Saturday, July 27, 2019

Zelensky’s Impeachment Would be More Dangerous for Ukraine than His Authoritarianism, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 25 – When a country is at war, there is nothing more dangerous than confusion in its political elite, Vladimir Pastukhov says; and consequently, Vladimir Zelensky’s concentration of power in his hands so that he can act is less dangerous than would be his impeachment.

            That is because any impeachment would make decisions even more difficult to take, the London-based Russian analyst says, and because in contrast to Russia, Ukraine enjoys a certain immunity against excessive authoritarianism and will condemn any effort to maintain it for long a failure (

            Many are now asking, as does Inessa Zemler of Ekho Moskvy’s “Yours Personally” program does, whether Zelensky’s victory in the parliamentary elections is good or bad for Ukraine.  Pastukhov responds that in his view it is a “good” thing because it will allow the Ukrainian president to act now. Its “bad” aspects will arise only in the medium and longer term. 

            “It is impossible to argue forever,” the analyst says. One must act, and Ukraine, whose culture is a mix of the Russian and the Polish, has too often been given over to disputes which become an obstacle or excuse for not acting.  Zelensky’s victory in the presidential elections and now the parliamentary ones may lead to new votes on regional and city governments as well.

            These steps need to be taken quickly, Pastukhov suggests, before disappointment sets in.

            Challenged by Zemler who points out that similar arguments were made in Russia two decades ago in support of Putin amassing power so as to be able to act, the London-based analyst says that while Ukraine shares many characteristics of Russia, it is fundamentally different as Leonid Kuchma pointed out in his book Ukraine is Not Russia.

            “Sooner of later,” Pastukhov says, “someone will write the second volume, Why Ukraine All the Same is Very Similar to Russia. But while many of the processes in one country happen in the other albeit at different times and speeds, Ukraine enjoys the advantage that it is far less tolerant of authoritarianism than Russia is – and will block its rise or at least survival.

            At some point, he continues, Ukraine may come to a fork in the road because of that, turning either to the impeachment of Zelensky or tolerance for a time at least of “a Hetman Zelensky.” The latter would present problems, but the first would be “worse,” Pastukhoov argues.

            Ukrainians remain committed to democracy, but at the same time, “Ukraine today simply needs a certain consolidation of power.”  Ukrainians understand this, the analyst says, and he cites the words of Kyiv commentator Yury Kochura who says what today what we are observing is “the third Maidan.”

            In important ways, Pastukhov says, “what Zelensky is doing is the next qualitative leap to the cleansing of the post-Soviet elite. This certainly will be one of the main missions at least in the first stage of this government,” the final elimination of those from the past who somehow managed to survive the first two Maidans. 

No comments:

Post a Comment