In Ukraine

New Cold, Feb 19, 2016

Two news articles are enclosed.

Leaving the sinking ship: Tymoshenko quits Ukraine’s governing coalition

By Mark Nicholas, Russia Insider, Feb 19, 2016

She’s plotting a comeback as PM that looked beyond unlikely in 2014 but may very well succeed in 2016

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

You’ve gotta hand it to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, he may be an incompetent and cowardly opportunist, but he’s also the master of political survival. He’s hanging in there as Ukraine’s PM with a job approval rating of 16% and the support for his party hovering at 1-3%. Facing a rebellion from three parties in his government coalition, a call from the president of the state to resign, and an electorate 70% of which wanted him ousted, he still managed to survive a no confidence vote.

Now two of the allied parties which wanted him ousted have quit his coalition, leaving him as head of minority government at the mercy of the Opposition Bloc which inexplicably failed to vote for his ouster though they’re in opposition to him. However, if there’s anybody who can somehow pull out that magic trick (Uncle Sam? shady oligarchs?) to keep on keeping on it’s Yatsenyuk who’d pretty much do anything, say anything and get in bed with anyone to capture and stay in power – in 2014 he famously entered into an electoral bloc with Andriy Biletsky and his friends from the Social National Assembly thus propeling veritable Nazis to Ukraine’s hallowed Rada.

MP Yulia Tymoshenko of Fatherland Party, in Rada on Feb 16, 2016 (AP)

MP Yulia Tymoshenko of Fatherland Party, in Rada on Feb 16, 2016 (AP)

And if Yatsenyuk indeed does survive nobody will be more furious than Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s ex-PM and a central person of the Orange Revolution, as recently as 2014 seemed completely politically dead. Released from jail in the aftermath of the Maidan she seemed completely unable to gather electoral support or coalition partners and backers. The prospect of her “Fatherland” party failing to clear electoral census looked like a very realistic one. As it was she managed the feat by the slightest of margins capturing 5.7% of the vote.

Fast forward two years and “Fatherland” polls at some 23% – this is a mirror image of Yatsenyuk’s fortunes whose “People’s Front” captured 22% in 2014 but now languishes in the low single digits. – Somehow, Yatsenyuk had done so poorly in the post-Maidan that he managed to revive the fortunes of a politician who led the pro-western Orange Revolution and then ended up in jail for pocketing money in a deal with Russians – making her unpalatable to both Ukraine’s east and west.

Until now “Fatherland” had been willing to sit in Yatsenyuk’s government as a very junior partner, but has now helped triggered a no confidence vote against Yatsenyuk, and then left his coalition when that failed. It was not alone in this, but it’s definitely leading the charge. The party is polling well but needs to sever its relations to the toxic Yatsenyuk lest it get blamed for the mess along with him. But outside the governing coalition it can turn up the attacks against him and – with a little luck – trigger a political crisis and early elections so it can finally capitalize on its polling.

Nobody would have called it in 2014, and they’re not the only players, but if Tymoshenko has her way 2016 may well be the year when Yatsenyuk the Magician is replaced by Tymoshenko the Comeback Princess.

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Tymoshenko quits Ukraine’s coalition as political turmoil escalates

BNE IntelliNews February 17, 2016

In a further spiral of Ukraine’s political crisis, the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party headed by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has left the ruling coalition, a day after it broke ranks with its nominal allies and sought unsuccessfully to oust Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a vote of no confidence.

“The Batkivshchyna faction took the only possible step – to pull out of the coalition,” UNIAN news agency quoted Tymoshenko as saying on February 17. “The situation that exists in Ukraine today is a consequence of the reign of a shadow clan-political coalition. Therefore, the faction considers it unacceptable to stay in this flock, which actually has no chance, because it doesn’t want to carry out reforms, to defend Ukraine, restart our lives.”

Including Batkivshchyna, 194 lawmakers backed the vote of no confidence in Yatsenyuk held a day earlier instead of the minimum 226 votes needed to oust the premier, whose government stands accused of mismanagement and corruption while supposedly resurrecting the war-ravaged economy with billions in foreign credits.

Some pro-Western lawmakers also accused Yatsenyuk, President Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine’s oligarchs of reaching backroom agreements to leave the premier in office, effectively scuttling the motion to unseat him.

As Ukraine dissected the events in the parliament in Kyiv on February 16, Serhiy Leshchenko, a reformist lawmaker from the Poroshenko Bloc, described what happened as “an oligarchic counter-revolution before the eyes of the whole country”.

“There is a plot, and both the authorities and the opposition are cynical participants of this plot. Unfortunately, the Poroshenko Bloc has become part of this plot,” Leshchenko said in parliament the day after the vote



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