Ukraine: "If we take this simply, we have to divide the country"

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Aug 4 12:11:27 UTC 2006

23:37 03.08.2006
Permanent news address:

If we take this simply, we have to divide the country: full text of the
speech of the Ukrainian President

In his live TV address on August 2-3 night 02:00 AM local time Ukrainian
President Viktor Yushchenko told his people how the country can come out
of political crisis. REGNUM gives the full text of Yushchenkos address.

I would like to start my address by expressing deep conviction that the
progress of democracy we all saw during the March 26 parliamentary
elections obliges all our political forces, all our state institutions to
continue democratization. It so happened that during the elections almost
8 millions of our citizens voted for one part of our political blocs and
forces and a bit more than 8 million for the other part. So, now, Ukraine
has to choose: to draw this boundary-line? Where to draw it? Along which
bank of Dniepr? These are not only challenges that concern each of us, but
are also questions that arise when we form a coalition and chose a state
policy. I would like to note that, for me, the key point of my
contribution to this discussion was to preserve unity in Ukraine despite
this situation, to get rid of the sins that came up during the elections,
that heavily shattered the national foundations of our state or simply
sowed discord. And my idea of roundtable was exactly about appealing to
the Ukrainian public, seating political forces round the negotiating table
and gradually getting rid of the things that disintegrated our nation some
two-three months ago. I was extremely attentive to this thesis and,
throughout the negotiating process, tried to formulate constitutional and
democratic dominants something that must be above all for us, irrespective
of which camp we are from something that could be a guarantee of further
democratization in Ukraine.

In other words, this is an extremely serious challenge. If we take it
simply from the sociological point of view we simply have to divide the
country. However, I am convinced that the voter will understand the
motives of my ardent calls for consolidation and unity in the last two
months and, especially, in the last two weeks. I was optimistic that the
Universal would give answers to many questions and would solve many
unity-related problems. I am sure that no single ordinary citizen wants to
see his country divided, nobody wants Eastern Ukrainian Republic,
Federalism, and separatism. And those political forces who have brought in
those theses must publicly give them up.

The same is for the theses concerning the home policy, particularly, the
so-called problem of language policy. The Constitution clearly and fairly
says how to find a compromise between the status of Ukrainian as a state
language, its development, general use and the provision of high state
guarantees to people choosing any national minority language as means of
their communication. How to stop today debates that were started as many
as 8 years ago during a presidential election. Whenever they elected
president they would start talking about the status of Russian as a state
language. Then they would forget this problem  betraying their voters
just to remember it the next time. My task was to give an honest answer to
the Ukrainian society that no single Ukrainian citizen will suffer from my
position (the position I am going to pass through all the political
leaders) irrespective of where he was born, what language his speaks as
the Constitution clearly says how to react and respond to this problem.

It pained me to see that we were failing to find answers to fundamental
questions, like the conduct of structural reforms. It pained me to see
that we could not decide how to organize the land market. It was always
early yet for us. And I tried to prove to my political colleagues that
while we were debating on the land market there at Bankovaya Street, the
land market was working  but working illegally. It is something like
voucher privatization. The sooner you privatize, the fairer it is, the
slower you privatize  in this particular case, land  the more unfair it
will be for our people. I also thought that many other things concerning
the home policy should be proclaimed and fixed by the parliamentary forces
so as to become a basis for the national policy and a guideline for
whatever coalition and whatever government.

I had a separate thesis about foreign policy. I was sure that Ukraine has
lost much because of its foreign political vagueness. On the one hand, we
have quite a big load of laws, which effectively regulate our goals, basic
principles and plan of action to attain some definite foreign political
objectives. On the other hand, we have ignored those objectives for years.
Thats why we agreed that the fundamental value of the Universal is that
all its theses are based on either the Constitution or the law of Ukraine.
In other words, I am talking about the constitutional values of our nation
values we must respect. Thats why as President, who wants his program to
be realized, I was very much interested in the support of the acting
foreign political line: integration into Common Economic Space according
to the principle fixed by the Ukrainian delegation during the Kazan
Summit. Multi-speed and multi-depth integration. We should have
demonstrated commitment to join WTO. These are remarkable things
something that clearly shows where we are going. If you remember, the
roundtable started with questions: who are we? what policy do we want to
introduce? how are we going to carry it out?

I have omitted many things in my comments as I think that the gist of my
first basic address is that the Universal is already being ratified and,
as of now, it has been signed by the Speaker of the Supreme Rada, the
leader of the Party of Regions, the leader of Our Ukraine, the Prime
Minister, the President and I am sure that the other partners will also
join by the morning.

This gives me right to say that the problem that has been acutely
controversial in the last days is no existent. Tomorrow (August 3), we
will officially sign the Universal, and tomorrow I will be ready to make
detailed comments on the foreign and domestic policy provisions of the
Universal. I would like to note once again: we have already finalized
forming the basic principles of Ukraines foreign and domestic policies and
their continuity. I am sure that there will be no more controversy on the
matter in the Ukrainian politics, at least, among those who have signed to
the Universal. I think that this is a very important result of the last
night and today.

The second thing I would like to talk about is the consultation I have had
with the leader of political parties concerning the dissolution of the
parliament and the conduct of extraordinary elections. This consultation
was held at 03:00 PM and the motives were as follows: yesterday 11:00 PM
we reached key agreements on the Universal. Unfortunately, today some
political forces retracted these agreements. In fact, today morning we
realized that the basic principles of our policy, our constitutional
values and democratic freedoms were called in question. Thats why I
decided to call an extraordinary consultation with the speaker and the
vice speaker of the parliament and the leaders of the parliamentary groups
to consider dissolving the parliament. I think you know my motives  I told
you about them during the consultation and there is no need to reiterate
them. After the consultation a number of political forces asked me to hold
some additional consultations about the basic principles of the foreign
and domestic policies, democracy and freedom protection. In one word, it
was necessary to listen once more to the arguments of the political
forces. Thats why we held one more consultation at 05:00 PM. During that
consultation I tried to bring home a number of dominating ideas which I
consider obligatory and will take into account when nominating the prime
minister candidacy.

First. There is a President who has won a presidential election. I had my
own program  a program that specified both foreign and domestic political
principles and the mechanisms of the peoples support of their
implementation. The things we got after the electoral campaign were due
mostly to the lack of coordination with the Constitution and the laws. My
objective was to urge the parliamentary forces for the last time to
coordinate these things to allow us to preserve the unity of our nation,
to stop debating on the status of languages, to complete the structural
reforms and to finalize the basic principles of the foreign policy.

As a result of this consultation, the political forces I have named have
supported the ideas of the Universal. Based on what I have said above and
on the arguments we have agreed on, I have decided to nominate Viktor
Yanukovich for Prime Minister. Thereby, I would like to stress once again
that I understand the whole controversy arising in the East and the West
of Ukraine concerning the actual results of the elections and any
candidacy of Prime Minister. I urge my people to understand that today we,
probably, have a unique chance to do what we spoke about on Maidan, what
we are dreaming of every day  how to bring both banks of Dniepr together
in political sense.

I know that there were several ways out of this situation. Neither of them
would change the political results of the elections. The result of the
political elections would be almost the same as what we have today. I
would like to ask you, dear friends, when bringing this idea home to
people, to realize that the past elections, their reality, their
democratic nature, have confirmed the fact that Ukraine has two polarities
in its choice and be there rerun elections or not, we would have almost
the same result. Lets be brave and answer the question: how to form
unitary country?

How to find political arguments, to, at least, start being politically
tolerant for the sake of this country. How to give a chance to the
Ukrainian parliament to actually learn the lessons of parliamentarianism.
The post-electoral events consisted of many stories, many episodes that
have shown the whole depth of this problem. We witnessed not just certain
stories but certain actions  something I find hard to comment on. However,
today we have a chance to start the Maidan policy anew, from clean sheet
to show that through tolerance and co-existence we can attain political
accord and start speaking about goals that will unite rather than separate

Thats why today I am demonstrating one more chance for political unity.
Today, I am meeting the parliament half-way and I think that the
parliament will use this chance constructively. We have got a good
opportunity to alleviate our confrontation, to switch from political war
to political emulation. And finally, perhaps, the most important thing of
all I have said is that today, for the first time ever, we have found the
formula of preserving and promoting the constitutional values of our state
and nation. Thats why I would like to ask you to inform our citizens about
the motive of my independent decision on this issue. I know that whatever
decision the President makes  concerning coalition, selection of people or
some other things  some part of society always rejects it or shows

However, today we better talk about the goals that can unite Ukraine. This
was the only motive of my decision. I would like to say that it is,
probably, for the first time in the last 10 days that people in this
building were not talking about portfolios. The only topic was if our
present political regime is able to promote the constitutional values of
our state, if this does not imply revision of the foreign and domestic
policies, of the program of the President, of the policy we have been
conducting in the last years. That is, in my opinion, today we have talked
about much more important things than the formation of influence zones
even though this problem will also be raised and solved. I believe that
today we must bring great ideas together for the sake of Ukraines
prosperity. We are facing a historic chance to get five years of stable
parliamentary activities. Will our political forces use this chance? You
better ask them this question. Today the President is stretching his hand
to the Parliament, is meeting it half-way and is giving a chance to such a
policy. I am sure that we have all chances to go from political depression
and political uncertainties to political and economic stability. I am sure
that this decision will help our nation to harmonize the system of its
values and actions.

 1999-2006 REGNUM News Agency

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list