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An appeal to my countrymen:
Like so many other Ukrainian families, World War II cast my family on distant shores far from their beloved Ukraine, which I am now privileged to call my “fatherland”. Though I grew up in the United States.. Ukraine, from childhood, has never been far from my thoughts.
I realize how difficult your life has been and how much you yearn for some peace, prosperity, dignity, and security in your native land – all the blessings now enjoyed in Europe and North America. I will not presume to “instruct” you on the forthcoming Verkhovna Rada elections. There is much you can teach me concerning Ukrainian politics. But I have always found it helpful – when there are many choices and the stakes are great – to consider the perspective of an outsider and factor that into my decision. And, to the extent that we both share the same dreams for Ukraine, I hope this letter may be of value to you.
The first thing that I would consider is the effect of these elections on the very nature of Ukraine’s power structure. The last thing Ukraine needs is a single political party dominating both its executive and legislative branches. Power corrupts and absolute power – even one with a smiling face – corrupts absolutely. Entrusting such power to a party that barely existed just a few weeks ago, and without any sense of who will be the “players”, and where it wants to lead Ukraine would be reckless for Ukraine’s future. Americans, despite a well developed system of checks and balances and an independent judiciary, rarely entrust such power to their government. Ukraine is at greater risk than the U.S..
Second, I would look for a party with viable alternatives to ending the war but without concessions to the aggressor. The only one that offers an alternative is General Smeshko’s “Strength and Honor” party which advocates the Budapest Memorandum as a replacement for the moribund Minsk “process”. The Memorandum is the only recognized international treaty that allows Ukraine to invoke direct 4-party talks (U.S., UK. Ukraine, and Russia) of Russia’s breach of its “assurances” regarding Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russia may ignore Germany and France but is more respectful of its U.S. and U.K. treaties.
Third, I would look for the party that has advocated ( long before it became politically popular) the fundamental transformation of Ukraine’s social, political, and economic “order” as key to its prosperity and growth. Mere reform is helpful but does not address the root of Ukraine’s problem with tariffs, corruption, monopolies and oligarchic control. The first test such a party must pass is clear evidence that it receives no support from oligarchs or those tainted by corruption including oligarchic or pro-Kremlin media outlets.
Fourth, I would look for the party which advocates substitution of the current system of rule by robber barons, with the rule of law, an independent and honest judiciary, a competitive market economy, expansion of small and mid-sized businesses, and incentives for economic growth. Such incentives would include the creation of jobs through renewal and modernization of Ukraine’s infrastructure, land reform and land banks focused on protecting and enhancing Ukrainian ownership and productivity of their land, and ensuring that the Ukrainian citizen is the primary beneficiary of the nation’s abundant energy resources.
Lastly, (and most importantly) I would look for the party that renounces polemics and cheap campaign promises but provides detailed, serious answers and solutions, and consists of competent military and civilian professionals with distinguished backgrounds and successful records of public service. There is no value in a party that makes the most agreeable promises but is unable or unwilling to fulfill them. A vote for such a party is simply wasted.
The only party that fits all these requirements is the small but dedicated and principled “Strength and Honor”party. Its name describes it well. It was founded by an individual whose academic record and career would put most world leaders to shame. With a PhD in technical sciences and a law degree, he is a retired General, a political scientist and historian of Ukraine’s past, a highly respected diplomat whose advice is sought by influential foreign leaders , fluent in five languages, the father of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Service, and the one person who succeeded in the most difficult and dangerous job in Ukraine – breaking the stranglehold Ukraine’s KGB had over the political and economic life of the newly independent nation. He has been heavily smeared by powerful pro-Kremlin and oligarchic media fearing him, but the details of his life is “an open book” you can read for yourself at https://sylaichest.org/igor-smeshko/
I have known Colonel-General Smeshko and his family from his days as Ukraine’s first Defense Attache to the U.S., and urge my fellow Ukrainians who want an incorruptible, patriotic, hard-as-nails,deputy in the Verkhovna Rada who is committed to improving your future to vote for the “Strength and Honor” party.
Thank you for your attention,
Yurij Woloshyn, MBA, JD