Answers for questions of Ukrainian Prospects Fund
6 The expectations that the reforms in Ukraine will not only reach a qualitively new, European level renewed after the presidential elections and a very ambitious inaugural speech by President Leonid Kuchma. However, the prospects for Ukraine to establish the rule of law and democracy have become bleak. It even seems that at present such prospects have disappeared altogether because there are no influential political forces in Ukraine which are genuinely interested in the democratic change of the political system and society.
A peculiar form of etatism has been established in Ukraine, i.e. the concentration of the entire potential of society with governmental structures. Especially during the presidential elections, but also during the referendum, society has demonstrated either its lack of interest in being structured and protecting its own interests or its inability to do so. The public supports any initiative proposed by the administration, most likely due to a lack of understanding as to what democratic principles are meant to be. People tend towards pragmatism: it only should not be worse, all we need is survive. The austere fight for solving socio-economic issues has made people unwilling to take political responsibility.
7 The prospect of establishing the rule of law and democracy in Ukraine has almost been lost. All we have is various elements of democracy, such as the constitution, laws, and a multi-party system. Yet, we lack real pluralism, a qualitative political process, and the competition of differing opinions, which would enable us to improve governmental policies. There are no independent mass media in Ukraine. The parliamentary system is in jeopardy. The power disproportion in favour of the executive branch is apparent. We have ended up in a situation where everything depends on a small number of people. There are dark powers in the administration which do dot appear publicly but in fact influence the whole country. Ukraine remains without any civil control. Its system cannot be democratic because it is characterised by irresponsibility. But most terribly of all, Ukrainian society does not even ask for responsibility.
In their strive for political power, the democratic political forces have lost their own political positions. The regime in Ukraine is characterised by the lack of any real opposition, for the left-wing forces can only formally be designated as opposition. They have no viable alternative and no perspective which is acceptable to society.
A rather stable political regime of mild authoritarianism has been established under the national banner of Ukraine. Patriotism has been monopolised.
Is there any prospect for transformation against this background of no expectations? Unfortunately, the most realistic prospect for Ukraine is development along the lines of the Latin American model of the 1960s. In the end, this does not cancel all prospects for development.
6 The system of state institutions is so underdeveloped that it is doubtful whether the entity at present called “Ukraine” will ever become a nation. So far, we merely have the formal characteristics of a state as they were defined back in the 19th century: borders, armed forces, recognition by other states, etc. Obviously, in the present conditions of globalization and competition between the countries and regions of the world, these characteristics are insufficient for a modern, competitive state.
As far as the absence of a strategy for the country’s development is concerned, the present could be compared with the past. In comparison with the past, there is democracy in today’s Ukraine. But from a future point of view we would see authoritarianism or oligarchy.
Another important factor is the territorial aspect, the environment which the country is surrounded by. The surroundings are no less important for a state than for an person. Thanks God, Ukraine is not located in the centre of Africa but in the centre of Europe. This is especially important for Ukraine as a young and inexperienced nation, because, roughly speaking, 50 per cent of the political system is determined by the politicians and the mentality of the people, while external factors are responsible for the other 50 per cent. The very fact that Ukraine has common borders with countries which have strong democratic traditions plays an important part in establishing the political system. In this sense, Ukraine is proceeding towards democracy.
7 Ukraine’ independence could lead to two different scenarios. Either unequivocal economic, political, and cultural progression towards the West or being blackmailed by a certain northern state, which could use Ukraine’s European aspirations to extend its rights and create a Eurasian unit. For the time being, the situation is developing towards the second scenario. Ukraine is linked with Russia through the crisis, the economic relations, and the language.
Les’ Tanyuk, national deputy, head of the V. Stus Memorial Foundation
Today we see the culmination of a development which could, at this stage, be called a bourgeois revolution, although in reality it is a strategical attack of oligarchs. Both the communists and the socialists have been cut off power in parliament, which is a step forward. It was the oligarchs and the right-wing parties who did this, most prominently Rukh. This is characteristic of the second stage of the Ukrainian revolution. The oligarchs and the right-wing parties have united to form a parliamentary majority. However, any political alliance of opposing forces could be compared to the alliance of a horse and its rider. And here it is important who is the horse and who the rider. In our case, the oligarchs are the riders, i.e. money rules. This is a great risk to the national interests of the state.
Only two factors are capable of bringing this process into line. They are strong presidential authority (free of the eternally changeable interests of the oligarchs) and spiritual substance, whose bearer is the intelligentsia. If Ukraine does not remove its focus from essentially economic problems to values of national concern, to phenomena of the spiritual sphere (e.g. language, culture, education, church, art, family, literature, philosophy, book publishing, national television, independent press, legal matters, cult of Ukrainian statehood, and, most important, turning its eyes away from Russia towards Europe), our development will be very hard and dramatic.
7 The prospect for Ukraine’s political development is to clearly evolve the Ukrainian national idea and to unite everybody in the framework of this idea: the government, the parliament, the parties, the oligarchs, the workers and the farmers, the national bourgeoisie, the church – everybody who regards themselves as a citizen of Ukraine. Only then will the Ukrainian state arise. This idea has been achieved through much suffering, a lot of blood has been shed for it.
Mykola Tomenko, director of the Institute of Politics
6 I think we have assumed a democratic pose. In the constitution, in the ideas and ambitions of the leaders there seems to be democracy, but in practice it does not work. The insincerity of democracy has been engrained in people’s minds. The most recent opinion polls show that more than 70 per cent of its citizens consider Ukraine to be a state where human rights are regularly abused.
We are living in an ochlocratic political system with elements of democracy, in an authoritarian, maybe even totalitarian regime, if you consider certain regions and decisions.
7 The next few years will be decisive for Ukraine’s further development. It is most important who will be the next president of Ukraine.
In the 1999 presidential elections the oligarchs supported L. Kuchma because it would be his last term in office, and the Russian practice of hereditary power transition through a quasi-democratic procedure is quite conceivable. However, agreement is to be achieved between the acting president and the oligarchs in order to achieve that. If L. Kuchma appoints one of them as his successor, Ukraine’s development will definitely enter an oligarchic stage.
The democratic perspective could be rescued by serious conflicts among the oligarchs. At the next presidential elections, Ukraine will have its last chance to propose an alternative to the neo-Latin American concept of its social development.
Viktor Medvedchuk, First Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada, leader of the Social Democratic Party (united) of Ukraine
6 I would call it a developing democracy. An authoritarian state knows neither elections nor the rule of law nor distribution of power.
Anybody who objectively follows the political developments in Ukraine understands that we are not going down the authoritarian path. Nor can I call the present political system in Ukraine an oligarchy, because according to Aristotle oligarchy is an instrument of exercising power through financial means. Oligarchy leaves nor room for choice, no room for elections. I do not want to discuss the mixed characteristics of the political system because an analysis of the political systems of the countries of the world would prove that no system ever exists in its pure, archetypal form. Therefore, it is necessary to specify a dominant. I see this dominant in the tendency toward establishing democracy.
7 I believe the best and most realistic prospect for Ukraine’s political future is to strengthen and develop these democratic tendencies.
I would give the greatest priority to the political liability of the authorities to the people. Judicial reforms are of exceptional importance because an independent judiciary is the most important constituent of a real partnership between the state and its citizens. It is hardly possibly to achieve all this quickly. Society and the state have their own inertia, which will be overcome when the contemporary political elite will be replaced by the self-made people of the new generation.
Yuryj Bauman, Institute of Philosophy at the Ukrainian Academy of Science
6 The ruling political system in Ukraine is some sort of conditional decorative constitutionalism. There are all characteristics of a democratic constitutional system: elections, a parliament, a constitution, law courts, etc. However, these institutions merely simulate activity, they are a peculiar kind of decoration. They are unnecessary for the real political act of governing, which is carried out by means of non-political, often unrightfully and illegal, procedures, through administrative, financial, and illegal, violent actions.
7 If Ukraine does not enter the circle of “anarchy – oligarchy – despotism – anarchy” described by Polybius (most of Latin America has been going round this circle for nearly two centuries), then in thirty or forty years it will reach the level of today’s Lithuania or Slovakia (I would not dare to think about the Czech Republic or Estonia). However, this is a nice promise along the lines of the saying “There will be music in your house but you won’t hear it”.
Analogical situations and prospects for today’s Ukraine are to be looked for not among modern developed countries but among the historical circumstances of Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe (as well as Japan, Mexico, Argentina, etc.) from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. We have a society of “the period of imperialism and proletarian revolutions”: inhumane, ineffective, unjust, unstable.
That is why the prospects are not encouraging. Up to the the democratic transformations of 1940 to 1990, all the above-mentioned countries underwent revolutions, the terror or authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, periods of dismal stagnation, wars, occupation (the last may one day become a reality for Ukraine, a neighbour of Russia, which is mad with militarist and imperialist chauvinism).
Moreover, it is possible to come to a practical conclusion based on the average prediction of the political future of Ukraine: perhaps everything will be more or less tolerable. But those who have the opportunity to leave the country should better not ignore it. Because there is a chance that it will be too late one day.
Petro Symonenko, national deputy, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine
6 The term “democracy” does not fit the present regime. Democracy literally means “rule of the people”. Who, however, rules in today’s Ukraine? A comparatively small group of people from the presidential environment.
The present political “elite” has risen from salespersons, from people who made their living illegally trading with foreign goods, from speculators and greedy people, for whom the meaning of life is to make profits whatever which way. Ignoring laws, moral principles, and values, they have accumulated immense capital. Our oligarchs aim for unshared power in society. All this characterises the present political regime as corrupt, authoritarian, and oligarchic.
7 The presidential elections of 1999, the anti-constitutional parliamentary coup, the referendum all demonstrate the desire of the ruling regime to distort the balance of power even more and to install absolute dictatorship.
At the same time, everything is done to weaken the opposition, most notably the Communist Party and its influence in society. They strive to split, oppose, and discredit the left-wing forces. According to the latest public opinion polls, 76 per cent of Ukraine’s citizens expect the situation to get worse. This means that the potential of the opposition will increase. The division of society will deepen. Since the rulers have no programme to stop the crisis, they will increase autocracy and forced measures. The Communist Party will be dealt the hardest blow.
In any case, the continuation of the current political course will only have negative effects on people’s lives.
Volodymyr Polokhalo, editor of the journal Politychna Dumka
6 The present political class of Ukraine is basically the old Soviet nomenclature. The present political leaders have inherited all characteristics of the Soviet dictatorship. The important thing is not how big a part of the political class is constituted by the former party nomenclature. What matters is that today’s so-called political elite has not really left the traditions of the non-democratic elite which existed in Soviet times. Today’s political class is fully autonomous as regards decision-making, and its autonomy is so great that the alienation of the authorities from the majority of the population becomes all the more evident. This is the prime characteristic of the present regime.
Today we have an illegal political market in Ukraine. Just like there is a shadow economy, there is a shadow political sphere, in which parties, fractions, individual deputies, orders, decisions are sold. These political criminals or the “new political Ukrainians”, who have naturally entered the ranks of the former party nomenclature, have introduced their criminal habits and “philosophy” into politics. We are witnessing a diffusion of half-criminal elements and the authorities. This is where the second characteristic of the political regime comes in: politics itself has become a type of business. This symbiosis of politics and business, which finds its expression in total mass corruption and anti-democratic habits, corroborates the tendency towards informal, nontransparent relations in society.
The third characteristic of today’s regime in Ukraine is the exploitation of the comatose condition of society by the ruling circles. The referendum has demonstrated that the authorities regard society as a passive and unautonomous extra in the political arena, as an argument or instrument in the competition financial and political groups.
Instead of a civil society, a non-civil society has been established in Ukraine. Most Ukrainians today think only that things should not be worse, they do not even think about changes for the better. The extreme low level of expectations and claims among the Ukrainian population is rather strange.
One cannot say that there is no democracy in Ukraine. However, what we have is not democracy of progress, success, and social control over the authorities. What we have is procedural democracy, i.e. parliamentary elections and presidential elections.
7 I do not see any signs of improvement for next year or five years in Ukraine. To make a statement about the more distant future would make no sense. So far, there is no political force in Ukraine which could bring about real democratic change.
Ihor Hryniv, chairman of the executive committee of the Reforms and Order Party
6 The regime of political power which has been formed over the last nine years in Ukraine appears to be quite original, having not counterparts elsewhere in the world. On the other hand, it has taken on some features of various political regimes. As before, the state is administered by modified party committees. They acquire the form of encirclements of mayors and governors in cities and regions, and of the Politburo in the capital. The structure of that Politburo may change while the decision-taking process remains essentially intact. Power is not executed publicly. Therefore, the process can neither be controlled by society nor by the oligarchs (though some of them belong to the Politburo). Besides, power itself remains the principal economic good.
7 Nine years ago, Ukraine proclaimed its independence, and since then, it has been in a so-called period of transition. Neither the Ukrainian people nor the national elite have succeeded in answering the sacramental question: “What kind of state shall we be?”
The other urgent problem is that neither the administration nor society have yet realised that Ukraine needs not only oil and gas but also freed of speech, strong political parties and civic organizations, and a strong opposition. Historically, Ukraine has developed as a European nation; therefore, it has a fair chance to find its place in a united Europe. Any other political choice could be the beginning of a great tragedy.
Viktor Nebozhenko, political scientist
6 The contemporary political regime is a kind of watered democracy with elements of autocratic rule and favouritism. We have already lived through the period of democracy, but we have not yet established the oligarchy. I would like to stress the natural character of the existing regime because it is adequate to the state of Ukrainian society in all spheres of life – in economics, in politics, and in culture.
7 I do not rule out the possibility of early parliamentary elections. Moreover, chances are that there will be early presidential elections.
In the next year or two, several important processes will be going on in Ukraine. First, the strife among the president’s team will become more severe. Second, the West will attempt to persuade Ukraine to proceed with the reforms and to establish the necessary level of democracy. Third, left of the political centre some new radical leaders will appear, whose popularity will grow along with the attempts of the administration to depict them as "enemies of the people". Finally, attempts will be made to reform the power structures in order to avoid too extreme a concentration of dissatisfaction with the political regime.
Yaroslav Andrushkiv, chairman of the Social-Nationalist Party of Ukraine
6 The contemporary political system is of the Soviet type. The national revolutions which took place on post-Soviet terrain in the early nineties have only created new independent states. The social formation has not been altered. The ruling class of the past has retained power.
7 As for the political development, first of all there should be some political activity. Unfortunately, political activity does not exist in our state. Instead, there is a kind of skirmish in the political beaumonde, in which the main goal is to gain “access to a body”, i.e. to the bodies of the persons most important in the state or a district or a community. Naturally, if this state of affairs persists, no crucial changes will ever happen in Ukraine.
Serhyi Sobolev, Representative of the Cabinet in the Verkhovna Rada
6 Due to the great changes Ukraine has undergone in the last ten years, it is impossible to regard the political formation as something pure and simple. It should be regarded as a compound type of formation which has absorbed characteristics of various systems. There evidently exist sound elements of democracy, but along with these there are still are remnants of autocracy, i.e. the regime acknowledging the power of a single person. In the past, that was the Secretary General, while now it is the President.
The country is undergoing a period of primary capital accumulation. One of the most characteristic features of this period is the influence of the oligarchy on both the legislative and the executive branches of the administration. At present, the oligarchy also exerts great influence on the media in Ukraine.
7 Ukraine has not yet ultimately decided which way to go – either to European democracy or to the systems of Asian or Latin American countries, or maybe towards the adoption of dictatorship.
Ukraine will make the final decision only after another round of parliamentary, presidential, and local elections. I do hope that Ukraine will develop in the direction of democracy.
Oleksandar Volkov, parliamentary leader of “Renaissance of the Regions”
6 Any struggle between old and new presents diverse prospects of future development, thus giving birth to contradicting tendencies. The worst thing is that none of these tendencies has become dominant.
The situation is like in a city which is situated between two conflicting armies, one of which has already left the city while the other has not yet occupied it. This period is the best time for those who profit from disorder and lack of authority. Such a situation results in speculation with democratic slogans, political games hidden from the electorate, the degeneration of many branches of the economy, and in crime and corruption. These by-products of the transitional period do not correspond to the basic nature of the political regime, though they considerably compromise its image. In order to justify the credit obtained from the nation, the regime needs political strength and ideological unity; it should perform its functions as a team of true Ukrainian professionals and patriots. Unfortunately, all that is still missing in Ukraine.
7 Undoubtedly, Ukraine will proceed to democracy. It is possible that progress will not be made as fast as we would like it to. However, we must consider the political and socio-economic realities. First of all, there is traditional Ukrainian conservatism, the disinclination to accept anything new. Excessive demands to the state bring about either the preservation of the state-owned sector of the economy or the social-democratic system of allotting resources through a high level of business taxation. However, the social-democratic model can only work in a highly efficient and productive economy. Such an economy cannot exist in a country where free enterprise is oppressed with super-taxes and where a major part of the national product disappears. This is why we will have in the nearest future to give priority to the development of production and to overcome the existing social disproportion gradually, step by step.
The economically independent individual is the cornerstone of democracy. Economic independence can only be achieved through private property. If Ukrainians wish to live in a democratic country, they will have to adopt the principle according to which one has to rely first of all on one’s own resources. The sooner this mentality is adopted, the sooner democracy will be established.
Volodymyr Malinkovich, political scientist
6 The old Soviet nomenclature still rules Ukraine. It has already become unable to retain total control over the country, but though weakened, it still succeeds in imposing authoritative rule. The old nomenclature has united with the new semi-mafiose clans of nouveaux riches, several leading units of which control the whole shadow economy. However, the oligarchy is not strong enough economically to dictate a policy of its own without support from the state administration. On the other hand, the oligarchy cannot do without the support of the oligarchy. This union has given rise to a semi-authoritarian oligarchic regime.
No doubt, some elements of democracy do exist in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the democratic institutions are too weak, all they can do is restrain the appetite of the nomenclature. I am sure that the present Ukrainian state power would have suppressed these democratic elements completely, if it did not depend on the West.
7 Unfortunately, Ukraine is not economically self-supporting. This is why the future of our state depends exclusively on foreign investment. Without it, we will be unable to mend the situation.
The short-term prospects of Ukraine are connected with Russian capital, which, just like Ukrainian capital, is of a semi-shadow nature, though much stronger. Nevertheless, Russian capital is unable and unwilling to help Ukraine to reach European standards. The only chance for Ukraine is Europe. To reach its standards, we have to establish civilised economic relations and true democracy. Europe does not need us with our present situation, it does not believe us.
Andriy Shkil, leader of UNA-UNSO
6 The political regime in today’s Ukraine is a mixture of oligarchy and bureaucracy. It is difficult to expect democratic change in a state where the fiscal profession is the most prestigious and where decisions are made by minor bureaucrats instead of their ministers. What is called “the fruits of democracy” in Ukraine is actually the result of the carelessness of civil servants who blame their own mistakes on “democracy”.
7 The salvation for Ukraine is national revolution. It is the only means by which power can be taken away from the bureaucracy and oligarchy and returned to the people. A “top-down” anti-bureaucratic revolution could lead Ukraine to a qualitatively higher level of development, but it would not solve all problems. We also need cultural, scientific revolutions, etc. Thus, the concept of developing the state must be based on revolution. In Ukrainian politics, only those forces will succeed which do not waste time on bemoaning the bad situation and which do not attempt to adapt to it but strive to change it to their own advantage. Although the coming elections will be carried out according to the old script and although the veterans of the political service may make it into parliament, they will not be able to adopt a new style of rule whereas people will not be content to live the way they are living now.
Serhyi Odarych, president of the Ukrainian Perspective Foundation
6 The present political system in Ukraine is a very strange mixture, a symbiosis of typical oligarchic rule and the command-administrative regime Ukraine has inherited from the Soviet power.
The dominating position has been usurped by a small circle of oligarchs around the head of state, who not only influence but also designate the executive power. Along with that, political weight is also retained by the “vertical” elements of the executive power, which relies not on the law and legal norms but on personal devotion.
7 The regime will grow stronger and its influence on social processes will be bigger. At the same time, the political opposition will grow weaker. Right now we are witnessing how the administration encourages splits and conflicts in political parties, even among its strategic ally, the Communists.
However, there are signs of growing conflicts within the elite group of the president’s oligarchic encirclement. As they go along allocating the main state property, these conflicts will become more critical. It is quite possible that within about two years a part of the group ruling now will join the opposition.
Tetyana Korobova, journalist
6 The present political regime is a mixture of autocracy and oligarchy under a democratic umbrella. This is much more dangerous than an authoritarian or oligarchic regime in their explicit forms. Using democratic slogans, democratic institutions, and perfectly democratic legislation, the regime rules through a sphere of shadow politics which is dominated by representatives of the oligarchy who command the president.
Under these circumstances, the inexistence of a civil society, and the impossibility of developing one, enable any kind of “-cratia” to manipulate the people.
7 The lack of control over the administration and the impunity of its undertakings makes it likely that our place in the future will not be in Europe but between Russia and Byelorussia.
Viktor Musiyaka, head of the “Ahead, Ukraine!” party, former vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada
6 The present political regime in Ukraine shows elements of democracy and the beginnings of authoritarianism. The latter manifests itself in the actions and behaviour of the president’s encirclement and in the activities of the whole system of state power down to the regions.
We also have oligarchs who influence the administration and actually form it – from the municipal organs up to the cabinet.
7 The president’s encirclement does everything it can to restrict the rights of parliament. In essence, a mechanism of unlimited power is formed. It may well be that after parliament is formed, some other person will use these rights to quickly seize power on allegedly legal grounds.
Those with the big money have the best chances to win the next parliamentary elections. The Verkhovna Rada will become an organ readily adopting everything the president demands.
Kostyantyn Maleyev, Institute of Philosophy at the Ukrainian National Academy of Science, head of “Kyivske Bratstvo”
6 I believe the closest historical equivalent to the present regime in Ukraine can be found in the Polish Kingdom of the 17th century. Poland was at that time ruled by a triad consisting of the elected king, a small gentry, and the big landowners. In present-day Ukraine, the president performs the functions of the elected king, while the oligarchs perform those of the gentry and the landowners. As we know, that regime came to a poor end in Poland: at a certain stage of development, the neighbouring states bought the “oligarchs”, while the big landowners ruined the whole political system with their bribes.
7 Unfortunately, if no sound economic reforms are carried out, if no stable and solid middle class is formed, the future prospects of Ukraine are the very same as in the Polish example. In that case, the political and economic elite of Ukraine will sooner or later be subjected by the richer and more powerful Russian oligarchy.
Semen Gluzman, director of the Ukrainian-American Office for the Protection of Human Rights
6 I would name it differently – a post-totalitarian democracy, which is everything: democracy itself, authoritarianism, and, of course, oligarchy.
7 There is only one perspective for the political development of Ukraine: strengthening the democratic institutions, joining the realities and values of European democracy. The alternative is disintegration and the death of the Ukrainian state.
Olexandr Potyekhin, historian
6 From a formally legal point of view, Ukraine undoubtedly is a democratic state. Political freedom meets the strictest international standards. As far as the distribution of power, legal procedures, and state organization are concerned, Ukraine is a much more democratic country than the Russian Federation, let alone Byelorussia.
On the other side, society is still waiting for a concrete environment of political forces to fill the procedures of exercising the people’s will with meaning. There is still systematic misinformation about an alleged confrontation between “left revanchists” and “centrist democrats”, which has no connection with the real competitors.
7 The prospects of filling Ukrainian democracy with meaningful content depend on whether uniform, binding rules will be accepted by all political players, i.e. the independence of the judicial branch of power, the supremacy of the law, a general consensus among the citizens that everybody can gain their rights in a suit against everybody, including the administration. The existence of free, economically independent media would be desirable, as well. Until this is achieved, the administrative power will retain its dominating position in the system of Ukrainian democracy.
Ukraine stands a fair chance of getting out of the political shadow of Russia because the preconditions for a qualitatively different development of Ukraine, as opposed to Russia and Byelorussia, have been established. The question is whether the political elite of Ukraine will further be afraid of independence or whether it will refuse to copy the decisions made in Moscow.
Volodymyr Zolotaryov, head of the Constitutional-Democratic Party of Ukraine
6 The political system of Ukraine resembles most of all an authoritarian regime. Then again, all definitions of such terms as democracy, oligarchy, and autocracy are very conditional and every country has its own unique regime. In Ukraine, we have a tragic situation: there is a state but there is no political nation.
7 Reliable information about what is really going on is rare. To predict the future is very difficult in such a situation of closed doors.
The most striking example is the disintegration of the Soviet Union: nobody could have foreseen it, let alone its quickness and painlessness. If the Soviet Union had been open and democratic, the elite could have made a prediction.
The only thing that saves Ukraine from the abyss are our debts to the West. They guarantee that we will keep to the declared decency. If we had chosen the Byelorussian path (break of relations with the IMF), then, not being restrained by anything, we would have been living in a dictatorial regime for a long time. Another restraint is that the Ukrainian elite is accustomed to visiting the West and that it is important for them not to be expelled from there. And in order to prevent that, our ruling class will attempt to refrain from openly uncivilised steps.