Part 1. Soviet party’s nomenclature
In order to understand the nature of the contemporary Ukrainian government it is necessary to understand the nature of its pre-Independence emergence. In the 70s of the last century Ukraine was a reserve of developed socialism, and the Dnepropetrovsk clan controlled the entire USSR. The country was ruled by gerontocrats with merely-born-in-Ukraine Brezhnev, Podgorny and Shcherbytsky among them. The latter was supposed to succeed Brezhnev, but he was beaten at first by Andropov and then by Gorbachev. The Dnepropetrovsk clan would suffer defeat after the death of Brezhnev and never again be allowed to take control of the USSR.
The rise and fall of the Dnepropetrovsk clan is extremely interesting. Its rise was provided by Nikita Khrushchev who had born the title of the Ukrainian mentor for a long time. Nikita Sergeevich was Stalin’s pet, and according to the accounts of eyewitnesses he constantly demonstrated to him the devotion of a dog. However, the general state of affairs was not as simple as it seemed. At the beginning, Khrushchev was devoted to Trotsky, who was considered to be Lenin’s successor for some time, but soon he quickly changed his priorities. Khrushchev’s transition to Stalin turned out to be important. The point is that Khrushchev was representative of the newly made administrators’ class, i. e. the working class. In such a way Stalin became the person who established the new clan of managers out of lower classes of society.
And in such a way managers from the lower classes of society became those who broke up the apparatus of the old Bolsheviks, that in their majority did not belong to the working class at all, but they preached the dictatorship of the proletariat. However, the very same proletariat came and shot this rotten intelligentsia. Khrushchev, by the way, was also hard at his work. It was him who of all others began the fight against Stalin’s cult of personality. But, to tell the truth, at that time Stalin had laid in the Mausoleum for several years. The ironic twist of fate happened when Brezhnev became the key figure in the overthrowing of Nikita Sergeevich.
That was a purely feudal matrix of behavior without any democratic principles. That was a purely feudal tradition to form the elite-to-be from the very bottom of society. One should know about janissaries, oprichniks, and landsknecht. The mission of such characters was to remove the existing aristocracy but without becoming the aristocrats themselves. In other words, this quasi-aristocracy built the vertical power of a particular leader. There was total inaction and servility when the master had a power, but when he lost it he was attacked in order to raise the banner of someone stronger.
Khrushchev was the very same quasi-aristocrat, and he produced the quasi-aristocrats of the same kind. The real aristocracy had never experienced such a rapid advancement. The path from warrior to knight, from knight to baron and so on, was quite long and often spanned several generations. The aristocrat was made as such by other aristocrats and for the society of the upper classes with its own rules, restrictions and norms of behavior. An attention seeker remained a plebeian because environment did not digest him, did not impose certain norms of behavior on him, and did not hold him back in his primitive desires.
But the Soviet system set before the executives from the lower classes and neglected those from the upper and middle strata of society. It was believed that the executive from the lower class had the right class sense and would not betray the class he left. De facto, it was far from reality. By the contrast, it was too close to reality that the workers and peasants taken out of their environment served faithfully to their benefactors. Nevertheless and first of all, the faithfulness of that kind existed as long as the benefactors’ power lasted, and it was nourished by the reluctance to go back to machines and fields. For another thing, faithfulness did not compensate professional qualities. Rapid career advancement did not require deep knowledge and great experience.
The Soviet promotion ladder remained feudal from the time of the Vikings and the Empire and had neither a scientific approach nor any clear rules for the selection of executives. At the same time, this deficiency was often compensated by a slight (as for now) difference between the superior and the subordinate. The willful and stupid superior (often from the lower class) had a clever associate (often from the middle class), and the difference between their salaries and powers was ridiculous. As a rule, this willful and stupid chief arranged unnecessary and pointless activities but soon after that the clever associate took the initiative and corrected everything. There were chiefs who had been drinking very hard for years, completely misunderstood working principles of the enterprises and industries that were entrusted to them. But still everything was working as intended, and the plan was carried out.
It was these people from the lower classes who built a real power vertical which did not care that much about the factory, whether it was in the working condition or not, and about products it manufactured. For this system power was a goal in itself while workers and specialists were considered as serfs.
The national question was extremely important for the Ukrainian Soviet bureaucracy. Many years before the Independence, there was the tacit principle that only representatives of the titular nation could govern the republic. Such strictness in the selection of personnel immediately led to the situation when a representative of any nation could become a Ukrainian with a passport. There were no legal restrictions on this behalf. They said that Brezhnev and Scherbytsky changed nationality several times from Russian to Ukrainian and vice versa. Everything depended on the management conjuncture. In Dnepropetrovsk Brezhnev was a Ukrainian, in Moscow he was a Russian. In Tel Aviv he most likely would be a Jew.
Part 2. From internationalists to nationalists
As we see, the elite of the Ukrainian SSR was prepared morally and technically for the national repainting; all it took was to throw a cry. The formal attitude towards nationality was dictated by the Soviet internationalism, but the situation had changed. The collapse of the USSR led to the property division. Then it immediately became clear that the long-suffering title nation should have received not only the power but also the property.
This was the beginning of the big race for putting on embroidery shirts, growing mustaches and scalplocks, as well as changing the Ukrainian language to the complete misunderstanding by its native speakers. Ilf and Petrov’s Vasisualiy Lokhankin was whipped off by a former prince, now a worker of the East, and in Ukraine of the 90s the descendants from the former party’s nomenclature were worried and anxious about the national question.
The people of this kind were called professional Ukrainians, and their main task was to say «We are not here for you». The communist nomenclature as a response to the demands for normal living conditions shamed the people upon lack of consciousness, and put the whole blame on the hardly surviving bourgeois. The crème de la crème of the day (the very same people, by the way) shamed the people of the newly-born state upon lack of national consciousness and patriotism, and put the whole blame on the intrigues of Russia and the Kremlin. The significance of the authorities had not changed even for a bit, but the language had, although among themselves the new Ukrainians spoke preferably Russian.
As before, there were no criteria and no rules in social elevators. The system «from rags to riches» still worked properly. Earlier, representative of the elite hid his embroidery shirt and put on a jacket and a hat, and now he hid a jacket and a hat and put on his embroidery shirt.
The title of the champion in outfit change race went to Leonid Kravchuk, the ideologist of Ukrainian communists, and as a prize for rejecting communism and internationalism he received the governance over Europe’s the largest and the most technically developed country. Two aspects were important here – it was the Soviet nomenclature that had the gift of mimicking anything and anytime, as it had beaten not only mid-level communists, professional executives («red» directors, successful collective farm managers), but also … drum roll, please … anti-Soviet forces and ideological nationalists.
The second aspect was that people with no matter what ideology (communist, fascist or liberal) came off losers. No distinct outlines of the new state and the new society were presented. The nomenclature kept waiting for the cat to jump even at that time, and the more obscure and illegible the principles of the new state were, the easier it was to mimic.
Nationalism presupposed national egoism, but the egoism that led the new leaders of the state was not national. It was personal. The country did not occupy any important positions in the international distribution of labor, lost its competitiveness and standard of living, but its elite was enriched rapidly. In the majority of cases, this enrichment was based on mimicry, quasi-state, quasi-idea and quasi-culture. In reality, the state gave up its economic and political positions, lost the opportunity to protect its citizens and first of all in social aspects, the culture and education level of the population fell, and the idea, if you remove the national decor from it, was easy to describe with the phrase of the character from Dostoevsky’s novel «The Demons»: everything is allowed!
Part 3. «Wannabe» businessmen
The Soviet economy, which, as we know, was managed on a command-and-control basis, made a sharp turn and began to build command-and-control capitalism. Capitalism was based on a private initiative, and the new elite determined who should have had this initiative, and who should not. The competition in big business (the rest parts were less affected) as the engine of progress, was out of the question.
The new elite, having won a victory over a couple of effective managers with the help of mimicry, seized not only the power but also the property, and were actively enriched by the collapse of the economy. It was difficult to call this business; it was rather feudal wars of clans. And the closer the clan was to the honeypot, the more chances he had for survival. That is why the war for the granary of the new homeland was of crucial significance.
The Soviet party farm activists circumvented the advocates of nationalist mimicry when they actively fought against the communists (i. e. against their former colleagues), and took the power. In such a way, parties without any ideology at all emerged. It was another tradition, since long before the Independence there was a propaganda that communism would come and everyone would have everything in abundance. But soon after that they began assuring that the market would come and make everyone rich. With such pseudo-liberal rhetoric the existing wrangles possessed criminal traces, and therefore the most advanced members of the criminal world were called to the elite. They had the experience in seizing, dividing and preserving assets. Thus, pretty criminal concepts flourished under the liberal signboard.
They passed in silence the fact that the market could not make everyone rich; the same they did with the explanation of the communism essence. New administrative-command businessmen did not become rich because of the market, they became as such due to their position, i. e. the vertical power. In fact, there was no difference between the Soviet elite, but the revenues were larger in thousand times, and the lack of party discipline made it possible to put aside ostentatious austerity.
Since the effective managers, who were already experiencing an acute shortage, were taken off the production, the country began to trade primarily in raw materials. It was the limit of the intellectual abilities of the new command and administrative entrepreneurs. All this led to a huge social stratification of the state. And then the discontentment arose because, as they say, it was not the Ukraine they wanted to create. And the first Maidan burst out.
Part 4. Populists vs. «wannabe» businessmen
The management simplification took place not only in the economy; it was also noticed in the media sphere. The focus of the media shifted to the quantity of information and its emotionality. The quality of information was deliberately underestimated in order to expand the number of its consumers. Psychologists say that the easiest thing is to cause anger and aggression in a person. That is how the era of evil clowns in politics began.
Now hatred of authorities became the main trend. A brand new profession emerged – a permanent authority denouncer. The power was given to journalists who were very pretty with the words and able to entice the audience with negative emotions. The ability to analyze was not among the advantages of such specialists. Who cares about analysis? Politics needs scandals!
Block head businessmen were very indifferent to the emergence of professional hell-raisers as all decisions were made in the shadow, behind the scenes. What could have happened from the media empty talk? It was a mistake that costed the whole fortunes and sometimes even the lives of business troubleshooters. The media hype raised the Maidan in 2004, and the power breaking pseudo-businessmen did not have the answer. Well, that is true that financially they had by the throat all the media but they did not have any content experts, and therefore the financial slipknot was useless. All this happened first of all because they entrusted the role of supervisors to the very same power brokers as they were, i. e. to people who understood the schemes, but who did not understand the main products, in this case, the quality and strength of information flows.
Narrow-minded businessmen did not understand the difference between the very mediocre Yushchenko and Yushchenko’s image in the media, its transmission to the people. The media, especially those receiving suitcases of money from Yanukovych, made Yushchenko the messiah, the second Jesus Christ. There were those who did not believe in this image, but how could they resist the mainstream? And voila – Yushchenko and his team reached the top of the government.
But it turned out that for the power brokers nothing terrible had happened. Yushchenko and his comrades climbed to the very tip of the iceberg, and the entire submerged part remained to those who resolved the issues. Yushchenko, however, could not satisfy the appetites of his comrades even theoretically, and therefore the squabbling began, his influence weakened, and the troubleshooters increasingly laid their hands on it more than ever. The problem was only in the fact that the number of power brokers and political brawlers grew to inconceivable amount. It seemed they were so numerous, like cockroaches.
Part 5. A man with a gun
After the first Maidan power brokers believed in their omnipotence. Who cares who will be on the throne? Everything is going to be sorted out and agreed. That is why the shaft of incriminating information and cries of the accusers did not worry them much. They scream and then shut up. And when the second Maidan began, the troubleshooters, as a rule, waited for it to fade. The fact that the But the first Maidan had not become extinct, moreover it had helped to achieve everything that was wanted. However, this fact did not embarrass them, because the Maidan achieved only precious little – Yushchenko’s victory. That is why it was decided to offer the premiership to Yatsenyuk, and after that to dump on him the whole negative stuff.
But then a man with a gun intervened. With a gun, in a balaclava and with Molotov cocktails. Where did he come from? We know that the power brokers were so strong thanks to splicing of the criminal world and bureaucracy. At that time the scheme seemed to be eternal, reliable and impenetrable. But might did not make right. Populists, i. e. political brawlers merged with the criminals as well. Now everything that previously they had tried to hide from the people was exposed with pride.
In other words, previously the raiders had come to the entities secretly, without noise, now they went there in broad daylight, under the cameras and got up to what they wanted. No, of course they did not put the irons to the stomachs of their victims, but they launched the whole gentleman’s set of Red Guards.
For such ideas it was no longer necessary to have at least some kind of intelligence.
A brief outline
Well, the quasi-communists gave birth to the quasi-bourgeoisie, the quasi-bourgeoisie generated the quasi-clever denunciators, and the denunciators procreated the quasi-heroes (real heroes went to die on their own accord). Ukraine already has enormous, perhaps irrecoverable, losses in the genetic pool due to the death of sincere passionaries and the emigration of the cautious and impoverished Ukrainians. But our article is not about that, it is about the evolution of political life in Ukraine. Well, what are the main trends that can be observed?
- The decay of politicians’ intelligence. In comparison to the politicians of the recent past modern politicians have to think over and answer for their words much less. The experience of leadership, management, worldly wisdom does not matter. If the first prime minister of Ukraine, Kuchma, led a unique production association that launched rockets into space, the current one led just a market in Vinnytsia.
- There is a growing difference between an ordinary politician and his boss. The first deputies of independent Ukraine lived some time on C-rations of the Soviet nomenclature, i. e. their welfare differed from the ordinary people only in nutrition quality. Respectable pro-European politician of the day has serious assets abroad, and Mr. X in the balaclava is often marginal, having lost hope for a quiet life without poverty. This difference grows to inconceivable rates.
- The decay of such concepts as word, analysis, and civil conviction. According to Mao, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
It is clear enough that the next class of politicians will consist of those who finally make people remove guns. But their primary task will consist in shouting down the denunciators and overplaying the quasi-bourgeoisie. And they should also take into account that speculation for an intelligence fall cannot end well.