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You're reading: Urban politics, ‘Regionnaire’ corruption have blighted many cities

Two recent studies cast interesting light on urban life and Regionnaire policy in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, most of the cities they misrule are sorely neglected slums, while the only two that matter to them politically—Donetsk and Luhansk—are recipients of government largesse. As it turns out, President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions would be better termed the Party of Two Cities.

In Kommentarii magazine’s livability rating of 45 Ukrainian cities, those in the bottom half, the 22nd through the 45th, are, with but three exceptions, in the southeastern provinces that support the Regionnaires. The top half, the 1st through the 21st, are all in the central and western provinces that support the national democrats, with the exception of six major Regionnaire-run cities—Sevastopol (3rd), Dnipropetrovsk (5th), Kryvyy Rih (10th), Simferopol (14th), Donetsk (16th), and Odessa (18th). Note the pattern. The Regionnaire-run cities that do relatively well are all large; the provincial cities they misrule are all in the dumps.

The Regionnaire record looks worse if we exclude Sevastopol and Simferopol from the list (the former, as the site of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, gets big bucks from Moscow, while the latter is relatively near the Crimea’s beaches) and look at the number of points the cities score. The highest possible point total is 1,125 (with 45 points per 25 criteria). Kyiv, which is 1st on the list, gets 896 points, or 80 percent of the total. The Regionnaire strongholds, Donetsk and Luhansk, get only 57 percent and 43 percent, respectively. And the cities that score under 50 percent are, with but two exceptions, Regionnaire bastions.

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