(More words from the third novel...)
Rada Verkhovna. People's power.
Stefan Cossack had been intrigued with Ukraine's democracy since attending the Dnieper Cossack's Rada with Ivan Mazeppa, shortly after the unification of East and West banks. Mazeppa had waxed poetic about democracy in the Hetmanate, even if he wasn't willing to vest it with full powers. He had hoped to establish a broader body, such as the one existing today, to bring consensus to the Hetmanate across a number of topics. Unfortunately, resources and blood required to support the Tsar's wars had shortened patience for Mazeppa's experiments.
Peter the Great ended Mazeppa's advance at Poltava, much as the battle there (and the Great Northern War skirmishes leading up to it) ended Sweden's status as a first rate power.
Stefan had been part of efforts to reinstitute the Rada in 1917 and 1919, but these efforts were also quashed by the Russians, this time in the name of Communism. Even waving Mazeppa's sword, Stefan's credibility was limited in those days. Fighting with the Russians during the Second World War wasn't something he could parlay in his election to the Rada. After all, immortality was something he had to hide...
Why put so much effort into getting elected to the Rada? Why does democracy matter, anyhow? In America, with its claim to the longest running one, critics of the new President seem to alternatively want to take the reigns of government away from this crazy system or mourn that Trump will do so. Some contemplate how much more efficient the United States government would be if the separation of powers ceased to exist.
Others observe subtle (and perhaps not so subtle) favoritism advances the interests of the wealthy, some races over others, men over women, some sexual preferences over others. Equal justice under the law... is that even a goal any more? It does seem that most attempt to advocate for advantages for their own group, not equality for all.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, they say. Yet democracy in many places hasn't eliminated corruption. Korea's leader resigns due to improprieties. Some of the most vicious criticisms of modern Ukraine focus on corruption, with dramatic recent examples almost made possible through democratic elections of people with less than savory objectives.
Stefan was thankful for the financial resources Sessai brought, remembering the financial success he enjoyed before the kulaks lost everything. "They say I have a sense of entitlement," he mused.
This debate in the Rada, that Stefan was daydreaming through, was about funding for various Ukraine units. Oligarchs paid for some, while others received pay/benefits from the state. Best case, the state of the Ukraine economy since Russia had occupied Donbass and Crimea suffered, although it might be accurate to observe we just failed to capitalize on early momentum enjoyed just after the Soviet Union dissolved.
Stefan was familiar with Russian accusations that natural gas and oil were stolen from the pipelines. "Druzhba," those pipelines were called. Hmm. People were freezing...
The chairman recognized Stefan's raised hand. "Thank you for the opportunity to address my esteemed colleagues, Mr Chairman," said Stefan. "We must establish standard pay scales for all our military, and insure they are independent bodies, such as militaries in all western democracies. We have come too far to continue to appear, or even be in fact, a collection of squabbling warlords. I move that we vote to absorb all the military organizations within the Ukraine Department of Defense, standardize rank, benefits and authorities, and make other activities illegal."
"Second," shouted a number of his colleagues. "We will need legislation to that effect," said the chairman. Indeed, thought Stefan. A worthy effort....
Find the prelude to "Ukraine Skies" here.
Find Ukraine Skies, Baltimore Lights here.
The third novel (quoted above) is due for release in late summer, 2017.