Until 1991, the goal of the progressive forces was to overthrow the totalitarian regime and gain independence. - Stalen Deuren Online » Stalen Deuren Online
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Until 1991, the goal of the progressive forces was to overthrow the totalitarian regime and gain independence. - Stalen Deuren Online

Until 1991, the goal of the progressive forces was to overthrow the totalitarian regime and gain independence.

However, in both countries there were serious difficulties with the elite to develop such an idea at the start of reforms. Until 1991, the goal of the progressive forces was to overthrow the totalitarian regime and gain independence. And when this happened, it turned out that a vacuum had been created in the field of nationwide goal-setting, the filling of which has not yet been completed.

However, despite the significant similarities in the genesis of the elite cohorts of Ukraine and Russia, a number of significant differences emerged between them at the beginning of the Reformation period.

Due to the fact that the central issues of management of the main branches of public life of Ukraine have long been resolved outside its borders, the Ukrainian elite has a strong tendency to subordination – domestic rulers did not have the experience of top government, which was absolutely necessary at this stage. This led to the fact that decisions were often made on the model of Moscow, and not in accordance with national interests.

In addition, there was a certain slowdown in many actions of the authorities. The Russian elite did not have such a flaw. A significant number of its representatives in Soviet times were involved in nationwide decision-making. In addition, Russians have become accustomed to viewing the former Soviet republics as part of their sphere of government, which has often been reflected in Russia’s foreign policy toward “abroad” states, including Ukraine.

Among the “genetic” features of Russia’s political elite should also be noted mostly a higher level of professionalism. This is due to the common practice in the Soviet period of transferring the best staff to the Moscow center, as well as the concentration there of central authorities, advanced scientific, research institutions, whose activities were provided at the expense of all republics. Indicative in this aspect is the presence in Russia of a whole school of diplomacy, which has yet to be formed in the country.

It is also worth mentioning that in Russia in 1991 people came to power who took an active part in the overthrow of the USSR and the election of a democratic course of development. Instead, external factors played a greater role than internal ones in Ukraine’s independence. That is why a large part of the Ukrainian establishment perceived Ukrainian statehood only as a temporary, opportunistic phenomenon that has no real basis, and the choice of a democratic path of development – exclusively as a populist slogan, the use of which helps to join the levers of power.

In addition, the team of politicians led by Boris Yeltsin, who came to power in Russia, gained considerable experience in the struggle for statehood and independence in the long confrontation with the allied bodies, which continued to exist. This confrontation was significantly exacerbated by the fact that both centers of power in the conditions of the “parade of sovereignty” focused only on Russia’s internal resources. Instead, the Ukrainian elite did not experience such a struggle. When in Russia the situation required the leadership of the RSFSR to legitimize itself by appealing to the masses and gaining experience in public policy, a large part of the Ukrainian partner nomenklatura gained power, bypassing this stage.

In addition, it is worth noting the more active position of Russia’s regional elites at this stage. It was conditioned by the fact that in the conditions of the collapse of the USSR the process of sovereignty of the republics in some way affected the autonomous republics of the Russian Federation. The new central government had to make considerable efforts to maintain autonomy in a single legal field [1, p. 658 – 659]. These processes led to an increase in the role of regional elites in Russia at the beginning of this period. In Ukraine, however, all power was concentrated in the capital, which slowed down the process of forming full-fledged regional elites.

The influence of state-building traditions on the ruling classes of both states was also of great importance. Historical experience shows that Ukrainians are more prone to democracy, while Russians have more traditions of authoritarian rule. As I. Kukolev notes, political governance in Russia with its complex climatic and geographical relief and socio-economic structure traditionally requires monolithic, closed elite groups [9, p. 87].

These traits cannot be evaluated unambiguously positively or negatively. Thus, Ukrainian democracy, the tendency to collective decision-making undoubtedly increase the chances of building a European-style state. However, often these same qualities stand in the way of consolidation of both society and elites to address the essential challenges of modernization. Instead, the use of authoritarian methods can be the only way to quickly and effectively overcome the crisis that has engulfed all spheres of society.

Thus, we see that the ruling classes of the Russian Federation and Ukraine had a significant number of common features, which is primarily due to the predominance of the old Soviet elite in their ranks. This factor explains a certain parallelism in the development of modernization processes in both countries, which was particularly clear in the early 1990s.

However, a number of political, economic, geographical factors have determined the essential features of each of these elite groups. This difference led to a difference in the modernization trajectories along which the states moved. It should be acknowledged that at the time of the collapse of the USSR and the former republics gained independence, the Ukrainian elite was inferior to the Russian elite in many respects, and its potential to become a subject of real modernization seemed weaker.

The need for modernization poses a significant number of challenges to all groups in society. The success of transformations depends on the joint work of all its parts. However, in the transition period, special responsibility rests with the elite. The success of modernization changes largely depends on how effectively and in a timely manner it will respond to external and internal challenges. These challenges arise in all spheres of public life without exception, and the lack of an adequate response to them can lead to crises that slow down the entire reform process, will lead to its collapse.

In the political sphere, the main task of the elite at the initial stage of social transformations was the transition of all its representatives to state positions, the formation on this basis, so to speak, of a basic internal elite consensus. In Russia, this issue was quite acute – the confrontation with the allied authorities played a significant consolidating role. Another important factor was that the leaders of the movement for the sovereignty of the RSFSR eventually led the transformation. The long traditions of Russian statehood also gave no reason to doubt the ability of Russia as an independent subject of international relations.

In Ukraine, on the other hand, the issue of national sovereignty did not have the unequivocal support of all segments of the elite. Many of its representatives supported the idea of ​​independence for purely opportunistic reasons. Most members of the nomenklatura, who in fact formed the backbone of the new elite, for a long time considered the Ukrainian state and its independence as something temporary and frivolous, which prompted them to focus solely on their own interests, did not promote fruitful professional activity.

The next task facing the elites of both countries was to develop a strategy and basic principles of modernization in the field of power relations, the implementation of not only formal, institutional, but also real democratization. In Russia, under the auspices of the state leadership, attempts were made to create a scientifically sound strategy for reforming the economic and political spheres of society. It was the program developed by E. Gaidar’s team that formed the basis of the government’s activity, which he himself headed. However, this program was based on misconceptions about the effectiveness of market relations as a means of rapid economic recovery, did not take into account a number of significant features of the economy of the post-Soviet country, and therefore could not be and was not implemented.

In Ukraine, however, the lack of a basic consensus on the cornerstones of state-building, models of economic and political development has led to a situation where the problem of developing a realistic and thorough plan of reform measures has not received sufficient attention from the political elite. Researchers note that there was no systematic and systematic transformation transformed by the authorities [2, p. 81]. The only goal, which was quite clearly traced in her actions, was the actual enrichment of the elite [6, p. 104].

An important condition for the success of modernization is the formation of a clear configuration of power relations. The lack of such a stable balance of power between elite segments and power institutions encourages a constant struggle to expand influence. In these conditions, the solution of the problems of social modernization recedes into the background. In both Ukraine and Russia, the problem of the separation of powers between parliament and the president quickly arose. This confrontation diverted attention from solving urgent economic and political problems. In Russia, elites failed to prevent escalation of tensions, and it came to storming the legislature’s residence. As a result, President Boris Yeltsin was able to concentrate much of his power in his hands, significantly narrowing the powers of the State Duma.

In this way, the problem of “separation of powers” was solved. However, the “non-political” methods of achieving this goal and the too broad powers given to the Russian president, indicate a significant strengthening of authoritarian tendencies and call into question the possibility of building a democratic state here [4, p. 68].

In Ukraine, the contradictions between the executive and legislative branches of government were also perhaps the most important element of the country’s political life summary and setting of a tree grows in brooklyn during the first years of independence. But the solution to this issue did not go beyond the political sphere, and the gradual strengthening of the president’s position took place without the use of brute force. However, the establishment of a stable configuration of powers was significantly delayed, which, accordingly, hampered the implementation of systemic reforms. Thus, we see that in the case of Russia, the response of the elite to this challenge was not adequate to the requirements of democratization, and in Ukraine – belated and incomplete.

In the public sphere, the primary task of the elites was the formation of a new national idea, which could become the basis for the consolidation of society, its focus on the implementation of modernization.