The fight against corruption, one of the principal promises made in the heady days of Ukraine’s revolution last December, has come to a standstill. Christopher Crowley, the United States Agency for International Development’s bureau chief for Eastern Europe, complains that Ukrainian businesses continue to maintain double sets of accounts — one real and one for show.
And in July, even the president himself came under fire when Ukrainska Pravda reported on the lavish lifestyle of Yushchenko’s son, Andrei. The 19-year-old’s fondness for expensive cars, like a â‚¬130,000 BMW M6, had raised eyebrows, forcing the president to go on the defensive. Yushchenko, outraged by the reports, lost his cool and likened the journalists who had written the story to “contract killers.”
But his composure is not the only thing Yushchenko has lost. Some of the most trusted officials in his administration are no longer loyal to the architect of the Orange Revolution. Citing corruption among high-ranking authorities in Yushchenko’s government, state secretary Oleksandr Zinchenko resigned on Sept. 3. The close associate of Tymoshenko was instrumental in organizing the Dec. 2004 protests that eventually led to the success of the Orange Revolution.
At the press conference called to announce his resignation, Zinchenko accused Pyotr Poroshenko, the head of the country’s Defense and Security Council and one of the most influential financial backers of the Orange Revolution, of attempting to transform Ukraine’s police, judicial and intelligence agencies into an “all-powerful new NKWD” — a secret police in the Stalin tradition. The day after the Tymoshenko government was dissolved, Poroshenko also resigned, citing plans to fight charges against him in court. But Poroshenko’s political career is by no means over. After quarreling with the sharp-tongued, financially strong and popular Tymoshenko, the Yushchenko will need his strongest supporter more than ever. ~Der Spiegel
Let’s see what Mr. Yushchenko’s record looks like less than a year in: corruption run rampant, the apparent attempted creation of a repressive secret police force and general incompetence in doing anything except apparently feathering his own nest. That sounds shockingly close to what I and other critics of the so-called “revolution” promised would come to pass under a Yushchenko regime–it certainly matches up with much of what Yushchenko has done in the past. Let’s all just remember that it was for the sake of this shabby character Yushchenko and his fraudulent “democratic” victory that Washington risked permanently damaging our relations with Russia.