This publication by a Ukrainian scholar is an extremely rare analysis of other undemocratic developments in Ukraine (in the Western media).
Extracts; full text:
The only promising event in eastern Europe over the last five years was the EuroMaidan Revolution and the subsequent attempt to implement liberal reforms in Ukraine.
The hopes inspired by the first peaceful protests in Kiev were connected with the idea that authoritarian trends in Ukrainian politics could be stopped, that Ukraine could move towards European integration, and that there could be a return to political and economic pluralism in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region. However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the subsequent invasion of eastern Ukraine, combined with the rise in extreme forces on the Maidan and perception of western support in ousting former president Viktor Yanukovych, meant that EuroMaidan’s liberal agenda has faced an uphill battle.
In short, since the fall of Yanukovych’s regime, Ukraine has not become a vibrant democracy. On the contrary, in 2016-2017 the informal power of the president and his entourage has grown considerably and democratic institutions have been eroded.
Ukraine is now following regional authoritarian trends and is betraying domestic and international hopes of democratic transformation.
Rather than a flourishing democracy and civil society, 2016 brought the non-democratic and non-legal consolidation of power by and around the president.
According to Ukraine’s constitution, the country is a parliamentary-presidential republic. But in reality, president Petro Poroshenko has managed to informally create de facto presidential system. His clan controls most Ukrainian institutions: law-enforcement agencies, the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government, the electoral commission and the media.
By law, the president controls the security services, army, diplomacy and prosecutor's office. Poroshenko has chosen to appoint loyal people to these institutions, regardless of their skill or experience. An extreme example of this is Yuri Lutsenko who was appointed general prosecutor in May 2016 despite having no legal background. The president went to extreme lengths to get a majority of deputies in parliament first to change the legal requirements for the job and then to vote for his ally.
Poroshenko managed to put his junior partner from his home region of Vinnytsia, Volodymyr Groisman, into the prime minister’s seat after a long struggle for power with former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The decision to appoint Groisman was made after month-long discussions between different clans and political groups in the presidential administration. Groisman’s appointment signaled the end of the balance between ruling clans that had characterised post-Maidan Ukraine. As of April 2016, the president controls 19 of 24 seats in the Cabinet of Ministers.
Finally, the president’s group is expanding its control over media in Ukraine.
Media independence is actually in decline. In 2016, Ukraine witnessed a number of attacks on major TV channels that constitute the major source of information about politics for Ukrainians. This trend started in May 2016 with the leak of foreign journalists’ personal information by nationalist cyber-activists. Several weeks later, the highly respected journalist Pavel Sheremet was murdered.
Then Inter, one of Ukraine’s most-watched TV channels, was attacked and burned by activists. Despite international pressure, authorities have heretofore made no real effort to investigate these attacks on journalists and media and bring those responsible to justice.
In addition to media control, there are attempts by the ruling groups to limit access to social networks. In May-June 2017, the most popular social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki were prohibited as “channels for Russian influence”. Even though there were some limited reasons for government security concerns the decision is a way to far-reaching in terms of violation of the basic human rights. And it has disrupted horizontal communication between families, friends and small groups across post-Soviet states.
Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) have increased their attempt to control media and social networks. Several days ago Vasyl Hrytsak, SBU chief, called on “all patriots”, and later patriotic journalists and experts to cooperate with the SBU in order to diminish impact of the Kremlin and its “fifth column” media in Ukraine. Later, the service set up a special page on Facebook where citizens can denounce their fellow Ukrainians for lack of patriotism.
The new anti-corruption bodies, namely, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), might be able to have a more significant impact. NABU is still outside Poroshenko’s influence. Western governments and international organisations continue to support its independence against all attempts to diminish its investigative powers or subordinate it to the General Prosecutor (and thus, to Poroshenko). But in absence of an independent court system, NABU’s effect on good governance and good politics is limited.
- Mikhail Minakov is Associate Professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and President of the Foundation for Good Politics, Kyiv. He is also visiting professor at the Institute for European Studies, Europa-Universitaet Viadrina and editor-in-chief of the journal Ideology and Politics.
Україна нагадує "Титанік", який тоне. Проте оркестр грає 75% української музики.
Согласно исследованию, в котором указаны 28 стран, объем теневой экономики в Украине составляет 1 трлн 95,3 млрд гривен или 45,96% от прошлогоднего ВВП страны, который составляет 2,38 трлн гривен.
Лидером по наивысшему показателю теневой экономики является Азербайджан (67,04%), на втором месте - Нигерия (48,37%), Украина - третья. Также высокий показатель у Российской Федерации (39,07%), Шри Ланки (37,76%), Бразилии (34,76%) и Пакистана (31,78%).