Friday, March 12, 2010

Glum Azarov appointed PM

Azarov's appointment as prime minister of Ukraine today was a strange, dare I say, even Brezhnevite affair? Watch the video here - by their expressions it looks as if both he and Yanukovych were suffering from painful haemorrhoids. The new president couldn't get out of the main session hall quickly enough, interrupting speaker Lytyvn who was addressing the gathered deputies, to shake his hand.

Some are already predicting underlying tensions inside the new Azarov cabinet.

Many of PoR's founders and main financial sponsors have been sent to the back of the queue as minsterial and gubernatorial jobs are being handed out and a battle for influence may be brewing inside the party's ranks.

Maybe Azarov and Yanyk read the results of the latest opinion poll in which 75% of respondents do not support the creation of a new coalition if it breaches the constitution. Almost one half do not believe the new coalition will work effectively.

On 4th March Serhiy Tihipko, in a TV interview, said it would be "a colossal mistake" if Yanukovych signs off the new, constitutionally highly dubious law on formation of parliamentary coalitions. In the event, Yanukovych did sign the law, and guess what, Tihipko joined the new government anyway, as deputy PM responsible for economic questions. Not only that, it seems he has kicked his own political project "Strong Ukraine" into the long grass too. There had been rumours Raisa Bohatyryova was to join Tihipko's political party - her son already headed their Donetsk branch.


elmer said...

Here's a link to the Kyiv Post - short biographies of the new ministers.

The Post could have saved itself a lot of space and trouble by posting this:

"mafia thugs"

Their goal? To continue robbing the country blind, every which way they can - and to enact laws to make robbery by Banditkovych and his mafia all nice and legal.

Khoroshkovsky has not apparently closed Ukraine's archives - it's not convenient for the Mafiocracy from Donetsk for people to know the truth.

elmer said...

Here is Part 2.

Lutsenko started out very graciously by acknowledging the professionalism of some of the Party of Regions gang. OK, that's all right.

But - he specifically named Tabachnik, the Education Minister appointee, and some others as serious mistakes on the part of the Party of Regions.

With good reason. For example, Tabachnik is rabidly anti-Ukrainian - on quite a few occasions, he stated that "Ukraine is not a state," that people who live in the province (oblast) of Halychyna are not "representative of Ukraine," that "Ukraine has artificial boundaries," and so forth.

Further, he and Kirilenko (from the Our Ukraine faction) and others made the point that the "opposition" is not simply supposed to be a lay-down opposition "approved" by the Party of Regions, to be patted on the head by the Party of Regions.

He made the very effective point that if the Party in Power did the right things, then they would have common ground with the opposition, and everything would be OK. Otherwise, they would face another Orange Revolution.

In other words, there was some discussion about what the opposition should look like in a parliamentary type of democracy (Ukraine has a presidential-parliamentary democracy).

The Party of Regions are asking for the opposition not to be mere shouters and critics - but to provide constructive criticism, as should be done in a democracy.

And on that, at least on TV, it appears that there was common ground.

But there was a hint that the Party of Regions expects the opposition to do what the Party of Regions wants them to do - which, of course, misses the whole point of an opposition.

Unfortunately, those who might be part of the opposition, in the typical Ukrainian way, got into a little bit of a scrap about what the opposition should consist of - with the Party of Regions guys smiling sly Cheshire cat smiles, since they have seen the absolutely psychotic battles between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, people who were supposed to be allegedly on the same side.

All in all, an interesting discussion.

And - the young lady who appeared at the end, accompanied only by a drummer, to do some scat singing (jazz) was very, very good.

But I don't think Ukrainians are that used to scat jazz singing, from the looks on their faces.

She really was good, as was the drummer.

elmer said...

OK, because of the 4096 character limit, I'll do this in parts.

Well, predictably, if you look at the ministers and other appointments made by the Party of Regions - it's Kuchma all over. President Kuchmakovych has taken over.

And - I did it again. I watched the Friday, March 12, 2010 Savik Shuster show - where it takes 3 hours to say what could be said in 5 minutes. But that's the Ukrainian way - make simple things complicated, and don't ever get to the point.

But at least they are talking to one another, instead of shooting each other.

Savik started out the show by sort of borrowing an Obama slogan ("yes, we can" - as stupid and amorphous slogan as there ever was for a political campaign) and turning it around - "Can Azarov (do it) or not?"

He had quite a panel.

The show started out with an absolutely phenomenally excellent presentation by Victor Pinzenyk, former Economics Minister who got chased out of government.

Pinzenyk gave an excellent presentation about Ukraine's financial/economic situation, and some suggestions for a way out of the problems.

It's really well worth it to watch Pinzenyk, who gives his presentation towards the beginning of the show, even if you don't watch the whole show.

As Forbes has noted, Ukraine's sale of Treasury bills, and consequently its debt grew gigantically in the past 18 months - as has Ukraine's budget deficit. Investors have required returns of 20% for Ukraine's T-bills - enormously expensive, but it recognizes the risk of buying Ukraine treasuries.

Pinzenyk also reminded the panel and the audience of the risk of not dealing appropriately with government debt and budgets, based on examples in other countries - you don't get re-elected to office.

Savik also polled the audience on whether they expected the current administration to steal.

A previous poll showed that 82% expected Tymoshenko's government to steal. Virtually the same percentage - 81% - popped up with respect to the Yushchenko-Azarov gang now in office.

Then it got down to brass tacks.

Seems that the Party of Regions boys are asking for a honeymoon right now - "don't judge us right now, because we have just named our people, and they haven't even been appointed and sworn in yet."

To which Lutsenko and others countered very graciously, I thought.

Lutsenko, of course, being hooked up currently with Tymo and her gang.