: Taras CHORNOVIL, Volodymyr FILENKO, Taras STESKIV: THE UKRAINE

: 04-09-2001 // // URL: http://maidan.org.ua/static/mai/999617593.html
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Ukraine is celebrating its tenth anniversary of independence. Once again, important people, imagining themselves as an elite, will assemble with pomp and ceremony. Once again, the fanfares will play and the toasts will be made to the health of the powers that be. The truth about the reality will either be lost in the flood of voiced and published self-glorification or will be replaced with the polished pictures of Dolhanovs TV. Those, who controlled the levers of state power during these in many respects lost ten years, will generously cover all the expenses.

In actual fact, following August 24, 1991, we, democrats, were only putting forward the slogans of building a state, while the state, in terms of the system of its institutions, was being actually built by the bureaucracy. And they have built an upside down copy of a state in Ukraine. The nomenclatura [the Communist party officialdom], which was communist at first and became post communist, as now, was that one and only force that conceived and nurtured this copy and that has been running this country for eighty years. It had to change its colours, however: from the red [communist] banners to the blue and yellow [Ukrainian national] ones, from [the communist hymn] The International to [the Ukrainian national hymn] Shche ne vmerla Ukraina (Ukraine has not died yet), from the slogans about the bright communist future to the slogans about democracy, a market economy and European choice. However, this nomenclatura remains indifferent to the new slogans just as it was to the previous ones.

The ruling class that has formed in Ukraine over the past 10 years is genetically connected with the former communist bosses; it was molded from them as well as from the new tycoons, who were former red directors, and the businessmen, who were born within the secret services. This class is seasoned with small and medium sized criminals, who made their fortunes acting as go-betweens making use of the lack of governance in the first years of independence. It readily adopts itself to any ideology, religion or national values, ultimately to anything, in order to preserve itself and above all to keep the existing status quo, under which its major weapon is the functionary, against whom we have not yet found an antidote. Ever since we were children we were brought up being forced to call black white, to call the naked the kings, to call the criminals the politicians and to call the thieves the elite.

It was exactly to ensure the dominance of this force, that this system of power was conceived and has been built in Ukraine over the last eight years. In place of a democratic and free society, there has been built a paradise for the functionaries, nomenclatura and a thin layer of those, whose fathers and grandfathers illegally seized state power in October 1917, enslaved this country and up till the present have been subjecting everything to their corporate-clan interests under different frequently mutually exclusive slogans. They are the only real power in our society, the Anonymous Party of Power, a new post soviet o nomenclatura. All other social institutions, including political parties, are only the means to achieve their goals.


How did it all happen?

Roughly in the late 1980s, a long expected perspective of our independence emerged. For the sake of their own preservation, the bosses of the doomed Soviet empire unsystematically and unskilfully initiated the blowing-off-steam processes, calling them democracy and glasnost. As is well known, this only expedited their destruction. At that time, the people of Ukraine gave the whole world to understand, we want and are ready to adopt two unshakeable categories of social life: independence and democracy.

At that time, we, the people for whom the victory of these two principles was the mission of our lives, started a political struggle in the hope of grasping this chance given by history. One after another there appeared Narodniy Rukh Ukrainy za Perestroiku (National Movement of Ukraine for reconstruction), Ukrainian Republican Party, Ukrainian Democratic Platform within the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union), the Narodna Rada (National Council) within the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), co-ordinated student movement, and other organisations. We wrote down clear slogans of independence and democracy on our banners and started fighting for their triumph in Ukraine. Some of us set independence as the primary goal, others set democracy. In the long run, it all merged into one national democratic movement. However, as world experience testifies, democracy may not quickly and easily become firmly established as a value and a life style in former colonies. In fact, this was the case in Ukraine. One of the reasons was that following August 24, 1991 the democrats started speaking about the building of a state, which contradicted their very nature. They should have spoken about the building of a civil society. However, they could not speak in a different way at that time, since state institutions as features of independence were practically absent in Ukraine. This inconsistency set the ideological basis for the future power of the post communist bureaucracy.

Ironically, the Ukrainian people, who havent stopped fighting for their independence for centuries and who sacrificed their best sons, received independence lightly and easily. As well as a communist nomenclatura, seemingly neutralised and that is why inessential, into the bargain. The major reason was that the Ukrainian opposition movement in the late 1980s did not become nationwide. Its components were strong in certain regions: a national movement in the West, a workers and social movement in Donbass, general democratic tendencies in the East and Center. However, there was no integral mass movement with a shared ideology that would have included most of Ukrainian society.

Basic rationality brought about the compromise agreement of the national democrats with part of the communists in August 1991. It was then, when a part of the opposition suggested that the nomenclatura, which in words gave up communism, should not be touched. It was exactly then, when a part of the parliamentary members belonging to the Narodna Rada faction raised objections to the idea of early parliamentary elections in 1992.

The nomenclatura was quick to discard their communist party membership cards (of course only after August 1991, but by no means earlier!), throw red banners and raised blue and yellow ones instead, cast aside hammer and sickle and pledged themselves to the trident, and started speaking the Ukrainian language. Thus, social tension was smartly reduced and the nomenclatura, like a chameleon, adjusted itself to a new political reality. And we, at leas most of us, sincerely and childishly rejoiced over it and became frantic with euphoria.

Slightly confused and scared at first, the nomenclatura soon recovered from the shock. It turned out to be stronger and more cunning than we could imagine and easily overcame the democrats. We have to admit this honestly and openly today. While we were straggling hard for the state and democracy, they were building the strategy of their own survival under the new conditions and working out plans for the preservation and considerable reinforcement of their power, advancing practically the same slogans as we did.

Single voices of some politicians, proposing to dissolve the old Verkhovna Rada early in 1992 and perform strict lustration, sank in the flood of slogans of national reconciliation. This turned out to be the biggest mistake of the national democracy. The majority of the opposition movement started praising Kravchuk and a new independent national nomenclatura. Those who held opposite views were labelled immoderate radicals and a destructive element, capable of destroying the idyllic picture of a national accord to please the forces alien and hostile towards Ukraine. Dont they sound like the accusations against those, who today dare to say that not everything is well in our national house and go in opposition to those, who, according to the Fundamental Law, should have guaranteed the implementation of the constitutional rights and duties?

In that way, the most favourable conditions were created for the uncontrolled rebirth and strengthening of the post communist nomenclatura, which has become the basis for the future ruling class, right after independence was acquired. However, to form a stable ruling caste, the executive power functionaries were not enough. There was a need for money; there was a need for business.

The entrepreneurship patterns that developed in the late 1980s (co-operative society, limited liability companies, small businesses) and later on trust and investment funds started actively to increase their capitals due to their access to the government sphere and by giving bribes to purchase the right to export licensed products.

Another group of entrepreneurs, much diluted with criminal elements, besieged large state enterprises. We have reason to believe that these businessmen made a deal with the directors [of these enterprises] and using the network of mediator agencies started actively to earn money by speculating in price differences.

Red directors, who came out of the Communist partys care, represented the third group. They made use of the law on the buyout rent, allowing them to buy shares from their staff members practically for kopecks, and thus became the real owners of the plants they headed.

Financial speculators, who made their fortunes on the fixed rouble to dollar rate and a fantastic more than ten thousand percent inflation in 1993, represent the fourth group. Under the existing situation, they were able to take loans, convert them into hard currency and in time repay the banks the money multifold decreased in value. Many of the new Ukrainians became rich simply due to the Western loans, taken under the security of the state, which they never paid back. Plain bribery of the state functionaries made, as a rule, the criterion for the selection of the companies-recipients of such loans. We have good reasons to believe that there were top state officials among those functionaries.

These were namely the above-named layers that made the basis for the phenomenon that later on developed into the system of Ukrainian oligarchy. That is illegal money, access to state power and the liquidation of business-competitors with its help, rather than entrepreneurship talent, intellect, competitive environment that formed the national business.

Later on, these spontaneous relations formed a system under which to successfully run business, it was necessary to have krysha (protection) either in the government institutions, or in the Internal Ministry, or in the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine), or in State Tax Administration, or in the Prosecutors Office. Further on, this krysha was factually transformed into a hierarchical pyramid with the President as its top. This had occurred already after 1994 and was established as a firm system by early 1997. Political loyalty to the state power, and above all personally to the President, became the condition of support at the highest levels of this power.

The incipient ruling class, by then weak and disunited, brought Kucjma to power in 1994. By the late 1990s, it was finally formed into a system of oligarchy with the following major features: unlimited economic and political power of small groups of people, merger of entrepreneurs, politicians, bureaucrats and persons, who, to put it mildly, are not on friendly terms with the law, into one whole within each of the groups. Unlimited opportunities for misappropriation of the national wealth, personal interest and an almost complete neglect of the national interests are also inherent in our oligarchy.

Thus, really big reforms have been implemented in Ukraine for the last ten years. There is only one question: for whose benefit? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: for the benefit of a small layer of state functionaries and pseudo-businessmen. Initially, the latter were getting rich at the expense of a redistribution of state property. Further, the privileged privatisation (and this is not a secret) was carried out only with the permission of the Presidents administration. This resulted in a totalization of the shadow economy in the country, which, in its turn, dictated the priority of private informal relations between business and state power over the law. Thus, Ukrainian independence turns out to be at jeopardy in the tenth year of its existence in conditions of a paper democracy, where oligarchy rules.

The rule of a handful of clans, tightly linked with the state power has resulted in an economic weakening of the country, the loss of gigantic sources of its growth and budget revenues. Accordingly, the country is unable to overcome a mass of accumulated social problems. That is why, suffering from extreme poverty and having lost their hope for the future, a considerable proportion of the population has stopped respecting the state and its basic institutions. They want go abroad. The foundation of respect to our language, culture and traditions is being undermined, as a chain reaction. The people give themselves up to social apathy and indifference to their country; they stop trusting it. They cant raise and protect it with such attitude, can they?

These reforms brought about a social model, under which there exists a small portion, about 1-2% of rich and extremely rich people, 3-5 % of those who with great reserve could be called a middle class against the general background of total poverty of the major part of the population (90%). Is this what the powers that be call the European model of development of Ukraine?


This is what we actually have in the political and legal field

We believe that our president is not a president in the civilised sense of this word. He does not represent the most popular and trustworthy political force supported by the nation. He is a protege of the former communist nomenclatura, which to a decisive degree rests upon the power of the former centre of the empire. He is the servant of this nomenclatura and the protector of its interests.

Due to the efforts of the oligarchs and the Presidents administration, our parliament has been gradually changed into a big lobbyists office instead of being the highest representative and legislative body. Regretfully, recently it has become possible to buy most of its decisions and appointments. The Verkhovna Rada was turned into a means of legalisation and laundry of the financial power acquired by the nomenclatura.

We believe it is mostly the fault of the oligarchic groups, which have penetrated the Verkhovna Rada and established their factions there owing to their considerable financial resources. In this connection, we will be so outspoken as to declare that this restructuring took place with the Presidents awareness and blessing.

The Communists became the other factor that gradually led to the distortion of the parliamentarian idea. They are the essential element of the operating system, the authorised opposition that poses no threats to the state power. Arent there any reasons to consider the Communists blunt and direct enemies of the state? Dont they openly call for the loss of the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state and for the restoration of the empire? Only the national democrats and left-wing centrists, a small part of the parliament, are trying to realise their programs and ideological priorities in the parliament.

The government in Ukraine is the political tool of the force, which has actual power in the state, that is, the post communist nomenclatura. The slightest attempt to destroy the existing order at the state level made by the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko tandem caused the immediate reaction of the nomenclatura.

The oligarch parties, the so-called business parties, deserve special attention. These are the Social Democratic party (united), The Democratic Union, Trudova Ukraina (the Labour Ukraine), Yabluko (The Apple), National Democratic party, Rehiony Ukraininy (The Regions of Ukraine), Agrarian party, etc. We are firmly convinced that they serve as the tool of a legalisation of the shadow capital accumulated under the conditions, having little in common with market economy, that function under the vigilant surveillance of the ruling nomenclatura, instead of being political parties, which means public associations based on certain ideological grounds.

The penetration of the oligarchs into politics and their censure of the centres of information leads to the result of making the country live according to their rules and proving that it is impossible to live in a different way. By using politics and the mass media, they cynically justify their illegally acquired wealth and the undeserved position in the social hierarchy.

As a rule, the leaders in the regions are the proteges of power in the provinces; they are bound by the power to ensure the fulfilment of the interests of the nomenclatura in given areas and in given regions and to collect financial tribute for the top.

Our militia is a retributive force of the party of power, which was communist yesterday and its de-ideological successor at present.

Those who managed to make it to the top in this the-other-side-of-the looking-glass world are forced to violate the laws. Later on, it will be easier to manage such people. Everybody turns out to be involved, ministers, businessmen. The discrediting tactics and the fear of them form the basis of the current system. The power is ruthless to those who violate the established rules. It forgives those who repent and return to the system and lets them lead a quiet life. And it punishes those, who either because of their youth or due to some other reasons, do not agree to repent. The system is ready to terminate those, who are completely out of its control.

But the most distressing fact is that the type of governance, in which the controlling [law enforcement] agencies designated to counterbalance the influence of the oligarchs have the determining role, has formed its not-my-business attitude in the majority of the population. That was not difficult, since such a psychology has deep historic roots in Ukraine. The regime just simply reanimated the atmosphere of total fear, which has been imposed on Ukrainians for centuries, particularly in the 20th century. Moreover, the psychology of the top has been changing alongside with changes in the national psychology. The so-called elite says only what is wanted to be heard. Hypocrisy has become the major moral feature of the psychology of those who call themselves the elite.

We have to admit that given all their non-democracy, the authoritarian regimes in many countries of the Southern hemisphere have at least some rational justification of their existence. Since they usually took measures to ensure weighty economic growth in the country. We do not excuse such regimes; however, to complete our analysis it is worth citing the examples of the rapid development of Chile under general Pinochets dictatorship and
South Korea under the regime of the presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, as well as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, and some other countries. In these cases, nations sacrificed their freedom for economic growth.

Later, having overthrown dictatorship, many of these countries adopted contemporary democratic standards of social life, while retaining a healthy and competitive economy.

We have a different case. The existing state power cannot be compared to the above examples of a patriotically responsible authoritarianism, since it is anti-patriotic and irresponsible in its essence. It serves an example of a nomenclatura and clanned authoritarianism, oriented at the prosperity of a very tiny layer of the society, which stays close to the state power and watches over its interests.

We want a different fate for our country and we are ready to fight for this fate.


What is the way out?

The system we described in the previous section is erroneous in its every manifestation. We believe that it has no historic right for existence; it has no right for the future. It is necessary to fight this system. However, this fight should be done by means of development of a basically new comprehensive program of political and legal, social and economic reforms and by means of a struggle for its implementation, rather then by means of a struggle with certain representatives of the system and specific persons. By means of real reforms and not their imitations which, with some exceptions, has been carried out in Ukraine for ten years.

We suggest that the real reforms be implemented for the benefit of the whole nation rather than a state functionary. These will be not those 15-20 families, who made their fortunes exclusively because of being close to the guarantor, who will become rich as a result of this reform. A regular and natural for all civilised countries is that a middle class should appear that would make up about 70 % of the population and that would create the backbone of the state.

In the political sphere, firstly it is necessary to achieve a radical replacement of the ruling. The people, who developed as personalities and specialists under the conditions of the countrys independence and who have corresponding moral qualities, intelligence and unblemished reputation, should take the place of those, who are now in power. Alongside with this it is necessary to adjust the Constitution towards an increase of the Parliaments authority in cabinet formation and its control over the executive. Consequently, the authority of the President should be reduced. De-monopolisation of the mass media and the liberation of the information sphere from the total control of oligarchs as well as creation of a public TV in Ukraine should become the third key step.

In the economic sphere, non-economic tools of influence on the entrepreneurs and non-competitive methods of business should be liquidated. Alongside, a system of measures should be taken to liquidate the dominating influence of political-economic holdings on the social-economic activities. All parties involved in business should acquire their status and prove their competence in competition by their intellect and ability to work. A tax reform and energetic liberalisation of business conditions are needed. The transparent rules of privatisation and rigid economy of state finances are also important.

We believe that, Ukraine needs to gradually walk out of the CIS since this extremely ineffective institution does not contribute to its development neither in terms of advanced technologies nor in terms of new markets.

The whole layer of the participants of the economy and entrepreneurship interested in such reforms exists in Ukraine. These are, first of all, small and medium sized businesses, as well as business based on production. We should carry out energetic and real reforms to establish the regime most favourable for them, rather than for the thin layer of corrupt functionaries and shadow business circles. It is extremely urgent to deprive the nomenclatura of its dominating function in society. In the developed democracies, the bureaucracy does exist, but it is not dominant; it carries out the political will and helps to provide for the activities of the forces that have won the elections, that is, those whom the citizens supported.

It is politics that should become the slogan of the new national-democratic movement in Ukraine for the overwhelming majority of the people. As a result of the implementation of the new course, the social-economic picture of the population should become basically different; the ratio of its three current parts should cardinally change. All the existing layers, namely rich, poor and middle class, will obviously remain, but their ratio will be fundamentally different.

The first category of the rich and very rich people will emerge from those who will create and fulfil themselves by means of the successful implementation of the perspective ideas, new technologies, new principles of labour organisation, new work places, etc., Created in such a way their well-being will additionally create a large number of work places and massive tax inflow into the countrys budget. These will be our Fords and Gateses, 3-5 % of our people who became rich, some of them even millionaires by honest ways. These are the people of whom the nation would be proud.

The second category: there will inevitably be poor people, a group that will approximately make up 20-25 % of the population, who became outsiders due to different reasons. The state should help them, and as its opportunities will grow and, this help will steadily increase, while this layer will inevitably reduce.

And finally, the third, the largest and the major category of the countrys population, the so-called middle class, will be the backbone of its stable existence. These people, leading decent lives, will make up the prevailing majority of about 70%.

The middle class in our Ukrainian understanding, our Ukrainian dream is as following: own house; stable income or salary, providing for a decent living, food, clothing, medical treatment, rest, and physical exercise; the income will enable us to give our children a decent education and ensure a well-provided old age; and finally the perspective of transition to a better provided category of people. In the long run, the Ukrainian dream is a reasonable, though not very wealthy, life, necessary in a sovereign country. These two factors do not contradict each other, on the contrary they perfectly complement each other, being the basis of our national picture, bringing together eastern and western Ukrainian mentality. If we simplify the above-said, in the near future, the standard of living of the Ukrainian population, which will be higher than that of their Russian neighbours, is practically the only guarantee of the existence and progress of Ukraine and the sufficient condition of its independence.

Judging by todays situation, it is very important to distinguish two basically different realities of economic life. Businessmen become oligarchs not when they earn the amount of money beyond some definite number. Ukrainian oligarchs are not just extremely rich businessmen. The difference between these two categories is qualitative rather that quantitative. A Ukrainian oligarch is a businessman who makes big money mainly owing to the corrupt elite bought by him. Moreover, he ensures that with the help of state power a non-competitive environment is provided for his business, which results in the degeneration of the countrys elite and power. If a real businessman is the basis of the country, the major architect of its economic growth and, correspondingly, the creator of new work places and social well being, the oligarch is a moneymaker, who having made a deal with the government is robbing the country. He stops the flow of clean money into the state budget and instead creates a huge, in comparison with the budget, flow of secret shadow funds, exceeding the framework of legislation, that runs to him and his political accessories.

Our major allies are honest, patriotic businessmen who observe the law. Our foes are their oligarchic antipodes.

The 2002 Parliamentary elections is our chance to make by our joint efforts the first noticeable blow against the nomenclatura, by leading a considerable number of seats in the Verkhovna Rada. However, the major and decisive blow should be made at the presidential elections, the preparation for which will begin right after the parliamentary ones.

It is possible to change the ruling power in Ukraine only by the maximum concentration of all patriotic, democratic forces of the country to reject the system of the ruling post communist nomenclatura.

We are sure that the strengthening of the current power that is evident at present is temporary. Its duration will depend on the ability of the opposition to put forward its people and on the civil position of these people in the long run.

This indicated political force needs a new clear structure, clear understandable goals and, very important, a bright leader. The co-ordinating committee, set up to support him, may include representatives of both the left-wing and right-wing forces. Victor Yushchenko has all the chances of becoming such a leader. We are convinced of it, especially if we consider the data we received on a large spectrum of his adherents party preferences.

However, the essential condition of such leadership is the consistent and courageous position of Yushchenko. Lack of such a position has already done harm to the opposition and all patriotic forces. We will dare to give Viktor Andriyovich [Yushchenko] advice: fighting the system from within has no future. The bad experience of Gorbachov can serve as an example. It is necessary to go beyond the framework of the system and distance oneself from it. To overcome the system, it is necessary to be honest and consistent in our relations with this system, and first of all with its most zealous defenders and its brightest representatives. That is why, he who is going to lead us out of the mire should overcome fear and indifference, rising above all doubts and fears. Even if these fears are justified. Yushchenko should get the feeling of a personal responsibility for the destinies of the millions of people who trust in him today, and not only theirs.

Now it worth speaking about those participants of the political process who, in our opinion, could have made its foundation. We will start with the National Salvation Forum (NSF) that until quite recently seemed to be the most promising representative of the idea of national protest. At a certain moment, NSF became an important part of the process of societys awakening. It could have become the symbol of the joint struggle of all the countrys democratic patriotic forces irrespective of their declared position within the political spectrum. However, this did not happen. What was the reason for it? We believe there are several of them.

First, the President of Ukraine, against whom the whole activity of the NSF was aimed in the long run, withstood, while the personal opposition narrowed down the social basis of the opposition instead of expanding it.

One cannot but admit that, the NSF played a positive role as the major exponent of the societys attitudes, and although it did not attain its major goal, still it did not lose. It helped society to rouse itself a little, stirred it up and gave it hope, even for a short time, in the possibility of making real changes. The change of the NSF into an electoral bloc during the pre-election period will finally fix it in the status of one of the opposition chains, which will destroy the plans of the further development of the Forum as a co-ordinating centre of the opposition as a whole and its transformation into an integral national movement.

Viktor Yushchenkos ouster and his further indeterminate behaviour served the other regrettable reason of this temporary setback. We believe that Yushcnenko lost a historic chance of becoming a national leader by heading the opposition. And finally, the actions taken by the state power, both overt and cunning, which are more inherent to its nature, that made use of a whole system of criminal and bureaucratic means played last but not the least part of the general process of neutralisation of the NSF. As a result the 2000-2001 blitzkrieg on removal of nomenclatura-bureaucratic power failed.

Under such condition, we see only one way out. It is the further development of the national democratic traditions of the Ukrainian people, which dates back to the national liberating war in the Western Ukraine in 1920s as well as armed formation of the Ukrainian National Republic and further partisan struggle in the Eastern Ukraine and which was continued by the NRU - Narodniy Rukh Ukrainy za Perestroiku (National Movement of Ukraine for reconstruction) in late 1980s.

However it is the 21st century now, and this is not just mere statement of fact. The objectives put forward by the time to the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian state are absolutely different from those that NRU had thirteen years ago, to say nothing about those that the national liberating movement tried to achieve fifty-sixty years ago. And we must admit that the imperatives of today and demands of this time require basically new theoretical ideas and practical steps.

To preserve and reinforce the foundations of the state, the new political force should give the people a fuller and more comprehensive political program, propose to them a succession of actions on strengthening democracy and the countrys independence appropriate for today and outline the perspective of its development in the near future, while retaining the heritage of its predecessors, that is the unconquered Ukrainian nationalism in the best European sense of the word and genuine Ukrainian patriotism.

A party (or a bloc of parties) that has already conceived such a program and that would combine the heritage of the mentioned historical forces and the potential of the new progressive break through of the country as well as the ability to work out the strategy of such a break through will make the basis for such force.


In place of epilogue

Having almost similar starting conditions, the post soviet countries have been proceeding along very different paths for the last ten years. There are excellent examples of progress in the Baltic states, especially in Estonia, as well as a return to the social life of a medieval khanate in Central Asia. There are countries stuck in the vortex of wars and coups, which result in the removal of the national (and sometimes pseudo-national) forces from political life and the return of the Politburo [Political Bureau of the Communist Party] members as was the case in Transcaucasia. The rest of the countries have yet to define their future.

We may have many different options: from almost totalitarian Belarus and Russia steadfastly annihilating the achievements of the first years of democracy to a dubious Moldova and similar Ukraine. The comparative analysis of our conditions testifies that we may go many ways.

The best option is to remove the major obstacle in the way of progress, that is, the post soviet nomenclatura and the oligarchic system, which has fused with it, and to follow the path of the Baltic states. An actual alternative to such a development of events is the danger of the victory of oligarchic business parties at the elections and therefore long years of disgraceful existence as a third-rate country. The fate of Ukraine as well as the fate of that part of the post Soviet space, which is craftily called CIS and which holds intact due to the joined efforts of the post soviet nomenclatura, depends on our 2002 choice. It concerns Russia first of all. If we are quick and confident in our moving forward, it will inevitably become deprived of its atavistic imperious complexes and practices. This will be for the benefit of both Russia and for us. If we indulge the setbacks of the Russian messiahship and play into its hand, we will perish together.

None, not even the best program stands a chance of being implemented and helping people if the people will not choose to help themselves. We, the Ukrainian people, will never achieve anything until we overcome our fears. The first fear is that we will not survive without Russia, America, Europe or somebody else. The second fear is that we will never win a victory over the nomenclatura and mafia at the elections. And finally, the third fear, which we are constantly being threatened with in these days, is that during these elections the dirtiest techniques will inevitably be used and that 2002 elections will have an extremely harsh character.

Many of these fears have developed due to the events occurring in the parliament over a period of the four years of its existence. The bribery of parliament members, a fight with no rules and the use of different compromising materials were indeed practised then. This was like a reflection of our society, and the state of the elites in this society during the 1998 parliamentary elections. However, it does not necessarily mean that the same techniques will be used against the elites and the electorate. One should not fear this, since to use dirty politics in an immature parliament is one thing and to use it in the relations with the voters is quite a different one.

We must say to ourselves - enough of that!!! It is time for us, the people of Ukraine, to rise from our knees and determine our fate for ourselves.

We, the authors of this article, want to convince the people, that we can and should win. It is true that state power and the criminals supporting it do not let us live; it is true that they are powerful, cunning and experienced in dirty business. But you and we are not so weak. We have already got the experience; we have the strength and the confidence.

And the main thing we have is something that they never had; it is the love of our Ukraine, and a free, civilised and honest life. And this is why we will win the victory beyond any doubt. Do not forget the first words that John Paul II said right after he was elected Pope of Rome: Do not fear.

We should look at the West, its standard of living, the level of development of its economic and political system, its ethnic and moral standards and social guarantees for its citizens. Our way is the way to Europe.

: 04-09-2001 // URL: http://maidan.org.ua/static/mai/999617593.html
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