Ukraine’s post-Euro-Maidan Revolution political leaders still haven’t gotten around to reforming the nation’s police, prosecutors and courts – despite the grandstanding PR shows they put on before Western audiences.
The fact remains that, aside from mostly cosmetic changes, most of the same old police, prosecutors and judges are in place from deposed President Viktor Yanukovych’s era and earlier ones.
The key statistic remains: Ukraine, three years after the revolution, has not tried and convicted anyone for any high-profile murders or large-scale corruption. It’s worth repeating: Nobody has been brought to justice. In the process, they have propped up and protected a corrupt oligarchy with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at its rotten head.
They will try to obscure this fact with a smokescreen of charts and long discussions about the “process,” but that’s not what matters most: results do.
The main person to blame for the dreadful lack of progress is Poroshenko, who not only is the nation’s chief executive but commands parliament’s largest faction.
And while we’re on the issue of parliament, they still can’t find the time to lift their own legal immunity from criminal prosecution.
Yet in blazing speed this month, they enacted sweeping demands that all non-governmental organizations disclose not only their sources of funding, which is a very reasonable request, but also requires each individual employee to disclose their incomes and assets, which is not.
The argument of Poroshenko and his shills is that NGOs should be treated no differently than publicly elected officials paid by taxpayers or powerful public officials with the power to tax, arrest, try and convict ordinary citizens – while, in the case of parliamentarians and others – put themselves above the law.
This is ridiculous. What’s really happening is another smokescreen to mask what authorities are really after – another “legal” tool for intimidating or suppressing non-governmental organizations and investigative journalists who receive funding from them.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other world dictators are not the only ones taking advantage of Western disarray, led by the unstable and possibly criminal U. S. President Donald J. Trump.
Leaders like Poroshenko, who obviously envies the autocratic powers he sees all around him by counterparts in Turkey, Belarus and Russia, also seize upon Western and U.S. weakness.
He sees that Trump doesn’t care about human rights, freedom of the press or transparency in government, so why should he? The danger is that weakness at the top in America will filter down to the U. S. Embassy in Ukraine, which appears to be reluctant to publicly criticize Ukraine’s leaders for backsliding on democracy and the anti-corruption fight.
The fundamental problem in Ukraine, as exiled ex-Russian lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev told the Kyiv Post in an interview this week, is that Ukraine’s politicians are even less patriotic than Russia’s kleptocrats.
“In Russia, we have our mother, but we have Mother Russia as well,” he said. “Ukrainians don’t have Mother Ukraine. They have their own mothers and their own house. That’s why politicians make their sacrifices for their personal benefit, not for the nation.
“They are not behaving as Russian elites either,” he said. “They want this country for themselves to rob. They don’t want Russians to rob it. They don’t want Europeans to rob it. They don’t want Americans to rob it. They want to pillage it for themselves.”
Poroshenko’s supporters also believe that a president at war should not be criticized, in effect asking everyone to excuse all the corruption. For the umpteenth time: Corruption weakens the state. Patriotic Ukrainians and their supporters will not let this happen.
We don’t want revolution because we see the enormous costs, but we do want real change and improvement.
Poroshenko got a majority of Ukrainians to vote for him in 2014 with the slogan: “I’m not as bad as Yanukovych.” It worked splendidly then – he won 54 percent of the vote in a first-round victory that should have been his signal to attack the corrupt oligarchy. He failed to seize the moment.
This slogan won’t work again in 2019, mercifully only two years away, when he is up for re-election. He will have to prove himself as a democrat who delivered results. So far he’s earning a failing grade and rapidly running out of time as he keeps abusing a nation’s patience.