Peace Deal(?)

Today, reports circulated of a deal being negotiated between the Ukrainian president and the Ukrainian opposition. Chances are the protesters will allow the opposition to speak for them, though they’ve scorned them in the past. The deal would include immediate presidential elections, plus a roll back of presidential powers. The fluctuation of presidential powers illustrates the callousness of Ukrainian democracy. In 2004, when the Orange Revolution brought Victor Yushchenko to power, the Rada (congress) limited presidential powers with a constitutional reform. In 2010, when Victor Yanukovych, the Russian-backed villain of the Orange Revolution, returned to power, the Rada struck the constitutional reform and restored presidential powers.

Ukraine, has always been the border of empires. At different times in the chaotic history of the steppes, Ukrainian Kozaks allied with Tartars to sack Moscow, they allied with Poles to fight the Tartars and Ottomans in the 17th century, and made a treaty with Moscow to rebel against the Polish crown.

Today, Brussels and Moscow contend for influence. The best thing for Ukrainians would be a dismantling of the hyper-centralized, corrupt, ineffective bureaucracies of their government and the development of local or private solutions. Both powers contending for influence, however, want the bureaucracy to remain intact so that they can simply affect the leader.

In this regard the peace deal would be a lost opportunity. On the positive the people have shown their strength. The fact that they are able to overthrow a corrupt government will be a restraint on all future regimes.