On Friday night, President Yushchenko addressed the nation, hitting the media circuit at prime time, when hordes of Ukrainian politicians go talk show shopping.
Naturally, he tried to blast his way through PM Tymoshenko’s vices and into the hearts of voters. He then made an urgent appeal to parliament to amend the budget so as to make it more realistic in view of the snowballing economic woes.
The thrust of the President’s rhetoric can be described as “the pot calling the kettle black,” with the notable exception of the gas issue and, yes, the dire need to fix the budget.
I decided to translate excerpts from his speech. Click here for the full official translation.
I have made a decision to address you in order to provide a clear and honest assessment of the economic, budgetary, and financial situation in Ukraine.
I appeal to you, dear countrymen, to augment my demand to the Ukrainian government and the parliamentary majority to stop the torrents of lies, falsehood, and slander and to urgently, I repeat urgently, act to save the national economy.
The state has a totally unbalanced financial system.
State institutions are being knowingly ruined due to lack of funding. That is not to mention the personal accusations. I reject this mud.
Ukrainian industry is grinding to a halt. People are being laid off en masse or put on longterm furlough.
In Moscow, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko signed gas agreements disadvantageous for Ukraine.
The contracts do not meet my directives. The Prime Minister made the decision on her own, without the collegial opinion of the government.
The explanation must come from the majority that supports Yulia Tymoshenko — from her Bloc to the Communists.
The state is left holding the bag. The contracts have been signed and they must be honored.
In 2009, Ukraine has to pay 25 billion hryvnias more for gas than last year. Still, NAK Naftogaz’s revenues from transit services remain unchanged since 2008.
Every minute counts now.
I demand that amendments be made immediately to the State Budget 2009. This is the only way to rectify the situation. I warned the government and the parliamentary majority, key authors of the State Budget for the current year: The document you made is a castle built in the air.
As of today, the government has not collected even half of the planned January taxes and levies. Again, there is one cause: an unrealistic budget.
I appeal to Yulia Tymoshenko and her organized majority. This is your responsibility. Dear Yulia Volodymyrivna, you knowingly built into the budget the overblown figures and promises that you cannot fulfill today. The money is not concentrated but scattered, which includes the allocations made for the next [Soviet] savings payout.
On behalf of the entire country, I demand that the government and parliament immediately prepare an honest budget, where expenditures would fit the economy’s capabilities.
This is your constitutional, state, and political responsibility.
I repeat: The full brunt of responsibility, according to the Constitution, for the economic situation, for disrupting the budget process, for ruining the banking system, lies personally with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Having reached a critical point, she will not be able to hide in the opposition.
I call on all countrymen to remain calm.
You will be protected. We have the ability to protect both the country and the people. Presently, the first and foremost important thing is to find the political will, courage, to pass a realistic 2009 budget for the country.
To achieve that, I will use every lever necessary in times of crisis.
Thank you for your attention.
Two hours later, Tymoshenko’s response appeared on the Cabinet of Ministers’ website.
The government and the parliamentary majority are working around the clock and, on behalf of them, I call on the President: If you are not helping, then at least do not interfere.
The world and Ukraine are in crisis. I will not sugarcoat the situation, nor will I let anyone sow panic.
To combat the crisis, we need political consolidation, a cold and sober mind, nerves of steel, a strong will, resolve, and a deep sense of responsibility — that is exactly what Viktor Andriyovych [Yushchenko] has always lacked, lacks, and will lack.
Video uploaded from: http://censor.net.ua/go/offer/ResourceID/112075.html
Original video source: http://5.ua