Serhiy MAKEYEV, Ph.D. (Sociology), Institute of Sociology, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences
Obviously, Viktor Yushchenko’s Cabinet has rejected some of the previous government’s “heritage.” It has tried, at least for the time being, to secure itself against all those lobbies with which the previous Cabinet had very complex and far from transparent relationships. The question is, whether it will be able to sever such relationships which can only damage the macroeconomic situation in the first place. Yushchenko’s government is considerably more concerned with its image than previous Cabinets. Hot line is one such example, a purely PR stunt. The Premier walks into a news studio (something unprecedented in Ukraine), produces stacks of papers and communicates with the television audience, checking pages for specific figures. As I said, this is public relations and it must be practiced, because the populace must be aware that the government is not separated from it by a heavy curtain. So far, this is bringing good dividends. After all, what do we ordinary citizens need? We are often content with good intentions, hoping that good deeds will come later. We might even forget about such deeds later, but we traditionally respect good intentions.
Simultaneously, there is a trend making one feel somewhat skeptical. Primarily the age of the Cabinet. The government is too young and trigger- happy in canceling exemptions and privileges. Certain people appear to be guilty for the budget chaos. Well, acting fearlessly is more a skill to create conditions for effective work for the people. Of course, people are quite sensitive about such “surgical intrusions” and the government cannot but take such sentiments into account. Ruthlessness would mean that the budget is always more important than people. In reality, it should be the other way around.
Another thing engendering skepticism is the assurance, maybe even self- assurance that such administrative measures will bring the desired results. We have had enough time to become convinced that there will inevitably be unwelcome results, yet none of the Cabinets has ever mentioned it.