International political strategist Aron Shaviv has presented fresh research on public opinion about the current problems facing Ukraine.
A key finding of the new survey, which was carried out by the respected Gorshenin Institute of Kyiv, was the feeling reflected by most of the respondents that Kyiv lacked “any true political opposition” to act as a counter-balance to the government.
In today’s political climate, a very significant segment of the population feels disenfranchised, and this leads to heightened political instability, it says.
Shaviv, CEO of “Strategy and Campaigns”, was speaking at the Brussels launch of the initiative, called “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”
Other speakers at the conference included Deputy Director of the Gorshenin Institute Viktor Sokolov, who presented the conclusions of the opinion poll, which covered 2,000 respondents – but excluded the residents of Lugansk and Donetsk.
Reflecting the views of the European Parliament was Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker, who expressed “frustration” that more could not be done to secure the release of Ukrainian MP Nadia Savchenko.
He said, “She is a heroine,” he said, “and I urge her to stop her hunger strike; Ukraine needs her. We all want her to live, and despite the diplomatic pressure, there is no sign of her imminent release.”
Brussels based consultant Gregory Mathieu pointed out that diplomacy has so far not delivered her freedom, and that the EU’s policy of sanctions is not geared to achieving quick results.
“The EU’s policy of sanctions against Russia is not contributing to the need to find a solution for a better future and building a reconciliation process,” he said.
Boguslaw Gertruda, of the European External Action Service, underlined the importance of the forthcoming Support Conference for Ukraine that is organised by the EU together with the Ukrainian Government.
It will bring together international financial institutions and donor governments to examine what could be done to work constructively with Ukraine in the light of the agreed programme for implementing reforms over the next 2-3 years to develop a recovery programme to attract much needed foreign direct investment.
Speaking at Brussels press club on behalf of the business lobby, James Wilson, of the EU Ukraine Business Council, said, “Cities and Regions in Ukraine must have access to budget to implement their own capital expenditure programmes, thereby empowering local businesses so they can create local jobs and generate wealth creation in the regions.”
On this, Shaviv said, “For there to be reconciliation there needs to be a process for the government to allow political opposition – even strong opposition – to operate freely in domestic politics.
“This would make the government stronger and lead to reconciliation in society. The days of zero sum politics in Ukraine are over.”
By Martin Banks