Daily Archives: March 29, 2006

AUR#681 Principles For Coalition Govn’t Published; Trick To Understanding Ukraine; Ukraine’s Victors; Vie To Save Orange Vision

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Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start
a dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s
path toward European integration,” the minister said. [article 3]

Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor

Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article


Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18%
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006


RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006


Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine

London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

EDITORIAL: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18.%

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – As Central Election Commission is counting 96.95% of votes Party

of the Regions secures 31.76%, Our Ukraine falls to third place with just
14.18% of the vote beaten by Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko with 22.35%. This
announcement is posted on the Internet website of the commission. Socialist
Party of Ukraine enters the Verkhovna Rada with 5.77% and Communists with

The Central Election Commission says that the published data are operational
data obtained via a telephone poll from polling-station election commissions
and that the data are informational in nature and cannot be used as an
official document.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on March 26 Ukraine elected the national
parliament, the Crimean Supreme Council with simultaneous regional, district
and mayoral polls. -30-

Website: Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Kyiv.

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006

KIEV – The Socialist Party has published the text of the memorandum on
forming a coalition of Ukrainian democratic forces between the Socialists,
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. It sets down principles for the
coalition’s activities and the distribution of posts.

Currently only Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz’s signature is on the
memorandum and it has the proviso that it comes into forces from the moment
a corresponding decision of the Socialists’ political council comes into
force. The council approved the memorandum 28 March and instructed Moroz
to sign it.

The memorandum envisages the signing of a coalition agreement between
factions on the day the new Supreme Council [parliament] opens its first

The coalition members commit to agree on their programmes and programmes of
the Ukrainian president to ensure implementation of a balanced domestic and
foreign policy and the preparation and approval by the Supreme Council of a
set of Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy.

The memorandum says that a programme of activity for the coalition
government should be drafted on the basis of the Principles of Domestic and
Foreign Policy and presented to parliament within 30 days from the moment
the agreement is signed.

A working group of 3 representatives of each party or bloc in the coalition
will be formed to achieve this. New members can join the coalition by
consensual decision by the signatories.

The coalition’s main principles and programme principles are defined as
continuing to deepen and improve political reform, passing amendments to the
constitution regarding reform of local self-government, preventing the
federalization of Ukraine, reforming the justice system and passing laws on
the cabinet, the president and the central bodies of the executive
authorities, normative acts, Supreme Council special investigative
commissions and amendments to electoral law.

Also, the programme principles envisage carrying out comprehensive reform
of the administrative set-up, abolition of general oversight [of courts and
other judicial agencies] by the prosecution bodies and reform of the
law-enforcement agencies, support for Ukrainian manufacturers, ensuring the
development of the market economy and Ukraine’s full participation in
international trade relations, defeating corruption and bribery, the full
and unconditional separation of business from power and the abolition of
immunity from prosecution for local council MPs.

Among other principles are named a strategic course toward integration with
Europe and stable good-neighbourly relations with Russia and all Ukraine’s

The coalition will distribute posts according to members’ share of the vote.
Lists of posts to be distributed will be compiled separately (lists of posts
in the Supreme Council, the central executive authorities and the regional
and district administrations).

Coalition members will take turns to choose posts. The number of posts will
be proportional to the election result (for each list [of posts]). The party
that gains the most votes to the Supreme Council and so on [other elections
took place at the same time, for example, for local councils] will get first
choice depending on the number of coalition members. [Passage omitted:
obscure formula for distributing posts]

The memorandum says that the coalition member with the most votes nominates
a candidate for prime minister. The other members and the president do not
have the right to veto this candidate. The members also don’t have the right
to veto other selected posts or nominated candidates.

Coalition members hold the posts they select for the entire lifetime of the
coalition and can change their candidate for a post. Deputy post-holders
(apart from first deputies) are selected and nominated by the heads of
ministries and agencies according to their professional and moral qualities.
The first deputy to heads of posts cannot belong to the same political force
as the head. First deputy heads are named in accordance with the quota
principle described above in line with a separate list.

The coalition members commit to support nominated candidates in parliament,
the cabinet and with the president.

Candidates for head of regional state administrations are nominated by the
cabinet and confirmed by the president by mutual agreement between the
coalition members under the quote principle. Candidates for posts appointed
by the president are also nominated according to this principle.

The president enters a candidate for defence minister unilaterally without
consulting the coalition, since he is Supreme Commander. Also, no coalition
member can ask for more than one leading post in the military and security
agencies (SBU [Security Service of Ukraine], Interior Ministry and
Prosecutor-General’s Office).

Ministers and heads of the corresponding Supreme Council committees cannot
belong to the same political force.

Coalition members commit to supporting candidates for Supreme Council
deputy chairman and parliamentary committee first deputy chairmen nominated
by the opposition forces that are not part of the majority. -30-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Leaders of the various parties in the pro-presidential Our Ukraine
bloc said Wednesday they were leaning toward an “orange” coalition in the
country’s newly elected parliament.

The Our Ukraine press service said the coalition – which would also include
former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc and the Socialist Party –
could be joined by other parties and movements, including the Party of
Regions, currently leading the count from Sunday’s vote.

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by Tymoshenko’s bloc (22.47%), Our Ukraine
(14.48%), the Socialist Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%).
Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks
unlikely to negotiate the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the
450-seat Rada.
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start a
dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s path
toward European integration,” the minister said.

Party of Regions campaign head Yevgeniy Kushnarev said Wednesday his
party backed a form of “soft” federalism to unite the country and heal the
splits caused by the 2004 “orange revolution” that brought President Viktor
Yushchenko to power.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” Kushnarev said. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European
regionalism, which is widely popular in Europe.”

He also said the party was willing to work with any groups in the new
parliament, and that it favored constructive relations with Russia, while
seeking European integration but not EU membership.

Speculation about a possible parliamentary coalition began after exit polls
on Sunday indicated the vote was likely to be split. Yushchenko Monday
instructed incumbent Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to begin coalition
talks as the Party of Regions began opening up a substantial gap over its

An “orange coalition” would reunite the various groups that backed
Yushchenko in 2004. The groups fractured after Yushchenko’s election,
and Tymoshenko was dismissed as prime minister by Yushchenko last
September after just seven months in office. -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – A senior member of the pro-Russian party currently leading in
Ukraine’s parliamentary elections said the party would back “soft”
federalism to heal the country’s political rifts and was willing to listen
to any offers on forming a coalition in parliament.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” said Yevgeniy Kushnarev, campaign head for the Party of
Regions, led by former premier and defeated 2004 presidential candidate
Viktor Yanukovych. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European regionalism,
which is widely popular in Europe.”

Kushnarev added that federalism had become a dirty word in Ukraine, as
political analysts have associated it with the opposing concept of
separatism, and was in need of rehabilitation. He said the Party of Regions
was willing to form a coalition with any party in the new Supreme Rada, the
Ukrainian parliament.

“We are ready to form a coalition, and open for dialogue with any [party]
represented in the parliament,” Kushnarev said. “Public and closed
discussions will be held at the second stage, to bring concrete results.”

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
bloc (22.47%), the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc (14.48%), the Socialist
Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%). Parliamentary Speaker
Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks unlikely to negotiate
the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the 450-seat Rada.

“The leaders of parties and political blocs should clearly understand that
they represent the interests of large groups of the country’s population, so
they should jointly find a formula to end a 15-month political standoff in
Ukraine,” Kushnarev said, referring to the “orange revolution” that brought
current President Viktor Yushchenko to power in late 2004. “We should not
make Ukraine mono-colored,” he said.

The latest results suggest that the Party of Regions is likely to end up
with about 176 seats of the total 450. Currently, Tymoshenko’s bloc would
take up 130 seats, Our Ukraine 89, the Socialists 36, and the Communists 21.

Kushnarev was critical of Tymoshenko’s ambitions in the parliamentary
elections, saying she was only interested in one thing. “Obviously, the post
of prime minister became her goal in itself,” he said. “This is clear to everyone.”

He was also skeptical that Yushchenko would dissolve the Rada should the
factions be unable to form a coalition and agree on a candidate for prime

“The president obviously can set obstacles for negotiations … but this
trick can be combated by a simple move,” he said. “We will make Yulia
Tymoshenko prime minister and look at Yushchenko’s expression.”
Tymoshenko was dismissed by Yushchenko last September, after just seven
months in office.

Kushnarev also said the Party of Regions would resume talks with Russia
on the formation of a common economic space, which would help settle
problems in the energy sector.

“The [high] price [on natural gas] has created a current catastrophic
situation in the Ukrainian economy, and leaves us no prospects for the
economic growth,” Kushnarev said. “A single energy tariff would be used
within the framework of the common economic space, and would be much
lower than today’s price on natural gas.”

Russian monopoly Gazprom hiked its price demands for natural gas supplies
in a bitter row over supplies that saw flows to Ukraine cut off in early
January. Moscow has accused Kiev of siphoning off gas meant for European

Kushnarev said the pro-Russian Party of Regions should not be seen as a
Russian “fifth column” in Ukraine, but that the party sought a mutually
beneficial strategic partnership with its neighbor while seeking European
integration, but not EU membership.
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060329/44936361.html
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s party Wednesday notched up
the pressure on its leader to reunite the estranged Orange Team, passing a
resolution that put potential deal-breaking restrictions on the pro-Moscow
opposition leader.

State Security Council chief Anatoliy Kinakh said any parliamentary
coalition members must agree to confirm Ukraine’s pro-Western course, reject
the possibility of adopting Russian as a second state language and turn down
any calls to transfer significant central government powers to the regions.

“The priority for us is and will be Ukraine’s foreign policy course toward
European and Euroatlantic integration, while maintaining good-neighborly
relations with Russia and other countries,” said Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasiuk, according to a party statement.

But in a sign that the party was still reluctant to fully embrace former
prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who has demanded her old job back, the
statement declared: “We think today it is correct to talk not about
assigning jobs but about developing our country.”

Yushchenko held separate consultations Tuesday with Yanukovych and
Tymoshenko as the parties maneuvered over the formation of a possible
majority coalition in parliament.

If the Yushchenko and Tymoshenko can overcome their bitter falling-out,
their parties’ combined votes would put their total above Yanukovych’s and
give them a chance to rule together.

For Yushchenko, though, such a deal would be dangerous as well as
unpalatable. Tymoshenko’s ambitions make her a threat to the president, who
has seen his own sky-high popularity plummet due to public outrage over the
slow pace of reforms.

Viktor Yanukovych, whose pro-Moscow Party of the Regions attracted the
most votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election, supports European Union
membership, but he had also pushed for making Russian a second state
language. Members of his party, which has its support base in the east, had
been leading the call for making Ukraine a federal republic.

Yanukovych’s party has said it will dictate the make-up of the future
coalition, adding that it is too early to begin talks until the final
results are known.

The Central Election Commission’s lengthy vote count continued Wednesday,
with some 93.5% of the votes counted. Yanukovych’s party had 31.3%, followed
by Tymoshenko’s bloc with 22.4% and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine with 14%.

While the statement from Our Ukraine ups the pressure on Yushchenko, it is
the president who will ultimately make the decision.

His presidency is not at risk, but his electoral defeat has left him
weakened. Under constitutional reforms, Yushchenko accepted during the tense
days of the 2004 protests, the president’s power to pick his prime minister
and much of the Cabinet passes to parliament, leaving Yushchenko at risk of

Tymoshenko has argued that only a revived Orange Team can keep Yanukovych
out and safeguard the ideals she and Yushchenko championed in 2004. But
while the Orange parties won more votes combined, it remains unclear whether
they will be able to overcome deep personal animosity and forge a coalition
after months of trading insults. -30-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

Ukraine has held its first elections after the Orange Revolution. Without
any qualification, they were free and fair with a high participation of 67
percent, showing that Ukraine has matured as a democracy.

At the same time, Ukraine has become a parliamentary system, which will
reinforce democracy in the country. The Communists have been further
marginalized, and party consolidation has proceeded well, with only five
parties likely to make it into parliament.

The main results of the vote reflect an amazing constancy. In December 2004,
Viktor Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovych with a margin of 8 percentage
points, which will probably be the balance between the orange and blue, or
more accurately western and eastern, coalitions. The geographic dividing
line runs exactly where it did in 2004, or where it has gone for most of the
last 300 years.

International media have focused on Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
becoming the largest single party, but what matters in proportional
elections is which parties can form a ruling majority, and that is the
Orange coalition.

The surprise is what happened within the Orange coalition, with Yulia
Tymoshenko’s bloc trouncing Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. It is easy to
understand why that happened. Our Ukraine ran an inept campaign and put
its least popular representatives, such as discredited businessman Petro
Poroshenko, in the spotlight, while the president and his prime minister,
Yury Yekhanurov, kept a low profile.

Tymoshenko is an outstanding campaigner, and she seems to have chosen the
right political themes as well. Her main slogan was “justice,” reflecting
Yushchenko’s unfulfilled promise from 2004: “Bandits to prison!” Once again,
revenge against the old regime became the dominant line.

Her victory over Our Ukraine elevates moral issues over economic policy, and
her rhetoric looks backward to the Orange Revolution, further cementing the
east-west divide. She also defeated Pora-PRP, the new liberal bloc, which
tried to offer a decent alternative to Orange voters appalled by both
populism and corruption.

Since the campaign became a rehashing of the Orange Revolution, nothing but
an Orange coalition appears natural, that is, Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine
and the Socialist Party. The Lytvyn Popular bloc will not enter parliament.
Today, nobody but Tymoshenko appears the natural prime minister. The job is
hers to lose.

All three potential coalition partners have already started to hold talks on
the formation of a new government, and one influential Our Ukraine deputy
predicted that an Orange coalition government would be formed within two to
three weeks. The uncertainty about the nature of the next government has

The big question is what policy a Prime Minister Tymoshenko would pursue.
As deputy prime minister for energy in 2000, she surprised us positively by
going after other oligarchs and cleaning up the energy sector.

As prime minister last year, by contrast, she surprised us negatively by
focusing on re-privatization, which had not been part of her government
program. Now she has received a greater popular mandate than ever before,
so we can only wonder how she will amaze us this time.

The natural starting point is her bloc’s pre-election program. Even by the
standards of such documents, it is stunningly diffuse. The most substantial
part is the section on “just power.” It declares that under a Tymoshenko-led
government, judicial immunity for politicians would be immediately
abolished, regional governors would be elected and local self-government
would be strengthened.

Tymoshenko calls her economic credo “solidarism,” referring to a century-old
socialist creed, but its meaning remains fuzzy. Her section on economic
policy is small and empty. In a populist vein, it states that enterprises as
well as people “will pay taxes without any coercion.” Just in case, the
value-added tax is to be abolished as well. Fortunately, the social section
is suitably vague. The time of expensive social benefit promises appears

Most important, re-privatization is not mentioned, though nor are property
rights guaranteed. After she was ousted as prime minister in September,
Tymoshenko declared that she had never advocated re-privatization, which is
not necessarily true but definitely helpful.

She is not likely to put herself in the same bind once again. Moreover, Our
Ukraine cannot possibly join a coalition with her without her giving
credible guarantees not to launch another re-privatization campaign.

One of Tymoshenko’s most successful campaign themes was her persistent
attacks on the Russian-Ukrainian gas deal of Jan. 4, which will undoubtedly
be undone.

RosUkrEnergo has never been accepted by the Ukrainian public, and the
existence of six attachments to the January agreement, purportedly giving
away Ukraine’s pipelines and gas reservoirs to RosUkrEnergo, appears
unacceptable to just about any Ukrainian.

Early Russian comments have emphasized the relative victory of the Party of
the Regions, but the Kremlin leaders will probably be all the more upset
when they realize that a new Orange coalition under Tymoshenko is budding.

The Kremlin reaction is likely to be all the greater if Tymoshenko sticks to
her election promise to break the gas agreement with Russia and render
RosUkrEnergo transparent. Though you never know with Yulia. On Ekho
Moskvy last September, she congratulated the Russians upon their

Regardless of the exact train of events, Ukraine is a democracy, while
Russia is not. Therefore, the Kremlin finds it difficult to understand
Ukraine. Whatever the Ukrainian leaders do to satisfy one constituency or
another is incomprehensible to authoritarians, and if some Ukrainian action
does not suit the Kremlin, it will be perceived as dictated by Washington
and criticized accordingly.

Such Russian rhetoric can do nothing but drive Ukraine into the arms of the
West, and as the European Union is not open, Ukraine will have to run all
the faster toward NATO, not because of Western overtures, but because of
Russian intimidation.
Anders Aslund is a senior fellow at the Institute for International
Economics in Washington, D.C.
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006

Since the 2004 Orange Revolution, most of the news from Ukraine has
emphasized the failures of the “revolutionaries.” President Viktor
Yushchenko and his first prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, could not sustain
the economic growth rates seen under the pre-Orange government.

Analysts in Moscow, London, Kiev and Washington blamed Ms. Tymoshenko’s
alleged populism for declining exports and depressed investment. Mr.
Yushchenko looked like a feckless leader who was then tainted with charges
of corruption over a gas deal between Russia and Ukraine, which delivered
windfall profits to a mysterious company in Switzerland.

Ahead of Sunday’s first elections since last winter, few Ukrainians seemed
to remember their last trip to the ballot box fondly. In opinion polls
conducted last month, only 19% believed that the country was going in the
right direction, 60% in the wrong. These numbers were cited in various
obituaries for the Orange Revolution.

Then came Election Day. The results of Sunday’s parliamentary poll and the
process that produced them underscore the exact opposite: The Orange
Revolution marked a democratic breakthrough in Ukraine that has not only
proved enduring but also been built upon.

The skeptics got a couple important things wrong. First off, the volatile
politics leading up to last weekend’s vote were an expression of democratic
politics, not their rejection. After criticizing Ms. Tymoshenko for her
performance, President Yushchenko dismissed her and her government. That’s
the way it’s supposed to work in democracies.

Accusations of corruption against Mr. Yushchenko’s administration, brought
to light by an aggressive independent press, forced resignations of other
officials from his staff. That’s also democracy in action.

Then, most amazingly, both Ms. Tymoshenko and her detractors from within
the Yushchenko inner circle had the chance to compete against each other for
votes. No one was jailed, no one was removed from the ballot, no one was
denied access to television, and no one was denied campaign financing from
private donors. All that has become the norm in regimes further east of

Certainly, many Ukrainians may have been disappointed with the first results
of the Orange Revolution. There is always a letdown after a revolution as
high expectations often aren’t met. But Ukrainian citizens did not express
their disappointment by checking out of the political process. On the
contrary, the 70% turnout for a parliamentary election is truly remarkable.

During the Orange Revolution, Ukrainians came out on the streets of Kiev to
protect their vote. This week, they demonstrated yet again that they value
their right to decide who rules Ukraine.

And this vote was freer and fairer than recent elections in Ukraine, and a
vast improvement over the tainted and falsified presidential election in
2004. To be sure, there were organizational problems in the formation and
preparation of voter lists and local election commissions.

Likewise, some complained that the Regions of Ukraine party headed by
Viktor Yanukovych, who lost out in 2004, enjoyed unfair control of regional
media outlets in the east, and that Mr. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine used state
resources for its campaign and enjoyed greater media coverage.

But compared to the 2004 election, the campaign atmosphere for this
parliamentary election was free of intimidation or gross bias on the
national television networks. Foreign and domestic electoral monitors gave
their stamps of approval to the process. Most importantly, participants in
the elections have accepted the results as legitimate.

Despite all the alleged failures of Ms. Tymoshenko, Mr. Yushchenko and the
Orange government, the basic distribution of votes between former Orange
coalition parties on the one hand (Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine, the
Socialist Party and Pora) and the anti-Orange parties (Regions of Ukraine,
the Communist Party and the Vitrenko bloc) is roughly the same as it was in
the final (and fair) round of the presidential vote in December 2004.

Then, Mr. Yushchenko won 52% of the popular vote compared to 44% for Mr.
Yanukovych. On Sunday, parties formally affiliated with the Orange coalition
won 46% of the vote, while the anti-Orange parties won 36% altogether.

Despite all the bad news out of Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, Mr.
Yanukovych barely maintained his electoral base — 29.5% for Regions of
Ukraine last Sunday, after all, is significantly less than the 44% that Mr.
Yanukovych won in 2004 — and did not orchestrate some kind of “comeback”
in this election.

On the contrary, the real comeback kid is Yulia Tymoshenko. After her
dismissal as prime minister last year, her approval ratings plummeted and
conventional wisdom at the beginning of this year picked her party to finish
third. Instead, as a result of a tenacious campaign effort, she reclaimed
the Orange mantle, performing especially well in the central “swing”

While it remains unclear how negotiations over a new government will end,
what is clear is that Ms. Tymoshenko is now well-positioned to become the
next president of Ukraine.

A polarized electorate — a lingering legacy of the Orange Revolution —
helped to remobilize a significant number of Orange supporters. Voters did
not cast their ballots based on pocketbook issues, but instead were
motivated by more fundamental factors such as identity and support for or
opposition to the Orange Revolution. But supporters of the revolution did
not constitute a solid majority.

If based on a thin majority, Ukraine’s next government may not be stable,
and instead susceptible to defections from minority coalition members. To
forge a common national identity, Ukrainian leaders must eventually develop
political parties based on ideas (not simply personalities or linguistic
identities) capable of appealing to voters in all regions of the country.

Yet all things considered, Sunday’s outcome marks a major step toward
democratic consolidation in Ukraine. Overcoming or undermining regional
polarization can be addressed in the next electoral cycle. Building
democracy, after all, is a never-ending process — a process that Ukrainians
now seem to have fully embraced. -30-
Mr. McFaul is a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at Stanford
University and an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace. With Anders Aslund, he is editor of “Revolution in Orange: The
Origin’s of Ukraine’s Democratic Breakthrough” (Carnegie, 2006).
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

With over 87% of the votes counted in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, it
appears that early exit poll predictions were accurate. Former Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions should poll around 30-32%
when counting is complete, while former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
eponymous bloc will place a strong second with 22-23%, and President Viktor
Yushchenko party Our Ukraine – which campaigned under the slogan “For
Yushchenko” – will trail in third with around 15% of the vote.

The extent, but not the fact of, the loss for Yushchenko is surprising.
While many in Ukraine have noted disillusionment with the president’s
policies and what has become known as “his environment,” there always was
uncertainty about where protest votes would go. It now appears that the
vast majority went to Tymoshenko.

It also appears that the combined votes of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the
Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT) and the Socialists would provide a workable
parliamentary majority of between 230 and 260 seats, depending on the
redistribution of votes for parties failing to pass the threshold. This
coalition would represent a return to the original revolution “orange

By virtue of BYUT’s placement well ahead of Our Ukraine and the Socialists,
under Ukraine’s new constitutional amendments creating a parliamentary –
presidential form of government, Tymoshenko is claiming the right to the
Prime Minister’s chair in this potential coalition.

However, in remarks to several journalists following her press conference on
27 March, Tymoshenko said that “those interested in mixing business with
politics” in Our Ukraine are “interested in a coalition with the Party of
Regions.” She continued, “They don’t want me as Prime Minister because they
know I won’t stand for that.”

Nevertheless, she expressed optimism about a return to an orange coalition
after a meeting on 28 March with the president, and it would appear that
public opinion supports this idea.

An examination of the election results leads to several conclusions:

President Yushchenko ensured that the election campaign would meet or
surpass international standards for a free and fair election. Despite
understanding for months that his party could be beaten, Yushchenko did
not resort to the tactics used by so many other leaders of former Soviet

Instead, he remained true to the democratic principles he has espoused
during his entire career. The campaign was vibrant, diverse, unencumbered
by administrative pressure, and chronicled by an uncensored media, according
to all accredited international election monitoring organizations. As
confirmed by the OSCE, it was a true democratic contest.

Several smaller parties have filed complaints about vote counting issues,
and both Our Ukraine and BYUT have charged that certain election officials
clinging to the old ways in Donetsk, Crimea and Luhansk conducted fraudulant
vote counts.

However, there is no question from any international monitoring mission that
this election constitutes a major step forward for Ukraine. President
Yushchenko should be congratulated.

Unlike some reports suggesting that these elections signify a “shift to
Russia,” in fact, they actually demonstrate a further consolidation of
support for the goals of the Orange Revolution. It is easy to forget that
Viktor Yanukovich won 44% of the vote during the third round of the
presidential election in December 2004 – an election deemed fair by
international observers. He will now receive about 32% of the vote.

Even when votes for the Communists (4%), the staunchly pro-Russian
opposition bloc of Natalia Vitrenko (around 3%), and a few other
anti-Yushchenko parties that will not enter the parliament are added to the
total for the Party of Regions, the views of Yanukovich do not appear to
have gained support. In fact, it may be that these views actually have lost

The election results actually show a migration not from Yushchenko to
Yanukovich, but from Yushchenko to other more “radical” former orange
partners. Tymoshenko, of course, received the largest share of former
Yushchenko votes (increasing her bloc’s representation from slightly more
than 7% in 2002).

However, the Socialist Party also received about 6% of the votes that
supported Yushchenko in 2004, and the two former orange partners Reforms and
Order (in coalition with PORA) and the People’s Rukh (Kostenko) also will
gain over 4% together, even if their support will not be enough to keep them
in parliament.

The Green, Viche, and European Capital parties also seem to have secured
over three percentage points together – votes that likely would have gone to
Yushchenko in 2004.

The results should send a clear message to President Yushchenko that
“orange” voters want their two revolution leaders united. In the final
three weeks of the campaign, Tymoshenko repeatedly suggested that only
by voting for her could the orange team be reunited. Vote for her, she said,
to send a message to Our Ukraine, and “to reunite the team.”

Our Ukraine, in contrast, asked voters to support them to make it clear that
Tymoshenko “will be a junior partner in any coalition.” The voters seem to
have handily rejected this idea and embraced Tymoshenko’s suggestion that
the team would be reunited with her “victory.”

Voters rejected President Yushchenko’s repeated suggestions that most
everything wrong with the country in the last year was the fault of former
prime minister Tymoshenko. While Yushchenko was hoping for a mandate
for his programs, it was the former prime minister who actually received the
“thumbs up” from most orange voters.

Should President Yushchenko ignore the message that his core voters want him
to reunite with Tymoshenko, he risks undermining his political support even
further, possibly dooming his reelection campaign and catapulting Tymoshenko
into the office of president.

Yushchenko now can no longer count himself as the sole leader of the “orange
voters.” To maintain – or perhaps resurrect – his political career, he will
need to define himself in new ways, based on specific programs. So far, he
and Our Ukraine have been unable to do this. Simply campaigning under the
slogan “For Yushchenko” no longer gains the required result.

“Orange” voters continue to want “change” and “justice.” Tymoshenko’s
primary slogan throughout her entire campaign was, “It is necessary to fight
for justice.” It is important to remember that when protestors stood on the
Maidan, they did not chant in favor of standardizing customs procedures with
the EU. They chanted, “Bandits to jail!” and “Criminals Gone.”

Not one “orange” voter interviewed prior to this article or quoted in other
articles, has mentioned the economy as a motivating factor behind their
choice on 26 March, just as it was not a major motivating factor in 2004.
Living standards were already increasing under President Kuchma, and
continue to do so.

Instead, interviewees have noted that the organizers of the Gongadze murder
remain at large, that certain business interests have maintained control of
reportedly improperly privatized enterprises, and that no major figure has
been punished for the vote fraud that led to the revolution. Voters clearly
responded to Tymoshenko’s slogan, and her repeated calls for “justice.”

Voters responded to Tymoshenko’s admonition to choose their leaders “in the
interests of Ukraine,” and not other countries. The former Prime Minister
effectively used negative comments about her and her policies from both
Russian and Western analysts and economists during her campaign.

She particularly singled out former Carnegie Endowment for International
Affairs Director for Russia Anders Aslund, whose negative evaluations of
Tymoshenko, support for Yushchenko, and campaigning for a coalition between
Yushchenko and Yanukovich were carried extensively in the Ukrainian press.
One Tymoshenko voter interviewed suggested that she wanted “a leader for
Ukraine’s interests, not Russia’s or America’s.”

Voters have cleansed the parliament of individuals implicated in some of the
country’s most notorious crimes. Although the Party of Regions
parliamentary list contains over a dozen individuals said by the Interior
Ministry to be under investigation for various crimes, voters rejected the
return to parliament of the “Ne Tak” opposition bloc and the bloc of
parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The “Ne Tak” bloc held many of the members of the former Kuchma party of
power, the Social Democratic Party (united), including former presidential
chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk. It was led by former Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk.

According to a Ukrainian parliamentary commission and the European Court of
Human Rights, Volodymyr Lytvyn may be implicated in the original plan to
kidnap Georgiy Gongadze (who then was killed), and is heard on the “Gongadze
tapes” advising President Kuchma to have the Interior Minister “handle”
Gongadze. These individuals have now lost their parliamentary immunity,
bringing up interesting questions for the next government, and the next
prosecutor general.

As this article is completed, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Socialist leader
Oleksandr Moroz all have stated their support for the “principle” of a new
“democratic coalition” based on the former orange parties. The country has
come far with the successful completion of its first truly free election.

Should majority coalition negotiations proceed effectively, which will not
be simple given the personal animosity between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko,
Ukraine truly will be able to say that it is on the path to Western-style
democracy. -30-
CONTACT: Tammy Lynch, tammymlynch@hotmail.com.
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – YULIYA TYMOSHENKO, the blonde-braided heroine of the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine, has almost as many nicknames as she does
designer suits.

She has been called the Gas Princess, Ukraine’s Joan of Arc, Iron Yuliya –
even the Samurai in a Skirt. But her sights are set firmly on reclaiming the
one title that she really covets – prime minister.

Mrs Tymoshenko, 45, met President Yushchenko yesterday for the first time
since the pro-Russian politicians they defeated in the Orange Revolution
made a comeback in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

It was also their first meeting since Mr Yushchenko dismissed her as Prime
Minister in September to quash infighting in the Orange team. Her message to
him was uncompromising: only she could lead a new Orange coalition to keep
Viktor Yanukovych, the man who tried to rig the 2004 presidential election,
out of government.

“We have full understanding and a firm desire to join in a coalition,” Mrs
Tymoshenko said afterwards. “We must continue along the path we set out
on during the presidential election. We will do everything to deal with
formalities within a week.”

With 80 per cent of votes counted, Mr Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
is leading with 30.44 per cent, raising fears that he could slow Ukraine’s
integration with the EU and Nato and swing it back into Russia’s orbit.

Mrs Tymoshenko’s party is second with 22.38 per cent, and Mr Yushchenko’s
is third with a humiliating 15.1 per cent. The results indicate that Mrs
Tymoshenko has inherited the Orange mantle from Mr Yushchenko, whose
popularity slumped because of the power struggle in his Government and an
economic slowdown.

But opinion is divided on whether Mrs Tymoshenko is the solution to the
Orange team’s woes or the cause of them. Supporters see her as a fearless
revolutionary who was the main inspiration behind the movement and is now
bent on sweeping away the post-Soviet elite. They point to her record on
cleaning up the gas industry, where she made a fortune in the 1990s, and
reprivatising a massive steel plant last year.

“We won the battle because of the consistency and clarity of her position on
gas and on what needs to be done to fight corruption,” Hryhoriy Nemyria,
one of her top aides, said.

Critics say that she is a populist and an opportunist, whose personal
ambitions and business interests make any new coalition unworkable. They
say that the first Orange Government failed because of her rivalry with
Poroshenko, the “chocolate king” who co-financed the revolution.

They say that her economic policies are too radical – especially her pledge
to review 3,000 privatisation deals and tear up the agreement that ended a
gas crisis with Russia in January. Serhiy Hayday, a political strategist who
worked with Mr Poroshenko, said that making her Prime Minister again would
be disastrous.

“We’ve already seen a small rehearsal for failure,” he said. “That was the
first seven months of her work. The consequence will be not only the
people’s disillusionment with Tymoshenko. It may be disillusionment with
the possibility of making Ukraine a country to be proud of.”

Mr Yushchenko is keeping his options open, holding talks yesterday with
Mr Yanukovych as well. -30-
–Yuliya Tymoshenko made a fortune in the 1990s, becoming president of
United Energy Systems of Ukraine, one of the largest importers of natural
–She brought this experience to bear as a minister from 1999 to 2001,
working in Victor Yuschenko’s government to reform the energy industry
–Despite being fired from that role after corruption allegations, she became
one of Mr Yuschenko’s most important allies during the 2004 Orange
–In January last year Mr Yuschenko made her his Prime Minister and last
July, Forbes Magazine named her the third most powerful woman in the world
–After feuding with Mr Yuschenko’s aides, Ms Tymoshenko was dismissed
in September 2005. -30-
LINK: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2108400,00.html
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Supporters of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine had one of their best
moments in recent months when they reacted to their stunning defeat in
Sunday’s parliamentary elections. President Viktor Yushchenko’s gracious
acceptance of the verdict of the polls was a far cry from the crude efforts
by his opponents to steal the presidential election from him in 2004.

It also stands in powerful contrast to the strong-arm tactics of Aleksandr
Lukashenko in neighboring Belarus. And the president’s backers were right
when they asserted that holding a truly free and fair election was in itself
a victory worth savoring.

Still, the fact is that Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party, invariably depicted
as “pro-Western” and “pro-reform,” took a drubbing at the hands of Viktor
Yanukovich, the former prime minister who was so dramatically defeated in
2004, and of Yulia Timoshenko, Yushchenko’s erstwhile ally and prime
minister, who was ousted only slightly less dramatically last September. The
reforms pushed through by Yushchenko himself will now transfer many
presidential powers to the prime minister and Parliament.

Yushchenko was defeated for several reasons. The power struggle with
Timoshenko divided his supporters, and the well-publicized high-rolling
lifestyle of his son seriously undermined his image as a corruption-fighter.
The economy did not improve – Russia abruptly and sharply raised the price
of fuel in January in a maneuver that seemed intended, among other things,
to undermine Yushchenko. Ukraine, moreover, remains sharply divided along
geographic, political and linguistic lines between an anti-Russian,
nationalistic west and a more pro-Russian east.

Yushchenko must now decide whether to team up with Yanukovich or with
Timoshenko to form a government. Either way, a nasty power struggle is
certain. That is discouraging for those who thought the Orange Revolution
would soften Ukraine’s political divisions. But an honest election is meant
to give an honest snapshot of the electorate, and this one revealed Ukraine
as it really is.

Whatever government emerges will still have to cope with higher prices for
energy; it will still be torn between the uncertain enticements of Europe
and the familiar bonds with Russia; it will still have to contend with the
deep division of the country and with the corruption so prevalent in former
Soviet republics.

The Orange Revolution was a major milestone, but it is important to remember
that it was not waged in the name of the West, but in the name of Ukrainians
who demanded the right to choose their own leaders. So long as there’s
another free vote ahead, Ukraine is on the right path, and the West must be
at its side. -30-
LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/28/opinion/edukraine.php
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The heroes of Kiev’s Independence Square scored another one for political
freedom Sunday — this time by holding a model parliamentary election. Their
own disappointing showing only reaffirms the original point of that outbreak
of popular democracy.

“It is already a big victory,” said President Viktor Yushchenko, casting his
vote in the first elections since last winter’s Orange Revolution. This
iconic leader from those days was putting a positive spin on his party’s
expected third-place showing after a difficult 14 months in power. But the
sentiment is true all the same.

A week after the sham presidential election next door in Belarus, which
ended when Alexander Lukashenko’s police cleared protesters from Minsk’s
central square in the dead of night, fellow Eastern Slavs in Ukraine showed
that aptitude for democracy isn’t a question of DNA. A bewildering array of
parties stood for the 450-seat Rada and local government posts.

The campaign debates were lively and the media free. The days of temnyky —
the instructions that journalists got from their rulers on how to report
stories — are a distant memory. Election Day didn’t pass without
organizational headaches, like overcrowded polling stations and incomplete
voting lists, but the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
said Ukraine passed with flying colors.

Only a free and fair election could have made it possible for Viktor
Yanukovych to stage a comeback. Back in the fall of 2004, he was the ancien
regime’s and the Kremlin’s presidential candidate on whose behalf — and
presumably with whose active participation — elections were rigged.

The popular uprising, christened the Orange Revolution, forced a rerun of
the vote that Mr. Yushchenko won handily. The new president didn’t
prosecute, much less persecute, Mr. Yanukovych for his possible role in
electoral fraud.

His party’s first-place showing Sunday with 27% of the vote is a lesson for
regional thugs who cling on to power by hook or by crook. Bolshevism, and
its offspring, is an all-or-nothing game. But there are second (and third
and fourth…) acts in democratic politics.

With the backing of eastern industrial oligarchs, and their television
networks, Mr. Yanukovych rebuilt his career. A free election also confers
something precious that can’t be rigged: legitimacy. Maybe Mr. Yanukovych
will let his friends in the Kremlin in on this little secret.

The two parties led by the now estranged Team Orange of Yulia Tymoshenko and
her former ally, Mr. Yushchenko, came in second and third place, getting 24%
and 16% with half the ballots counted. Who can blame the voters for this
mild rebuke? In power, the duo failed to put together a coherent governing

While a decent man of great personal courage, Mr. Yushchenko suffers from
what can generously be called a self-discipline deficiency disorder. As
prime minister, Ms. Tymoshenko spent more time settling old scores than
running the government. The president fired her long after rumors of
corruption and proof of incompetence had ended the Orange honeymoon.

Sunday’s outcome does serve to show again that, contrary to the claims made
by Vladimir Putin and the Guardian newspaper among other skeptics, the
Orange Revolution was not about particular personalities or power blocks
cynically fighting for power in Kiev.

The hundreds of thousands in Independence Square were not there in 2004 out
of any great love for Viktor Yushchenko, whose face pockmarked by poison
came to symbolize those days in the world’s eyes. It was a popular uprising,
nothing more and nothing less, in which Ukrainians braved the cold to demand
to be governed, as their immediate western neighbors are, by people of their
own choosing.

So what did the voters decide on Sunday? The elections reflected a desire
for a strong economy and a secure place for Ukraine in Europe, free of overt
pressure from the Kremlin. In a detail lost amid all the wringing of hands
about Team Orange’s supposedly poor showing, the Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko parties combined won the most votes, not many less than in
the presidential election.

If the two can set aside old grievances and reach an agreement on a
coalition, they’ll get another shot at running this sprawling country of 48
million. Mr. Yanukovych held his base in the industrial east.

Though embarrassed by his last-place finish among the major parties, Mr.
Yushchenko, whose own job wasn’t on the line, can play kingmaker of the next
government. Mr. Yanukovych is wooing his Our Ukraine party and other
centrists by tempering his past Russophile utterances. Significantly, he
supports Ukrainian membership in the European Union.

Ms. Tymoshenko, who held out the olive branch yesterday to the president to
reform their previous coalition, would also love to be prime minister again.
In the coming weeks, deals and compromises need to be struck to create a new
government formed. It won’t always be pretty.

But such is the daily grind of competitive politics. The only remarkable
thing about this election is that, in another place and another time, it
would be completely unremarkable. -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.

EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

UKRAINE IS a divided country politically, geographically, and
linguistically, and the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections there
are more a reflection of those divisions than a rejection of last year’s
Orange Revolution.

The electoral setback suffered by the Our Ukraine party of President Viktor
Yushchenko may be an embarrassment for that erstwhile hero of December

Nevertheless, if the voters were repudiating Yushchenko for failing to clean
up corruption and for permitting a schism in the ranks of the Orange
Revolution, they were not renouncing the principles or achievements of that

Preliminary results suggest that, between them, Yushchenko’s party and the
bloc of his alienated ally, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko received
about 40 percent of votes cast. The party of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich
garnered a plurality of about 26 percent. Hence the vote was a validation of
the Orange Revolution — even if Yushchenko’s party was punished for
permitting the split last September with Tymoshenko and her departure from
the government.

Their split-up resulted from a quarrel over corruption in the government. To
the extent that Yushchenko’s humiliating third-place finish on Sunday was
also due to his failure to purge corrupt officeholders, this was a case of
the leader of the Orange Revolution being chastised for failing to live up
to the ideals of that revolution.

The centrality of corruption was illuminated last month when Ukraine’s
interior minister published a list of former convicts and criminal suspects
running for Parliament. Eleven are wanted for questioning in criminal cases,
37 were facing criminal charges, 41 were implicated in cases being
transferred to court, and 10 have already been convicted of crimes. For
shady millionaire businessmen as well as Ukraine’s mafia bosses, the lure of
parliamentary immunity is hard to resist.

In the election’s aftermath, Yushchenko can perform two indispensable tasks
if he wishes to preserve the promise of the Orange Revolution. The first is
to form a governing coalition with his former ally, Tymoshenko, as she
requested yesterday. This means resisting a politically cynical coalition
with Yanukovich, the foe whom he supplanted thanks to those Ukrainians
who camped in Kiev’s wintry streets to protest the rigged election.

Then he must address corruption that became blatant in January, when he
resolved a quarrel over natural gas supplies from Russia by allowing a
shadowy company to receive a contract as an intermediary between Russian
suppliers and Ukrainian consumers.

A majority of Ukrainians has voted to continue the Orange Revolution. Now
Yushchenko must decide whether to vote with that majority or against it.
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
Timoshenko may be forced to form a government with rivals

By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s business community and political analysts are wondering
what the surprising electoral gains of Julia Timoshenko, the charismatic
former prime minister, will mean for the country’s pro-West tilt.

There are worries as to what a government led by her may mean for relations
with giant neighbour Russia, and with the domestic interests held by some
local business mandarins, known as the “oligarchs”.

Although her party, the Timoshenko Bloc, is running second in the count, the
leading group, the Party of the Regions, will almost certainly not have
enough votes to form a government.

This leaves a period of coalition-building ahead, with the most likely
outcome an alliance between Timoshenko and the party of the current
government, Our Ukraine, which is running third in the count.

These two led the Orange Revolution of December 2004, when protests
overturned a presidential election result found to be flawed. In the re-run,
Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko was elected president, and he then
appointed Timoshenko as prime minister. But the two Orange parties then fell
out last year, with Yushchenko firing Timoshenko and her entire government.
Differences buried?

The result of the parliamentary election may therefore see the two parties
forced to bury some bitter differences. “There are risks in such a
coalition,” says Vira Nanivska, director of the Kiev based International
Centre for Policy Studies. “There is a question over whether they will be
able to organise themselves coherently and speak with one voice.”

Both groupings have roughly similar ideas when it comes to Ukraine’s
overall orientation.

Both are in favour of opening up the country more to the West and seek
membership of Nato, the World Trade Organisation and, eventually, the
European Union. These policies have pitted both of them against the more
pro-Russia leaning Party of the Regions, which is based mainly in the east
of the country. Yet Timoshenko has made a name for herself pushing more
radical economic ideas than Yushchenko.

“They have very different ideas on reprivatisation,” says Nanivska.
Timoshenko has previously favoured taking back into state control many
companies that were sold off during the 1990s to the oligarchs for sums she
says were well below market value. These would then be sold off again in a
more transparent manner.
But this has caused great uncertainty in Ukraine’s business community and,
many say, deterred investments in the country. It is also opposed by Our
Ukraine. Market watchers now say that Timoshenko will likely moderate her
stance on this when in power.

“She was pushing these populist policies before,” says Tomas Fiala, managing
director of Kiev-based brokerage Dragon Capital. “But with no more elections
due for another four years, I think [reprivatisation] will be pushed into
the background.”

One other key area where a Timoshenko government could face controversy
will be in its relations with giant northern neighbour, Russia.

The Orange parties have most of their support in the Europe-leaning west of
the country, where Ukrainian nationalism has long been stronger and Russia
is looked upon with more suspicion.

Likewise, Moscow has long viewed Timoshenko with a wary eye, with Russian
observers in yesterday’s elections pointing out problems with the vote that
Western observers largely dismissed.

The election results so far have also confirmed the long-standing split
between the pro-European west and pro-Russian east, where many citizens
declare both Ukrainian and Russian identity.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” says Valeriy Khmelko, president of the
Kiev International Institute of Sociology. “Our studies show the Orange
parties got about 67% of their votes in the west, while the Party of the
regions got about 65% of its votes in the east. This hasn’t changed since
the Orange Revolution.”

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country.”
During the campaign, Timoshenko promised to cancel a key gas deal signed
with Moscow back in January by the current Our Ukraine government – a
move that may antagonise relations with Russia still further – and with her
coalition ally.

This deal came after Russia cut natural gas supplies to the Ukraine in
mid-winter, with Moscow insisting that Ukraine pay the full market price for
its supplies.

Ukraine is largely dependent on Russia for its gas, which heats many homes
and powers electricity plants and factories.

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country”

Valeriy Khmelko, President, Kiev International Institute of Sociology
Previous pro-Russian governments had received Russian natural gas at a
much lower price.

The eventual deal turned the gas back on, but, according to Timoshenko,
Ukraine ended up paying too heavy a price.

Others agree. “The deal wasn’t a particularly good one,” Fiala says, “so if
Ukraine now becomes much tougher in negotiations over this, it will be a
positive step. Russia’s pipelines to Europe all go across Ukraine, so
Ukraine has quite a lot of leverage here.”

Ukraine has also recently fallen out with Russia over Russian bases in the
Crimea, part of Ukraine which has long been home to the Russian Black Sea
fleet and which has an ethnic Russian majority.

This nearly led to conflict over a series of Crimean lighthouses claimed by
both countries in February.
Yet others see Ukraine’s relations with Russia as far too important to be
worsened by a new government – of whatever political hue.

“You may get differences of rhetoric about Russia,” says Nanivska, “but
essentially, policy will be the same. Relations with Moscow have to get
better, it’s just not really an option but to get on with them.”

Foreign policy may also stay largely in the hands of the president, who
retains wide powers in this field.

With half the vote counted, negotiations have been going on since the
morning over the future shape of the coalition that will lead Ukraine.
“Whatever the outcome, and whichever coalition of parties emerges,” Nanivska
adds, “it seems the new government will have a difficult road ahead.” -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

Who did not cheer for Ukraine when crowds thronged Kiev’s Independence
Square and propelled the horribly disfigured Viktor Yushchenko to the
presidency? Ukraine, according to the Western consensus, had heroically
broken the bonds that tied it to Russia and earned itself a place on the
fast track to democracy. Membership of the European Union and Nato
could not be far behind.

Now, that same Western consensus is declaring itself shocked and
disappointed by the results of Ukraine’s parliamentary elections. Hopes that
the new parliament would bolster the President’s authority and speed the
introduction of Western-style market reforms have been dashed. The orange
revolution, we are told, has turned sour.

To condemn Ukraine for choosing a supposedly retrograde course now,
however, is just as wrong as it was to exalt Ukraine to the skies before.
Ukraine’s embrace of the orange revolution was never as unambiguous as
it was presented, just as the latest election results are nothing like the
unmitigated disaster we are now given to believe.

Contrary to popular mythology, Yushchenko was not elected by a landslide in
December 2004. He won 52 per cent of the vote, compared with the 44 per cent
won by his rival, Viktor Yanukovych. After the rigged second round,
Yanukovych’s vote held up relatively well, thanks to a combination of loyal
ethnic Russian voters and Ukrainians who feared the consequences of
Western-style economic reforms.

Preliminary figures for the latest election show that, proportionately, not
a great deal has changed. Yanukovych’s Regions Party is likely to end up
with most seats in the new parliament, having won one-third of the vote. But
his party is in first position only because the alliance that waged the
orange revolution has split.

The party of the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is on course to win
around 25 per cent of the vote, with Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party around
15 per cent.

These figures show, first, that if the parties of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko
had campaigned as a bloc – as, essentially, they did for the presidency –
they would have the largest presence in the new parliament. They show,
second, that even if Yushchenko goes into coalition with Yanukovych, there
is still likely to be a reformist majority in parliament, albeit a small

It is simply not true to say that the orange revolution has been defeated.
The truth is rather that its victory was never as sweeping as the stirring
images of banner-waving crowds in Independence Square suggested.

The truth is also that, although Yushchenko was the reformist candidate for
President, it was Tymoshenko’s populist rhetoric and drive that galvanised
the crowds in Independence Square. His popular appeal was always going to
suffer if, as happened last summer, she left the government.

The discrepancy between the presentation and reality of the orange
revolution is one reason why it ran into such trouble so soon. Swayed by the
seductive songs of their Western supporters, Ukraine’s orange
revolutionaries behaved as though their domestic support was far larger and
more homogenous than it actually was.

They seemed to take their cue from the so-called “rose” revolution in the
former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Mikhail Saakashvili came to power
on a wave of popular support for his anti-corruption campaign and
free-market philosophy. And even he has not had everything his own way.

In Ukraine, Yushchenko inherited the leadership of a country that was and
remains far more ethnically and ideologically divided than Georgia. These
divisions meant that his government found it hard to enact change, even with
the nominal support (initially) of the old parliament.

Yushchenko’s other difficulty was that he was swept to power on a
pro-Western idea, rather than specific policies for Ukraine. It was not long
before the cracks between his liberalism and Tymoshenko’s more doctrinaire
approach began to show.

The new parliament will be less reformist and less exclusively orientated
towards the West than out-and-out supporters of the orange revolution abroad
had hoped. Just because some people do not like the outcome, however, does
not mean that this poll does not represent a considerable achievement.

Ukraine has just conducted an election that was recognised by OSCE observers
as free and fair. It was an election that passed off peacefully, with no
overt Russian interference and no high-profile lobbying from the US
administration. It has produced a parliament that will be more
representative of Ukraine’s national aspirations, economic potential and
geographic constraints than its predecessor.

And this means that the next government should have a real chance to govern,
once the bargaining over a coalition is complete. Is this such a bad balance
sheet for the orange revolution 15 months on? -30-
LINK: m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

HOW times have changed in Ukraine in a very short time! Yesterday’s
revolutionaries are today’s Establishment. Yesterday’s villains are
reclaiming their status as heroes today. This is perhaps why they say
change is the only constant in politics.

If the party of President Viktor Yushchenko, the hero of the Orange
Revolution in 2004, has been reduced to a pathetic third place in Sunday’s
parliamentary vote (according to poll surveys), it is thanks to the profound
disillusionment of the Ukrainians with his leadership.

The man, who only a year and half ago brought the Ukrainians out on the
streets in freezing cold and kept them there until he brought down the
regime, stands completely discredited today.

And Viktor Yanukovich, who had been seen as the villain of the piece by the
world media including this newspaper in 2004, is seeking to reclaim his lost
place with this vote. According to exit polls, he has come out on the top of
the heap with the maximum number of votes and seats although a clear
majority may still elude him.

There are lessons in all this for leaders. You can bring about a revolution
and win a landslide. But if you do not deliver on the promises made to the
people, they wouldn’t hesitate to throw you out in no time. That is what
democracy is all about. Is it not? -30-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The pock-marked face of Viktor Yushchenko proudly waving a victory sign
over a sea of triumphant supporters all dressed in orange in a Ukraine square
remains vivid in many people’s minds.

But the winds of change blow quickly in politics. A little more than a year
has passed since those historic times when a ”people’s power” uprising
brought true democracy to the former Soviet nation.

In the nation’s first real ”free and fair” election which was held on the
weekend, Mr Yushchenko suffered a humiliating defeat. From the day he took
office, Ukrainians were expecting to see massive changes, a turnaround in
their disastrous economy, more jobs, a crackdown on government corruption
and unlimited freedoms. And they expected these changes to happen overnight.
In reality, Mr Yushchenko faced an impossible task.

The existing bureaucrats who would be implementing any new laws did not
change when the ”people’s power” broom swept the old Moscow-backed
government out. Their communist mentality, unwillingness to change and
entrenched corruption will take perhaps a generation to overcome, not one
year. And Mr Yushchenko’s close allies, in particular his orange
revolutionary mainstay, the pretty Julia Timoshenko, all wanted a nice slice
of the spoils.

While all of his allies, who quickly formed a coalition government, were
strongly united in the orange revolution with the aim of overthrowing the
communist government, once they gained power themselves, each had their
own agenda. After nine months as prime minister, it became clear that Ms
Timoshenko’s immediate priorities were not those of Mr Yushchenko and the
once-poisoned president sacked perhaps his coalition’s most popular asset.

But in those nine months, Ms Timoshenko’s anti-corruption net had tripped
other close allies who had then fallen. Much of Mr Yushchenko’s time was
being consumed by calming internal bickering and negotiating trade-offs to
ensure the passage of legislation.

While the coalition did introduce some excellent reforms and set the country
firmly on the road to joining the European Union, the economy remained
stagnant, job growth was minimal and many promises were yet to be addressed.

The ”orange” was turning sour, the pips had become stale and the promises
of the once full-of-juice revolution was slowly ebbing away. On the weekend,
the people spoke. Ironically the once-hated Moscow-backed Regions Ukraine
party appears set to win most seats in government when results are
announced. Ms Timoshenko’s bloc which held 25 seats in the last parliament,
appeared on track to capture about 150 of the 450 seats in the next

Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party has been humiliated, garnering about
16% of the vote. This will mean it could lose up to 20% of the seats it held
in the pre-election parliament. With the Socialist Party and the Communist
Party, Mr Yushchenko and Ms Timoshenko will likely be forming another
coalition government with the Regions Ukraine posing a most powerful

Coalition negotiations are expected to last weeks more than days but Ms
Timoshenko set the tone on Monday, stamping her new-found power. She
announced that unless she was appointed prime minister, her bloc would not
be participating in a governing coalition. Mr Yushchenko needs her bloc to
form a coalition so it is a fait accompli that Ms Timoshenko will be the
country’s next prime minister.

But Mr Yushchenko should hold his head high. He has secured his name in
history as a person who led his people as they overthrew their undemocratic
and vehemently corrupt government. Even more important was that they
achieved their aim without a bomb from the West being dropped and without
an external invasion being mounted.

Ukrainians proved that if the will is firmly there within a nation, and the
majority are demanding the change, it can be achieved. With this in mind, in
future when pondering democracy, the world should take note of the early
years of this century, which clearly define the difference between oranges
and lemons. -30-
LINK: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/29Mar2006_news15.php
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yulia Timoshenko won’t be Ukrainian Prime Minister. I mean, she may
become one someday but not this time. The point is that Viktor Yushchenko
really does not want it to happen. Two days ago, he called the head of Our
Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny and excoriated him in the
presence of some of his subordinates.

The man had earlier voiced an idea that the leader of the Orange coalition
may become prime minister. Understandably, as Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc
left behind Our Ukraine, she is considered the leader.

Ms. Timoshenko insisted following the voting day that the matter of the
Orange coalition should be decided upon within the next few hours. Later,
she set the deadline of the next two days. Now it is the next two weeks. She
understands that the time is passing or must have already passed for her.

However, it seemed yesterday that she was very close to the victory. Our
Ukraine could have signed a memorandum on a coalition with Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc and the Socialist Party. The decision between the
parties had already been made but it was announced that the president
opposes the idea.

As the head of the state, he is supposed to be impartial. Yet, it turned out
straight away that Our Ukraine will split if its leaders sign the
memorandum. For a start, a group of the party’s deputies will declare that
they disfavor this coalition.

Everyone pictured the split – it is what Our Ukraine fears the most now. The
deal has fallen through. Yulia Timoshenko was offered a new memorandum
which did not contain the name of the future prime minister. Surely, she did
not agree.

Moreover, Viktor Yushchenko would not even submit the candidacy of Yulia
Timoshenko for prime minister to the Rada, even if a united coalition
nominated her. No law obliges him to submit the nominee proposed by the

The coalition can recommend the person and he may accept it. Or he may not.
You can’t find any law saying that it will be unlawful. No doubt, he will
use his hidden veto in case of Yulia Timoshenko’s nomination.

What will he do next, then? A union with the Party of Regions seems to be
the most logical answer. Anyway, it’s high time for Mr. Yushchenko to act as
the person who is uniting two Ukraines – eastern and western regions. I
suppose no one will get surprised if it happens.

It is more likely to happen than not to. Mr. Yushchenko is perfectly aware
of the fact that if Our Ukraine does not build a coalition with the Party of
Regions, Yulia Timoshenko will do it.

But who is going to be the prime minister after all? Almost anyone can,
because it is easier to say who will not become one – Viktor Yanukovich. I
don’t think he’ll like the news. But when the time comes, they will tell
Yanukovich because it is not with him that Yushchenko will negotiate with –
there are other more important people to deal with.

I’m curious about the following – what will Yulia Timoshenko think up in
this obvious stalemate. She’s got to cook up something! -30-
LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?idr=1&id=661559
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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The coalition debate in Ukraine

COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Four combinations of the governmental coalition are clearly seen ahead of
the official results of the Ukrainian parliamentary election. The coalition
can be formed either by the Orange forces (with Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc and
Our Ukraine of Viktor Yushchenko) or by Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of
Regions (in case Socialists and Communists join him).

President Yushchenko is going to be on the losing end, anyway, whereas the
popularity of former Prime Minister Timoshenko will keep on growing even if
she is not called to head the government again.
Ukraine’s Central Election Committee counted more than 87 percent of votes
by last night, Kiev time. The alignment of forces did not change
dramatically, according to the latest reports. Five political parties won
more than the necessary 3 percent and qualified to enter the Supreme Rada.

Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions mustered a majority, though not an
outright one, Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc was the runner-up and the
pro-presidential Our Ukraine came in third. The three parties will share 450
seats at the parliament.

The faction of Yanukovich’s Blue will be in a majority as they had some 30.7
percent of the vote, which will give Viktor Yanukovich a chance to secure at
least 178 seats for his people. At one point when all parties stopped to
grow during the counting of votes, the Party of Regions was still receiving
new percentage points.

It turned out later that the counting in eight eastern regions of the
countries, which traditionally support the party, was going slower than in
other areas. Only 70 percent of the vote has been counted there by

President Viktor Yushchenko criticized the slow pace of the counting calling
the sluggishness of election commission in Blue regions “an intentional
effort to benefit a certain political force.” The president requested the
Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and election authorities to
secure the fair counting of votes.

Strange as it may seem, Kiev is counting votes the slowest in the country.
Only the half of the votes has been checked by last night. Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc holds a steady lead in the capital and its yesterday’s
result of 22.5 percent may go up. However, the bloc can hope only for
130 seats, at most.

Our Ukraine, the third party in the election, has reached the finale with
modest 14.8 percent and can now get only 86 seats. The Socialist Party of
Alexander Moroz with 5.9 percent and the Communists with 3.6 percent
qualified to enter the new parliament to gain 35 and 21 seats, respectively.

Experts are still hesitant as to which parties will join which since all
parties are currently in talks with all others. In theory, the five parties
may form any alliances. Orange-Blue coalitions could become the strongest
ones. Should Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich overcome personal
animosity, they would create the Constitutional majority of 307 deputies and
be able to initiate the impeachment for the president. It takes 337 votes to
dismiss the president, though.

The union of the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine could gather 265 votes,
which is quite enough to shape the government together. The purely Orange
coalition (Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party)
could have 251 seats. The fourth combination of the Regions Party, the
Socialists and the Communists could give them control over 233 seats and
enable them to shape the government on their own.
Despite the variety of combinations to form coalitions, politicians discuss
only one – the one that will unite all Orange forces. After Yulia Timoshenko
and Alexander Moroz had one-on-one meetings with President Viktor
Yushchenko, they declared the coalition of the three political forces (Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party) is the only valid

Yulia Timoshenko also noted that the people of Ukraine made its choice, so
he should become prime minister. Alexander Moroz said he has no ambitions to
occupy the prime minister’s seat and will agree to any way of choosing the
premier – either it will be the leader of the largest faction in the
coalition (i.e. Yulia Timoshenko) or a compromise person for all Orange

Talks inside the Orange camp have borne no fruit so far, despite all the
statements. What’s more, the debate may end up with nothing. People of the
president’s office have kept on repeating after the election that Yulia
Timoshenko must not be let to become prime minister again. Yulia
Timoshenko’s comeback will indeed be unpalatable for the president’s team.

She has never made a secret of her enmity against the majority of Viktor
Yushchenko’s allies. The former premier has insisted since the start of the
election campaign that the coalition with Viktor Yushchenko could be built
only in case he disbands his entourage. Should he do so, he will virtually
entrust his fate with Yulia Timoshenko giving up any personal political

Though this alliance will be exceptionally painful, Yulia Timoshenko does
not hesitate to harshly criticize the president and his team, which can
hardly help mend the relations. Ms. Timoshenko promised on Monday that in
case of her comeback to the premier’s seat, she will review the gas deal
with Russia.

The statement was made after Yury Ekhanurov was appointed to hold talks on
the coalition. Moreover, she called Viktor Yushchenko “opportunist clutching
at power” and labeled his aides “fake Orange”. She said that the good
performance of her bloc at the election was “a lesson given to the

Ms. Timoshenko’s arrival at talks with Viktor Yushchenko was very expressive
as well. She decided to use the central entrance of the president’s
secretariat which foreign heads of states normally use. Besides that, Yulia
Timoshenko decided that the driver should take her right to the entrance,
and she would not leave the car until the president’s security opened the
gate crossing Bankovskay street for her.

Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc is the only one so far that has come up with schemes
to shape posts. Andrey Shkil, a deputy at the Supreme Rada, believes that
the head of Our Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny may become
the parliament’s speaker while Alexander Moroz may be appointed Secretary of
National Security and Defense. Meanwhile, the party in office avoids
speculations about the government’s line-up and the prime minister

“We should speak about the development of the state, instead of discussing
sharing seats,” Prime Minister Yury Ekhanurov retorted yesterday. Our
Ukraine’s political council urged to sign a memorandum last night to create
a democratic coalition.

Yulia Timoshenko’s bold stance at the talks is no accident. Her position is
exceptionally auspicious. She will benefit even if her bloc does not join
the coalition and she is not chosen prime minister.
Yulia Timoshenko has been adamant since the election campaign saying that
an alliance with Viktor Yanukovich is unacceptable for her. She is not
exaggerating the point, and the reason is not in the ideological
controversy. The union with the Party of Unions is extremely unfavorable for

First, she would be playing the role of a junior partner in the coalition
with Viktor Yanukovich, which she can’t agree to. Second, the alliance with
the Blue would deal a serious blow to her image. Yulia Timoshenko her
success to owes Orange voters, the people who voted for Viktor Yushchenko
at the presidential election in 2004. She managed to convince them that she
is the true bearer of values of the Maydan revolution while the president
betrayed them by signing a memorandum with Viktor Yanukovich a few months

Should the new ruling coalition be built between the Party of Regions and
Our Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko will lose his last advocates, his rating will
plummet and Yulia Timoshenko will acquire new followers – those who used to
support the incumbent president. A coalition with Viktor Yanukovich will
become the political suicide for Viktor Yushchenko, Yulia Timoshenko said

The president had talks with the leader of the Party of Regions yesterday
but the form of the future coalition was not discussed, Viktor Yanukovich
reported. More detailed talks are apparently conducted. Boris Tarasyuk, the
Interior Minister and Our Ukraine’s leader, even pointed yesterday to the
conditions under which the party in office could discuss a coalition with
the Party of Regions.

These are the denial of the idea of the federal state, the denial to give
the Russian language an official status and the acknowledgement of the Euro
integration path of Ukraine.

The union of former enemies will play right into Yulia Timoshenko’s hands.
The coalition is likely to become very fragile. Should the new Supreme Rada
be dissolved, the result at a new election will be more auspicious for Yulia
Timoshenko who has already mastered the art of a successful opposition
fight. -30-
LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=661639
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Party of the Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, has clearly won the
Ukrainian legislative elections, with around 33% of the vote – twice that of
Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, beaten into third place behind Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc (20.4%). The Communist and Socialist Parties will both
be represented in Parliament, having obtained the minimum 3% necessary.

So, how popular the Orange Revolution is barely a year after its promises of
a wonderful new Ukraine. Where are the NGOs, where are the claims that the
vote was rigged, where are the crowds of hooligans, the darlings of the
west, defying law and order, thronging the streets, spreading litter and
committing acts of vandalism? Where is the Revolution?

It has dissipated into a dull, befuddled muddle of half-promises and
pseudo-pledges, sold down the river by a bewildered, unable, inept and
inefficient clique of wannabe politicians whose sole purpose to exist is to
sell the Ukraine and its interests to Washington in particular, the West in
general and NATO, that spear in the side, the constant thorn in the crown

Yushchenko, in a position of political check, now understands that playing
politics involves more than being the pawn of Washington and that however
novel the call of the west may be, the fact of the matter is that the
Ukraine is going through a serious identity crisis. More and more people
realise that the idea of independence is a romantic concept but the reality
is that the Ukraine is dependent upon, and not independent from, the Russian
Federation, de facto.

Therefore President Yushchenko will look to the largest opposition parties
and their leaders (Yanukovich or Timoshenko) to form a government of
national stability, albeit possibly in a period of uncomfortable
cohabitation. At present the most likely scenario is an alliance with Yulia
Timoshenko, who Yushchenko dismissed as Prime Minister last year. She has
declared that she would expect that post back and also that she would favour
cancelling the gas deal signed with the Russian Federation.

Timoshenko’s pro-presidential party, which was swept to power during the
events of 2004 when Yanukovich’s Presidential election victory was
overturned amid a popular uprising and generalised lawlessness in central
and western Ukraine, has stated it favours a coalition with President
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine.

Timoshenko has, however, already revealed her true mettle, the cause for
her unceremonial sacking last September: she is a political opportunist of
most naive kind, who confuses the beauty parlour and chit-chat in
hairdressers’ salons with the real business of government. Basically, she is
all hot air, pretty pictures on websites…and no action or substance.

An unlikely government duo would be Yushchenko as President and Yanukovich
as Prime Minister, due to the camps that both men represent. However, would
a Yushchenko/Yanukovich cohabitation be such a bad deal for the Ukraine? For
some reason Yanukovich today is far more popular than the frivolous
Timoshenko and the incapable Yushckenko.
LINK: http://english.pravda.ru/world/ussr/29-03-2006/77991-Ukraine-0

[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

I returned to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, 14 months after the Orange
Revolution when, as the world cheered, millions stood their ground beside
their choice, Viktor Yushchenko. His face, mutilated by an assassination
attempt, served as a visible badge for democratic change: a pro-West
direction; control of bureaucratic corruption; return of state wealth by
stolen by oligarchs; and punishment for those who ran fraudulent elections.

The banners, ribbons and posters that galvanized the city during the cold
weeks of protests are gone from the squares. Given the tumultuous year
Ukraine has lived through, I wondered as I walked about whether the Orange
spirit had faded as well.

“The Orange Revolution was more than just a free election. It was a
psychological transformation from oppressed ‘yes-men’ to democrats,” said
Volodymyr Vitrovych, a former Tent City organizer, now involved in
tomorrow’s parliamentary election. “We found a new confidence.”

Mykola Posivnych, a doctoral candidate in history from the western
Ukrainian city of Lviv, is spending a few months in Kyiv’s central KGB
archives, researching the notorious excesses of the Russia-run secret
police. “The event broke our passivity,” he said. “We stood up to abuses
of power, and to Russia’s will.”

He listed other benefits: “There is greater freedom of the press. The
media remain concentrated in oligarch hands, however the blatant
fabrications are rare now.”

He pointed to a surge of investment interest: “Over $7 billion was
invested in foreign direct investments this year, nearly triple from 2004.”

What does Russia say to this new spirit in Ukraine? Vitrovych is candid.
“They’re pissed off and want to regain power over us. Putin wants be an
emperor. He can’t be one without Ukraine.”

This winter Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. These same
pipelines feed Europe which cried foul. Russia pulled back with egg on its

But all has not gone perfectly for President Yuschenko. “Russia had a
five-year agreement in gas delivery with Ukraine. It broke the contract,”
says one western consultant on condition of anonymity. “Had it joined WTO
in the summer, instead of squabbling in parliament, WTO would have been on
Ukraine’s side arguing its case. Yuschenko missed an opportunity to deliver
on his promise to turn Ukraine to the West.”

Critics point to other undelivered promises. No clean-up of corruption.
And only one of the state business acquired by oligarchs at ridiculous
prices has been returned to the private sector, while Yulia Tymoshenko was
prime minister. The public auctioning of the business put some $4.8 billion
U.S. into Ukraine’s treasury. She wanted to have more returned. The
oligarchs demanded her head. The president fired her and the cabinet; his
government was in disarray; the pro-West Orange force split between the
president and his former prime minister.

Posivnych says more time is required to deal with these problems, “but
the Orange Revolution made us more mature politically. Rhetoric is no longer
enough. People want concrete proposals on issues like health, education and
tax reforms.”

Walking down the slushy streets, I wondered about parliamentary
coalitions if there is no clear winner. Will Yuschenko shake hands with a
former arch-enemy, Viktor Yanukovych? Or reach out to the prime Minster
he fired and then bring in others from the 45 parties fielding candidates to
form a majority government?

Is there enough juice in the pro-Russian parties to pump up Yanukovych’s
30 per cent? Or will he try to force a win by, again, resorting, to fraud?

Perhaps the pollsters will be proven wrong and one of the three leading
parties will become a runaway winner?

I see that Kyiv has returned to the day-to-day life of a metropolis of
some four million. Building cranes are everywhere. Global brands fill store
windows. Children play in school yards, and students smoke in cafés near
Shevchenko University. And the women, regardless of age and style, maintain
a legendary beauty.

On Khreschatyk, the main street, an old woman is selling the first spring
pussy-willows. I buy some and turn the talk to politics. “He betrayed us. He
fired Yulia, while the crooks are still warming their seats and stealing our

So, whose party will she support? “Yulia’s. She will win. I don’t believe
the polls.”

In the Bessarabian Market, the scent of flowers and smoked delicacies
reminded me how much I loved this place. While I bargained for some kobassa
sausage a group of vendors gathered around. The elections were a natural
ice-breaker. Irina, my sausage trader, offered: “We’re voting for the
woman’s party. We’ve had enough of the men. They talk, then cave.”

Ukrainian women have a dignified way of slipping hands into sleeves,
leaning back and eyeing one full force. It can be coquettish or defiant, as
need be. These women mean business.

Does she mean Tymoshenko’s Bloc? “Who else is there? Yushchenko
betrayed her and Yanukovych is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s
man. What good will that do us? … She will work with the West and not
shake hands with that Yanukovych and his oligarchs”

I thanked them for their views and packed up my sausage. “Come back,
if the kobassa pleases you.”

The vendors know bad quality means no return business. The same holds
true for politics. The Orange Revolution has taught them that when it comes
to elections, they hold the power and they seem ready to wield it. -30-
OKSANA BASHUK HEPBURN was among the Canadian team of
election observers that watched over the Ukrainian elections.
LINK: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/index.html
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No matter how observers of East European politics assess the situation in
post-orange Ukraine, they would agree that the parliamentary elections of
March 26, 2006 were held in a free and fair manner.

This is a dramatic change from the presidential elections of 2004, which
were held under then President Leonid Kuchma and infused with massive
falsifications, rude campaigning against democratic opposition and
restricted access to the mass media. This newly-born freedom is the main
result of the orange revolution.

It is obvious that Ukrainian post-orange developments were not even. The
anti-Kuchma coalition consisted of different forces with dissimilar views on
economic reform. One of the main impediments for Yushchenko’s course arose
from a contradictory compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament on
December 8, 2004 (between the fraudulent second round and the run off).

The adoption of constitutional changes decreased the fears of pro-Kuchma
forces over Yushchenko’s victory and thus eased the path to the run off. The
constitutional alterations became effective January 1, 2006, ensuring that
the new prime minister would rely on a parliamentary majority and that he or
she cannot be removed by Presidential whim, as has happened before.

Furthermore, the new parliamentary election system awards seats on the basis
of proportional representation with a three percent threshold. This is a
measure to strengthen a multi-party system. Both steps were demanded by
democratic forces for many years and, now enacted, are leading the country
in the right direction.

One the other hand, the reforms appear to be hectic and inconsistent. One
could mention, as an example, the ability of parliament to dismiss any
minister by a simple majority, which would make ministers dependent on
lobbyist groups with the government. One of the tasks of the newly elected
parliament would be to identify such flaws and endorse improvements.

The fact is that the role of the parliament has been increased between
exhaustive electoral campaigns. The growing populism in Ukrainian politics
on the eve of the elections and the diverse views on economic policies has
complicated the course of reform and has led to the split within the orange
coalition-between President Yushchenko and his first prime minister Yulia
Tymoshenko, both charismatic leaders. Ultimately, democracy is a learning

What are the first results of the March 26 elections? Despite fears to the
contrary, the turnout appeared quite high, 67%. The Party of Regions led
by Kuchma’s last prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, benefited from a
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko rivalry and gained the plurality of the votes.

Tymoshenko’s anti-oligarchic and anti-corruption rhetoric resulted in
increased electoral support for her party. The pro-presidential party, Our
Ukraine, landed third place as votes were tabulated.

Despite the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko divide, both forces may create a
coalition government post-election, which will have an absolute majority
with the possible addition of the Socialists, who remain part of the orange
coalition. According to most analysts, this scenario appears to be the most
likely variant.

Another important factor is evident. If the Party of the Regions tries to
represent itself in a modernized and civilized European manner, there will
be a certain differentiation and reconfiguration of forces within it (if not
in the short term, then in the medium term), which would enable them to
become a respectable political player.

In any case, no matter the exact configuration of the cabinet and the form
of cohabitation between President Yushchenko-who despite the constitutional
changes will certainly remain one of the most influential players in the
arena-and the new coalition government, the Ukrainian political system will
be less authoritarian. The increased clarity of the division of powers moves
Ukraine closer to European standards.

Achieving western standards in the conduct of free and fair election is a
positive undercurrent of the current situation. This is shared by the
people, pro-civil non-government organizations, the revitalized press and
even many politicians.

In a state that is struggling to become a full-fledged member of the
European family, it is important to continue striving for transparency in
all governance matters, institutionalize the rule of law across the country
and persist with democratic reformation. -30-
NOTE: Dr. Haran is the regional vice president covering Ukraine, Belarus and
Moldova for the Eurasia Foundation, which has invested over $335 million
since 1992 into development projects in the countries of the former Soviet
Union. Dr. Haran is a member of the consultative board of NGOs under the
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has lectured at numerous U.S. think tanks and universities. Before
joining the Eurasia Foundation in 2005, Dr. Haran had a distinguished career
at and was one of the founders of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla
Academy (NaUKMA). He is author and editor of several books on Ukrainian
politics and a frequent commentator in Western media on Ukraine.
CONTACT: Gabor Beszterczey, Director of External Relations
The Eurasia Foundation, e-mail: gabor@eurasia.org; www.eurasia.org
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