Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Punch and Judy show continues

President Yushchenko has all but accused his prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko of fixing the sale of Ukrainian power utility companies to the benefit of her allies, as part of her privatization campaign.

This is a most serious escalation in their long-running Punch and Judy show, and a 'fiery' riposte is awaited from her by Ukrainian journalists.

The "4post" website outlines their main points of disagreement in an article entitled:

"Yushchenko and Tymoshenko on the path to war - from cold, to hot"

"It seems as if the awaited conflict between the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko and prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko predicted by political experts, has begun. After the government failed to satisfy the president's secretariat's request to affirm the introduction of a packet of privatization bills in the Supreme Rada, Viktor Yushchenko has decided to escalate matters by accusing Tymoshenko of intenting to privatize a number oblenergoes in an underhand way.

Tymoshenko has thus far not responded to the statement of Head of The State, but it is obvious, that the beginning of public 'polemics' between the President and the prime minister is only matter of time.

There are three main areas of disagreement between them:

Tymoshenko wants receipts from privatizations to go to into social welfare programs, into return of bank savings, increases in pensions, state employees wages etc. Yushchenko wants this money reinvested in economic development schemes, introduction of innovations, purchase of contemporary technologies, etc.

Tymoshenko wants privatized enterprises, whose owners does not fulfil investment agreements, to be returned to government ownership by order of the KabMin or State Property Fund, with no refund for the investor. Yushchenko says that the return of such enterprises to state ownership should only take place after a court ruling.

The premier minister has publicly declared that in her opinion, Ukrainian law courts are so corrupt that their decisions cannot be relied on, so the cabinet of ministers and state property fund should not be bound by them. The faith of society in the legal system is already rock-bottom so where this will lead is anyone's guess.

Finally Tymoshenko is adamant that intermediaries must be removed from the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade, the price for transit of Russian gas into Europe must be increased, and consequently all agreements on the delivery of gas to Ukraine, and its transport through Ukrainian territory, must be reviewed. Yushchenko has warned that such a radical position by Ukraine in relations with "Gazprom" could have unpredictable consequences, and so the price for transit of Russian gas should not be increased, and "RosUkrEnergo" should be removed only after agreement with "Gazprom". In gas questions neither side seem to be willing to seek compromise.

The article ends by declaring that when Yulia Tymoshenko digs up her tomahawk - it always produces an unsurpassed show."

In whose back will it be buried again, I wonder?

p.s. Punch and Judy shows traditionally include a crocodile with a string of sausages in its jaws, a policeman, a clown, a baby, etc. I will leave it to the reader to decide who these represent in Ukrainian politics' dramatis personae.

"The stereotypical view of Punch casts him as a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath who commits appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and escapes scot-free – this is greatly enjoyed by small children..."

[sorry about the bad attack of mixed metaphors.]


Anonymous said...

Tym's solution of simply overrulling the corrupt courts is to put it very mildly, problematic. She's alreay announced that in case of corrupt judgements concerning VAT and taxes the tax collecting authority is simply going to ignore the original ruling. The same now with companies that did not fulfil their obligations. But if it's up to Tym to decide which companies are in default then it's surely won't be much of a surprise as to which companies are going to be found guilty. Maybe Yush is, in turn only protecting his backers but Tym is doing nothing to reform the system (that would take far too long) but only to bend it her way. Politicians or administrators (esp her house lawyer in charge of privatisation) overuling court decisions is just as corrupt as the original court system.

Anonymous said...

Unless Judy gets in gear she will lose 2012 for Ukraine. It is crunch time. So I do hope that you are not a soccer fan.

Anonymous said...

Yulia's comments and call to "Anarchy" does little to nothing to help restore confidence in Ukraine or her leadership, as much as some of the cheering squad might get excited it does not server her or Ukraine well.. we have already see Yushchenko ride rough shod over Ukraine justice system now Yulia is arguing for teh state to ignore anything that she considers to not be legal.

I think it pays to read Kyiv Posts article published this week to try and put this issue in proper perspective.

It bad enough that the head of state undermines Ukraine's courts now the Prime-ministers does the same be it pulling i a different direction

She should address the problems i the courts and not advocate ignoring te problems it only makes matters worst.

The Parliamentary Assembly in it's resolution dated April 19, rightly stated.

"The Assembly deplores the fact that the judicial system of Ukraine has been systematically misused by other branches of power and that top officials do not execute the courts’ decisions, which is a sign of erosion of this crucial democratic institution.

An independent and impartial judiciary is a precondition for the existence of a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Hence the urgent necessity to carry out comprehensive judicial reform, including through amendments to the constitution.

The Assembly reiterates that the authority of the sole body responsible for constitutional justice – the Constitutional Court of Ukraine – should be guaranteed and respected. Any form of pressure on the judges is intolerable and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted.
The Constitutional Court has failed to produce judgments, thus failing to fulfill its constitutional role and to contribute to resolving the crisis in its earlier stages, which undermines the credibility of the court.

There is an urgent need for all pending judgments, and in particular the judgment concerning the constitutionality of the Presidential Decree of 2 April 2007, to be delivered.

If delivered, the latter should be accepted as binding by all sides."

The associated explanatory report under the sub-heading of Pressure on the courts expressed concern that

"Several local courts have made decisions to suspend the Presidential Decree only to then withdraw them, allegedly under pressure from the presidential secretariat." (item 67)

In emphasis the report (item 68) stated

"This is a worrying tendency of legal nihilism that should not be tolerated. It is as clear as day that in a state governed by the rule of law judicial mistakes should be corrected through appeal procedures and not through threats or disciplinary sanctions"

Both Yulia and Yushchenko are well advised to take serious note of the above statements and begin to act more responsible.

PACE also needs to reinforce its message so as to ensure Ukraies head of sttae ad Head of Goevrmet uderstand fully the meaning of its above statement if Ukraine is to embrace European standards and itergeration

LEvko said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

I quite agree Tymoshenko must curb her propensity to "shoot from the hip" if her premiership is to be successful, particularly as thoughtless statements are [quite-correctly] used against her.