Simple test for democracy for President Yushchenko
The part of the Ukrainian society that supported Viktor Yushchenko in his struggle against the regime of Kuchma-Yanukovich calls the events in Ukraine in autumn-winter of 2004 “Orange democratic revolution”, and their opponents – “Orange madness”, inspired and paid by the USA. Undoubtedly, if to say about the turning point in public consciousness, increase of citizens activity and rejection by the society of clannish-authoritarian principles, which lay in the basis of the post-Soviet system, one cannot deny the revolutionary character of these events. Yet, there is a question: whether the new team headed by President Yushchenko, which was led to power by the people on Nezalezhnost Maydan, is able to prove the democratic character of the results of the revolution?
In his inaugural speech on 23 January 2005 President Yushchenko declared that he saw Ukraine as a country guided by the principle of superiority of right, and one of the main tasks was, in his opinion, the liquidation of corruption. The President repeated the same on 6 April in his speech at the joint sitting of the chambers of the US Congress. Besides, he told about forming in Ukraine of “a new model of behavior of power”, which “will become a servant of Ukrainian citizens and will defend their constitutional rights and freedoms”. “We want to have peoples government”, summarized President Yushchenko, “which would be headed by people and work for people”.
Such intentions are praiseworthy, especially because they are expressed by the man with great credit of confidence. Yet, why Ukrainian human rights protectors and activists of public movements are ringing the tocsin again?
New Ukrainian power says about open society, about transparency of its work and rejection of inheritance of Kuchmas system, grounded on clannishness, corruption and absence of peoples control. However, the problem exists, which arouses skeptical attitude to such statements.
Would you, taxpayers, who want to know what the government does for your money, like the statement of the officials that the laws adopted by the government is the information created at the expense of budget and is, therefore, owned by the state?
If you were citizens of the USA, who know their rights and duties and are accustomed to protect their rights and interests, would you like the conclusion of the Ministry of Justice that, since the laws are owned by the state, as it has been said before, the state has the right to resolve whether to inform citizens about the laws or not? Well, this is the opinion of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine headed by Mr. Zvarych, who, by the way, studied in the USA.
And finally, how you, accustomed to the respect to laws, would interpret the direct neglect of legal norms by the top power organs? The officials of Secretariat of the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers and other organs act just in that way.
Leonid Kravchuk, the ideologist of the communist party, who became the first President of Ukraine after declaration of independence, issued 137 edicts, the contents of which were unknown to the society.
Leonid Kuchma, criticized for turning of state apparatus into the likeness of a private firm, issued 873 similar documents.
Viktor Yushchenko, who embodies the hopes of Ukrainians for “dekuchmization” of the country, has already issued 41 such documents since the day of his inauguration. His sister-in-arms, hero of the Orange Maidan and now Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko issued 7 acts, which has not been published (her forerunner, ex-candidate to presidents post Yanukovich – 101). We want to point out that all that has no connection with state secrets, since the “secret materials” are hidden by nameless bureaucrats under classifications, not envisaged either by the Law of Ukraine “On state secrets” or other laws.
Such approach is not exclusive for top state officials, it is also very popular in the system of executive power and local self-government. One of the examples of crying absurdity, to say nothing about illegality, is order of the General Prosecutors office No. 89 of 28 December 2002, which demands to make secret “the messages on catastrophes, accidents and other emergency situations, which caused death of people or significant material damage”.
Therefore Ukrainian human rights protectors and public activists united under the slogan “Free people in free country” for struggle for democratization of Ukraine and realization of ideals of civil society, and created the Alliance “Maidan” (which, in particular, includes the Kharkiv group for human rights protection and the street vanguard of the revolution – organization “Pora” (“Black Pora”)). The members of the Alliance make to the officials, who were led to power by the revolution, the simple demands: to stop the illegal practice of issuing of “secret materials” and to publish all such documents, first of all, the documents issued by previous regime and able, in their opinion, to evidence on large-scale misuses. Calling classification of legal acts “the gravitation center of corruption”, the activists emphasize that they do not protest against “their” President, but try to help him to break the odious system created by those, who lost the election.
One can hardly deny that transparency of power and possession by citizens-taxpayers of the complete information about its decisions are the main precondition for creation of open society, with which idea, by the way, George Soros has agreed recently during his visit to Ukraine. It is indubitable that the completeness and accessibility of all normative information, as well as the principal question of observance of laws by the state, are the most important factors of the investment attraction of our country.
Initiators of the campaign against “secret materials”, appealing to the law and morality, say about the steady intention to strive for their aims, even in court. The paradox is that if President Yushchenko would lose the action (there are no legal grounds to hope for other result), then Viktor Yushchenko, empowered by people as a mouthpiece of the Maidan ideas, would benefit. And there would be more reasons to say about the actually democratic essence of the Ukrainian Orange revolution.
Speaking in the USA Congress President Yushchenko said: “Pope Joannes Paulus II the Great told: “It is sometimes very difficult to go along the way of truth. Yet, it is always possible”. We have taken this way and we will not turn off it”. We want to wish Yushchenko consistency and perseverance on this way.