A dedication to reform

A prime example of ‘getting it wrong’, courtesy RationalWiki:

Nonetheless, Poroshenko’s penchant for shelling civilian targets, cutting off their water supplies, and blocking attempts at reform from parliament shows that this isn’t solely a black and white issue. Yatsenyuk isn’t much better, what with his hard-on for austerity, which includes eradicating education, healthcare, unemployment benefits, and social programs in general in exchange for enriching the oligarchs who helped fund his campaign. These two, the president and prime minister respectively, are butting heads over who gets more power in a wartime Ukraine.

For argument’s sake and to save time, I’ll cede the ‘shelling civilian targets’ and ‘Yatsenyuk’s hard-on for austerity’ parts, but the ‘blocking attempts at reform from parliament’ part is what got my panties in a fucking double knot.

Everyone and their dog just can’t shut up about how ‘there are no reforms in Ukraine’, while conveniently ignoring the fact that any reform takes time and effort, especially in a country where no reforms were implemented in the last 20 years or so. While you can’t blame war for everything, there is something; for one, the police reform would have proceeded more speedily were it not for the war (new Kyiv police are about to walk the beat this month, AND the parliament passed the reform draft, so there you have it). There was also that thing with the previous Yatsenyuk Government and the people it consisted of, which were kind of random, there were Poroshenko’s questionable personnel management decisions (such as appointing Vitaly Yarema as Prosecutor General, who then proceeded to torpedo what little trust in the Prosecutor’s Office there was in Ukraine), so, well, yeah, could have done better.

Back on the topic, let me present one glaring example of the Rada’s reform-mindedness: namely, Draft #2551, on the materiel supply of the Armed Forces, which would have made the acquisition process for various absolutely necessary military equipment much more streamlined as opposed to the protracted bidding used now. Currently the Armed Forces are required to be supplied with 30+ years old rubbish like valenki, while the list does not include modern BDUs, ballistic eye protection, thermal optics, night vision optics, red dot sights and so on. This is something Ukrainian troops have to get from volunteers simply because the Ministry of Defence (which handles logistics) is forbidden from procuring these items. An important law, then, one that fits the ‘reform’ criteria, especially since much is being done to reform the Armed Forces and MoD first and foremost.

The law can’t even pass committee review. The reason it cannot pass committee review is because one of the MPs is in an argument with the government over oil revenues from a company called Ukrtatnafta. Keep in mind Ukraine’s budget consists mostly of black holes, cosmic radiation and IMF loans, so I wouldn’t blame the government from seeking revenue money, especially from companies where the government has a share. This is exactly the beef Kolomoyskiy has with the government. Even more, said MP (who was Acting Head of President’s Office during Bloody Pastor Turchynov’s time) is acting in concert with newcomer MPs on the committee, including famous people like Dmytro Tymchuk of Information ResistanceKonstantyn Grishin Semen Semenchenko, and a few others – all people who probably could have seen the need Ukrainian troops have in such devices and who got elected on a patriotic ‘support-our-troops’ platform, but yet they are blocking committee review of draft #2551.

This is not even going into depth about how newcomer MPs either refuse to vote, or vote against bills put forward by the government, suspiciously together with the Opposition Bloc (former Party of Regions remnant). One particularly jarring example is a recent proposal to reduce import taxes on electric vehicles; to no surprise, these ‘patriotic opposition’ people (they call themselves that, seriously) either voted against that, or abstained from voting at all.

And then, for all my troubles, I get to read about how Poroshenko is apparently blocking parliament’s reforms. I’m sorry, WHAT reforms? The ones where they proposed to forgive debts of people who took loans in foreign currency (back when the dollar was 5 UAH)? Or the ones where they proposed the state nationalize a retail store chain for unconfirmed evidence of cooperating with separatists? I am sorry, but the state is not obliged to compensate for lack of foresight on part of people who take loans in foreign currency, but get their salary in national currency; nor it is obliged to prosecute legitimate owners for perceived grievances, not without a throughout investigation, and thus scare off any potential investors – because who the hell would invest in a country where the parliament can up and nationalize anything they want for apparently ‘cooperating with separatists’ WITHOUT ANY PROOF?

Yeah, I remember that time people invested in the Soviet Union, only to get exactly nothing in return, if they were lucky. And Ukraine isn’t the Soviet Union by any stretch of imagination.

Of course, this much requires a much more detailed exposure to Ukrainian politics that can be accomplished from across the ocean, editing your wiki in a comfy chair. Oh, and speaking of Ukrainian politics, the President and the Prime Minister essentially NEVER got along better than they do now, if one remembers the endless political shitstorm of the Yuschenko era.

Well, except when Yanukovych was President and the PM was basically his yes-man, and Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are still better than those two.

A dedication to reform

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