Commentary of the Kharkov group for human rights protection on the election-2004


As the Ukrainian mass media have already noted, the progress of the Presidential election-2004 is characterized by stiff, even savage confrontation, between candidates nominated by different political camps, as well as by ultimately law moral standards demonstrated by the acting executive power.

We speak, though, not only about the notorious “administrative resource,” undisguised compulsion, pressure and even intimidation exercised towards the population, which could hardly be assessed just as election campaign “for” and “against.” The pressure and intimidation are not new for the Ukrainian voters. The compulsion was a mass phenomenon in the Soviet times. The dissidents were compulsorily fed in mental hospitals; today the Ukrainian population is compulsory “fed” by the election big-boards with V. Yanukovich. It is not difficult to predict that the reaction to the informational compulsion will be similar to that to the nourishing solution compulsorily poured into Andrey Sakharov or Petr Grigorenko’s stomachs. “Love cannot be compelled,” says a Russian proverb, so one can only feel sorry for our authorities.

One of the most important moments of the present election is the obvious ethical confrontation between the authorities and civil society, and that confrontation is of moral and revolutionary nature, rather than of political and opposition one. Again the country’s air is filled with a breath of the “Prague’s Spring” and long-drawn Velvet Revolution. The masses do not want to go the old ways, while the leaders do want to go the old ways, but can’t do it properly.

In this connection we recollect a social and psychological theory on “logic of conscience” by V. Lefevre[AS1] . According to that famous Western professor, the Soviet establishment adhered to the following rule: “The end justifies the means; everything is moral, what serves the victory of Communism.” At those times, a well-known Stalin’s joke, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” looked quite witty.

Yet, despite the hundreds of divisions and iron discipline of the Communist ranks, the leader-joker was removed from the Communist mausoleum. The emotions of life defeated the totalitarian order, the divisions drifted away, like did F. Engels’s ash over the sea. In contrast, the Holy See still exists. And “Greenpeace” nowadays enjoys its respect only because it uses only its ethical power as explosive. V. Yushchenko also uses his ethical power under the present circumstances.

Therefore, the confrontation between V. Yanukovich and V. Yushchenko is a confrontation between the “state machinery” politics and common sense, rather than a confrontation between the authorities and opposition. It is the hypocrisy vs. sincerity; “paradoxicality” of Dzhangirov-Korchinskiy-Pikhovshek vs. intellectual honesty; bureaucratic ethos vs. people’s freedom.

Some time ago classics of political science V. Pareto and G. Mosca[AS2] , relying on the vast historical material, proved the inevitability of degradation of each and every elite. The most striking in their texts is the logical scheme of extinction of political classes. Morally exhausted elites resort to any means of self-preservation: engage the Armed Forces, hire spies, bribe and blackmail. But the process of their inner decay is unavoidable. After a while, speaking metaphorically, all canvases in palaces of the higher-ups turn into the portrait of Dorian Grey…

Something similar is happening today with the Ukrainian post-Communist authorities. Contrary to all official, rhetorical and ideological stratifications on the background of our independence, the image of the acting executive power resembles a false icon, “the old paint” refurbished in dull colors. Looking at the motives and real typology of the authorities’ behavior, we recollect W. Yaruselskiy and N. Chaushesku, rather than L. Walensa and V. Havel. As to the victims, the parallels are fairly close too: our G. Gongadze – their Ya. Palakh and Ye. Popelyushko…

So, it is not surprising that our political elite is losing the tone of healthy life. A series of tactical informational failures of the authorities continues their strategic failures with the “Referendum-2000” and “Constitutional Reform-2004”. We will not guess, whether the “only candidate from power” would fail, and whether today’s Ukraine will turn into even more living picture of Tolkien’s Mordor or Orwell’s Animal Farm.

However, we are recollecting one quite clear-cut statement by V. Medvedchuk in a recent interview: “Yushchenko will not become the President”. Taking into account the generally known further development of the events, we are curious: what was it in fact – a passionate wish, deep insight, or concrete plan?

10 October 2004

 [AS1]я не уверен в правильности написания

 [AS2]я не уверен в правильности написания

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