Viktor Yanukovych's First 100 Days: Back to the Past, but What's the Rush?

By Kuzio, Taras | Demokratizatsiya, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Viktor Yanukovych's First 100 Days: Back to the Past, but What's the Rush?


Kuzio, Taras, Demokratizatsiya


Abstract: This article explores the first 100 days in the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, the defeated candidate from Ukraine's 2004 elections, who made a surprising comeback and was elected in February 2010. The article analyzes the possible sources of his switch to a radical pro-Russian agenda and the content of the domestic and foreign policies that he has begun tp pursue. The article surveys the root causes and origins of the factors behind the speed and nature of the policies that stunned many inside Ukraine and abroad.

Keywords: Black Sea Fleet, Orange Revolution, Ukrainian democracy, Viktor Yankovych

**********

Attempting to see into Viktor Yanukovych's mindset is not easy, although there are many clues from his social, economic, regional and political background. These factors have been ignored by the majority of Western analysts and journalists writing about Ukraine.

No Reformer

Yanukovych's presidency will not bring reform to Ukraine for two reasons.

Government. The make-up of the Yanukovych administration and government is not, as was promised up to and during the 2010 election campaign, composed of technocrats and reformers, but of former President Leonid Kuchma's officials with disreputable pasts; some have expressed Sovietophile leanings, and half of the cabinet is drawn from only one region, Donetsk. Four cabinet members, including the prime minister and one deputy prime minister, are of retirement age, while another 15 ministers are in their late 50s. The formative years of 62-year-old Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov--and the majority of the cabinet ministers--occured during the Leonid Brezhnev "era of stagnation" in the 1970s.

Additionally, this is the first of seventeen governments over two decades of Ukrainian independence with not a single female cabinet minister. Indeed, both Yanukovych and Azarov have have expressed disdain for women, and Yanukovych made an excuse to not attend a televised election debate with Yulia Tymoshenko because she, like all women, he believed, should "be in the kitchen" and not in politics. (1)

Following Viktor Yushchenko's election, a generational shift moved Ukraine's ruling elites to the middle generation who are less tainted by Soviet rule and the Brezhnev era, having built their careers during the 1980s and 1990s. The Yanukovych era is developing similarities to the Kuchma era, wherein it was ruled by an older, far more neoSoviet generation who had emerged during the 1970s. With that generational shift comes an ideological shift to the fetishisation of an authoritarian "vertical of power," "stability" and nostalgia for Russia and the Soviet past.

Policies. As the violent events in the Ukrainian parliament on April 27, 2010 during the ratification of the Black Sea Fleet base treaty--wherein eggs and punches were thrown and smoke-bombs were set off--showed, the administration's policies will bring instability, not stability, to the country. The undertaking of radical and unpopular reforms requires political stability and national consensus, both of which are unlikely to appear in Ukraine.

Instability, Not Stability

Yanuovych will be unable to bring stability to Ukraine for two reasons.

Regionalism. Ukraine's regional divisions will prevent any political force from building a monopoly of power. The Party of Regions is unpopular in Kyiv and central Ukraine, let alone in western Ukraine. The country, divided by language and historical legacies, could never develop the type of nationalism that would unite behind the Party of Regions. This is again different from Russia, where anti-Western nationalism has mobilized around the Unified Russia party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Democratic and nationalist opposition to the administration will inevitably grow.

Bribery. Ukrainians cannot be bought off; Ukraine is not Russia, where abundant deposits of raw materials are exported and provide a large amount of support for the state budget.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Viktor Yanukovych's First 100 Days: Back to the Past, but What's the Rush?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?