Saturday, April 05, 2008

Battle renewed..

I've loosely translated this from the latest 'Segodnya' newspaper:

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko: the ceasefire has ended

After the NATO summit there is talk again about the resignation of the government.

The latest NATO summit ended on Friday in Bucharest, where a decision on Ukraine's Membership Action Plan was postponed until December. Those opposed to Ukraine's entrance into NATO celebrate this as a victory (Europe has at long last noted that half of the country is against the alliance), while supporters can comfort themselves by thought that the member nations of the alliance expressed support, in principle, for accepting Kyiv into NATO.

Meanwhile politicians and political observers consider that after the President's secretariat having taken a small time-out before and during the NATO summit in order to create the appearance of political stability, will now commence the next phase of the stand-off between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko. The battle between them will now be renewed.

The first signal has already been given: the President recently severely criticized the premier over cadre policy. He wrote a letter to Tymoshenko, because people close to the odious Victor Medvedchuk [the ex-head of Leonid Kuchma's administration] have appeared in government. In reply Tymoshenko stated that, as premier, she chooses her team herself, and advised him not to conduct witch hunts.

Her closening ties with such people will inevitably provoke a reaction from more radically orientated NUNS deputies. But the president's criticism may be part of a wider plan intended to strengthen his own position in NUNS, to force Tymoshenko's resignation, and to unite NU with 'Regiony'. Experts do not, however, expect any major developments until after the May 25th Kyiv elections because her departure before then would only increase BYuT's ratings.

But at least two factors indicate that moves against Tymoshenko will take place in the next few months. First, sociologists have observed a noticeable drop in confidence and trust amongst the electorate in the premier and BYuT. If this tendency continues in the next month, then "Regiony" will no longer fear early elections [dosrochki]. They can attempt to force the resignation of government irrespective whether this will result in the reformation of the ruling coalition, or fresh parliamentary elections.

Secondly, in the opinion of experts, inflation will peak around April or May. By the autumn the price of some products could even fall somewhat, if there is a good harvest. The latter will have a positive affect on the Ukrainian economy as a whole. The situation in the world markets for steel, grain and chemicals (Ukraine's main export) is more than favorable because of the drop in the value of the US dollar w.r.t the Euro. Ukraine's exporters will obtain a significant increase in the incomes in the national currency [which is tied to the dollar]. National budget incomes will increase - very useful because in the September- November period increases in social payments are planned.
So there are no significant reasons for the enemies of Tymoshenko to drag out any attempt to force her resignation.

In public, BYuT members still downplay any possibility of the ruling BYuT-NUNS coalition being reformed any time soon, calling the latest spat between the President and PM just another family squabble.

LEvko considers continued efforts by the Tymoshenko government to undo previous privatizations, thus hitting the pockets of Ukraine's richest oligarchs, such as 'Segodnya's owner Rinat Akhmetov, will also increase the chances of her enemies ganging up against her.

May 25th is not so long away now, and the Kyiv election results will help Ukraine's politicians decide what to do next..

p.s. One of the reasons for Medvedchuk crawling out of the woodwork, explained last year in 'Ukrainska Pravda':

"There is another scenario for Medvedchuk’s return to power. However, this scenario does not depend on him but rather on the presidential election in Russia.

In 2003, Mr. Medvedchuk declared he would be the main lobbyist of Russian interests in Ukraine. In 2004, these relations were formalized. Mr. Medvedchuk’s daughter was baptized in Kazan Sobor by President Putin and the First Vice PM Dmitriy Medvedev’s wife.

In the event Mr. Medvedev becomes Mr. Putin successor Viktor Medvedchuk will try to become the main mediator between Kyiv and Moscow. Currently, he simply helps out in Moscow."


Anonymous said...

Can't say that I agree that there was a "ceasefire" or even a cooling off period. Yush made staff changes to Oschadbank oversight and pres. orders have continued and right before the summit was pushing for more funds for the military (even flew in a jet fighter.) What kind of a ceasefire is that? Did u so soon forget the press conference in Crimea?

Anonymous said...

"having taken a small time-out before and during the NATO summit"

The letter to PM Tymoshenko was sent and published April 3rd.

Tymo's ratings must really be starting a downward slide, which is very unfortunate. Saw projections of the Kyiv mayoral race (but I did not believe them as they were from Razumkov) that BYuT's candidate would not win in the May 25th election. But if the tide really is turning it could happen.