Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tymoshenko's big tidy-up

I've paraphrased portions below from an op-ed article in today's big-selling 'Donbass' newspaper:

Opposition does not give authorities time to doze

The results of Yulia Tymoshenko's trips to the regions of the country have impressed even her most ardent sceptics. When two weeks ago the leader of opposition declared her intention to personally take part in the work of local councils in order to reduce housing and community charge tariffs [a campaign she called the big 'tidy-up or clean-up'] - no one expected this policy to be so successful on a national scale.

Everything began on 8th February, when the opposition organized by BYuT gained a victory in the Kiev city rada, where for the first time in a large city, there was almost a two-fold reduction in tariffs.

In the two weeks she travelled to Vinnitsya, Cherkassy, Khmel'nitskiy, L'viv, Lutsk and Bila Tserkva.

In spite of difficulties, tariffs were reduced in Cherkassy, Khmel'nitskiy, Lutsk and Bila Tservka. In Vinnitsya they created commission to check if increase in prices were justified.

Only in Lviv did the city council obstinately refuse to reduce tariffs by even one percent.

[The article says that this winter has been unseasonably mild, so reductions are absolutely in order.]

The trips caused the government to act and recognize that there are indeed abuses in the tariff sphere.

Despite the fact that more than half of Ukraine's coal is obtained in Donbass , and more than half of Ukraine's entire gas production is in the Kharkiv region, prices for heating have nevertheless increased several times. In spite of this the secretary of Donetsk town council Nikolai Levchenko still blamed increases in heating charges on Tymoshenko.

[Locally produced gas, which satisfies about 25% of Ukraine's requirements, is used almost exclusively for domestic purposes.]

In any event, it is good when there is an opposition. It can apply pressure on the authorities in order to decrease tariffs, and to solve other problems. In a word, it does not give the authorities time to sleep. Ther have been reports recently of possible early elections - it is necessary to remember that tomorrow people will make an objective evaluation of those, who put their hands into their pockets today.

'Donbass' is not often so forthright when writing about the opposition.


Anonymous said...

Donbass seems to be striking out an increasingly independent/critical tone in recent days and weeks. Who actually owns the paper? I presume one of PoR's MP's?

LEvko said...

Hi - The most detailed article I have read on the Ukrainian media and its owners is in Ukrainian only at

It runs to about a dozen pages and is a good source of reference.

Nearly every newspaper, TV station, internet site is controlled by a financial-industrial group, oligarch, or party, but I believe the popular Donbass' newspaper is run as a workers' collective.

According to the article the most read newspaper in Ukraine is Pinchuk's 'Fakty'which has a circulation of 761,000.

Ukrainska Pravda gets about 50,000 hits a day.