Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Exporting the Revolution

In an interview published in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta on January 17, Yulia Tymoshenko discussed Ukraine’s prospects under the new presidency of Viktor Yushchenko. The interview was fairly wide-ranging, and took in such questions as Eastern Ukraine, Donetsk, Putin’s role in the pre-electoral campaign, Tymoshenko’s stated idea about the joint entry of Ukraine and Russia to NATO, the future of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, and so on. Then the interviewer turned to economics, asking how the new Ukrainian government was going to deal with the “clannishness” (klanovost) of the financial and administrative elites. Her reply was rather unambiguous:
We mustn’t let people whose career is business into the corridors of power. We must break the vicious circle where the government creates opportunities for shady earnings, and then those earnings are used to bring new politicians to power. Changes must be made to the Constitution which define the parliamentary opposition as the legitimate inspector of the doings of the country’s leadership. For example, I think it should be the opposition that appoints the heads of the National Audit Office. We need to create a new system for financing the political parties. They must cease to be lobbyists, we must remove the market from Parliament. And, finally, we must create the kind of conditions for business that make it unnecessary for it to use bribes.

But the clannishness has an international character. It’s well-known that the old ministerial connections from Soviet days continue to operate. When a renewed and purified Ukraine does deals with Russia, where everything has stayed the same, isn't there going to be a problem?

You're pulling yourselves together! (laughs) I think the Orange Revolution should be exported wherever possible, in a kindly fashion. [my tr.]

This last statement provoked a response from Russian State Duma member and head of the Moscow Institute of CIS Studies, Konstantin Zatulin, who saw it as a direct threat, Interfax reported:
This statement betrays an intention to undermine the authorities and provoke a crisis in Russia, which is doubtless the main target of all those orange, chestnut and rose revolutions," Zatulin told Interfax on Monday.

At the same time, he believes that there are "no grounds" for such scenarios to occur.

(Via Marius)

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