Yesterday's big-selling 'Segodnya' runs an 'end of term' report on Yanukovych's first few months of presidency as all the 'politicos' go off on their holidays.
On the plus side it states that the worst fears about the state of the economy have not materialised. By the autumn it is reasonable to expect improvements in business conditions and an upturn in the economy. The IMF loan, and major Euro-2012 projects will aid GDP growth.
Ukraine's geopolitical position has improved with good relationships being established with the U.S., E.U., and with Russia. In September Yanukovych is travelling to Beijing and his visit could bring new benefits because his hosts are seeking new footholds in Europe.
On the domestic front Party of Regions' popularity is secure. [If elections were to imminently take place, PoR would gain 44% of the vote compared with 15% for BYuT and 10% for Serhiy Tihipko's 'Strong Ukraine'. As Radio Svoboda's Nadiya Stepula explains, there is currently no alternative; PoR, even in opposition, maintained, and even strengthened a technocratic and professional-administrative core inside the party.]
But the 'Segodnya' piece states that the Yanukovych has not been entirely successful in maintaining stability. There have been rumblings of discontent within PoR's ranks e.g. surrounding the sacking of emergency situations' minister Nestor Shufrich, and disagreements with PoR's coalition partners, but the situation is managable. Yanukovych cannot be fully sure of support from coalition partners in his attempt to expand his presidential powers. Deputy PM in charge of economic issues, Serhiy Tihipko, a potential major rival, is a problem too but if he were to leave, or be kicked out of the cabinet, both he and PoR would suffer, so such an event is unlikely right now.
There has been no progress in the battle against corruption - the author writes: "..economic breakthrough, with the current level of corruption, will not be achieved."
In LEvko's opinion, there are two contentious matters mentioned. The author of the 'Segodnya' piece claims Yanukovych has not delivered on his election promises to upgrade the status of the Russian language in the country, and that: "if the election promises of Viktor Yanukovich on the Russian language continue to be ignored, it may even have severe consequences for Party of Regions in the next election." Hmm..
Worries of what TOL describes as "noose-tightening on the press, opposition, and civil society groups.. reminiscent of the rollback of democracy in Russia that took place five to 10 years ago", is breezily dismissed by 'Segodyna": "..the opposition accuses the authorities of being anti-democratic and anti free speech. The government replies that the situation has changed little compared to the "orange" period. But in any case we can say that much of the journalistic community (including by virtue of their own political beliefs) have gone into fierce opposition to Yanukovych." I think not...
p.s. Several days ago Ukrainian TV channels broadcast a disgustingly brown-nosing 40 minute portrait of the new president on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Watch out for the dazzle - the sun now officially shines out of his a***.