Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ukrainian Democracy in Peril

by Alexander J. Motyl

Wall Street Journal
September 15, 2010

Ukraine's already weak democracy has just received three body blows from the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

On Sept. 7, Ukraine's parliament passed a law effectively depriving the inhabitants of Ukraine's capital city, Kiev, of self-rule. According to the law, the executive functions of the city now belong to the so-called Kiev City State Administration. Who appoints the head of that body? The president. The parliamentary measure now gives Mr. Yanukovych control over the one city in Ukraine that has consistently voted against him, his party, and his cronies; that was the site of the Orange Revolution that disgraced him in 2004; and that has the country's highest concentration of foreign diplomats, journalists, and business people. Mr. Yanukovych knows that he cannot control Ukraine without controlling Kiev. Now he does.