One way to lower the current tensions in Ukraine is to
finally accomplish an already long-ago recommended major constitutional
amendment – the switch from a semi-presidential to a purely parliamentary
republic. Such a change at this point in time could ensure to everybody that
the future will be different from the difficult present.
Arguably, President Yanukovych himself is not as big a
defect in Ukraine’s political system as the institution of presidency. Most
Ukrainians hope for a “strong” president to solve their country’s problems.
Yet, the use of executive power and presumed authority of a more or less
narrowly elected president, as well as his complicated relationship with the
legislature has been the source of much political pathology of the last 20
Many Ukrainians argue that, over Ukraine’s post-Soviet
history, each president was worse than his predecessor: Leonid Kuchma was worse
than Leonid Kravchuk (who, in turn, was worse than Mykhailo Hrushevsky), Viktor
Yushchenko was worse than Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor Yanukovych is even worse
than the grossly unpopular Viktor Yushchenko. Kuchma’s two-term rule ended with
the Orange Revolution, Yushchenko’s support sank to 5 percent after only one
term in office, and Yanukovych might not even get to serve his first term in
full, bringing the country on the verge of collapse.