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Poroshenko and Kolomoisky block new elite development in Ukraine

Thursday, 30 April 2015 789
Author: Lesia Shevchenko
A cheap play on reforms and mutual support was staged for Ukrainian politics. The real fight for the director’s position goes on behind the scenes and no one is allowed to watch that.

Ukrainian politics is like Plato's cave. The Greek philosopher described chained people living in the cave, turning their backs to the world and watching a plain wall. They only observe the shadows of others. In the case of modern Ukraine the deceptive world of silhouettes is created by the media, which holds the citizens imprisoned. One of the recent ‘shadow shows’ depicted Pravyy Sector base blocked by Ukrainian armed forces.

Let’s assume that this story is just a mini-play staged solely for political purposes. Leaving the issues of ​​war, courageous young men and constant fear out of the brackets, let’s turn to potential beneficiaries. The ex-governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Igor Kolomoisky, taking into account both regional proximity and close ties of Dmytro Yarosh with the billionaire, seems to gain the most out of Pravyy Sector activities.  Taking this into consideration, the dispute over Ukrnafta becomes political and reveals the details of an intriguing fight.

Ukraine’s upcoming local vote may well be a rehearsal for snap elections to Verkhovna Rada. The key players seem to be interested in this scenario: few are happy over the present parliamentary composition. The President can’t rely on Narodnyy Front faction, the 2014 popularity of which fell down to the verge of statistical error. Yatsenuik’s faction itself is full of internal contradictions: not everyone is happy with the decisions of the Prime Minister, ‘newcomers’ constantly fight Rada’s ‘regs’. Players outside Parliament, perhaps not yet formalized in distinct political party, have a chance to test their potential.

Gradual militarization of Ukrainian politics is alarming. A new influential player, the Army, has emerged within a year. The military leaders, e.g. battalion commanders, enjoy considerable popular trust. Some have already converted it into parliamentary seats. Yet, the representatives of security forces have no political program. Their rhetoric is based on the criticism of the system and does not provide real alternatives. Consequently, the political power of the military can be channeled by some other ideology and the talented director. For example, unhappy military men (the reasons for criticism of Kyiv are plenty) supported by the right-center ideas (the nation, cultural values, stable economy) make a perfect political party.

The above reveals a list of problems in Ukrainian politics, which needs to be reformed as much as the economy. Failure of ideas’ competition and underdeveloped institutions of democratic lobby lead to political (the Berezenko-Korban war in Chernihiv district), economic (the miners' protests) or military (Pravyy Sector base) blackmail. In the ten-year term the class conflict expressed in terms of ‘intellectual’ Yushchenko and ‘regular guy’ Yanukovych evolved to ‘cunning diplomat’ Poroshenko and ‘crafty wheeler-dealer’ Kolomoisky. Don’t be misled, there is no real development. Both models reflect post-Soviet politics, subject to constant instability.

The illusion of political battles is not THE problem. The super-democratic states are no different in this regard. The problem is that political ‘Olympus’ is firmly occupied. Neither Poroshenko, nor Kolomoisky, nor Yatsenyuk wish to step aside for the long-awaited ‘new generation’. American political scientist Charles Mills identified three pillars of the ruling elite in the United States - the army, the corporations and the politicians. In Ukraine the economic elite in fact became political and tried to incorporate the army. Ukrainians enthusiastically watch the ‘fight of the shadows’. This way they will remain in a cave, distant from democratic thinking.

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