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The Government Of The Modern Ukraine Politics Essay

Info: 2262 words (9 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in Politics

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Modern Ukraine considered to be the most important post-soviet country for political researches in the world (excluding Russia). Ukraine is the second biggest country in Europe with good geographical position, big population, strong economical, scientific and cultural potential.

In our days the Ukrainian government executes the program of the further development of democratic institutions, leads the political course of integration with Europe. On the other hand Ukraine has many historical, economical and cultural connections with modern Russia and the Russian influence remains strong.

Deep economical and political crisis highly affects the fundamental and complex problem of modern Ukraine: to be a member of European Union or to develop closer relations to the Russian Federation.

All political processes in modern Ukraine depend mostly upon the ideological split of the society: about half of population living in the West and in center of the country is European orientated people and the other half of population from the East and South prefer closer connections with Russia.

The main target of this work is to analyze how historical, cultural, political and economical aspects define the existence of Ukraine in the modern world and how they affect the decisions of the Ukrainian authorities.

1. The geopolitical aspect of modern Ukraine

1.1. The geographical position

The territory of Ukraine lies in a center of Eastern Europe with such neighbors as Russia, Belorussia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. The country has an entrance to the Black and Azov seas; it is rich in natural resources such as natural gas, oil, metals, coil and many others. Such favorable geographical position gives the country an opportunity to develop many important trading and transition relationships both with Asia and Europe and makes it the subject of interest to many different political forces inside and outside the country.

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1.2. The political history of Ukraine

The history of Ukraine has much in common with the history of Russia and Europe. During the Kyivan Rus’ period (10-13 century) the capital of Ukraine the city of Kiev was the center of all Eastern Slavic civilization. Kyivan Rus’ united Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian territories. The “official” end of Kyivan Rus as treated in modern historiography, came with the Mongol invasion of 1237, which began a new era in East Slavic history. For most historians, the Mongol invasion serves as a turning point at which Russian history begins to follow one path, while the histories of Ukraine and Belarus take another. (Plokhy, Serhii, 2009).

After the Great Northern War, one part of the Ukrainian territory belonged to Russian and the other – to Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Not long after the First World War, Ukraine became a member of the USSR, and only after the Soviet Union dissolution in 1991, it became a fully independent country though it maintained strong political relations with Russia.

The “Orange revolution” in 2004 resolved in significant turnover of the political course of the country. Newly elected government manifested the political plan of building a more democratic country together with joining EU and NATO. Many political decisions of the new government concerning the national language, cultural and historical values ignored in many ways interests of Russian orientated population all over the Ukraine and led to the significant decline in Russian-Ukraine relationships.

The victory of Viktor Yanukovich in the country’s fifth presidential election in 2010 marks an important milestone not only for Ukraine’s domestic politics, but also for its foreign conduct. Yanukovich – in contrast to his fierce rival Yulia Timoshenko – is generally assumed to be the more pro-Russian leader who could restore friendly and pragmatic relationships with Russian Federation (Härtel, André, 2010).

2. The political system of Ukraine

2.1 Key political institutions

Ukraine is a semi presidential republic with separated power system. The executive power is presented by the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers with the Prime Minister in charge. The President of Ukraine is the main guarantor of the constitution, laws, and civic rights. He is elected directly by voters (citizens of Ukraine) for a five year period. The Cabinet of ministers manages economic policy, domestic and international trading activity, scientific and cultural development of the country, develops and fulfils different kinds of national projects. It is responsible to the President and the Parliament of Ukraine. The Prime minister carries out the functions of management of the Cabinet of ministers. He is appointed by the Parliament of Ukraine on the basis of the Presidential proposition.

The sole legislative body of Ukraine is Parliament called Verkhovnaya Rada which consists of 450 deputies, elected on the term of four years by universal secret ballot. The main functions of Verkhovnaya Rada are: making and adopting laws, approving the state budget, determining home and foreign policy, electing judges and others.

Judicial system of Ukraine consists of the Constitutional Court, which confirms the legitimacy of government legislative acts and four level system of general jurisdiction courts: high courts, local courts, appeals courts and supreme court which guarantees protection of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms, rights and legal interests of juridical persons, interests of society and state ensured by the Constitution of Ukraine (Web portal of Ukrainian Government).

2.2 Main problems of the political system

In the last three years the major problem of the political system of Ukraine was the confrontation between the President and the Prime minister. During the period of Yushchenko (President of the Ukraine 2005-20100 and Tymoshenko (Prime-Minister 2005-2010) rule, there were many incidents, when each political force disregarded each others decisions. Political crisis in Ukraine continued till the beginning of 2010 and caused numerous problems in political and economical spheres of the country.

In present time there is a fully mutual understanding between the newly elected President, Government and Parliament of the country but while there are several important factors which influence the government’s decision (such factors will be discussed further) there is no sufficient guarantee of the political stability of the county.

3. Identities and problems of the Ukrainian society

3.1 Civil society and cultural values

In our days Ukraine is a modern industrial society. In the last 18 years of its independence many important institutions of civil society have been developed: independent mass media, different religious organizations, labor unions, such as the independent union of miners, labor unions of drivers, metallurgists and national labor union. The political system has transformed in order to satisfy the interests of different social groups. For example, political party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs represents interests of small and corporate business, Motherland Party – interests of Russian community and so on.

The culture of Ukraine has its roots in Russian and European cultural traditions but it is also very authentic. Such Ukrainian writers as Taras Shevchenko and Gogol, musicians as Mykola Lysenko and Mykola Leontovych are well-known around the world.

The dominant religion of Ukraine is Christianity (mainly orthodox) though Judaism, Islam, Protestantism and other religions are also well represented and do not cause any serious religious conflicts.

But there are many problems Ukraine must solve on its way towards developing democratic and liberal values.

3.2 The problem of corruption

The first problem is the problem of corruption, which deepens by lack of the middle class power. Ukraine’s political and economic elite focuses on pursuing a narrow set of private and corporate interests. A small minority of Ukrainians, through civil-society organizations, continue to attempt to solve social problems and to make the elite accountable for its actions while the majority of the populace, though, is convinced that they have no effective influence on or control over the elite. Equally importantly, the middle class tends to resolve economic and business-related issues by using contacts in the bureaucracy, rather than fighting for reform and long-term changes (Stewart, Susan, 2010).

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3.3. The issue of Russian community over the country

Another significant problem, that affects the government decisions, is the ethnical aspect. About 78 percent of the population of Ukraine are ethnic Ukrainians and 17 percent are Russians. Russians living in Ukraine today share a linguistic identity and a general sense of connection and cultural closeness to Russia, though many ethnic Ukrainians also speak Russian as their first language and feel an affinity with Russia (Helbig, Buranbaeva, Mladineo 2009). Therefore, more then half of Ukrainians support all the Government’s and President’s decisions directed towards developing better relationships with Russia. But other part of nation is highly against them. For instance, signed agreement in April, 2010 between Ukraine and Russia regarding Sevastopol Russian Navy Base caused affirmative responses of the Crimean society but also resolved in large protest actions in Kiev.

4. The political and economical interests

The major interest of very different political and economical groups lies in the Energy sphere of Ukraine and concerns mostly Ukraine’s Gas transport system (which is the biggest Gas Transport system in Europe). Struggles between Russian and Ukrainian authorities on gas pricing cause systematic halts in Gas transition to Europe and result in huge energy problems in countries, which highly depend on Russian energy recourses (Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Greece and others).

Though the Ukrainian leadership can be blamed for its slow reform of the energy market and its inability to prevent strong oligarchs from seeking high intermediary rents, the Russians from the very beginning used the Gazprom – monopoly to exert political pressure on Ukraine (Härtel, André, 2010). While the gas problem remains important and concerns interests of Russian, Ukrainian and European consumers of the natural gas, it is vital for the Ukraine authorities to develop rational politic in Energy sphere.

The second big energy market in Ukraine is oil. Today it has great potential for the development of facilities – both in drilling and refining oil (almost 40 per cent of the facilities in existing oil refineries are not utilized yet). Many companies source their oil from the Ukrainian energy market, however, a great number of them support Russian interests. Ukraine needs European investors to enter their market (Viter, Pavlenko, Honchar, 2006).

Conclusion

As it was shown in this research, Ukraine has a big potential to become a modern, economically developed country with high level of life. But to realize its potential, Ukraine, at first, has to stabilize political and economical situation.

It is extremely important for the Ukraine’s government to rearrange the process of decision making according to the principles of reason and accord, to reform the industrial and energy sector, to make proper conditions for the further development of civil society and middle class.

Ukraine has a possibility to become a fully democratic country only if authorities, political and economical elites will find a solution, which can unite the whole nation, in order to achieve strategic objectives of the country: war on poverty and corruption, lessening the level of unemployment, rising of the living standards and etc.

Historical and cultural legacy, geographical and economical place of Ukraine in the modern world defines the necessity of having good relations both with Russia and European Union. Such relations, based on respect and concern of different political and ethnical interests inside and outside the country, will support Ukraine in its further development of democratic institutions and solving economical problems.

Sources

Härtel, André. “Back to the Future? Ukrainian-Russian Relations After Kyiv’s Presidential Election.” Russian Analytical Digest. 16 March 2010. Web. 29 April 2010

Plokhy, Serhii. The Origins of the Slavic Nations. Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. United States of America, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

“Supreme Court of Ukraine.” Web Portal of Ukrainian Government. Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Web. 29 April 2010

Stewart, Susan. “Ukraine’s greatest challenge?” European Voice 13 January 2010. Web. 29 April 2010

Helbig, Adriana, Oksana Buranbaeva & Vanja Mladineo. Culture and customs of Ukraine. United States of America, Westport: Greenwood Press, 2009. Print.

Viter, Olena, Rostyslav M. Pavlenko & Mykhaylo Honchar. Ukraine: Post-revolution Energy policy and Relations with Russia. United Kingdom, London: GMB Publishing Ltd, 2006. Print

 

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