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Friday, October 17, 2008

A Guide to Tymoshenko’s Pragmatic Theism and Electionphobia

As her party goes forum-shopping to overturn the snap election, a practice to which Yushchenko responds with court-crushing, she makes a few more noteworthy statements:

Reporter: A non-political question. Yulia Volodymyrivna, what superstitions do you have?

PM Tymoshenko: Huh, dear friends, frankly speaking, I neither have time for superstitions nor for faith in them. I’m a rather pragmatic person and I also believe that superstitions contradict normal faith in God, and so I don’t have any superstitions. One should just live with faith in God in one’s soul.

PM Tymoshenko: Dear friends, it’s not black, it’s blue. It’s not that bad [giggles]. I think that we should do some fighting for the operation of this parliament. Snap elections are a disaster for the country, and therefore financing from the emergency fund is illogical. From the emergency fund, we finance disaster relief, not disaster creation itself.

Where one stands depends on where one sits.

In 2007, while campaigning for snap elections in a bid to unseat Yanukovych, Tymoshenko made the following statements (h/t Ukrayinska Pravda):

Snap elections — there’s no tragedy in this. In America, they have elections every two years. Or take Israel — the world’s smartest state as they say — you gather 100,000 signatures and, adios, you get snap elections.

The only solution in the current situation is to fear not snap elections and to get a confirmation of the mandate of trust from the people. If we hold snap elections, the country will spend 300 million hryvnias. But leave the mafia in power and we’ll lose tens of billions of dollars.

Snap elections are the price we have to pay to save Ukraine for its new, democratic and European future. It’s a fairly modest price.

I want to say that snap elections are not a whim of the President. It’s just that the country can’t live with this level of politics. And whatever ruling the Constitutional Court makes, this state [of affairs] will be of no consequence to the rejection of Yanukovych policies by his henchmen.

She probably meant that no matter how the Constitutional Court ruled, Yanukovych henchmen would stick to their guns. Alas, in September 2008, she found it hard to stick to her promise not to do business with the Party of Regions.

That’s when Yushchenko rained her parade. He wants to do business with the PRU just as badly.

They all talk stabilnist: stabilnist this, stabilnist that. They all sing from the same status quo hymn sheet, as if saying: “L'État, c'est moi; après moi le déluge.”

In 2007, Tymoshenko tried to convince Ukrainians that “not all politicians are alike.” I trusted her. Will I trust her again?


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Anonymous said...

Will I trust her again. A rhetorical question, I trust?

elmer said...

Taras, let's just step back a second and take a deep breath.

Her basic principle is correct - there is no tragedy in snap, or pre-term elections. Parliamentary systems have provisions for snap elections for a reason.

Last year, when economic conditions were different, and when the Party of Regions was buying up deputies, and thus threatened to cut Yushchenko totally out of the picture with a constitutional majority in parliament of 300, if not 450 which was their goal, there was every reason to hold snap elections.

Ukraine was in danger of having a totalitarian system of 'stabilnist" imposed on it by the Party or Regions because they had bought up a few deputies.

This year, the basic principle holds true - there's no big deal in snap elections.

But - the economic conditions are different.

And - what is the purported reason for "snap elections"? According to Yushchenko, the "human ambition" of one person.

I don't see that written into the Constitution anywhere.

Plus, the Constitution prohibits holding snap elections within one year of prior snap elections.

What's the real reason? Tymoshenko has cut Firtash and RosUkrEnergo out of ver lucrative gas deals with Gazprom. Firtash is a money-buddy man for Yushchenko.

Tymoshenko has cut Akhmetov and Vacno Prykerchenska out of a possibly very lucrative Black Sea offshore drilling deal. Yushchenko has been buddying up to Akhmetov as a money man.

Now, on Tymoshenko's side, it's hideous that she goes forum-shopping to a court with no jurisdiction to try to invalidate a presidential decree.

But that only emphasizes the need for an independent judiciary.

I think it's hideous that, to use her word "fighting," BYuT literally fights in the Parliament, or even at the courthouse, to prevent this or that action.

So does the Party of Regions. So does Our Ukraine.

So, I don't criticize her at all for her stance on this year's snap elections.

They are not as inconsistent with 2007 as it might seem.

But she needs to do more to fight corruption in her own party.

elmer said...

Today I received a wonderful email from someone:

"Members of Congress should be required to wear uniforms, like NASCAR drivers - so that we can all tell who their corporate sponsors are."

I propose the same for Ukraine.

All of the "political elite" in Ukraine, from President through Cabinet through Members of Parliament through govenment officials, should be required to wear uniforms, like NASCAR drivers, with their sponsors clearly identified.

Steven said...

Hello Taras,

I'm an American magazine journalist seeking advice about writing a story about Chernobyl/Ukraine. Can you email me at steve.featherstone(AT)

Thank you.

Taras said...


It’s hard to say. I no longer trust Tymoshenko the way I trusted her in 2007. Still, voting against all equals to sharing your vote amongst all.

So I guess I’ll be watching the campaign closely, trying to identify the “lesser evil.”


She definitely has to do more to fight corruption in her own party and to get her foreign policy priorities straight.

Requiring public officials to prominently display their corporate sponsors would reinvigorate Ukraine’s advertising industry!

But as you pointed out, in most high-profile cases, one can see the sponsorship written on the wall.


Thank you for visiting my blog and for your interest in Ukraine! It’s an honor to get in touch with you and help you!