NOTE: this is a blog post from 2016 not 2023!
I like it when I learn a new word.
In the Ukraine only, the word ‘lustration’ means you are unemployable as a civil servant if you worked for the President of Ukraine between 2010-2014 and/or served the Soviet Communist Party as an agent, spy, informant, saboteur, insurrectionist or ethnocrat.
My heart goes out to them, in a way. All those spies on the dole-queue trying to look inconspicuous.
Apparently there was a revolution of sorts circa-2014, and the voice of the disgruntled horde spoke as one. The new government claimed to have listened, and by enforcing lustration are slowly filling their ranks with fresh faces, driving Soviet-era cronyism and corruption out of Ukrainian politics.
Or at least I think that’s what they’re saying. It’s hard to make our the finer inflections when they’re all snout-down at the trough.
Embarrassed by the Panama Papers scandal, what did these post-Soviet kleptocrats do? They bait and switch. The fat-cats have promoted slender-kittens into senior civil service positions as prima facie evidence of their determination to purge the old Soviet apparatchiks and make way for a new generation of energetic young reformers.
That way nobody will notice while they wheelbarrow stacks of loot into offshore accounts. Instead, the public will be alternately outraged or engrossed by the social-media frenzy swirling around new Deputy Interior Minister Anastasia Deyeva, aged 23.
Or Chief of Customs Yulia Marushevska, aged 27.
Or head of the Justice Ministry’s anti-corruption department, Anna Kalynchuk, aged 23.
Like all good magic-tricks, it’s important to watch the hands. Chief among the old-hands is the current President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire oligarch who was possibly the most exposed individual in the Panama Papers for dodging tax on a colossal scale.
His right-hand man, Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, must be a true financial genius if he somehow survived on the measly $7000 personal income he declared last year. Not at all assisted by the foreign directorships he still maintains, apparently for gratis.
You don’t need to see pictures of these gentlemen because we all know what old-school Euro-bloc powerbrokers look like. They resemble a rugby player’s knee, or a Russian mobster’s face.
These guys are hiring the next generation of Ukrainian leaders. On the basis of merit, they insist, because it defintely isn’t on the basis of experience.
But perhaps there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the Ukrainians. Not a new light, just a different one, blazing savagely bright with the intensity that powerful self-interest brings. Because just as we’re about to witness a tired old male President of France wearily strapping on his gloves to go three rounds with an energetic female opponent, so too it is in the Ukraine.
Once more, the future is dressed by Prada.
Yulia Timoshenko, millionaire gas oligarch in her own right and twice former Prime Minister of Ukrainem, has set her steely gaze on the ultimate prize. This is all a good thing isn’t it? If we believe that better = younger and that best = female then it makes sense that the best option of all = young female.
The future seems bright for Ukraine.
Short segue — what does this mean for Australia? It means, somebody needs to get Bindi Irwin on the phone to see if she’s available in 2019. She knows everything there is to know about crocodiles, ballroom dancing and what it’s like to grow up entitled.
If I were PM Malcolm Turnbull I’d be sweating in me jocks.