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Political sabotage

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Oct. 29, 2009, 9:30 p.m. | Editorial — by Editorial
By refusing to veto populist increase in wages approved by parliament, Victor Yushchenko puts at risk the country’s financial and economic stability. Millions of Ukrainians stood in freezing weather to protest election fraud and to support Victor Yushchenko’s candidacy during the 2004 democratic Orange Revolution. It was an admirable act of courage, but since then people have moved on to feel that their leader has betrayed them and many of the values they stood for.

Yushchenko ultimately deserves the blame for much of the political paralysis that has dominated during his tenure. As president, he has demonstrated a complete inability to put aside differences with rivals in favor of tough, pragmatic compromises which could have produced positive results for the country and citizens.

Tired of the relentless infighting, Ukrainians have long tuned out of politics, but polls show they are informed and wise enough to have rightfully lost trust in Yushchenko, who has failed as president to – among other heinous crimes – get his own poisoning case solved. Thus, it’s little surprise that polls put his popularity at about 3 percent.

This week, once again, Yushchenko demonstrated that personal dislikes and political selfishness shape his actions. In his most recent populist and destructive decision, Yushchenko chose to undercut his bitter rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, at the expense of the country’s economy and most vulnerable citizens.

By refusing to veto a populist wage and pension increase adopted by lawmakers last week, Yushchenko has put the prospect of further International Monetary Fund assistance at risk, which has for the last year helped to preserve the country’s economic and financial stability.

He ignored calls by the IMF and Tymoshenko’s government to veto the law, which violates cooperation agreements with the fund by proposing some $11 billion in additional budget expenditures in 2009-2010, which simply do not exist in state coffers.

This legislation was supported by lawmakers from most political blocs in parliament (Victor Yanukovych’s Regions, Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine and Communists). Notable exceptions were lawmakers backing Tymoshenko’s candidacy. The clear aim of Yushchenko and co-conspirators in this wicked plot is to derail IMF assistance ahead of the Jan. 17 presidential contest, thereby complicating the ability of Tymoshenko’s government to pay pensions and wages on time and in full.

Such a scenario could severely hurt her popularity. But it would also hurt the country badly, destabilizing the economy and fueling inflation.

That is something that a true president would not allow, at all costs.
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Anonymous Oct. 29, 2009, 10:25 p.m.    

Where is Tymoshenko's fantasy of a majority coalition? She's a failed leader, she cant garner the votes needed for a majority, that friends, is not Yushchenko's fault, the blame falls squarely on Tymoshenko's shoulders as coalition leadership (or lack thereof).

The lack of a coalition leadership should result in immediate disbanding of the parliament and new parliamentary elections.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:26 p.m.    

That is so bogus.

How can she get votes when the President who is part of her party does EVERYTHING to obstruct her, and then she has to try to work with that thug from PoR?

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Anonymous Nov. 2, 2009, 10:44 p.m.    

Since when has the President been a member of BYUT?

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 10:48 p.m.    

Ok...not party...coalition.

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 12:38 a.m.    

Losing a vote on one issue is not the same as losing a vote of confidence.

It does not mean the collapse of the governing coalition.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 3:27 p.m.    

but it just goes to show that Yulia cannot govern the country because to do so requires a majority in the RADA which she does not have.

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 12:43 a.m.    

Yushchenko continues to demonstrate he is nothing more then a economic terrorist holding the state to ransom and threatening its stability. It was not that long ago when Yushchenko opposed increases in the social wage.

BYuT has done much to increase salary and pension entitlements. Any increase just be gradual and phased in to match economic growth other wise it will just fuel unchecked inflation.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 3:28 p.m.    

Actually it was the RADA that passed the law so perhaps they ought to be disbanded as economic terrorists.

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 6:28 a.m.    

Thank you President Yushchenko !!!

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 3:04 p.m.    

It's a theater of the absurd, but Yuschenko here did the right thing by signing the bill. He is doing what he can to prevent Tymoshenko from taking billions of dollars from the IMF to fund NaftoGaz subsidies and her own election campaign.

If you are going to put the country deep in debt with bad economic policy (like the Tymoshenko Cabinet has been doing all year long), you might as well increase pensions and salaries for the poorest members of society while you are at it.

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 3:08 p.m.    

Two weeks ago KP editorial said Ukraine should stop irresponsible borrowing from the IMF and its pompous bureaucrats. Now you turn around here and say the exact opposite. I don't understand what the KP position is on this issue.

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Anonymous Oct. 30, 2009, 10:49 p.m.    

By signing the bill, Yushchenko is in fact doing a surgery to remove Tymoshenko from politics - it is going to hurt a bit, but this will help to save the country in the long term. No one can do more damage to the economy - and to the country - than Tymoshenko. Starting with her Russia-Ukraine gas deal and her promise not to increase domestic gas prices that is crippling Naftogaz and the economy. Although Tymoshenko has been an economic failure, the IMF has been still releasing money to Ukraine for purely political reasons - they cannot let such a big country fail. But this had to stop because $10.6 billion (from the IMF) already went to support this insane politican.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:21 p.m.    

Getting Yulia out of politics will benefit Ukraine?

Helping get Yanu elected as president will be a plus for Ukraine?

Yanu is as dangerous as the president of Belarus...Lukashenko.

Thanks to Yush, Yanu will probably be elected.

So much for democracy and freedom of the press in Ukraine with him as president.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:39 p.m.    

It is Tymoshenko who is potentially similar to Lukashenko. She has the instincts and whims of a dictator.

Yanukovich is more of a consensus leader.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 10:30 p.m.    

Yes cherkasy5, I remember Yanu's leadership skills:

1. The fraudulent election in 2004.

2. His strong desire to turn loose Russian and Ukrainian troops against the peaceful demonstrators during the 2004 Orange Revolution.

3. When the VR passed the bill signed by the president, he physically beat up two of him ministers when he was PM.

Consensus leader?

How about consensus brutal dictator?

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 10:32 p.m.    

Item No. 3...the bill I forgot to mention was to prevent the sale of the transit system...pipeline.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 3:25 p.m.    

Agree, Yulia's done absolutely nothing in terms of reforming the economy for the sake of the future and just used the money to patch up the current account defecit.

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 6:56 a.m.    

Neither will be good for you - the people of Ukraine. Politics in Ukraine is corrupted and to mixed with business power to ever be brought out of the post Soviet era which enable the rent economy to exist and to have its power.

At the time the business leaders step down from the political arena, and let the politicians make legislations without the interuption of the business leaders, then we will get legislations that will serve the common people of Ukraine.

At the moment all is about politicial supremecy and not about Ukraine supremecy.

Remove the immunity, prosecute those stealing from the state budges, whether its VAT money, tax evasions, subsidies to industries or privatisation of land and industries.

Let the people take part of the Ukraine wealth and not only the 5-10% of the Ukraine people who gets richer and richer by the moment as the Ukrainians do not have money nor medicine to get a life.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 3:23 p.m.    

"Yushchenko ultimately deserves the blame for much of the political paralysis that has dominated during his tenure. As president, he has demonstrated a complete inability to put aside differences with rivals in favor of tough, pragmatic compromises which could have produced positive results for the country and citizens."

That has to be the exact opposite of the truth. Yushchenko's the only political player who's been willing to compromise and he's just been steam rolled by two other "leades" who want all the power to themselves Yanuk (remember his attempt to obtain a 300 plus coalition or is too long ago?) and Yulia (what's she ever conceded against her interests?) and aren't prepared to compromise on anything - except when it comes to dealing with Putin.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:18 p.m.    

I don't see anything that shows he EVER tried to compromise with Yulia...only to obstruct her.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:46 p.m.    

Yuschenko obstructing Tymoshenko is probably the only positive thing Yuschenko has accomplished. He knows where the country will end up under her leadership - bankrupt, and begging for Moscow's assistance.

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 6:51 a.m.    

The rest of the politicians do not do nothing? They are totally harmless in this situation?

I do not believe so, the whole Rada is to blaim together with the presidential secretariate. If you do not understand that you need to cooperate to get things done, and only strive for power and supremecy, then nothing can be achieved.

Ukraine politics is nothing but corruptions mixing of politics and business, which leads to legislations only serving the business owners and not the people at all.

Populistic short proposal with no implementation strategy backed with some financial support, will not do nothing for Ukraine.

Party of Region block Rada, Prime minister will not increase gas prices, President sign social pay law. Tell me who is most irresponsible amongst these three - i say - neither.. They should go home and let someone else take over - SOON.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 7:16 p.m.    

I find it difficult to believe that anyone who follows Ukraine politics can disagree with this article.

People criticize Yulia, but what could she accomplish with both the President and Yanu obstructing her? The president and his party were supposed to be part of a ruling coalition with Yulia...and many of us believed that together they would accomplish much.

Nothing was accomplished because Yush used ALL the powers of the presidency and his party to prevent her. When it came to privatizations, he prevented everyone one of them, even when Ukraine needed the money. But, when Yanu was PM, he did nothing when Yanu was privatizing Ukraine's assets at bargain basement pricing.

There is no doubt in my mind that Yulia is corrupt, but it is foolish to think Yush is not. If he wasn't, why did he do so much to keep in place the VERY corrupt gas intermediaries? How about this latest scandal with the National Bank, which is under Yushenko's control.

Yushenko could have accomplished much for Ukraine, but I don't believe he cared. I have come to believe that the only reason some things got accomplished was because the West required certain steps to be made to become closer economically with the West. He made some movements in those areas, but then he stopped. He did not care...and he only cared to obstruct Yulia rather than to try to improve the lives of the people of Ukraine. This person deserves NO respect...NONE!

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 6:47 a.m.    

Just my point, make the politicians accountable for their actions and remove their immunity. Create laws that reduce the corruption in Ukraine and prosecute thos who do.

Divide politics and business, and let the oligarchs and millionairs deal with business and the legislators with legislations, not mix and trix these.

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Anonymous Oct. 31, 2009, 11:50 p.m.    

If Romania gets a Romanian born German leading the Country then Klaus Johannis will be Romania's Kevin Rudd.

I so hope for Romania that they will get a Prime Minister that is competent, so population interest driven.

Im confident that will happen.

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Anonymous Nov. 2, 2009, 10:49 p.m.    

"at the expense of the country’s economy and most vulnerable citizens'.

actually isn't this bill about increasing minimum wage and pensions?

and Why is this worse than Yulia's refusal to increase the price of consumer gas in line with the rise in gas prices - a refusal which benefits rich and poor and provides no incentive to increas efficiency?

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 6:45 a.m.    

Both actions shows irresponsible political judgement and bad leadership. Ukraine does not need these types of political leaders. Any of the presidential candidates for 2010, only use this case to position themselves, and this is not limited to these two candidates.

Lack of vision and strategies to bring Ukraine out of the post revolution - independce dillema has proven unsuccesful with any of the presidents and prime ministers since 1991.

The people need to demand some accountability from their politicians, remove their immunity first of all. Create a law that can be enforced to elliminate corruption and bribes (as 47 % of Ukrainians in 2009 still say they give bribes).

Start to demand something from the politicians, not only complain and talk about it - do something. You get what you deserve - if you do not care - then they will just do whatever they have done for the last 18 years.

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Anonymous Nov. 3, 2009, 2:55 p.m.    

There is no doubt that until Ukraine removes immunity for the VR, makes major improvements in corruption and sets up an effective judicial system, Ukraine will continue to struggle.

Sadly, I don't see the VR removing immunity or allowing the people to vote for the VR members instead of for a party.

It will be decades before we see much improvement...and if Yanu wins...Ukraine will backslide in a major way.

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Anonymous Nov. 4, 2009, 1:10 p.m.    

Ukraine will backslide even more if Tymoshenko wins. Right now we are getting a preview of the media manipulation and scare, harassment, and intimidation tactics of Tymoshenko and Turchinov that will be the rule of behavior if she gets the presidential office.

Tymoshenko is very possibly the next Lukashenko. She shows the signs of becoming a dictator who wants to control every aspect of the lives of Ukraine's people.

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