Photo courtesy of Ukrayinska Pravda
The Iron Ladies
During her brief visit to London, former — and perhaps even future — Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko lunched with former British PM Margaret Thatcher.
One of the most popular politicians in the Soviet Union of the late 80s, Maggie could have easily unseated Gorby in a free election. With her charisma and polished manners, she had commanded more respect than the leader of the economically stagnant Soviet state, slapped with severe food supply shortages.
In Ukraine, the Iron Lady franchise belongs to Tymo, who has reveled in the brand, despite casual zig-zags between left and right in her international political orientation. (Last year, her party subscribed to an ideology of solidarism and reportedly sought membership in the Socialist International. This year, in the runup to the French presidential election, Tymoshenko surprised experts when she made overtures to Nicolas Sarkozy.)
Thatcher signed a book of memoirs, The Downing Street Years, for her Ukrainian follower. Hanna Herman of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions speculates that Tymoshenko’s visit may have included a secret meeting with Berezovsky.
According to Tymoshenko, she was “impressed by the woman whom everyone called the Iron Lady, who was loved and feared, but despised by no one.” She added that “It’s hard to imagine the history of 20th-century politics without a person like Margaret Thatcher.” Former British PM, in turn, said she was ready to visit Kyiv to help her counterpart defend Ukraine’s independence.
If Tymo becomes PM again, let us hope that she will fight stabilnist as fiercely as Thatcher fought the Falklands War.