Ukraine’s president lost no time and this afternoon carried through with a vow to dissolve parliament, paving the way for economic and political reforms opposed by old-guard loyalists to ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.
The hope is that by the time of new elections, Ukraine will be sufficiently stable to establish a strong majority in the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, to push through laws required to revive the terrible economy and move closer to the European Union.
According to Ukraine’s constitution, president Petro Poroshenko had to wait until today to act—it is one month since the governing coalition in the Rada collapsed. Just a few days ago he promised to dissolve the Rada today, and in Kiev, he signed a decree that did so and called for elections by October.
While the country is more stable politically since the May elections that brought Poroshenko to power, it remains in a tremendous military and economic crisis. Pro-Russian fighters continue to hold onto the eastern region of Donetsk, and Moscow continues to needle Ukraine with “aid convoys” and artillery. In Donetsk today—Ukrainian Independence Day—captured pro-Kiev solders were paraded through the streets by pro-Russian fighters (pictured above).
The more elections Poroshenko gets under his belt, the more legitimacy he hopes he will have, as Russian president Vladimir Putin effectively challenges his right to rule. In the last couple of weeks, Putin has appeared to retreat from his most vitriolic rhetoric regarding Ukraine, but the likelihood is that he will only reluctantly stand down from his ultimate goal, which is to keep Ukraine so destabilized that it cannot join NATO or be a fruitful economic partner of Europe’s.