Ukraine: Broken Promises and the Presidential Election

The presidential election in Ukraine is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2010, and although the official registration of candidates does not begin until Oct. 20, most of the key players have already started their campaigns. In the Ukrainian blogosphere, there is no shortage of posts on pre-election politics, but bloggers who exhibit genuine trust in the nation's politicians are somewhat hard to find. There is plenty of cynicism instead, however.

Some of the early campaigning highlights can be found at Ukrainiana: PM Yulia Tymoshenko‘s “With Ukraine at Heart” concert; Victor Yanukovych‘s “I Hear Everyone” ad; and “Ukraine Has To Be Strong” ad by Serhiy Tyhypko, of whom Ukrainiana‘s Taras writes: “A dead ringer for Kevin Spacey, isn’t he? Only a bit more serious. Or less.”, a blog covering the news and views from the Ukrainian blogosphere, wrote (UKR) on Sept. 30 about an interactive political project launched by news portal in July – The Measure of Truth (RUS):

[…] The goal of the Measure of Truth project is to determine the level of truth in the statements of Ukrainian politicians. The site's visitors will be assessing the credibility of specific statements, by voting either in favor of or against politicians’ quotes. In addition to this, there'll be a short editorial commentary next to each quote. So far, most of these commentaries have been caustic and ironic :)

The “truthometer” will include weekly quote credibility charts. This will make it possible to see the public attitude towards this or that politician – how much the people believe what he or she says.

According to the project's authors, it will continue to exist after the presidential election in Ukraine. […]

Below are three recent election-related quotes (RUS), by the Ukrainian president and the speaker of the parliament (both of whom are expected to run for president in 2010), as well the breakdown of the audience's pro and contra votes, and the editorial comments:

Sept. 22, 2009
[President Victor Yushchenko]

My plan is to win. < ...> And when we meet with you in six months, I'm sure I'll be the president of Ukraine.

Readers’ assessment:
-1323 ( +211 / -1534 )

Editorial comment:

There are two options here. Either Victor Yushchenko is an incredible, amazing optimist. Or he means some other Ukraine. Some fund, perhaps.


Sept. 29, 2009
[Parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn]

The main threat to Ukraine's national security are the Ukrainian authorities. I'm talking about them all and am not singling anyone out, because the President, the Cabinet of Ministers and the [Parliament] of Ukraine all represent this threat today.

Readers’ assessment:
1247 ( +1430 / -183 )

Editorial comment:

Volodymyr Lytvyn has never demonstrated such a high degree of honesty before.


Sept. 30, 2009
Victor Yushchenko

The Yushchenko who is sitting in front of you is the [Yushchenko of 2004]. I haven't deleted a single thesis from my platform.

Readers’ assessment:
0 ( +365 / -365 )

Editorial comment:

Victor Andreyevich [Yushchenko] is probably right. And this is the sad part. He hasn't managed to change anything for real in the country – not for the better, at least. All his promises have remained just that, promises, and all his words have remained mere rhetoric, and all his dreams of strong power in a prospering country have remained nothing but dreams. All he's got to do now is return to the opposition. Back to the future, so to say.

LJ user mihailobrodskiy – Ukrainian businessman Mykhaylo Brodsky, no stranger to politics and controversy himself – wrote this (RUS) about pre-election politics and trust:

I've been reading statements like these recently: [Volodymyr Lytvyn] – I'll be #1, [Yulia Tymoshenko] – I'll win, [Victor Yushchenko] – I'll win 100%. As a citizen, I'd like to hear something else. What kind of healthcare system we'll have, for example. Only spoken with responsibility. I don't trust these jerks, though. And I'll just stay silent about [Victor Yanukovych].

Here are some comments to this short post:


Well, Yanukovych is staying silent himself most of the time – what is there to discuss about him :)


And he's doing the right thing. With his conversational skills, it's better to stay aside quietly, looking clever – who knows, maybe they'll end up electing him. And if he talks, then he'll lose again [as in 2004].


[Yanukovych] is trying to appear compassionate… How are you doing?.. How is your job?.. It's all [Yulia Tymoshenko's] government's fault. That's the most evil enemy of all, and me, I'm soft and fuzzy… I'll restore order… And how he is going to restore it and, in general, what exactly he is going to do – he's not saying a word about it… Ridiculous… Is it working on anyone!?


What, is there anyone at all out there who is saying HOW he is going to restore order???

LJ user nefedieff also wrote (UKR, RUS) about Victor Yanukovych's truth-telling:

[…] They say Victor Fedorovych [Yanukovych] spoke in Mykolayiv today. His solemn speech on the occasion of his arrival in the city of ship-builders is hard not to admire.

“I promise to work hard and to always tell you nothing but the truth,” emphasized the leader of Party of the Regions during his address.

Mamma mia, I was so moved, I started crying… from laughter. One thing we should now ask him is why not start telling the truth way before the election? […]

More on Ukrainian politicians’ broken promises (UKR) – by LJ user didaio:

The only reason why I'm not going to vote for Yushchenko in the presidential election is his broken promises.

And it looks like Tymoshenko has indeed learned something from him.

“I know that we'll be able to return the money to the people in two years. If I fail to return the money to the people in two years, I – unlike our our male politicians – will resign from my post, because you don't need a post if you can't give what you've promised to the people.” (Sept. 28, 2007, Yulia Tymoshenko on Channel 1+1)

Tymoshenko must resign. And it's better for her not to return.

P.S. One of the best ways to fight populism is to demand that the election promises are fulfilled.
P.P.S. Provided, of course, that the society is sick of this populism.
P.P.P.S. Which isn't happening in Ukraine yet ;(

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