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: 26-05-2003
Mykhaylo SVYSTOVYCH: How to Fight Against Kuchmas Reforms: Article as Guidelines

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Public discussion held over the initiative of the Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma for reforms of the regime system in Ukraine and project of the Law of the Ukraine "About contributing changes to the Constitution of Ukraine" lasts, gaining range of tsunami. The people have forgotten about all the business of their own and were sunk totally in discussion. Reforms are the only thing to talk about for housewives, workers in a workshop and peasants on a farm, passengers in transport and sweethearts on a bench in park. This is the very impression from those avalanches of the salutatory telegrams with approval, protocols of the meetings and the other literary trash, which are exhibited as an infallible proof of an odd national encouragement for peoples best unloved president by his own administration.

In fact, nobody would have known about all that stuff without oppressively organized by authorities far and wide in Ukraine labor groups meetings, and without no less energetic rejection of presidential initiatives, performed by opposition. Yet the majority of Ukrainian folk is aware of the single fact, that Kuchma used to propose something somewhere. But nobody knows, whats the real point, because no one really cares for that.
In general discussing some Kuchmas ideas (nearly retirees ones) is the equivalent of waging war with wind mills or deciding collectively, whether there is any life forms on Mars. After all, its obvious even for Kuchma&company, that none of the proposals have chance to be implemented. Even in case, that folk will support all of the initiative without exception so that it would get 102% of pros on the referendum. While Constitution has not been changed, the coping-stone remains for Verhovna Rada, and within it this project will never get 300 votes. 226 votes are also rather doubtful.

Whats the purpose for presidents encirclement to start game, the result of which is known beforehand? Theres only one explanation thats been done in order to distract the opposition from preparation to presidential election, from the process of structuring, from anti-regime struggles in regions, from solutions of the problems, that are really important, by having drawn it into gruelling, unnecessary and useless discussion on the fiction, that would never become true. This is a desperate step of bankrupted authorities, that, like a drowning man, grasps everything he is able to reach. But its the first time I see a drowning man imposing his conditions and dictating rule on those, who is sinking him.

In the childhood we used one method in order to penetrate into a territory, which was protected by a dog. Those, who were supposed to climb in, hid sometime thereabout, and others from a safe began to teasing the four-legged guardian. And stupid curs with terrible noise rushed on imaginative violators of the border while the real trespasser simultaneously without hindrance got over the fence. Dogs have been tricked, since ones, who teased them, managed to hide themselves in specially prepared covertures. The dogs returned back and once again with expression of own value on mug continued to protect the entry while we, having deepened into their holdings, did everything, we needed.

And instead of obtruding there own game rules upon the authorities, opposition, having taken the role of the above-mentioned dogs, are more and more embroilled into the authoritys game, vindicating their action with fears, that Kuchma may declare the national referendum, produce false results and, breaking Constitution, contribute changes necessary for him straightly to Constitution and state mechanism.

I really distrust that the pro-Kuchma forces have the possibility and even intentions to act exactly in such a way. First, it was the opposition who began to yell about referendum as way of the entailment of Kuchmas initiatives, not the power. Kuchma has only intimated it in its TV speech, having said that "if politicians will not be able to agree the whole folk must become an arbitrator ". Secondly, Kuchma himself has already declared that he wasnt going to break the Constitution, and that referendum will take place after the changes to Constitution would be contributed by parliament. Thirdly, the above-mentioned action will result into an international insulating of the Ukraine since civilized world will never approve frankly illegal change of the authoritys system. But converting Ukraine into Belarus is none of the perspectives supported either by opposition and most of pro-presidential powers. How would they earn the money then, not having possibility to import goods? What will they privatize the enterprises for, unapt to work at full capacity? Whats the purpose to establish profitable conditions for their business in case they would be unable to use it? Finally, how will they steal the budget if it decreases like shagreen skin? No comment about that oligarchs, whose profits depends on export (and to this cohort belongs a presidents son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk).

So the opposition would rather come out of trench of the defence and concern themselves with two things. The first continue to do that did before, abstracting from Kuchmas initiatives (as if thereve been none of them). The second to let down the authors of the ideas of reformation claimed by president , using ajkido. That is to say, turn the efforts of the adversary against himself.

Hoping to prove Kuchma that folk does not support his initiatives is the same that trying to overpunch a concrete wall with the head. Theres no sense for opposition in villages and cities to throw all their activities and rush venting meetings in support of Kuchmoreform as well as to spend so much time organizing alternative meetings. Executive hierarchy, in order to prove their chives its efficiency, not uncovering their own actions in public, will conduct more meeting of that sort, than the opposition would be able to react on. At any case officials will simply write and send the protocols of such meetings to Kyiv and thats why the number of the reforms adherents will always cover the amount of those who reject them.

In general actions performed by pro-presidential powers concerning the initiatives proclaimed by Kuchma are rather different. In one region, where the opposition is weak enough, officials simply force people to come on meetings and report to higher-ups about the enormous number of "adherents" of Kuchmoreforms. In regions, where the opposition is strong, everithing is happening a little differently. The forced meetings here also take place, but in much smaller scale. And those meetings, which are conducted outside the enterprises, institutions or organizations have been given an appearance of democracy.

On such meetings the folk is gathered for discussing urgent local problems, but at the end, when everybody is already exhausted, the question of the reform is put. Since hardly anybody is interested in it, people (on such voluntary meetings, which are deliberately held on workdays, go basically retirees) in order to disperse quicker after a long and incomprehensible monologue of the representative authorities, vote, and nobody counts those votes, but in protocol are inserted at random necessary numbers, which "witness" that the number of"adherents of" the authorities system change according to Kuchma is in several times more than enemys counts. 2 or 3 competent and resolute activist from opposition is enough to block up the acceptation of the statement, proposed by authorities, and the people will leave the meeting searing Kuchma. I with my wife happened to visit several of such meetings (including on two sessions of locals councils ), where we have vented the approval of Kuchmoreform just by having appeared there the power simply did not dare to begin the discussion contributed in agenda, all they could do was to ask the folk to study the offers of the president and to send written proposals. But on each of these meetings we had to spend 4-6 hours, since it is necessary to sit from the beginning till the end, even, bag your pardon, to go out in toilet in turns for not to give the authorities possibility to use our short absence for an approval of Kuchmoreform. No less time has been spent for that by other activists of opposition. And simultaneously the power has quietly conducted dozens of similar meetings with expected result in schools, hospitals, on enterprises. And we through participation in this confrontation have not conducted several important actions on organization of oppositional structures, have not released two issues of the newspaper, again have postponed the public investigation of the abuses of the executives etc.

In those regions, where activity of the opposition is obvious wanting to "help" it spend the time, which disastrous comes short, power and pro-presidential parties concerned with the organization of numerous round tables with the participation of a broad circle of the oppositional activists. There rules democracy, each is able to speak, not limiting appearances by regulations, even representatives of the trends loyal to the power, who several years ago couldnt even think of objection of the president, vividly supporting the need of the reforms itself, castigate the separate initiatives of the guarantor to Constitution. But what profit for oppositional deal comes from these round tables if tey are gatherings of people that would be never convinced.

So follows to leave from similar confrontation to the reform and obtrude the authorities our own game. Its naive to hope that well manage to force Kuchma to retreat, having organized mass protests, directed against his initiatives. If hitherto opposition has not been able to raise folk on mass protests even on problems, which are concerned to each person, its hard to imagine mass demonstrations on the whole Ukraine on questions incomprehensible to the majority of the folk no. If on mass-meetings with slogan "Say no to increasing of the tariff on public facilities" or "Return our land shares" come up to 1% people, how could we expect the greater amount of protesting with slogan "No bicameral parliament" or "Shall not let the president fix the force ministers"?

Additionally Kuchma will hardly hear about protest in regions. The chairmans of the state administrations will never report on public displeasure upstairs, fearing that they would be accused of bad work. The opposition, which even in its mass-media recalls not so often the small provincial demonstration, will hardly be able to inform the authorities about the present range of these protests.

I shall be told that sitting idle will add Kuchma confidence, and he will change the system of authorities by force. I already wrote that this is hardly possible, but if even speaking of the worse, that those methods, which are used by the opposition presently, will hardly stop the president from realizing his plan. And if speaking of mass protest actions, it is especially necessary not to spend time for verbal debates with power, which nobody from simple people will hear, but prepare to struggle, for what need the furcated structures.

At this point till the opposition has no clear plan of actions (actions in general are meant rather then on cause of the presidential initiatives) until the preparation to future presidential choice has not begun (and all this on-persisting will begin not earlier than in autumn, when already visible on horizon of the yearly furlough will finish), its better to conduct short and bright campaign, which will form beside folk hard mistrust to presidential initiative. The offers of Kuchma even presently are not too popular since they are not only incomprehensible (the majority of the constituents did not study the international right), but also comes from the source, which does not find credence beside 90% people. So for opposition it is necessary simply to transform this intuitive mistrust in logical objection, making clear to each constituent the harmfulness of Kuchmoreform.

But this is reached not by rushing on actions organized by power, but by own actions, and else more by a propaganda. The mass-meetings with an arrival of public deputies to provincial cities and villages, organized by opposition itself (for this it is necessary to use not only leaders, but also the rest of public elects, majoritees on its county, proporionals on the whole Ukraine) with simultaneous mass spreading of the printed product where in several paragraphs true plans of authorities would be explained, will give much better performance.

No sense of trying to raise the intellect of folk up to the level of the bachelor of the international right, rejecting each line of the presidential initiatives. Herewith we must remember, that the Parliament (yes and, regrettably, institute of parliamentarianism itself) also does not have broad confidence beside folk, that public deputies in consciousness of the many people are associated with idlers and chatterboxes (thats why the majority of the people is not against, for instance, reduction of their amount and deprivation of inviolability), that some parts of the society has the desire of a strong hand and jaundice to election campaigns. Explaining the folk an advantage of the civil society for short period is impossible. It would be better to perform this after the election, proving these words by successful functioning of the state device, as it was during the period, when Yushchenko was the prime-minister. So presently it is necessary to give people a short and comprehensible for each person message with several thesises (I shall add them in free order and in unpolished form):

1. The Initiatives of Kuchma are actually directed not on the improvement of the operating system of authorities, but are only an attempt to prolong his presence at the authorities. As a proof we may bring his words on press-conference, where president said that nobody knew, when the following presidential election would take place. Also the initiative of Kuchma for undertaking all elections at one year each five years witnesses this. Yes, because to implement this, it is necessary either to shorten for two years the duration of present Prliament and local councils, or, on the contrary, to prolong for one year with simultaneous extension for three years the authority of president Kuchma. Since for bringing his reforms to life Kuchma needs a support of local authorities and 300 voices of public deputies, speech goes exactly about the deposition of all elections and continuation of mastery of the criminal authorities until the yar of 2007. About the fact, that Kuchma ingratiates with deputies, also witnesses fact that, citing at proclamation of their own initiatives on April 2000 referendum, president has not mentioned of deprivation of public elects deputys immunity.

2. On elections at one year it is necessary to stop apart. Must be indicated, that Kuchma is right saying, that electoral campaigns effect the citizens lives not positively. But this is an especially ukrainian phenomenon, which was created by Kuchma himself. And the cause here are not elections, but regime, which forces the workmen of the state institutions to agitate for candidates from the authorities in work and leisure-time time. In no one democratic country election disturbs the economy, and we will have it in the same way, when the criminal regime dies, and the honored politicians come to the authorities. But even in kuchmas Ukraine its no good to conduct all elections at one year. This may be illustrated on an example of the master, which for the sake of some deals, can abandon for a while concerning with his economy however, terminating one deal, he will return once again to work through determined period to start another deal and etc. The master will never abandon the economy on arbitrariness of the fate for the whole year until he will finish all outer deals, since then economy will collapse, so that it couldnt be restored for years of work. The same will happen to a country if the whole year would be dedicated to elections. By the way, no country does so. All elections are divided by quite a long period of time.

3. Kuchma frankly tells lies, when says that proposed by him system of authorities supports the European standards. If taking Europe then in majority of its countries the parliamentary system is common, where to president are conducted just representative functions of English queens, but in many countries theres just no president. Parliamentary-presidential system exists in France and Finland only, and there president has not such authority, which Kuchma wants to leave for himself. There is one more presidential system in USA, where main responsibility for the state affairs lies on president, rather then on parliament. Kuchma offers us weird hybrid of two systems, thats nowhere in the world. If take each initiative of the president separately, we shall not find no item in his offers, which answered the standards of the civilized states. If offers of Kuchma will be incarnated in life, we shall get the president with large powers, but with minimum responsibility for fate of the state.

4. In general, the experience of the other countries has proved that state can successfully develop either under presidential and under parliamentary-presidential, and under parliamentary system of authorities. The main is not system of authorities, but one, this power leads. The problem of the Ukraine consists not of bad Constitution (ours is one of best in the world), but of power that never was going to keep this Constitutions and execute laws issued by her. We constantly face with frank non-execution of the constitutional rates (free formation and medicine, freedom of speech, warranties from arbitrariness law-enforcement organ and many other). So the main thing presently is to change the power, learn first to execute at least those laws, which already act, and only afterwards to improve the Constitution.

5. Kuchma also conciously misleads us, defending the need in the bicameral parliament. Additionally in his project the upper chamber looks as a branch of the administrations of the president. It has much bigger authority than the lower chamber, in which president wants to transform the present Verkhovna Rada, it is impossible to dismiss it, and principles of its formation in offers of Kuchma are so washed away that they are possible to be interpreted differently. The bicameral parliament makes sense in federative state only, themajority of unitary European states live with unicameral parliament. In those unitary states, where there is two chambers, such parliament exists due to history circumstances, when in lower chamber were elected representatives from folk, but upper formed the aristocracy without choice, and parliamentary places were transferred on inheritance, either as hitherto there it is in English House of lords (normal life it is necessary for Ukraine to pass for hundreds of years that way, which already passed the civilized states?) Traditional European caution to changes of the system of authorities and contributing the radical changes to Constitution has saved in these countries the upper chamber, however the main role there, unlike what offers us Kuchma, play the lower chambers, functions of the upper chambers are more and more limited, and some countries (the Sweden, Denmark) have altered by sawing from bicameral parliament to unicameral, and now Kuchma offers us way back.

6. Kuchma offers to shorten the deputies body with 450 before 381-383 deputies, however state expenses because of this will only increase since it would be needed to create the new large bureaucracy organ for servicing the upper chamber. Here its advisable to bring the concrete numerals, making a comparison, how much pensions possibly could be paid for these facility, how much roads, filtration facilities could be built etc.

7. If president would really have desire to change the system of authorities, why did not he bring similar offers, having stayed so many years beside the authorities, but "awoke" only then, when it became understandable that the criminal system, created by him and his encirclement comes to the end? Everything is rather simple. Kuchma hides behind offers, multiple and incomprehensible for a simple person, one desire to prolong his own authorities and not to be charged of having made crimes. Thats why he tries to enter the post of a trust senator for all presidents (that is to say, for himself and Kravchuk) and "has forgotten" about cancelling of deputies inviolability for to provide safety for himself until the end of the life.

This is a comprehensive list of statements, that must be in the main message of the opposition to the folk, it also must form the basis for other propagandistic material. No sense to explain to the people the essence of the authority distribution of president and parliament, the advantages of the proportional system, the danger from the election to the upper chamber in greater voting counties. This does not mean that it is unnecessary to speak about this. It is necessary to discuss it not in a propagandistic leaflet, but in newspaper item and appearances. Also, it is necessary to arm all oppositional political agitators with the exhausting critiques of each item of the presidential offers. Because after all people will appear (and quite many of them), that will want to understand in detail. But if not to select among anti-presidential propaganda main short and comprehensible message, we risk that many people will be simply lost in term and explanations and will not want in default of time and during the processing of vegetable garden not only find out trivialities, but also perceive oppositional information if this requires a significant mental effort.

Except abovementioned campaign, in regions, where opposition got used to act actively just during the election campaign or in mode of general political struggle, it is possible to organize the failure of meetings on approval of Kuchmas reforms which are made by local authorities. If there are no other important affairs, it still can mobilize and cosolidate apathetic oppositional cells.

The deputies and managers of oppositional parties must distribute the duties between themselves. Those, who ussualy are concerned with daily routine business on provision of activity their own organization, development of the structures and planning action, they shouldnt be distracted on reform campaign taking into considering that presidential election are not so distant. Those, whose previous activities consisted in coming out wirh speaches, they get the remarkable possibility for attacks on goverment.

They must develop there plan of the systematical political reform and require its discussion, but not on round-table discussion, but in whitness of folk, and what is also very important: in newspapers, on TV- and radiostations (the most impotant!!!). Opposition functioners should constantly insist on public debates and publicity (every voter) should be widely informed about every refusal or silence of the aythorities. Oppositional printed product should contain against Kuchmas reform agitation together with information on local problems, or just information that is interesting to the majority (information about budjet expenses on the administration of the president, expenses on issue of varied greeting and on the advertisment on support of the presidential offers, and to compare once again, how mant pensions it would takes to pay, how many roads to build, filtration facilities etc.).

Here follows to indicate, that such actions will have greater effect if they are implemented as united campaign with some expressive name like "Shall not allow Kuchma to rule us three years more". And else. The experts of the comparative constituional law from opposition side should release the brochure with critiques, arguments and reasons against the presidential initiatives, and those, who are to proclaim that critics, should not be ashamed to remind the school years and to learn all that materials by hard.

Such actions af opposition will form steady negative perception of the reforms offered by goverment, and then if Kuchma will still try to change the political system in contrevention of the Constitution, it will be will much easier to raise a folk on protest under the same slogan. Also it is necessary to notify the Council of Europe and other international organizations about the intention of ukrainian government to make political upheaval, having obtained thereby the reprobation of possible steps toward usurpation of power by Kuchma and warning of world community about possible consequence of such step.

But the most impotant thing opposition should always remember is that all actions on refusal of Kuchmas reform, including oppositional plan of change of the political system, are nothing else but propagandistic ground for elucidation of criminality and condemnity of regime. And those actions must not contribute any corrections to previous oppositional plans, which were made before the proclamation of the Kuchmas initiatives. Rejecting the initiatives of the president, opposition shouldnt even assume that Constitution can be changed before the presidential elections. So there shouldnt be any bargain on cause of some changes, its worthless and even harmfull. This can be done just for formality, always having in mind that government doent have 300 votes in parlament to uphold these changes.

I cant say that our Constitution is ideal. And I understand the necessity of changes. However to insert amendments one should after presidential elections and they should be partial, and to my mind, basicly it should be done after the next Parlamentary elections, as they will be for sure more democratic then they were in year 2002 and this will not depend on opposition forces, as one could say it depends. I shall acknowledge the correctness of the remarks that there is a chance that opposition after victory will not change anything, using present authority system in their own interests. And I shall also acknowledge that Its naively rely only on good will of present opposition. But if opposition will not have enough will-power to insert amendments into Constitutionn after the victory, then from where it will take it now?

To support the goverment, even having the best motives, having hope with its help to force opposition to the immediate change of authority system its dangerous for the future of the country, as for sure those changes will differ from what we wanted. And in general its even more naive to believe in positive chages of authority system which will be made by parlament majority controled from Bankova then to have hope on in good will of opposition after its victory.


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