V. POST SCRIPT 2: HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?(xxiii)Among other things, this essay has focussed upon the political shortcomings that weaken democratic accountability in Ukraine, many of which are holdovers from the Soviet political era, and reflect Ukraine's understandably incipient political culture. It was mentioned that weak accountability mechanisms detailed in this paper reflect a void between political officials and the electorate— one that insulates the executive branch from public pressure. However, it is important to place these systemic flaws in context. Ukraine is clearly more democratic now than prior to achieving independence. Ukraine, as a Soviet Republic, experienced Gorbachev's limited "democratizatsia", which was characterized by the first quasi-democratic elections at the all-union level in 1989, as well as Glasnost, which tolerated and even permitted an increase in critical public discourse. As an independent republic, Ukraine held its first parliamentary elections in 1994, and elected its first President in 1992. It has already experienced the peaceful transition of power from one President (Kravchuk) to another (Kuchma), and is in fact one of the few former Soviet Republics not to have experienced parliamentary dissolution and violent conflict. In relation to other FSR's, Ukraine has in fact experienced less political conflict than other countries. The Former Soviet Republics have all experienced executive-legislative conflict to varying degrees. Some FSR's such as Russia and Belarus have resulted in the subversion of legislatures and the implementation Presidential-style Rule through extra-constitutional measures. Some FSR's have become virtual dictatorships, while their economic systems remain Soviet to the core (such as Belarus and Uzbekistan). Ukraine must be given credit for having been one of the only FSR's that has not experienced violent political conflict between the executive and legislative branches. Ukraine's constitution (the last to be proclaimed among the FSR's) involved a bitter 5 year struggle between the communist/socialist factions on one hand, and the much small reform and centrist factions on the other. A potential crisis was averted by an agreement between President Kuchma and the Socialist Chairman of Parliament Olexandr Moroz. Moroz and others have generally played by the democratic rules of the game. The 1996 constitution seemed to regularize relations between the executive and legislative branches. Parliament, if it is able to increase the extent of executive oversight, could be in a position to place stronger pressure on government, if the will exists. (161) It is important to note that despite the weak accountability mechanisms identified above, Ukraine's slow transition to a more democratic regime could slowly foster a democratic political culture, whereby the notion of accountability becomes more endemic to the system.
(xxiii) This section was inspired by the comments of Anna Seleny, Professor of Politics, Princeton University.