Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stand by for more Ukrainian weirdness 

It's hard for me to say what's going on right now in Ukraine. Apparently Yushchenko's pick for speaker of the parliament (meant to check the new powers that Tymoshenko is to receive as prime minister) was the very unpopular Petro Poroshenko. You'll recall the two fought last summer and this led to the splintering of the Orange coalition. Poroshenko, though, has withdrawn from the contest and LEvko is reporting that Oleksandr Moroz, the socialist member of the Orange team, has gotten himself back into a job he had when I was there ten years ago. (Neeka's correspondent confirms.) I doubt he is helpful for reform, but he might be the best of a bad lot.

One now has to wonder if the fragile coalition the Oranges have put together holds. Russian press is already making noises about Tymoshenko and the U.S. ambassador arguing for renegotiation of last winter's gas deal. This has already bought Ukraine three months of reprieve from an increase in prices. But how much longer? I don't know. We'll keep an eye on this over the weekend.