Friday, March 02, 2007

USA lays down its terms to Tymoshenko

Analysis in 'ProUa' on Tymshenko's trip to the USA here

As usual, I've translated some portions:

"A bi-polar model with Party of Regions and BYuT as poles would least suit Washington.

Early elections will become a reality when at least two of the three main players of Ukrainian politics consider it would be beneficial to them. At the beginning of the 20th century the possibility of war was discussed in many different countries, but it only started when they decided in key capitals that it would be better to be at war than to allow opponents to continue to strengthen their positions.

PoR leaders are starting to think that if they take a chance now then it may be possible to 'break the bank' and establish a monopoly of power in the country. There are few also in Yulia Tymoshenko's team who doubt the importance to use such chance.

In April of the last year, [just after the VR elections] during a meeting of of US vice-president Dick Cheney with the president of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko in Vilnius, the Americans suggested two possibilities: a "wide" coalition with PoR on condition of a westernized foreign policy and without Viktor Yanukovich in government, or an "orange" coalition led by Yulia Tymoshenko. It was understood, that the latter variant would mean Tymoshenko as PM.

The interest of Washington to BYuT noticeably fell away after subsequent events. Many supporters in favour of drawing Ukraine away from Russia began to search for ways of attracting the 'Regiony'. And many of PoR's leadership made big efforts to create an image in the West of image of reliable partners.

Now Tymposhenko has received a second chance to get support amongst parts of the American elite. First, attitudes between Russia and the USA continue to worsen steadily.
In both capitals, on the eve of presidential elections both in the USA and in Russia in 2008, influence is increasing of those who consider that it is important that the Ukraininian government clearly specifies on which one of the two geopolitical centers it is focused. This greatly complicates the adoption of a multi-vector policy for Yanukovych, and he certainly would not go for an open break with Moscow.

The anti-crisis coalition has not undertaken any distinct steps to make relations with Russia in the gas sphere more transparent. And recently talk of transfer of the management of the Ukrainian gas-transport system to Gazprom has frightened many in the American elite. All this has led Washington to look more favourably on Yulia Tymoshenko again.

But the most serious challenge for Tymoshenko is that in the USA they are awaiting from her an open demonstration of sympathy to a pro-western course - one that she for many years has tried to avoid in order to preserve the sympathies of voters of Eastern, Southern and Central Ukraine. The BYuT leader has never openly declared support for the idea of prompt membership of Ukraine in NATO, and has never spoke about the necessity of a greater openness in the Ukrainian economy for trans-national companies.

These policies are expected from her in the USA. It is a question not of promises at personal meetings, but of declaring these policies during any possible election campaign and including them in the program of any possible future government. In the document on the creation of a coalition in parliament which was signed last Saturday by both Tymoshenko and Viktor Baloha of NU, only the wish to obtain membership of the European Union is mentioned, Entry into NATO would be decided by referendum. These are the same policies as those proclaimed by PoR.

Despite numerous disappointments, in Washington there is still more faith in Yushchenko's team than to Tymoshenko's. The Americans demand, and will continue to demand from BYuT the support of the president and 'Our Ukraine' as the influential center of authority. This is necessary for Washington in order to control Tymoshenko and not allow her to stray beyond certain frameworks.

A two-party system having BYuT and PoR as its poles does not suit the Americans. In other words, the USA would like a repeat of the situation that existed during the first half-year 2005 when Tymoshenko headed the government, but [was forced to] operate under full control Yushchenko and his colleagues.

Tymoshenko and most of her team would do anything to avoid such supervision [again]."

I'm reminded of Tymshenko's words during a TV interview after the collapse of months of coalition formation negotiations with NU: "I am finished with giving other politicians leg-ups" [pidsadzhuvaty - to help one to mount a horse].. she is 'her own man'


Lack of feel-good factor

According to an article entitled 'Is it good for only two percent?' in Friday's'Donbass' newspaper:

"Only two percent of Ukrainians consider the economic situation in their country as 'good'; a further 27 percent rate it as 'average', according to OP results the consortium of the sociological organizations of the CIS "Eurasian monitoring".

This is the lowest index of all countries, where a similar study was conducted. For example, in Russia 13 percent have a positive view of the economic situation, and in Kazakhstan, 54 percent.

In contrast to this data, in the past year in Ukraine 370,000 automobiles were sold - 105,000 more than in the previous year, and the sum, spent by Ukrainians on their acquisition was $6,1B, (the comaparative figure in 2005 - $3,3Bn).

The market for cell phones in the Ukraine grew by 237 percent and its total value was $1,44Bn; and the volume of tourist services increased by 40 percent. Other sociological studies show there has been increases in the incomes too . According to data from the Razumkov Center, there were 25,3 percent of respondents, who said they "could hardly make ends meet" during January 2004 , and during December 2006 the figure was 16,3 percent."

LEvko says the lack of 'feel good factor' is bad news for for all parties, but in particular for PoR in the event of early elections. The reasons are whopping increases in housing and utility charges, a crumbling infrastructure, continuing corruption in many sectors of the economy including healthcare and education, a sense of injustice because a select few are enriching themselves at the expense of the masses, and apathy because leaders of all colours have let their supporters down and not fulfilled their election promises. Others say that Ukrainians will always be naturally miserable - it's just a national trait.

Oh, and there are many, many people who cannot afford an automobile or a mobile phone..

ps Yanukovych said in Odessa today that early elections, "could lead to the destabilization of the social and economic situation."

1 comment:

olechko said...

Here's another proof that material things do not make us happier. What were they thinking making this poll in the dead of winter! People are traditionally more depressed during winter months.