Opposition leaders Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleksandr Turchynov declared on April 23 that the doors of their “united opposition” were open to anyone who shared their values. They then scurried off into a side room, where they sat with close aides while a burly bodyguard blocked off journalists from poking their noses in.
The uniting of the opposition is welcome, as it offers the possibility of diminishing the powers of President Viktor Yanukovych.
But the whole tone of the press conference demonstrates that the opposition still has no clear platform, no new ideas and has no new way of operating.
Only one aim was declared that could be attractive to Ukrainians – removing Yanukovych.
That is not a solution to the country’s many problems. It may be a start, but the hard work comes afterward. How will Ukraine decrease its energy dependence on Russia? How will it combat the corruption that strangles almost every part of business and daily life? How will small- and medium-sized businesses be encouraged?
To bring the happy life they promise, they will need to answer these questions.
But the people who could help them form plans – experts and, yes, ordinary people – are not being welcomed into the process.
Instead, people are being asked to support a small group of people who want to regain power for themselves, while offering nothing of clarity in return.
If the opposition wants to garner people’s support, it has to open itself up to new ideas and new people. As long as this insiders’ game continues, as long as the opposition keeps pouring old wine into new bottles, it will not be able to offer an attractive alternative to Yanukovych, one that can turn this nation into a prosperous member of the European Union.