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corruption-ukraine-after-maidan

They were promised Europe, they have arrived at… Gabon?

As shown by a recent KIIS/IFER poll, the incidence of corruption – far from going down, as a loyal consumer of the Western media might expect – has if anything gone up. 40% of Ukrainians in September 2015 admitted they had paid a bribe in the past 12 months, up from 37% in April 2014.

Surprising at it might be, but it seems that having bands of Neo-Nazi loons running about shaking down businesses and shoving hapless doctors and professors into garbage bins is not, in fact, an effective recipe for promoting civility and transparency in everyday life.

While it is hardly anything to write home about, it must be pointed out that similar surveys asking people if they had paid bribes in the past 12 months in the Russian “mafia state” have tended to be around 20%. After 2012, these surveys fell off, possibly because Transparency International – which had previosly carried out most of them – found that the incidence of bribery had started declining sharply and as such the data no longer fit the official narrative.

This must also explain the disillusion rapidly settling down on Ukraine, which is confirmed by other segments of the KIIS/IFER survey. 56% of Ukrainians think the country is going in the wrong direction, up from a low of 42% in September 2014. In most areas – limiting oligarchic influence, police and judicial reform, democracy and rights, and the fight against corruption – the vast majority of Ukrainians have found no improvements since the Maidan. The only sphere in which some substantial fraction of Ukrainians – a quarter, to be precise – have found “some” or “significant” improvements is in the “protection of Ukraine’s national culture.” Presumably, they have in mind great peremogi like ahistorically asserting ownership of the medieval Russian state, celebrating the 100th anniversary of an Austrian-Hungarian victory over the Russian Empire, and forcing local authorities to rename streets named after Communist criminals like Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space) – at the expense of the people who happen to be living on said streets.

Likewise, superceeding even the speed of the dissilusionment after the Orange Revolution, the new bosses have been quick to plummet in the approval ratings, as living standards cratered and neoliberal “reforms” proceeded apace. Poroshenko himself went from an approval rating of 69% last September to 32% today. PM Yatsenyuk’s drop from 60% to 20% was even steeper. The only major political figure who remained in steady place – albeit at a consistently low base – was Yulia Tymoshenko, the famously corrupt “gas princess” who at 25% is once again a credible potential challenger to Poroshenko. This disillusionment was what resulted in the lackluster results of the Presidential forces in the October 25 local elections, in which entrenched local elites swept to power across the industrial heartlands of east and south Ukraine. The old east/west divisions of Ukraine, temporarily dampened during the “crisis” period of the Euroaidan’s first year in power, are resurfacing with a vengeance.

These local elites are not pro-Russian. They are opportunistic and pro-themselves, even if they have had to pay lip service to the Maidan. This means that any real reform – that is, the sort of reform that helps ordinary people, as opposed to privatizing assets to the regime’s cronies, while keeping svidomy ideologues happy with the occasional lustration – becomes all that much more difficult, in the unlikely scenario that the oligarch Poroshenko is even interested in it.

Now to be sure, this survey doesn’t paint a particularly sweet picture for Russia either. From broadly equal with the EU in 2010-13 in terms of its attractiveness towards Ukrainians, its reputation plummeted after April 2014 and remains in the doldrums to this day. Just because Ukrainians are growing tired with the Maidanist regime isn’t translating into them reassessing their opinions of Putin/Khuylo. Nor is this going to change any time soon. But that is essentially the gamble Putin took in April 2014, when he refused to restore Yanukovych by force: That eventually, the revolution would come to hate its children more than himself.

On that score at least it is not clear that he is losing.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Corruption, Ukraine 
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  1. Revolution of dignity FTW.

  2. becomes all that much more difficult, in the unlikely scenario that the oligarch Poroshenko is even interested in it.

    Poroshenko is the only Ukrainian oligarch who is getting richer: http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/ranking-of-richest-ukrainians-published-401133.html

    He has no reason to reform the current system and make it less corrupt.

  3. They were promised Europe, they have arrived at… Gabon?

    I can understand wanting to hit back, but that’s a rather desperate characterization for a statistic lying well within the margin of measurement error, don’t you think?

    In reality, things stand pretty as much as that report claims: Ukrainians are committed to democracy and drawing nearer the EU, while disappointed by the slow pace of change. That’s ‘growing pains,’ at worst.

    Surprising at it might be, but it seems that having bands of Neo-Nazi loons running

    Ah, what would a dig at Ukrainian independence be without the customary insinuation that Ukrainians are a pack of rabid nazis. But I just wonder… My impression is that anybody you hear robotically intoning “ay em whyte neshenlysst” is more likely to be Russian than Ukrainian. I’d love to see some numbers on that.

    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Ukrainians are committed to democracy
     
    It is not like there is an accepted alternative to democracy in Ukraine's neighbourhood.
    The truth is that are not more democratic than they were a few years ago.

    I’d love to see some numbers on that.
     
    Same goes for your "impression".
    Maidan's results have weakened the nationalists in Russia.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Re-Gabon, take it up with Poroshenko's best pal, Saakashvili.

    Re-Neo Nazis: What matters isn't numbers but that Russian ones don't get to raid businesses and do other illegal stuff with near impunity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIuyvCQeolw

    But I understand, I understand. Maidanism is for some people a religion so it can never be wrong, there are just temporary failures and zrada and what is needed is to approach reform with even more fervor and carry out more lustrations and jump all the harder and then the Endsieg will finally be achieved.
  4. @silviosilver

    They were promised Europe, they have arrived at… Gabon?
     
    I can understand wanting to hit back, but that's a rather desperate characterization for a statistic lying well within the margin of measurement error, don't you think?

    In reality, things stand pretty as much as that report claims: Ukrainians are committed to democracy and drawing nearer the EU, while disappointed by the slow pace of change. That's 'growing pains,' at worst.


    Surprising at it might be, but it seems that having bands of Neo-Nazi loons running
     
    Ah, what would a dig at Ukrainian independence be without the customary insinuation that Ukrainians are a pack of rabid nazis. But I just wonder... My impression is that anybody you hear robotically intoning "ay em whyte neshenlysst" is more likely to be Russian than Ukrainian. I'd love to see some numbers on that.

    Ukrainians are committed to democracy

    It is not like there is an accepted alternative to democracy in Ukraine’s neighbourhood.
    The truth is that are not more democratic than they were a few years ago.

    I’d love to see some numbers on that.

    Same goes for your “impression”.
    Maidan’s results have weakened the nationalists in Russia.

  5. @silviosilver

    They were promised Europe, they have arrived at… Gabon?
     
    I can understand wanting to hit back, but that's a rather desperate characterization for a statistic lying well within the margin of measurement error, don't you think?

    In reality, things stand pretty as much as that report claims: Ukrainians are committed to democracy and drawing nearer the EU, while disappointed by the slow pace of change. That's 'growing pains,' at worst.


    Surprising at it might be, but it seems that having bands of Neo-Nazi loons running
     
    Ah, what would a dig at Ukrainian independence be without the customary insinuation that Ukrainians are a pack of rabid nazis. But I just wonder... My impression is that anybody you hear robotically intoning "ay em whyte neshenlysst" is more likely to be Russian than Ukrainian. I'd love to see some numbers on that.

    Re-Gabon, take it up with Poroshenko’s best pal, Saakashvili.

    Re-Neo Nazis: What matters isn’t numbers but that Russian ones don’t get to raid businesses and do other illegal stuff with near impunity.

    But I understand, I understand. Maidanism is for some people a religion so it can never be wrong, there are just temporary failures and zrada and what is needed is to approach reform with even more fervor and carry out more lustrations and jump all the harder and then the Endsieg will finally be achieved.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    I have a very hard time understanding this attitude of yours. Your position seems to be that either Ukraine achieves independence from Russian overlordship and reforms go off without the slightest hitch or else the project is utterly, irredeemably doomed. I think this belief requires a great deal more in the way of faith than the assumption that the road to independence and democracy is going to be rocky, but worth trekking nonetheless.
  6. 3% is probably within the margin of error. Not a figure worth gloating over.

    So less then a year after the parliamentary elections corruption hasn’t improved, in terms of having to pay bribes. As a result of this and other factors the current leadership is seeing its poll numbers drop, and if they don’t fix this problem they may be replaced by someone else in the next election. Russia continues to be disliked intensely, currently NATO is more than 3 times more popular than Russia, so the replacements for the current leaders will likely be some new pro-European, anti-Russian forces that are different from the current ones. Note that even the oligarchs no longer try to appeal to pro-Russian feelings but instead pander to nationalism.

    ahistorically asserting ownership of the medieval Russian state,

    Because one myth is somehow worse than another?

    The old east/west divisions of Ukraine, temporarily dampened during the “crisis” period of the Euroaidan’s first year in power, are resurfacing with a vengeance.

    Not quite. The dynamic has changed, because without Crimea and Donbas the “east” is now about 1/3 of the country, rather than slightly less than half the country. There is no longer a threat of an easterner gaining power under exceptional circumstances, as occurred in 2010. The best the Eastern forces can hope for is to get in position to play a spoiler role in the future.

    Furthermore, the old “East” has split, somewhat, and has shifted westward in its orientation. In the South a European orientation is now the plurality position. Support for this position is more than double support for a Russian orientation. In the East the plurality position is for both Russia and the West, with West-only outnumbering Russia-only. While the regions do differ dramatically in terms of the extent of pro-Western orientation, the pro-Western orientation is substantial everywhere. Ukraine is less divided now than it had ever been.

    • Replies: @Mitleser

    3% is probably within the margin of error.
     
    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.

    and if they don’t fix this problem they may be replaced by someone else in the next election.
     
    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.
  7. Interesting post.

    As others have noted the difference is probably within the margin of error for such surveys, but I for one would be interested to see the results broken down and compared by region since I’m assuming that the April 2014 poll presumably did not include Crimea, but might just have included what is now the rebel controlled areas of Donbass, whereas the September 2015 survey might not have. This is unlikely to affect the overall results in any significant degree of course. But hidden within the data might be significant changes within regions (with the cumulative effect being neutral overall).

    By the way, are you still answering questions at the Ask.fm account?

  8. @AP
    3% is probably within the margin of error. Not a figure worth gloating over.

    So less then a year after the parliamentary elections corruption hasn't improved, in terms of having to pay bribes. As a result of this and other factors the current leadership is seeing its poll numbers drop, and if they don't fix this problem they may be replaced by someone else in the next election. Russia continues to be disliked intensely, currently NATO is more than 3 times more popular than Russia, so the replacements for the current leaders will likely be some new pro-European, anti-Russian forces that are different from the current ones. Note that even the oligarchs no longer try to appeal to pro-Russian feelings but instead pander to nationalism.

    ahistorically asserting ownership of the medieval Russian state,
     
    Because one myth is somehow worse than another?

    The old east/west divisions of Ukraine, temporarily dampened during the “crisis” period of the Euroaidan’s first year in power, are resurfacing with a vengeance.
     
    Not quite. The dynamic has changed, because without Crimea and Donbas the "east" is now about 1/3 of the country, rather than slightly less than half the country. There is no longer a threat of an easterner gaining power under exceptional circumstances, as occurred in 2010. The best the Eastern forces can hope for is to get in position to play a spoiler role in the future.

    Furthermore, the old "East" has split, somewhat, and has shifted westward in its orientation. In the South a European orientation is now the plurality position. Support for this position is more than double support for a Russian orientation. In the East the plurality position is for both Russia and the West, with West-only outnumbering Russia-only. While the regions do differ dramatically in terms of the extent of pro-Western orientation, the pro-Western orientation is substantial everywhere. Ukraine is less divided now than it had ever been.

    3% is probably within the margin of error.

    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.

    and if they don’t fix this problem they may be replaced by someone else in the next election.

    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.

    • Replies: @AP

    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.
     
    Which ones? The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage. The corruption question doesn't indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.

    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.
     
    Maybe, maybe not. Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.
     
    Correct.
  9. @Mitleser

    3% is probably within the margin of error.
     
    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.

    and if they don’t fix this problem they may be replaced by someone else in the next election.
     
    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.

    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.

    Which ones? The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage. The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.

    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.

    Maybe, maybe not. Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.

    Correct.

    • Replies: @Mitleser

    The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage.
     
    The first question shows an increase by 4%.

    The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.
     
    The percentage of people who experienced corruption in the last 12 months increased by 3%.
    The stated margin of error is 2,49%.
    There was a relatively small, but measurable increase of corruption in any case.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.
     
    It suggest that the new police gets a credit of trust, unlike its discredited predecessor.

    Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.
     
    Why does that improve the odds?
  10. The most interesting thing that’s happened there recently is that the war has been put on hold. For the first time since May of last year there’s almost no shelling by either side. When did the shelling stop? Exactly when Russia started its air campaign in Syria. The Syrian campaign was preceded by weeks of negotiations between Moscow, Washington, the Saudis and everyone else concerned. Some kind of a deal must have been reached. And just from the timing it’s obvious that this deal included the cessation of hostilities in the Donbass. Temporary, permanent? I don’t know, and there’s a chance that even Putin and Obama don’t know.

    Now think about this: does the Ukraine have any interest in what’s going on in Syria? No. So the decision for it to stop shooting at separatists at that exact moment must have been taken by Washington, which does have interests in Syria and which was apparently willing to promote them at the expense of its interests in the Ukraine. The decision for the separatists to stop shooting was obviously taken by Moscow. Both sides were again shown to be mere proxies.

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Shelling in Donbass was resumed in the last month.
    What you are talking about happened one month before the Russian air campaign in Syria started.
    There is no strong correlation between these two events.

    The rebels have no interest in shelling their opponents as long as their opponents do not shell them and they got no support for pushing them out of Donbass.
  11. @Anatoly Karlin
    Re-Gabon, take it up with Poroshenko's best pal, Saakashvili.

    Re-Neo Nazis: What matters isn't numbers but that Russian ones don't get to raid businesses and do other illegal stuff with near impunity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIuyvCQeolw

    But I understand, I understand. Maidanism is for some people a religion so it can never be wrong, there are just temporary failures and zrada and what is needed is to approach reform with even more fervor and carry out more lustrations and jump all the harder and then the Endsieg will finally be achieved.

    I have a very hard time understanding this attitude of yours. Your position seems to be that either Ukraine achieves independence from Russian overlordship and reforms go off without the slightest hitch or else the project is utterly, irredeemably doomed. I think this belief requires a great deal more in the way of faith than the assumption that the road to independence and democracy is going to be rocky, but worth trekking nonetheless.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    You build your assertions on a pile of false premises.

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors. Only when his brighter PM, Azarov, worked out that EU Association was going to be an economic catastrophe did he reverse course.

    Ukraine has been "independent" since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases (I think even Moldova is better off now). It's "democracy" has been an utter sham throughout to the extent that Ukrainians give even less of a fuck about it than Russians. It has no history and - as a sovok cargo cult - it in all likelihood has no future either.
  12. @silviosilver
    I have a very hard time understanding this attitude of yours. Your position seems to be that either Ukraine achieves independence from Russian overlordship and reforms go off without the slightest hitch or else the project is utterly, irredeemably doomed. I think this belief requires a great deal more in the way of faith than the assumption that the road to independence and democracy is going to be rocky, but worth trekking nonetheless.

    You build your assertions on a pile of false premises.

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors. Only when his brighter PM, Azarov, worked out that EU Association was going to be an economic catastrophe did he reverse course.

    Ukraine has been “independent” since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases (I think even Moldova is better off now). It’s “democracy” has been an utter sham throughout to the extent that Ukrainians give even less of a fuck about it than Russians. It has no history and – as a sovok cargo cult – it in all likelihood has no future either.

    • Replies: @AP

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors.
     
    Yanukovich was of Russian-Belarussian-Polish descent, de facto Russian as he grew up in an ethnic Russian area; his PM Azarov was not only an ethnic Russian but a guy who moved to Ukraine from Russia in 1984, at the age of 37. Azarov's defense minister was an ethnic Russian from Russia who had moved to Ukraine while stationed there in the Soviet military.

    Were these people Russian patriots? Most likely not. But neither did they have any loyalty to Ukraine, and one can imagine that they must have had at least some sort of sentimental attachment to their Russian homeland, probably more than they did towards Ukraine. Any "loyalty" to Ukraine by these people would be linked to their own enrichment.


    Ukraine has been “independent” since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases
     
    Ukraine since independence was a hydrid between a normal European nation-state such as Poland or Estonia and the sort of post-colonial hobbled-together entities one sees outside Europe. Multicultural countries such as this tend to be inherently unstable. Ukraine's multicultural dual-nature completely hampered it's development. Exclusion of Donbas and Crimea have resulted in Ukraine becoming an unambiguously Ukrainian country. This is reflected in the poll you linked to, that showed that for the first time the entire country is united on basic questions such as overall geopolitical orientation. Before, about half wanted to join Eurasia and half Europe; now with the most hardcore pro-Russian and most heavily ethnic Russian parts of the East gone, the division between East and West is in terms of degree of support for the preferred European course.

    It has no history and – as a sovok cargo cult – in all likelihood has no future either
     
    Russians have believed in the myth of Ukraine's nonexistence and "cargo cult" status (they used to believe Ukraine was a Polish, or an Austrian invention, I guess "Soviet" is the latest version of this wishful thinking) since at least the 19th century, and as a result have been repeatedly surprised by events in Ukraine.
    , @silviosilver
    Since you placed the term in sneer quotes, I'm guessing even you can appreciate the difference between independence in theory and independence in practise. Likewise democracy. You cite Ukraine's abysmal post-soviet performance, but to my way of thinking this is the best reason to try something different. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Ukrainians were outspoken pro-Russian 'loyalists' you'd be talking up their positive qualities and asserting that their fortunes were about to turn around any moment now. But their move towards independence has foiled Russian foreign policy objectives, so Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world. Foreign policy defeats sure leave a bitter aftertaste, don't they.
  13. @Glossy
    The most interesting thing that's happened there recently is that the war has been put on hold. For the first time since May of last year there's almost no shelling by either side. When did the shelling stop? Exactly when Russia started its air campaign in Syria. The Syrian campaign was preceded by weeks of negotiations between Moscow, Washington, the Saudis and everyone else concerned. Some kind of a deal must have been reached. And just from the timing it's obvious that this deal included the cessation of hostilities in the Donbass. Temporary, permanent? I don't know, and there's a chance that even Putin and Obama don't know.

    Now think about this: does the Ukraine have any interest in what's going on in Syria? No. So the decision for it to stop shooting at separatists at that exact moment must have been taken by Washington, which does have interests in Syria and which was apparently willing to promote them at the expense of its interests in the Ukraine. The decision for the separatists to stop shooting was obviously taken by Moscow. Both sides were again shown to be mere proxies.

    Shelling in Donbass was resumed in the last month.
    What you are talking about happened one month before the Russian air campaign in Syria started.
    There is no strong correlation between these two events.

    The rebels have no interest in shelling their opponents as long as their opponents do not shell them and they got no support for pushing them out of Donbass.

  14. @Anatoly Karlin
    You build your assertions on a pile of false premises.

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors. Only when his brighter PM, Azarov, worked out that EU Association was going to be an economic catastrophe did he reverse course.

    Ukraine has been "independent" since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases (I think even Moldova is better off now). It's "democracy" has been an utter sham throughout to the extent that Ukrainians give even less of a fuck about it than Russians. It has no history and - as a sovok cargo cult - it in all likelihood has no future either.

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors.

    Yanukovich was of Russian-Belarussian-Polish descent, de facto Russian as he grew up in an ethnic Russian area; his PM Azarov was not only an ethnic Russian but a guy who moved to Ukraine from Russia in 1984, at the age of 37. Azarov’s defense minister was an ethnic Russian from Russia who had moved to Ukraine while stationed there in the Soviet military.

    Were these people Russian patriots? Most likely not. But neither did they have any loyalty to Ukraine, and one can imagine that they must have had at least some sort of sentimental attachment to their Russian homeland, probably more than they did towards Ukraine. Any “loyalty” to Ukraine by these people would be linked to their own enrichment.

    Ukraine has been “independent” since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases

    Ukraine since independence was a hydrid between a normal European nation-state such as Poland or Estonia and the sort of post-colonial hobbled-together entities one sees outside Europe. Multicultural countries such as this tend to be inherently unstable. Ukraine’s multicultural dual-nature completely hampered it’s development. Exclusion of Donbas and Crimea have resulted in Ukraine becoming an unambiguously Ukrainian country. This is reflected in the poll you linked to, that showed that for the first time the entire country is united on basic questions such as overall geopolitical orientation. Before, about half wanted to join Eurasia and half Europe; now with the most hardcore pro-Russian and most heavily ethnic Russian parts of the East gone, the division between East and West is in terms of degree of support for the preferred European course.

    It has no history and – as a sovok cargo cult – in all likelihood has no future either

    Russians have believed in the myth of Ukraine’s nonexistence and “cargo cult” status (they used to believe Ukraine was a Polish, or an Austrian invention, I guess “Soviet” is the latest version of this wishful thinking) since at least the 19th century, and as a result have been repeatedly surprised by events in Ukraine.

  15. @Anatoly Karlin
    You build your assertions on a pile of false premises.

    Ukraine has never been under Russian overlordship, least of all under Yanukovych, who was only ever interested in his own wellbeing and that of his oligarch sponsors. Only when his brighter PM, Azarov, worked out that EU Association was going to be an economic catastrophe did he reverse course.

    Ukraine has been "independent" since 1992. It has since performed worse than all the other post-Soviet countries barring only the most abject Central Asian basketcases (I think even Moldova is better off now). It's "democracy" has been an utter sham throughout to the extent that Ukrainians give even less of a fuck about it than Russians. It has no history and - as a sovok cargo cult - it in all likelihood has no future either.

    Since you placed the term in sneer quotes, I’m guessing even you can appreciate the difference between independence in theory and independence in practise. Likewise democracy. You cite Ukraine’s abysmal post-soviet performance, but to my way of thinking this is the best reason to try something different. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Ukrainians were outspoken pro-Russian ‘loyalists’ you’d be talking up their positive qualities and asserting that their fortunes were about to turn around any moment now. But their move towards independence has foiled Russian foreign policy objectives, so Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world. Foreign policy defeats sure leave a bitter aftertaste, don’t they.

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    How did post-Soviet Ukraine lack independence?
    How does association with the EU increase its independence?

    AP is right that the lack of unity did not do the Ukraine any favors, but lack of unity is not lack of independence.
    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine's independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.


    Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world
     
    They are cast as the most hopeless people in Europe because post-Soviet Ukraine has performed so badly.
    Didn't many people cast the Russians of the 1990s as hopeless?
  16. @AP

    The answers to the other corruption-related questions confirm that corruption has increased.
     
    Which ones? The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage. The corruption question doesn't indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.

    And the replacements from the current politicians will likely not fix most of the problems either.
     
    Maybe, maybe not. Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.

    European orientation and NATO popularity mean nothing if Ukraine does not fix its problems.
     
    Correct.

    The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage.

    The first question shows an increase by 4%.

    The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The percentage of people who experienced corruption in the last 12 months increased by 3%.
    The stated margin of error is 2,49%.
    There was a relatively small, but measurable increase of corruption in any case.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.

    It suggest that the new police gets a credit of trust, unlike its discredited predecessor.

    Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.

    Why does that improve the odds?

    • Replies: @AP

    The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The percentage of people who experienced corruption in the last 12 months increased by 3%.
    The stated margin of error is 2,49%.
    There was a relatively small, but measurable increase of corruption in any case.
     
    I hadn't noticed the stated error margin. You are right - slight decline but .51% over the margin of error isn't worth gloating over. I hope this survey will be repeated a year from now; IMO very little time has passed since reforms started and it is too early to really blame the new regime for this stuff.

    " Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table."

    Why does that improve the odds?
     
    Two reasons:

    1. In terms of external pressure, the Western partners seem to be less tolerant of corruption than Russia was.

    2. Internally, corruption flourished because due to the overriding east vs. west conflict corruption was of secondary importance and was impossible to fight. The pro-West parties were forced to work together no matter what, because the alternative - a pro-East victory - was seen as worse. See what happened when Tymoshenko and Yushchenko had their falling out - Yanukovich stepped into the vacuum. Since the risk of a pro-Russian orientation is no longer on the table and a Western course is taken for granted, there will no longer be a need to tolerate corruption or mismanagement. As in any normal, more-or-less-united country, politicians will now compete with each other for voter support on "normal" rather than broad geopolitical issues, such as decreasing corruption, policies that benefit people, etc. and those that deliver better will succeed. If Poroshenko fails (and he is not doing well so far) he will be replaced by some other pro-Western candidate that will hopefully do better at these things. The relative rise of the Samopomich party, which has done a good job in Galicia, nationally, may represent this process.
  17. @silviosilver
    Since you placed the term in sneer quotes, I'm guessing even you can appreciate the difference between independence in theory and independence in practise. Likewise democracy. You cite Ukraine's abysmal post-soviet performance, but to my way of thinking this is the best reason to try something different. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Ukrainians were outspoken pro-Russian 'loyalists' you'd be talking up their positive qualities and asserting that their fortunes were about to turn around any moment now. But their move towards independence has foiled Russian foreign policy objectives, so Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world. Foreign policy defeats sure leave a bitter aftertaste, don't they.

    How did post-Soviet Ukraine lack independence?
    How does association with the EU increase its independence?

    AP is right that the lack of unity did not do the Ukraine any favors, but lack of unity is not lack of independence.
    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine’s independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.

    Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world

    They are cast as the most hopeless people in Europe because post-Soviet Ukraine has performed so badly.
    Didn’t many people cast the Russians of the 1990s as hopeless?

    • Replies: @AP

    but lack of unity is not lack of independence.
     
    In Ukraine's case, the lack of unity involved a substantial minority linked to a larger neighboring country and involved, at some point, a president from this minority and an immigrant from that neighboring country being PM. This certainly compromised Ukraine's independence, to an extent.


    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine’s independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.
     
    A good point, though I don't know if on balance, given decrease dependence on Russia vs. increased on the West, Ukraine has become less independent.
    , @silviosilver

    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.
     
    Economic reality itself imposes that discipline, not the EU. On issues besides economics, it's true that member countries are forced to accept policies that often anger the populace, but opposition to EU policy is legally permissible - as evidenced by groundswell of opposition to the total insanity of EU racial and immigration policy - which means that change, while necessarily difficult, is within realistic reach. In contrast, what hope does a Georgia have of swaying the Kremlin?
  18. @Mitleser
    How did post-Soviet Ukraine lack independence?
    How does association with the EU increase its independence?

    AP is right that the lack of unity did not do the Ukraine any favors, but lack of unity is not lack of independence.
    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine's independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.


    Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world
     
    They are cast as the most hopeless people in Europe because post-Soviet Ukraine has performed so badly.
    Didn't many people cast the Russians of the 1990s as hopeless?

    but lack of unity is not lack of independence.

    In Ukraine’s case, the lack of unity involved a substantial minority linked to a larger neighboring country and involved, at some point, a president from this minority and an immigrant from that neighboring country being PM. This certainly compromised Ukraine’s independence, to an extent.

    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine’s independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.

    A good point, though I don’t know if on balance, given decrease dependence on Russia vs. increased on the West, Ukraine has become less independent.

  19. @Mitleser

    The bribery-related questions are all within a couple percentage.
     
    The first question shows an increase by 4%.

    The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.
     
    The percentage of people who experienced corruption in the last 12 months increased by 3%.
    The stated margin of error is 2,49%.
    There was a relatively small, but measurable increase of corruption in any case.

    The fact that the new police force is highly trusted (and the old militsia is completely not trusted) suggests some improvement in that specific area.
     
    It suggest that the new police gets a credit of trust, unlike its discredited predecessor.

    Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.
     
    Why does that improve the odds?

    The corruption question doesn’t indicate things have gotten worse, just no improvement.

    The percentage of people who experienced corruption in the last 12 months increased by 3%.
    The stated margin of error is 2,49%.
    There was a relatively small, but measurable increase of corruption in any case.

    I hadn’t noticed the stated error margin. You are right – slight decline but .51% over the margin of error isn’t worth gloating over. I hope this survey will be repeated a year from now; IMO very little time has passed since reforms started and it is too early to really blame the new regime for this stuff.

    ” Odds are better than they had been before since the pro-Russia option is no longer on the table.”

    Why does that improve the odds?

    Two reasons:

    1. In terms of external pressure, the Western partners seem to be less tolerant of corruption than Russia was.

    2. Internally, corruption flourished because due to the overriding east vs. west conflict corruption was of secondary importance and was impossible to fight. The pro-West parties were forced to work together no matter what, because the alternative – a pro-East victory – was seen as worse. See what happened when Tymoshenko and Yushchenko had their falling out – Yanukovich stepped into the vacuum. Since the risk of a pro-Russian orientation is no longer on the table and a Western course is taken for granted, there will no longer be a need to tolerate corruption or mismanagement. As in any normal, more-or-less-united country, politicians will now compete with each other for voter support on “normal” rather than broad geopolitical issues, such as decreasing corruption, policies that benefit people, etc. and those that deliver better will succeed. If Poroshenko fails (and he is not doing well so far) he will be replaced by some other pro-Western candidate that will hopefully do better at these things. The relative rise of the Samopomich party, which has done a good job in Galicia, nationally, may represent this process.

  20. @Mitleser
    How did post-Soviet Ukraine lack independence?
    How does association with the EU increase its independence?

    AP is right that the lack of unity did not do the Ukraine any favors, but lack of unity is not lack of independence.
    Burning down the brides to Russia does decrease Ukraine's independence.
    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.


    Ukrainians are cast as the most hopeless people in the world
     
    They are cast as the most hopeless people in Europe because post-Soviet Ukraine has performed so badly.
    Didn't many people cast the Russians of the 1990s as hopeless?

    It makes it more like Greece which has no choice but to accept dictates from Brüssel/Berlin no matter how unpopular they are because the alternative is a failed state.

    Economic reality itself imposes that discipline, not the EU. On issues besides economics, it’s true that member countries are forced to accept policies that often anger the populace, but opposition to EU policy is legally permissible – as evidenced by groundswell of opposition to the total insanity of EU racial and immigration policy – which means that change, while necessarily difficult, is within realistic reach. In contrast, what hope does a Georgia have of swaying the Kremlin?

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