding “contact” negotiations on Donbass, instead of real ones without juggling “Norman” and “Minsk” formats around, along with the Budapest Memorandum; as long as “chiefs” prioritize “victory” over desire to save lives, to listen, sympathize, create, exercise compassion – they will keep trying to mobilize their electorate using war propaganda and military rhetoric. Under such conditions, the country’s economic and political life simply cannot evolve. There are plenty examples in modern history that can back everything that I have mentioned above.

It is not right for official propaganda to assert and disseminate the concept of superiority of “conscientious” Ukrainians over the residents of Eastern Ukraine through mass media and the Internet (social media). “Chiefs”, who encourage the people to perform deeds in the name of unjust cause, will surely lead the country to a catastrophe.

There are plenty of dangers in Ukraine’s diversity, but it is also her strength. The most important thing is to carefully and consistently fold the puzzle, instead of leaving gaps and throwing “extra” pieces away.


Author: Andrii Derkach