President Yushchenko has all but accused his prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko of fixing the sale of Ukrainian power utility companies to the benefit of her allies, as part of her privatization campaign.
This is a most serious escalation in their long-running Punch and Judy show, and a 'fiery' riposte is awaited from her by Ukrainian journalists.
The "4post" website outlines their main points of disagreement in an article entitled:
"Yushchenko and Tymoshenko on the path to war - from cold, to hot"
"It seems as if the awaited conflict between the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko and prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko predicted by political experts, has begun. After the government failed to satisfy the president's secretariat's request to affirm the introduction of a packet of privatization bills in the Supreme Rada, Viktor Yushchenko has decided to escalate matters by accusing Tymoshenko of intenting to privatize a number oblenergoes in an underhand way.
Tymoshenko has thus far not responded to the statement of Head of The State, but it is obvious, that the beginning of public 'polemics' between the President and the prime minister is only matter of time.
There are three main areas of disagreement between them:
Tymoshenko wants receipts from privatizations to go to into social welfare programs, into return of bank savings, increases in pensions, state employees wages etc. Yushchenko wants this money reinvested in economic development schemes, introduction of innovations, purchase of contemporary technologies, etc.
Tymoshenko wants privatized enterprises, whose owners does not fulfil investment agreements, to be returned to government ownership by order of the KabMin or State Property Fund, with no refund for the investor. Yushchenko says that the return of such enterprises to state ownership should only take place after a court ruling.
The premier minister has publicly declared that in her opinion, Ukrainian law courts are so corrupt that their decisions cannot be relied on, so the cabinet of ministers and state property fund should not be bound by them. The faith of society in the legal system is already rock-bottom so where this will lead is anyone's guess.
Finally Tymoshenko is adamant that intermediaries must be removed from the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade, the price for transit of Russian gas into Europe must be increased, and consequently all agreements on the delivery of gas to Ukraine, and its transport through Ukrainian territory, must be reviewed. Yushchenko has warned that such a radical position by Ukraine in relations with "Gazprom" could have unpredictable consequences, and so the price for transit of Russian gas should not be increased, and "RosUkrEnergo" should be removed only after agreement with "Gazprom". In gas questions neither side seem to be willing to seek compromise.
The article ends by declaring that when Yulia Tymoshenko digs up her tomahawk - it always produces an unsurpassed show."
In whose back will it be buried again, I wonder?
p.s. Punch and Judy shows traditionally include a crocodile with a string of sausages in its jaws, a policeman, a clown, a baby, etc. I will leave it to the reader to decide who these represent in Ukrainian politics' dramatis personae.
"The stereotypical view of Punch casts him as a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath who commits appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and escapes scot-free – this is greatly enjoyed by small children..."
[sorry about the bad attack of mixed metaphors.]