Not so long ago I was thinking that despite Russian movies and TV series being blocked in Ukraine, Ukrainians don’t lack for entertainment. Ukrainian politics provides all the shades of drama, circus, and tragicomedy that any soap could churn out.
Much more important battle going on
Still, no matter how loud and emotional the situation with Saakashvili is, let’s not forget that there is a much more important battle going on right now. Saakashvili is not the top opposition leader as some have written on Twitter, but he is definitely a master of drama who knows how to organise political shows.
It wouldn’t be absolutely improbable that by attacking a politician who has around 1.8% of support, but makes a lot of noise, the authorities actually want to divert attention away from a really important issue. Taking into account that the Saakashvili incident happened almost right after the attack on NABU, maybe Saakashvili is not the main player in this story?
Also worth mentioning is that the Saakashvili news has dominated the Ukrainian media space and almost completely drowned out a harsh statement from the US State Department that recent events – including the disruption of a high-level corruption investigation, the arrest of officials from NABU and the seizure of sensitive NABU files – raise concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to fighting corruption. The same position was later repeated by the EU.
That means that the biggest allies and financial supporters of Ukraine are closely following events in the country and are very dissatisfied with the attack on institutions that they lobbied so hard for. Ignoring them would be too costly for Poroshenko. But Poroshenko could save the situation through several strategies: stop the attack or continue limiting NABU’s freedom, but at the same time hide it behind street drama and beautiful statements.
The process of transformation never goes smoothly. Old forces and old institutions fight back and this is how it works in the politics. We must accept the reality that countries don’t change after a few just words. Ukraine made considerable progress in its transformation and now it is witnessing a pushback from the old guard that were satisfied with the former status quo.
Does that mean that Ukraine is a lost cause that has no future? No. It means that we, Ukrainian activists, professionals, journalists and ordinary people will have to fight harder, be smarter in our choices and methods, and show that our determination to change Ukraine is stronger than their determination to keep everything as it was.
No matter what some pessimistic observers are saying now, I refuse to accept the point of view that Ukraine is a hopeless case. We survived the craziness of the open Russian invasion. Nothing is lost because as long as Ukraine exists there is a chance for a change.
I believe there should be fewer emotions and more pragmatism about Ukraine. And definitely a correct setting of priorities and a deeper analysis of Ukrainian events. The accusations against Saakashvili are serious and the developments should be followed closely. But let’s not allow this situation to divert attention from a much more important battle.
Now it is important to protect an anti-corruption institution that has proven to be effective and motivated to work. The system (SBU and GPU) strikes back and the task is to not allow this offensive to destroy one of the most important achievements of recent years — NABU. Yes, all this doesn’t look nice, but this is just one episodes, not the end of the game.
An activist, journalist and co-founder of Global Ukrainians, an international network of Ukrainians worldwide, Kateryna Kruk was awarded the Atlantic Council Freedom Award for her work communicating the Euromaidan revolution to the world. She predicted a frozen conflict in July 2014, which has largely come to pass, and now comments on the progress of crucial reforms in Ukraine.
* The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : http://intellinews.com
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