In yet another unexpected turn of events, on Saturday Yushchenko accepted the resignation of Vitaliy Hayduk and dismissed him as secretary of the powerful National Security and Defence council. He immediately appointed the veteran politician Ivan Plyushch [see photo] in his place. Plyushch had been VR speaker in the turbulent early years of Ukrainian independence 1991 - 1994, and then again during Kuchma's presidency in 2000-2002.
When some of today's cabinet ministers and leading PoR lights were running criminal rackets in Donbas or 'metal bashing' in factories, this man was working with the country's leaders to solidify the newly-created Ukrainian state. He is considered though, a 'grand-coalition' man.
Some say he is almost a father figure to the president - a cultural adviser without a power base of his own, who will probably more reliably carry out the president's wishes if the pres. chooses to take a more radical and decisive line to solve the current political crisis. He had provided Yush with critical support during the O.R. but had not received any position of high office as reward...until now.
Hayduk is a Donbas man through and through, co-owner of one of Ukraine's largest financial industrial groups IUD. It was allegedly he and his business rival, PoR financial sponsor and SCM owner Rinat Akhmetov who fixed the initial deal on 4th May when Yu and Ya unexpectedly came out and agreed in principle to hold early VR elections. Hayduk also has good relations with Yanukovych - they know one another well from their days together in the Donetsk oblast, so his resignation could make it more difficult for an agreement to be struck.
There had been friction between the Pres's secretariat and the NSDC in recent days. Last Thursday Yushchenko issued an ultimatum to the working group members formed by the various VR fractions - either come to an agreement in the near future on the snap VR elections, or he will gather the NSDC, which 'will provide answers to the given questions.' LEvko thinks maybe this was a step too far for Hayduk.
Since the O.R., the NSDC secretary's position has been held by Poroshenko, Rybachuk, Kinakh, Horbulin [acting secretary] and Hayduk. Wonder how long Plyushch [who looks like an extra from a Hollywood biblical epic] will last?