Some warn that the new system will excessively empower the president at the expense of the Council of Ministers and the Rada. Others question how a country can change the distribution of powers without Luhansk and Donetsk, both still occupied by covert Russian forces. Other analysts worry about certain ambiguities in the legislation's language, arguing that the proposed amendment does not adequately distinguish the roles of the central government, regions, and towns. Still, most Ukrainians support decentralization. They want to adopt European standards of governance, and adopting a Polish-style institutional system is as good a way to get there as any.
Amid the skepticism, one area where there is agreement that positive change has taken place is the new patrol police in Ukraine's major cities, including Kyiv. This bright spot comes largely thanks to an influx of former Georgian officials renown for similar achievements in their country.
Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine has struggled to shed its Soviet colonial past and the remaining vestiges of Russian domination. It seeks to join Europe and the world of free nations. The Euromaidan's Revolution of Dignity transformed the country by removing a corrupt dictator and bringing to power a government committed to anchoring Ukraine firmly within the Euro-Atlantic community. Russia responded by resorting to war. It officially annexed Crimea, and then de facto invaded portions of eastern Ukraine. Eighteen months later, entire villages and cities have been destroyed, almost 8,000 lives have been lost, and another 30,000 have been wounded. More than 1.5 million internal refugees have been displaced.
"He wants to give it back to us right now. He doesn't need the Donbas," he said in an interview on October 5.
"Unfortunately, he will try to keep Crimea. He announced the occupation as a big historical victory for Russia so now it's impossible to return the Crimea because many Russians would see it as a political defeat."
In an article in Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Horbulin argues that the main participants in the war have exhausted themselves. The Donbas has become a black hole from which Russia, its creator, cannot escape.
Hybrid war succeeded in Crimea, but it failed in the Donbas. Ukraine's economic blockade of the occupied territories has strained Russia financially. Separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk are incompetent, forcing Moscow to augment its military advisers with administrators. Returning Russian "volunteers" are a problem for Moscow, which has already asked rebels to create a border force to prevent former fighters from coming home to make trouble.
But instead of blaming the omnipresent bogeymen—the oligarchs—let's acknowledge that this view is just too simple to be true. Ukraine's government is often unprepared to kill the beast of underperforming post-Soviet institutions. Parliamentary support of reforms is similarly weak due to internal political rivalries and contradictions within the ruling coalition. The so-called "new professional faces" who got Cabinet posts on the basis of unjustified quotas were neither "new" nor "professional," while civil-society activists—despite their frenzied efforts to advocate change—are often disunited and too inexperienced to replace the government in the strenuous and intellectually demanding process of political reform.