Сергей Лебеденко

It is better to go every year to the elections than at the barricades!

October 15, 2014 – this date will be included in the recent history of our country. On this day in Ukraine the law “On the purification of power” (lustration) was published. The law defines the legal and organizational framework for the inspection of officials “in order to restore the confidence in the authorities and create conditions for the construction of a new system of government authorities in accordance with European standards”.

The law comes into effect on the day following its publication. Conduction of the lustration of government officials was one of the requirements of the participants of the Maidan and one of its major achievements.

According to some analysts conduction of the lustration will take 2-3 years. Furthermore, the cost of the lustration process will be high.

Lustration idea isn’t new and it has been tested – post-Socialist countries, where the communist regimes had fallen, went through the purification of the state machine. The main criterion by which the officials were filtered, was collaboration with the Communist Party and the KGB – Committee for State Security (or similar security services of these countries).

In our country in February 2005, after the victory of the “Orange Revolution”, the media reported on the development of two draft laws on lustration. But these draft laws “were lost and forgotten”, as they were dangerous for the officials and functionaries.

This is where the questions arise:
How the people of Ukraine can support the lustration and not let it imperceptibly die away after a while?
How to control the power to be completely purified?
How to speed up the process of lustration as 2-3 years is a long enough period of time?
How to make the officials who “have hidden” in time, not to return on their positions after a while?

Exactly these questions make some doubts that the process of lustration will not to be held “for pro-forma”.

It’s no-so-secret that people’s trust in government is destroyed, started reforms are taken with some degree of doubt in their efficiency. And regarding the lustration they voice concerns that lustrators can be bribed (taking into account the level of corruption in our country and the financial abilities of the corrupt officials)...

To renew the confidence in the government, to speed up the process of purification of power and direct participation of the people in it, we offer a simple and efficient mechanism: annual elections of not only deputies, but also functionaries!

Moreover, local functionaries: district, city, regional! If officials of the highest level are able to be checked by Lustration committee rather quickly and professionally, the local officials and local courts, “protecting” each other, can circle the wagons. Million bureaucratic army hardly goes down without a fight.

We believe that only annual elections of deputies and functionaries will be able to support, complement and strengthen the lustration.

People in the field usually know who and for what amount of money has bought his position, they know how much the decision of any question costs, who and to whom gives “backing” – as we know “you cannot hide a cat in a bag”. And if lustrators can hypothetically be bribed or deceived, the local voters will not elect corrupt and inefficient functionaries for the new term! Thus, dishonest, corrupt, and just unprofessional officials will be removed from power in a civilized and peaceful manner.

Annual elections will help to establish a dialogue and interaction between the government and the people, allow getting within 2-3 years professional managers and then, voters may be able to decide for themselves if they will renew the tenure of an official, whose honesty and competence doesn’t give rise to doubt.

An agreement between the parties concerned will be reached: between “customer” – the people and the “executor” – an official. Thus corruption component is almost excluded in the appointment of an official: he will be elected by the people, thus, he can “bribe” his voters only with the help of his professional qualities, honesty and professionalism. And an official will be elected on the short term – 1 year, so bribing with other methods that are sometimes used in the elections will become unpractical.

Maximum efficiency, we think, will be achieved if we reduce the number of participants in the process: customer – executor.

Our offer is based on scientific studies of scholars, particularly on the works of Ronald Harry Coase. The world community has come to this conclusion many years ago. A famous scientist Ronald Harry Coase formulated the principle of successful cooperation between the state and the people, for which he received the Nobel Prize, and proved that the state is not able to resolve questions of externalities (external effects) optimally. It cannot correctly estimate the size of the external expenses, it cannot compare the expenses and benefits, reconcile the interests of the parties.  Its participation in such processes is very expensive. Therefore, the problem can be solved only by an agreement between the parties concerned. In the case of the whole country it is between the government and the people. The people, as it should be, act as the customers, and deputies and officials are the executors. To achieve such cooperation, it is necessary to change the current state system.

In addition to all of the above mentioned, annual elections will reduce the costs on the purification of power because they will be carried out by the contributions of candidates. Taking into account that about a million of deputies and officials will be elected, and the costs of elections are around 1.2 billion hryvnias, the registration fee of each candidate will be small enough and affordable for everyone.

Summarizing the global experience and science, we can carry out the purification of power with maximum efficiency, in a shorter period of time, establish cooperation between the citizens of Ukraine and the government and form administrative machine out of honest professionals, elected by the people.

Date: 15 October 2014