Thursday, September 08, 2005

Further Ukraine analysis 

Jeremy Page discusses the conflicts between Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, and former security chief Petro Poroshenko -- the latter two sacked by Yushchenko earlier today.
"Once Mr Yushchenko was in power there was a lot of squabbling about who was going to get what position. Mr Poroshenko wanted to be prime minister, but Mr Tymoshenko, a rich businesswoman, won that battle, and Mr Poroshenko became head of the National Security Council, but with greatly enhanced powers.

"Since then there's been a whole series of disputes, particularly over the issue of reprivatisation. Mr Yushchneko promised to reverse some of the fraudulent deals done in the 1990s and at first the Government was very gung-ho - hundreds of deals were going to be reviewed. But they soon hit legal problems and, of course, the potential for corruption was enormous.

"And Ms Tymoshenko, who made her money in the energy business, was trying to reform oil policy, which is very complicated and involves all sorts of complex deals, mainly with Russia. That was another source of squabbles.
Squabbles that, of course, can be cured by side payments or bribes paid to those in a position to reveal them. This is what led to Zinchenko's resignation that triggered the crisis.

Page points out that Yushchenko's choice was to have the taint of scandal fall upon him or sack the government. Now that he's taken the latter course, Tymoshenko will be a powerful opponent. But remember she could not clear the first round of the elections last time versus Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych. She may not be able to create a majority in the parliamentary elections next March either. She may find, instead, that she still has to work with Yushchenko if she wants to return to government.