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You're reading: Roger Myerson and Tymofiy Mylovanov: Fixing Ukraine’s fundamental flaw

Ukraine
has a talented, highly educated citizenry, yet fundamental flaws in
its political system prevent strong and responsive leadership from
emerging and assuming roles in the national government. These
systemic flaws can, and must, be fixed for Ukraine to become the free
democracy her people deserve.

Under
the current system, Ukraine’s local officials are appointed by a
centralized, national authority. This differs from healthy and
vibrant democracies such as Poland and the Czech Republic, where
local elections determine regional leadership. Ukraine’s local
leadership is often drawn from a politically homogeneous group of
politicians more attuned to each other’s interests than to the
interests of the population. As a result, the political establishment
cannot evolve, innovation is discouraged or inexistent, regional and
minority interest groups are afforded no voice nor safeguards, and
instead the country is saddled with a stagnant and incestuous
political “elite”.

As
a result, amid skirmishes for regional control and political
jockeying, political evolution can express itself only through mass
protests and Maidans. Such mass movements are expensive and
existentially disruptive, and do not yield the systemic changes
needed. They elevate popularly acclaimed leaders who inevitably
succumb to the entrenched political system riddled with corrupt
reactionaries, and some evolve into dictators themselves. The vicious
cycle continues.

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