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President Victor Yanukovych’s Feb. 25 inaugural speech in parliament

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Feb. 25, 2010, 11:03 p.m. |

Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych holds a Bulava, a historical symbol of power, after he takes the oath of office in parliament in Kyiv on Feb. 25.
© (AP)

The new head of state wants to revamp the country’s Cabinet and public administration system. Dear people’s deputies!

Dear compatriots!

I have just taken the oath as president of Ukraine. What did I feel, placing my hand upon the Holy Peresopnytsia Gospel?

Responsibility and humility before the people of Ukraine, who – in an act of free expression of their will – gave the majority of votes in support of my candidacy; before the Almighty, by whose will I now assume the office of president of the Ukrainian state in these difficult times.

The election is over. The whole world recognized it as democratic. The Ukrainian people have had their say, and the international community has reaffirmed that Ukraine is a free state, where rights and freedoms are the highest values and where the people’s choice cannot be questioned by any manifestations of someone’s ill will.

This last fact is particularly important given the young age of our democracy and the growing pains that are so hard to avoid in the process of establishing statehood.

Nevertheless, we have passed this important exam with dignity and now the page of the 2010 presidential election has been turned. With this turn the next period of our history begins.

The country is in a very difficult situation: There is no state budget for the current year, foreign borrowing is huge, there is poverty, the economy is in ruins, there is corruption; this list of troubles that make up the Ukrainian reality is far from complete.

Despite this, I believe that not only can we save the state from the socio-economic collapse, but we can quickly put it on the path of accelerated development. If not for the confidence in myself, in the strength of my team and the power of the Ukrainian people, I would have never run for the president’s office.

I know what to do and how to do it.

First, we must restore the system of effective governance. We must quickly establish a competent executive power that can urgently manage the most affected sectors of the economy and social sector. The primary objective here is reforming the system of governance, and, first of all, the Cabinet of Ministers and its transformation it into a team of professionals rather than “political waiters.”

That is why I am calling on the Verkhovna Rada to support my effort to create a transparent, effective and accountable system of governance able to cooperate synchronously with the president.

I emphasize: This special role in reforming public administration belongs to parliament. This is the place for discussion. It is a place for a strong opposition, which should control the actions of the government and the president. But, first and foremost, this is the place for a strong and stable parliamentary majority.

If we cannot overcome the existing political discord in the name of saving the country, if we cannot cleanse our hearts from the poison of hatred generated by vanity and selfishness, the state will be doomed to continue wandering in political darkness and social and economic labyrinths.

Mutual rejection due to defeat of some and victory of others is not only destructive for the state, but deeply immoral. Says the Bible: “Make your peace with your adversary quickly, while you are still on the road with him…” Life has confirmed this simple and obvious truth: people don’t like being shown bare fists. They are more likely to trust those who stretch out their hands as a sign of peace. That’s why I am appealing to all deputies in the Verkhovna Rada to cooperate for the sake of Ukraine.

Such cooperation will be crucial for the effective reform of government, justice, amending the Constitution. Today the state is controlled by the structure “sewn” for the purposes of individual politicians. The same can be said about justice, and many other important spheres of life of the Ukrainian society. We must change the status quo. The structure of all branches of power should serve achievement of a common goal – speedy approval of necessary laws and their rapid implementation. And we should equally care for protection of the legitimate interests of ordinary people, ordinary citizens, middle class, intellectuals and business.

Effective cooperation among the president, the parliament and the government will clear the way for rapid economic progress. Also, solving this problem will not only eliminate chronic poverty, but also unite the country. People tend to politicize certain issues of spirituality mostly when they are a state of permanent financial instability. In economically developed nations, the probability of internal conflicts due to the differences in cultural traditions of some regions is 10 times lower than in economically backward states.

Ukraine must choose the right long-term development strategy. Many of our problems are caused by the fact that, instead of moving towards a post-industrial society of the 21st century, we chose the path of initial accumulation of capital, or the so-called “wild capitalism.” Accordingly, we will be able to successfully compete in today’s world only if we turn to the knowledge industry, including modern technologies of production, accumulation and use of achievements of science.

I understand that it is extremely difficult to catch up with industrially developed countries. But it is possible. For this, Ukraine needs a strategy for innovative development, and our team has such a strategy. It provides for the development and state support of a small number of priority areas where we can take our worthy place in the international distribution of labor. This means not strengthening the role of the state in the economy, but government’s participation in the creation of effective market mechanisms. I am convinced that direct influence of the state on the economy, its manual control, the road to nowhere.

The prerequisites for restoration of investors’ and international financial institutions’ confidence is ensuring political stability, fighting corruption and establishing clear – and most importantly – unchangeable rules of relations between the state and business. Ensuring the first two conditions will be an especially difficult process. But I have enough political will to make them reality.

As president, I have a clear understanding of what kind of foreign policy corresponds today with the national interests of Ukraine. Being a bridge between East and West, an integral part of Europe and the former Soviet Union at the same time, Ukraine will select the kind of foreign policy that would allow our state to receive the maximum benefit from the development of equal and mutually beneficial relations with the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United States and other countries that influence the situation in the world.

In my opinion, the challenges faced by the international community dictate the need to unite in the broadest format possible. Humanity, and Ukraine, needs the EU in its global reading. By EU I mean Earth Unity as the force capable to guarantee peaceful coexistence of various civilizations along with energy, environmental and food security. We’re prepared to take part in these processes as a European non-allied state. I intend to suggest this concept to the parliament to develop the basis of the foreign policy of Ukraine and, hopefully, the highest legislative body will support me.

Assuming the office of Ukrainian president, I want to tell the people of Ukraine, that all of my promises to it will be kept. We will repay the arrears of wages and pensions, what the current government never managed to do. Given the dire situation in public finances, we will do this by reducing the costs of the bureaucratic system and start with ourselves. One of my first decrees as the president of Ukraine will be to cut expenses for the presidential secretariat and other structures that support its activities.

Dear people’s deputies!

Dear compatriots!

I have always put deeds above words. And in the new office, I will not abandon this rule. Work and results for the benefit of my Motherland – this is the motto with which I take up my duties in the new responsible office.

I look forward to your support, as well as the support of the international community that wishes to see our country strong and stable.

Let God help us in this righteous aspiration!
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