Terrence Aubrey asked:
The Ukraine is a country in trouble. It is a country of huge natural and human resources that seems lost. Whilst the politicians argue and fight the country seems as a boat in a storm without a captain. Can this great country find a way forward?
I should first confess to having no qualification, or authority of world affairs and even less of former FSU countries, but as an outsider I see a country with enormous potential and much to contribute, struggling, or worse, seemingly rudderless, in the storm of world economics and world affairs. Why?
As a European, The Ukraine first came to my attention through its beautiful women, I do not apologise, I was single and with an internet connection it did not take long to discover this, but slowly I came to both admire and love the country. Something is wrong! It is difficult to see any centrally coordinated direction, or improvement.
It does not take very long to realise that this was once an important country, the magnificent Architecture in the centre of the bigger cities bears testimony to this fact. The centre of the capital Kyiv is stunningly beautiful and this beauty is reflected throughout the country. As I say, my only qualification in writing this article is that I am not Ukrainian and through the eyes of a European the situation in this country seems to be frustratingly hopeless.
Four years ago there was a sense of optimism following the Orange revolution. It was the orange revolution, but it did not work, through egotism, or fundamental disagreements is not clear. This country does not appear to have had effective leadership, a functioning government since then. A long time.
This is a country with huge potential; many highly educated young people, a country of high moral values, rich in culture and history. Did you know that the world famous Cossack dance is from The Ukraine and not Russia?
Russia clearly invested heavily in The Ukraine during the days of the empire and left behind them a good basic infrastructure and many fine examples of Soviet Architecture, unfortunately it is some 16 years since the collapse of that system and so much of this investment has been neglected, that now the task of renewal, or upkeep is huge
The country is being run, is functioning from the bottom up. It is the functionaries, the beauracrats that are keeping this country going, albeit on a very basic level, but without this we are talking complete chaos, complete social breakdown.
Contributing to the problems seems to be that during the 70+ years that this country shared as part of the Soviet Empire there was much integration of Russian people into The Ukraine. The south of The Ukraine in particular became very popular with the people of Russia and became a very popular summer holiday destination. So now there is a dual language population. This need not be any problem at all (the languages are very similar), but seems to have become so.
As an outsider it is very difficult to grasp, or understand, but since the “Orange revolution” there seem to have been a very small group of politicians competing for power. The different politicians tend to be either pro Russia, or pro the West, but according the daily lives of these people, nothing much improves, or changes. Nothing changes, very little improves and the impression, is of a political elite so busy with self survival, or inter rivalry that the country is being largely neglected
A small example, there is a bridge halfway down the country that spans the Dnieper river a huge river that runs from Russia and spills into The Black Sea. This bridge has been closed for 1 year! Almost certainly this bridge was erected during the FSU, but now it has fallen into disrepair. This bridge lying in the centre of the country is actually very important and the detour is very expensive in both time and distance. It is difficult to understand the priority of the leadership that something so fundamental does not seem to be of great importance. Now in a war, what is the first thing attacked, Destroyed? These guys do it to themselves?
Frustratingly through the eyes of an outsider it is difficult to see why things are so bad? Two language country? No problem. Part of the population for Russia and part for Europe, or the West? It is diificult to understand why this need be such a big problem? Is not democracy a freedom of choice? A respect of differences?
To the president of this country Victor Yushchenko and the current Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko, I say look at your country, look at your people, they are suffering and why? You have so much potential, you can and should be an important country, of huge intellectual, cultural and artistic influence. Why is this country in such a dismal situation?