Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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So how is Viktor Yushchenko doing?

Eight months after the Orange Revolution, how is Ukraine doing? Well, this BBC report is kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it appears Yushchenko is following Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili in abolishing the most useless organization ever created in the Soviet Union -- the traffic police:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is to disband the country's traffic police because it has proved impossible to stamp out corruption.
He has ordered a decree to be drawn up abolishing the department, which employs 23,000 people.

Mr Yushchenko said his government's efforts at reforming the traffic police had proved unsuccessful.

Traffic police are said to be unpopular with motorists as they impose on the spot fines and often demand bribes.

On the other hand, the second half of this report makes Yshchenko sound a bit... odd.:

Mr Yushchenko, who came to power in January after the disputed presidential elections and Orange Revolution, is also trying to stamp out swearing.

Interfax reports that he told law enforcement officials: "Let's agree: you should leave foul language at home.

"Actually, it would be better if you didn't use it at home either. You are servants of the state. Try to talk without swearing. If anyone can't learn to do this, then write a letter of resignation."

There are many, many problems afflicting Ukraine. I think excessive swearing is not up at the top of that list.

posted by Dan on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM


I wasn't very happy with some of the stuff I saw coming out of Ukraine. Some articles that got pointed out to me were:

Betraying A Revolution


Ukraine Economic Growth Slumps

I really want to be optimistic. :)

posted by: Caliban on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

I read the article as saying that Yuschenko wanted to stamp out swearing only among "law enforcement officers", who were supposed to resign if they think they can't "leave [it] at home". Not so strange if your goal is to make the police more bearable for the general public.

posted by: Michael on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

Hows his face?

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

Nobody trusts the police--the militsya--here. Anything that can be done to make them more accessible would be a good thing especially if they ever got it into their heads to simply enforce the law. But it will take a lot to make them more accessible. The people here will do a whole lot to just stay out of their way. On-the-spot fines and bribes are one thing. Beatings are another thing entirely. And they do happen.

The problem is the populism of Tymoshenko. She interferes in the economy with administrative measures and that interference causes shortages but her popularity goes up because she sticks it to the Russians and the new kulaks--the middleman.

The real fear is that Yuschenko gets the blame for any downturn that happens but Tymoshenko ends up the hero of the people and head of state. If that happens it looks now like that will mean that liberalizing the economy and the government will, at least, be on hiatus for awhile.

They have sped up Yuschenko's ability to get rid of the dioxin. But it still takes its toll on his face.

posted by: scott on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

"Underwear will be changed twice a day. It will be worn on the outside -- so we can check." Woody Allen, "Bananas".

posted by: Dave F on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

OTOH, perhaps civility among civil servants can be thought of as falling under the 'broken windows' theory of creating a functional community.

posted by: epobirs on 07.20.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

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