What’s next? A regime change requires leadership, and a competing vision.
Neither has materialized to a degree necessary to actually cause change, and
the opposition is risking losing the initiative the protesters have given it.
The protests, although capturing the minds of the country’s population, are
doing little damage to the actual infrastructure that supports the regime, and
at some point the civilized tactics of the protesters are bound to exhaust
their energy when applied to brutish, post-Soviet structures of the regime.
The opposition leaders are facing a daunting task – the people want changes
to the vague “better”, but in reality getting there means establishing a rule
of law and severely curbing the corruption that has permeated all spheres of
life. They also harbor no illusions about where the real struggle for power
lies: getting big money out of politics, as there is no such thing as a
plutocratic democracy – these terms are irreconcilable opposites of each other.
Obliterating the oligarchy altogether would be a mistake, as these people form
the industrial backbone of the economy, but they must be removed from their
position as power brokers and somehow integrated into the new paradigm, which
means frank negotiations that must succeed, as soon as possible. Failure to
limiting oligarchs’ power and persuading them to switch sides means further
stagnation and persecution of the protest leaders (jailing of Tymoshenko and
other members of the Orange government offer a great example of that).
Ukraine must choose