You gotta see things in perspective, President Viktor Yanukovych’s apologists say. Sure, democracy may not be doing too well, but just look at the economy. Bold reforms are being adopted. Just give Yanukovych a few years, and Ukraine will become an Eastern European tiger. Growl.
Were that the trade-off—less democracy, more growth—one might rationalize Yanukovych’s authoritarianism as the price an underdeveloped country has to pay for economic modernization. After all, it’s true that Ukraine needs a systemic overhaul and that the process of reforming the tax code, the legal system, the pension system, the educational system, and a myriad of other socio-economic spheres will be painful. And it’s true that the country must be reformed sooner rather than later, lest it continue on the path to oblivion. And it’s also true that the Orange leadership’s bungling only intensified Ukraine’s troubles and left Yanukovych with a big mess.