US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — According to the survey, sixteen years after Kuchma left the post of president of Ukraine, compatriots perceive him as the best head of state for almost three decades of Ukraine’s independence. Why this happened, the author Lyubko Petrenko understands in the article on Zaxid.net.
“I Want to see Ukraine without Kuchma.” Do you still remember this phrase by Leonid Danilovich that he threw on the eve of the 2004 presidential election? Abandoned with sarcasm, they say, well, well, try without me, my experience, my managerial talents. Most of the society, for their part, also reacted to this phrase with a significant proportion of sarcasm. Like, and somehow we won’t perish without Kuchma and his Kuchmists who were bored for ten years. Then the Ukrainians were convinced that it was already difficult to choose the worst president.
However, as the ancient Romans rightly claimed, tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis – times are changing, and we are changing with them. And now, sixteen years after Kuchma left his post, society already perceives him as the best head of state for almost three decades of Ukraine’s independence. This is also evidenced by the May opinion poll conducted by the rating sociological group. Sociologists asked Ukrainians the question: “Which of all the presidents of Ukraine since its independence do you consider to be the best?”
The second president of Ukraine scored the most percentage points (20) and proudly took the first line in a sociological study. Further on the rating are: current president Vladimir Zelensky (16%), Leonid Kravchuk (13%), Petro Poroshenko (12%), Viktor Yanukovych (9%) and, finally, Viktor Yushchenko (6%).
Of course, the publication of the popularity rating of the leaders of the nation could not but provoke a wave of powerful hype in social networks. And in fact, how is it, Kuchma … against which the most protests were held, the removal of power from which millions of Ukrainians sought, the one who forever tarnished himself by involvement (no matter, directly or indirectly) in the murder of George Gongadze, the one about whom only curses were heard in the first half of zero, now he has become a popular favorite. Sociologists probably lie?
No, I don’t think so. First of all, because the “Rating” has long proved its decency and impartiality. For me personally, this assessment does not at all cause the slightest dissonance with my perception of popular moods, which are formed partly by the real state of affairs, but more by a formed opinion about them.
So what did Leonid Kuchma really do for Ukraine? First of all, he led the country out of a deep socio-economic crisis in transition. Even if not immediately, if not in the way we would like to (we observed the parallel processes in Poland, the Czech Republic or Hungary), but he stopped inflation, devaluation and ensured sustainable economic development. It was under Kuchma that the national currency, the hryvnia, was introduced, which at first cost more than half a dollar and about the same as the German mark. At the end of his second cadence, Kuchma managed to ensure the unprecedented “Chinese” growth of the Ukrainian economy: 9.5% in 2003, 11.8% in 2004.
Kuchma forced the Verkhovna Rada to adopt the constitution, of course, not forgetting to give himself broad powers with the help of the Basic Law. It was he who appointed Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, and Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. True, not for long, less than a year. But it was then that this couple managed to prove themselves successful state managers and gain popular recognition and respect.
No one, like Leonid Danilovich, knew how to break the parliament through the knee. Sometimes for useful things. Let us recall how in June 2003 he forced the deputies (including Yanukovych and his Party of Regions) to vote for the Law “On the Foundations of National Security of Ukraine”. Article 6 of this document, among the national security priorities, determined “the integration of Ukraine into the European, political, economic, legal space and into the Euro-Atlantic security space”. And in article 8, among the main directions of state policy on national security issues is defined as “gaining membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”. Not a single president has been able to force the Verkhovna Rada so unanimously to vote for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. And you say: “Kuchma away!”.
Also, everyone knows his foreign policy multi-vector. Now it is perceived as something extremely inappropriate. And then she helped Ukraine gradually gain strength in the international arena. You have not forgotten the incident with the Tuzla island in the middle of the Kerch Strait, which Russia wanted to take hold of in 2003, and Kuchma defended it?
And let’s remember which president invited the Pope to Ukraine (and effectively)? Again – Leonid Danilovich. Even the comic incident at the Lviv Hippodrome did not spoil the grandeur of the moment. I forgot who forgot. So, June 26, 2001. More than a million faithful gathered at the hippodrome (this is the first time and so far for the last time in Ukraine one person managed to gather such a crowd of people). Leonid Kuchma accompanies John Paul II. So they reached the rostrum, what to do next – our president has no idea. I heard somewhere that the Pope needs to kiss something. Either in the ring, or in the shoe. “No, it can’t be, men are kissing wrong,” thought the former party organizer. However, kissing the governor of God on earth in a communist way did not dare. Kissed on the cheek. Dad was dumbfounded at first by such unexpected familiarity, but he quickly wiped his face with his palm and began the mass. And we just laughed and forgave the atheist Kuchma such incorrect behavior.
Of course, Kuchma has something to criticize, and even hate. It was he who formed the system of oligarchic capitalism in Ukraine. He determined his favorites among the richest Ukrainians, either approaching or moving away each of them, cursing them and making peace. In a word, he controlled, and quite successfully, not forgetting to take care of his and his family’s well-being. So, he achieved opportunities for the effective work of large Ukrainian enterprises, which were high-cost and environmentally friendly. At the same time, he created extremely unfavorable conditions for small and medium-sized companies, which at one time provided incredible economic growth for Poland itself.
It was during the time of Kuchma that freedom of speech in Ukraine was most suppressed. We still remember the “temniks of Medvedchuk”, which were sent to the editorial office of influential media demanding mandatory use. We did not forget about Gongadze. It is clear that with the death of the then Minister of the Interior, Yuri Kravchenko, it will never be possible to establish the degree of involvement of the second president in this crime. But the fact that the regime created by Kuchma allowed such tragedies (because Gongadze was not the only victim of the system) is already asking for criminal liability. That is why a normal change of power after the end of his presidency could not take place. I had to organize the Orange Revolution, which, thank God, then passed bloodlessly.
Kuchma more or less sorted out. We turn to the owner of the second line of the rating – the current president Vladimir Zelensky. It will not be so easy to deal with him, because he is still a pig in a poke. And not only he and The! -Command, but also his electorate.
Many political scientists and opinion leaders expressed confidence that during the year of the presidency, Zelensky’s rating would fall below the plinth. For there is every reason for this. The first government blessed by the incumbent president turned out to be amateurish. The work was inundated in all directions, and above all in filling the budget. The second government gives even less hope of success.
Zelensky ignored all his promises: from comic four thousand dollars of teacher salaries to “just stop shooting.” Neither the war is over nor the utility tariffs are reduced. Zelensky, without any twinges of conscience, places his friends and proxies on key government posts, completely not engaging in the struggle against nepotism (nepotism). Even Zelensky decided to reconsider even the promise not to go for a second term, honestly declaring this at his last press conference. And all this against the grim background of quarantine and coronavirus.
So, maybe it’s time to organize another Maidan and expel the former comedian from government offices to where he should be. Such statements can often be read on Facebook for those users who, to their avatars, attach stickers: “25%”, “Think!”, “Army, Language, Faith” and the like. Expel Zelensky, because this is what Ukrainian society wants. But, a moment: does it really strive for this?
Let’s look at the results of the same opinion poll from the sociological group “Rating”. According to them, if the presidential elections in Ukraine were held in the near future, the current president in the first round would become the undisputed leader, although he would not have won in one round. Considering those who are going to vote and have already decided on their candidacy, Zelensky would have won 39.3% of the vote. Recall that last year, during a real vote in the first round, 30.6% of Ukrainian voters supported him. According to the latest opinion polls, Yuriy Boyko is gaining 13.9%, Petro Poroshenko-13.3%, Yulia Tymoshenko-8.6%.
Zelensky also has a good sociology regarding the second round. Whoever he encounters in a duel, he comes out the winner with the support of 74-75%. That is, again, the results are better than last year. Zelensky is still the highest-rated politician, and in the west of the country, and in the east, and in the center, and in the south. The recent history of Ukraine still does not remember such a convincing national consensus regarding an individual. Here is such a bizarre phenomenon.
In good standing Zelensky also remains with the Western leaders. He is impressed by his approach to resolving the issue of occupied territories. First of all, he demonstrates the flexibility of choosing tools and at the same time firmness with respect to the Kremlin. Although in the European capitals the incumbent is criticized for the slowness of reforms.
But what to do, its seemingly comprehensive power was not too stable. The mono-majority in parliament only at the start played the role of a “frantic printer”, and then stalled and began to crumble under the pressure of external forces. Therefore, it is difficult to even predict where Zelensky will be with his rating, when the quarantine will significantly distort the social base, and the number of faithful parliamentary bayonets will be reduced to a critical level.
Third in the ranking is Leonid Kravchuk. Well, the status of the first president has affected. At the same time, it will be with him that we will for a long time associate the rapid socio-economic decline of Ukraine, hyperinflation, inferior money, the loss of nuclear status and so on.
But nevertheless, it is worth paying tribute to him, in the fall of 2001 it was the “cunning fox” Kravchuk who organized a powerful advertising campaign for Ukrainian independence. Maybe someone else remembers those videos about bright Ukrainian prospects, where the words: “Be independent in Ukraine!” Sounded as a refrain (the main theme). And the result is more than convincing: 90.32% of the population of Ukraine voted for independence. For this alone, he deserved that his name was forever written in gold letters in the annals (annals) of Russian history.
Not too honorable fourth place went to Petro Poroshenko. Why is he so disrespectful? After all, it was he who also achieved the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainians and tomos. Courageously waged a war with Russia. In exquisite English, he exposed the Kremlin’s aggressive policies on a variety of international venues. Poroshenko led Ukraine out of the “post-Yanukovych” crisis, ensured economic growth, albeit not too high. Under his presidency, the status of the Ukrainian language was raised, Ukrainian education, Ukrainian films, music, radio, TV received support. All this, for example, I, as a true patriot, cannot but rejoice.
However, Pyotr Alekseevich failed to provide himself with reliable media support. Many television channels mercilessly criticized his activities, as well as himself. There were quite a lot of far-fetched reproaches. However, fair criticism was enough. He can recall the Panama Case, which arose precisely during the days of the Ilovaysky Cauldron, the rapid growth of the Roshen business, which in a strange way occurred during the presidency, and the dubious contracts of its affiliated companies, including in the defense sector. We should not forget the manipulation of martial law, the strange delay with anti-Russian sanctions, the incomprehensible involvement of Medvedchuk and Kuchma in the negotiation process.
But let experts from the investigating authorities do this all. A year ago, some politicians predicted that Poroshenko would be in the dock as soon as he vacated his office on Bankova. As you can see, so far this has not happened. Therefore, we will follow the development of events.
Of course, I would like the founder of the criminal regime to be the last in the ranking, or even not to fall into it like a traitor. But, as the first president said, we have what we have. Yanukovych – in fifth, last but one place. Supporters of the president who turned Ukraine into a mega-corrupt state where successful business could be taken away from its rightful owner quite simply have not yet transferred to Ukraine. Even a little more, and Ukraine would have turned into a second Belarus, in the sense of dependence on the Kremlin, or it would have simply lost all subjectivity.
It is a pity that people forgot about death on the Maidan, about Heavenly Hundred, about the invitation of Russian troops to Ukraine. Public memory sometimes does strange things.
It was necessary to manage this from a politician with the highest rating, from the most coveted president, a favorite of the public, into a complete political loser. Is it deserved? Not really. We have already forgotten that it was during the presidency of Yushchenko that the Ukrainians achieved the highest prosperity in all almost 30-year history of Ukraine. 2007-2008 … consumption is rising to the skies, people buy works of art, cars, real estate and the like. It was at that time that housing prices rose incredibly, never before and after square meters did not cost so much.
A high joke from him played a cruel joke with Viktor Andreyevich. “Yu-shchen-ko, Yu-shchen-ko!” – cried out millions of Ukrainians. And he did not know what to do with all this incredible popular support. And so he missed all of her.
But at least he didn’t offend himself. He reigned a little fortune, actually in his village. He provided real estate for his eldest son Andrei, who now can only live on lease charges as a British lord. We did not forget about the “hospital of the future.” Virtual, for real money. All of these hundreds of millions disappeared into thin air. The hospital was never built, and everyone who was involved in the project will never be in poverty.
But you can say a good word about Yushchenko. Nevertheless, he was able to courageously reject Kuchma’s multi-vector approach, clearly taking a course towards the EU and NATO. It was during his presidency that we first saw American films dubbed in Ukrainian in cinemas. In general, it was he who set the Ukrainian trend, which is also supported to a certain extent, he began to implement the slogan “Get away from Moscow, let’s be equal to Europe”. Therefore, nevertheless, he deserves respect a little more than the last place in the presidential rating.
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