Viktor Yushchenko: Freedom begins with you
Condemnation of freedom is vain
Viktor Andriyovych, on November 22 we celebrate not only the seventh anniversary of the Maidan, but the Freedom Day, the celebration of which was once approved by your Presidential decree. However, yesterday the Kyiv Administrative District Court banned the mass actions in downtown of Kyiv on that day. In particular, at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, where the Orange Revolution was born and where it was seen by the whole world. How do you evaluate this injunction?
- I am deeply convinced that such actions are an absolute weakness. As the topic of Maidan, the Ukrainian dimension of freedom and democracy, has two meanings. The first concerns all of us, and the second - the future of a free state. Because freedom begins with you, not the court, not with the presidential decree. If you are a citizen of the third millennium, and realize that your world view, values are framed only in the framework of freedom and free choice, then in your country freedom will definitely take place. Without choice we can not be happy. In the Ukrainian nation any other value was glorified as the will. Remember folk songs, poetry of Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko and others, our anthem, eventually. Every century Ukrainian issue rose as the cornerstone of the existence of the nation. So what happened seven years ago, is the one that formed for decades the area of our values and our attitudes to the concept of freedom. We are already different. It couldn’t be done with this nation what has been done ten years ago. I believe: freedom and democracy are not what you have been brought and given, but what you can not give away. It belongs to you and is determined by you, not by someone. So when we talk about the seven years we lived, I am convinced that we have lived by the theme of democracy, perhaps unique for the last hundred years. We demonstrated our beliefs, our commitment. And these beliefs no one will give to any authorities today, including the current government. So it doesn’t matter which decision is taken in terms of freedom censure or injunctions, they are not only useless, but it seems to me that they will trigger in people the opposite feelings. I would not even pay attention to such relapses. The chance got everyone.
Tell me, how you evaluate Maidan today not from the point of view of the average Ukrainian who was standing there with an orange flag, chanting "Yushchenko!" and received an unforgettable feeling of freedom, but in terms of people who were standing next to you on stage? Many of them ended up in another camp, and then, as it is now fashionable to say, "Betrayed the Maidan," someone is now deprived of freedom...
- If we are talking about the political context, I would not want to list the points of disappointment. Remember when at Maidan came about a dozen of parties: from left to extreme right-wing forces. Then it was not about a single party project, but all those who stood on stage all have come to the offices of government. In the parliament and in the government, and at local authorities. Public Movement, which we call "Maidan" to transform by the party representation into the system of government is the very complicated formula. This model almost anywhere in the world did not work. But I was always convinced that I must give the chance to all the political forces that stood at Maidan. When the power of these forces was formed, from the first weeks the different views on political, economic, social processes were felt. By every month human ambitions, serious differences were felt. What is the lesson? Revolution is a chance, not a guarantee. And in 2004, when it was that brilliant victory, unfortunately, it was not our majority in the parliament. And we lived for a year and a half with the parliament, which was in opposition to us. And by the 2006 elections to the parliament from my political party - "Our Ukraine" - within the block came about 25 people. And the president does not have the majority. Majority began to form around the premiere. Then we got the authority, which did not want to go the way of reforms. Therefore, in order the democratic changes happen in Ukraine, we have to not only win the presidential election, but the parliament. I did not have those conditions that are today. I did not appoint the Prime Minister, ministers, heads of administrations and others. These are also lessons.
How do you personally plan to celebrate the Freedom Day? Will you visit Maidan?
- I want to make an appeal on that occasion to the Ukrainians, who believe in freedom and are supporters of democracy. I understand that some of the Ukrainian community is experiencing different feelings. Disappointed in those who win, disappointed in those who lost. I would say that: now the public tone is weakened and injured. I want to speak to such people. And once again convey that if we want prosperity of a nation, European convergence, to have predictable future, to live freely and independently, then only freedom will help us. And for the freedom must be fought. Because where democracy came, there forever came law. Where the law is, there is justice. And where democracy had not come, there lawlessness reigns. And if we talk about the democratic establishment, you should not perceive it as a task for a year or for several years. Sometimes it is much harder. But democracy is a form of protection of freedom and the only way of your realization as a citizen. These values should help to overcome frustration, depression, which got the many. There is still much we need to go to we feel ourselves as a united nation. Because only such nation is potential. Life is dramatic when we are taken away the freedom. Everything else is also important: which taxes we have, which pension model we have, which social policy we have. But it all depends on how we pass the national exams. So to that I would mostly like to encourage the authorities, and opposition, and social movements, and the average Ukrainian. Criminal evil is from the new law
Viktor Andriyovych, seven years ago people came at Maidan because it was wanted to steal the freedom of choice from them. And now a few days before the anniversary the Parliament by the constitutional majority passed a law on elections. There are different opinions: some say that it will protect people, others - that on the contrary, it will only contribute to political corruption. What is your assessment?
- First we had a majoritarian electoral system. Then began to say that there is no ideological unity, each member is as a soloist and we should try the proportional system. And the country has moved on to mixed system, and then - only to proportionate. We went from one extreme to another. It was not a systemic solution. Ukrainian practice showed that there is no a criminal model than the majoritarian. It was brought to the Parliament by people with a criminal record, who received immunity and brought with them the criminalization of Parliament, blending of business and government, and even criminalization of power. The current return of the majority model would mean that the current government in the future parliament will get absolute majority. Because it is easy to manipulate the majority district. That person is easy to seduce or threaten to engage in the majority. In 2002 in one day from my party 17 deputies went to the majority. Because before that in the Bankova Leonid Kuchma gave them a short course of their future in case of refusal, or vice versa. And now we are stepping on the same rake. That is the clinic. As for the proportional system it also has problems. The issue of open lists still remains. By the proportional model any of the deputies could also be held in, then it also criminalizes, there comes the political debris, as well as by a majority.
Therefore, the electoral system proposed now, in my opinion, is the evil, and is imperfect. And also we have a barrier - 5%, which is certainly the most harmful to the democratic forces. It rejects dozens of parties from influence on political life, although these parties represent tens of thousands of people. So I think that eclecticism that came with this Code, it is, on the one hand, beats the nation by the past mistakes, while political corruption will just flourish. This model only increases the difficulties that we had. In 2007, Viktor Yanukovych said that "it is not necessary to invent new constitutional bicycle or return to the old model of government, from which the absolute majority of the forces refused in 2004." He stressed the completion of started constitutional reform. I think that we do not need to cheat the electoral system, there should be a requirement to it - the transparency. And government must ensure legitimacy during the elections. Otherwise we may come to one - the criminalization of political power at all levels.