Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ruskies and the VR elections part 2

The respected 'Kommentarii' weekly, in an article entitled: "Moscow refuses to help Yanukovych', gives a different interpretation to that offered in my previous blog on last Monday's visit to Moscow by Mykola Azarov and Boris Kolesnikov.

"The Kremlin has let it be known that it will not actively support 'Regionaly' in the early elections, as, even in the event of their victory, they will be going nowhere and will return 'cap in hand', bowing to Moscow..

The trip to Moscow by Azarov and Kolesnikov, ostensibly for strengthening inter-party co-operation with the dominant Russian party 'Yedinaya Rossiya', has ended with nothing. The Russians are not going to interfere actively with the election process in Ukraine. The status of 'Yedynorossov' attending clearly mismatched the status of the first vice-premier who had arrived from Kyiv, and comments on the modest results of their meeting, from the Russian side were made not by party bosses, but by the normal commentators on 'Ukrainian questions'.

The Russians have been dissappointed with Yanukovych's performance after their support of him since last year. This visit of the two "blue and white" leaders to Moscow has only confirmed this.

It seems that the inter-party meeting was called at the personal initiative of one of the two 'Regionaly'. Of note was the small size of party delegation - it is usual for a far greater number to attend such meetings. Most likely it was Azarov who wanted to meet the Russians - he is considered the main propenent in Ukraine of the United Economic Space, but his weak performance has not met Russia's expectations. Even if PoR do well in the elections, Azarov's return to his deputy PM's chair is by no means assured, so Azarov's motives for the meeting were clear: to remind Russia who is her 'best friend', and to gain support in the inner-party conflict inside PoR.

To correct Azarov's personal plans, Rinat Ahmetov, sent his own man, Boris Kolesnikov, to oversee matters.

The head of the Russian parliamentary committee on international affairs Konstantin Kosachev declared after the meeting, "There were many defects in co-operation between the two parties - misunderstandings and vagueness which should be corrected; and as for the political crisis in Ukraine - the Ukrainian political forces should sort it out for themselves". In this manner the Kremlin has let 'Regionaly' know that they are dissatisfied with them.

In the Kremlin the have already understood that supporting Regionaly does not bring many dividends. They know that if they again officially support Yanukovych befor the Ukrainian electorate, then they would have to give Ukraine a preferential price for gas at the end of the year, particularly as the Russian presidential elections are drawing ever closer.
Russia is not particularly keen to support other pro-Russian parties e.g. Natalia Vitrenko's bloc, or the Communists, either.

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