I've just spent over two hours watching latest Savik Shuster program, on-line, here.
It's rivetting stuff.
The show was to comprise Yulia Tymoshenko being cross-examined by a battery of eminent journalists. She claimed during the programme that Viktor Yanukovych was to be present as well. Just as the programme opens, three PoR heavyweights - Mykola Azarov, Hanna Herman and Iryna Akimova gate-crash the proceedings, claiming this was 'in the interest of balance'. The PoR trio are seen milling around the studio floor while Tymoshenko is speaking, and two extra chairs are brought into the studio for them, perhaps suggesting that only one of them was to attend. The journos are all clearly pi**ed off by this as it is obvious they where not aware the PoR trio would be there. During the programmeTymoshenko answers hostile questions in her usual passionate manner complete with many diversions, as well as responding challenges from the 3 PoR guys. The whole atmosphere is very tense and the proceedings quite chaotic.
About 2 hours 20 minutes into the programme [which is on a TV channel owned by PoR deputy Rinat Akhmetov] Shuster, who many consider the most respected TV interrogator on Ukrainian television, tries to explain the mix-up about who was to attend the program and who was not.
He says he had been summoned to PoR headquarters earlier in the day, where he had been accused of pro-Tymoshenko bias and was told that PoR representatives had to be present during the programme. He responded that Tymoshenko may well not agree to this. Herman then accuses Shuster, live on air, of concocting a plan whereby the 3 PoR guys would enter unannounced, but he could carry on with the pretence that Tymoshenko would be questioned only by journalists. Shuster repudiates this, denying he was party to any conspiracy, whilst other journalists lay into Herman too for not trusting them to do their job properly in scrutinizing the PM in a fair manner, and for taking from them the opportunity to quiz the PM live on TV, whilst at the same time promoting their own political agenda and electioneering.
The intention of the programme was to give journalists the opportunity of grilling the PM on her handling/mishandling of the economy during the global crisis. PoR considered that the programme would give Tymoshenko the opportunity to promote herself for president, even though the campaign has not yet started.
In the end, it was Tymoshenko and the journalists who emerged with more credit. 'Glavred', in their 'write-up' on the program say her people are happiest about how it all worked out.
PoR have a real problem with Yulka T who is a star performer on TV. As in this particular programme, if she takes on all-comers on her own, answering their questions and challenges, she looks as if she is being unfairly bullied - neutral viewers feel sympathetic to her. She is a master of playing the delicate 'wronged woman'. If she goes one-to-one against anyone in a TV debate, paticularly Yanukovych, [if this were ever to happen], she would probably win hands down. Putting her in front of agressive journalists, who would have given her a hard time, would probably have been best for PoR at this moment in time. But PoR could not be content with this. By highjacking the programme they let Tymoshenko score some easy points and made PoR and Savik Shuster, who had to apologise to the journalists present for submitting to PoR's, in his words, "blackmail", look devious. And they annoyed the journalists big-time too.