Sunday, September 03, 2006

Yanuk on holiday.

PM Yanukovych has been away on holiday so deputy PM Mykola Azarov has been running the shop, and has already made controversial statements about language issues, about clipping authority from the President, and and now has ruffled the president's feathers on budget issues. As minister in charge of finances he feels this is his department, and has publicly complained that the Presidential secretariat has made comments on budgetary policy.

"I'm surprised at the tone of the declarations that the secretariat is preparing to study the budget, and that the President may not sign-off the law on the budget, if it does not suit the secretariat. There has been a whole series of incorrect expressions from which certain questions have sprung up, which I think, we will have to discuss with the President after he returns from holiday." He added though, that the KabMin wants constructive cooperation with the President.

Azarov has maybe been acting 'above his station' while Yanuk has been away. During negotiations with NSNU after the March elections, when Yanuk went AWOL, Azarov declared that he was prepared to jettison Yanuk in order for PoR to join forces with NSNU in a coalition , so he is probably not Yanuk's favourite minister. He will need watching..

Some commentators now suggest that Yanukovych is now firmly entrenched as PM for the next few years. But there are many major problems for the gov to tackle in the months ahead, particularly a large budgetary deficit. PoR's oligarch supporters will claim their pay-offs. Some cut-backs in social programs have been mooted. Russia is going to play hardball over oil and gas. For Putin, supporting Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential elections was perhaps the biggest fiasco of his presidency, and the Russian media continue to blacken Ukraine and the Donetchany for their own purposes.

Yanukovych's biggest asset is his genuine personal popularity in the east so he should keep Azarov and other cabinet members in their place to maintain his position for the duration.

Many years ago a British PM, Harold Macmillan, was asked by a young journalist after a long dinner what can most easily steer a government off course, he answered "Events, dear boy. Events". Politics is unpredictable.


Anonymous said...

Azarov is only showing what is behind the curtain (which is devious of Yanuk and his camp because he has deniability) - my prediction he will not reign in Azarov or any others - they are his henchman who can publicly make statements that Yanuk cannot esp. as he is trying to be more acceptable to the West.) Azarov's statements pacify the voters letting them know that the 'teeth' are still in PoR while Yanuk goes to play nice-nice abroad. Shrewd and effective. Brilliant strategy revealing the deep, deep play of highly accomplished and expeerienced political/pr/marketing minds. These people will be in power for a LONG LONG time regardless of events.

I would actually argue w/ Macmillan it it not events that steer govts off course but character flaws and emotions - seeds of destruction built into people's personalities, and out of control egos resulting in paranoia, insularism, fear, etc. Events are acts of nature - neither here nor there - it is how they are reacted to, shaped, used, manipulated, reported on, that can make or break a govt.

Anonymous said...

When u first began to post here I was very unhappy. I liked Scott, his point of view and focus. I was used to him then boom - change came along and it was you with your pro-Tymoshenko & other stuff and yeah, I admit it! - I did send some flames your way BUT you have me hooked. Completely, totally hooked. I may not agree with u and will let u know but your posts are top of my MUST READ! list.
A very real and deep hearted thanks from,
a grateful fan.

LEvko said...

Thanks for your kind words. I'm touched..