22.05.2000 | E.Kharin, Kyiv

Distortion of democracy


Rams bleat, drums beat,
Ram runs to be skinned for drums.
V. Vysotskiy

Democracy fell upon us quite unexpectedly. After decades of totalitarianism it was rather difficult to use this gift in the proper way. The first election to the Supreme Rada demonstrated this very vividly. Those, who had to win, did not win because of the lack of experience and bravery. It was clear like a sunny day that the sympathies of the people were on the side of democrats (although strictly speaking they could not be called democrats). If the election campaign were honest, these democrats had to win. Communist nomenclature was sure in its victory; that is why it violated the rules of election not so insolently as now.

Just after the election two opposite feelings mastered the public: euphoria of supporters of democrats and embarrassment of the nomenclature. Although there were no reasons for democrats to feel euphoria. A lot of work awaited them in guaranteeing just elections and punishment of the infringers. It was extremely important, but those democrats who won the election were satisfied with the result, and nobody supported those who lost the election. Our intelligentsia, the salt of the land, was capable to pronounce strong and beautiful word combinations, but not to do something positive. Once Yuri Vizbor sang: ‘One’s honor must be saved without delay’. Our society lacked and lacks honor and the desire to defend it.

This is the main drawback of our people and intelligentsia, its leading layer; they permitted those who had been in power to remain at the helm. It seems that the latter ‘privatized’ not only the people’s property, but the power as well. For this they paid not much: they organized a pre-election show in order to convince the world that we have democracy.

At the second election in Ukraine the nomenclature became more daring, and democrats accumulated some experience. However, the senseless explanation of the Central Election Commission that the infringements of the election procedure did not essentially affect the total results satisfied the democrats. This attitude is convenient: nothing ought to be done, all the responsibility lies on the nomenclature. I heard from many democrats such a time-serving idea: communists cannot administer the society and will loose the next election automatically. So what is the sense to fidget now? Meanwhile the Rukh collected a heap of documents on the infringements of the election rules, but with no consequences: there are no court trials or similar actions. The plague of falsification has remained without remedies. And in the people’s consciousness an illusion has been formed: the democrats are at the helm. In a way it explains that the published results of the election substantially differ from those, which are kept in voters’ heads, since they knew for whom they voted.

All this results in the low standard of living and the growth of dissatisfaction with democrats, which is seen from the fall of the rating of the Rukh. The nomenclature was becoming richer and seduced democrats: at first they gave democrats cars — many were seduced. Some parties have been created, but no efficient actions to protect people’s rights have not been carried out. The Central Election Commission estimates the violations as such that did not essentially change the outcome. This is not serious, one may not doubt that any violation of the election law is essential because, if it does not change the result of the election, then it changes the future life of the society in the negative way. That is why any violation in this sphere must be cleared out and severely punished.

All the history of elections in Ukraine abounds in serious infringements and the absence of the reaction to this infringements. There are no protests: neither from voters, nor from the parliament, nor from the prosecutor’s office. Let us focus our attention on two technical problems:

The problem of supercilious bulletins. Here numerous falsifications are possible. At the same time it is not difficult to provide the needed number of the bulletins and to account for them correctly. Special agents must be appointed to be in charge of extra bulletins.

Every election bulletin brought to the voting station must be strictly controlled: this is a black hole, where every sort of manipulation can happen.

The question is whether we will fight.

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