ORANGE SUNSET

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One year later, will Ukraine’s government be changed by force again?

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has dismissed Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s government. So, instead of celebrating the first anniversary of the revolution’s start, Ukraine is now embroiled in scandalous revelations and preparations for another revolution.


Ukraine’s “orange democracy” lasted precisely a year. Those who once fought for justice have now started a power-struggle amongst themselves, where anything goes in terms of weapons and expressions. It was launched by former state secretary Alexander Zinchenko, who accused President Viktor Yushchenko’s inner circle of corruption. Yushchenko’s counter-strike came a week later: he decided to nip revolt in the bud by dismissing Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s entire government. So, instead of celebrating the first anniversary of the revolution’s start, Ukraine is now embroiled in scandalous revelations and preparations for another revolution.

Actually, malicious gossip had predicted a break between Yushchenko and Timoshenko ever since the presidential inauguration. Timoshenko has sought to establish a new economic policy for Ukraine, regardless of individuals or outside interests. But members of Yushchenko’s inner circle have their own specific business interests, and Timoshenko was creating problems for them.

It’s hardly surprising that Zinchenko, who started the revolt, and Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Tomenko, who continued fighting Yushchenko’s buddy Petr Poroshenko, are both from Timoshenko’s camp. Everyone knows that Timoshenko dislikes Poroshenko, the “chocolate tycoon.” Everyone also knows that Poroshenko, displeased by Timoshenko’s actions, has decided in recent months that the National Security Council should oversee the Cabinet. But that’s not all. The most important point, perhaps, is that some changes to the Constitution are due to take effect from January 1. Ukraine’s system of governance will be restructured so that the Cabinet and the parliament hold real power and the president’s functions are minimized. So Yushchenko’s inner circle is pushing hard in the parliament and the Constitutional Court, attempting to cancel these political reforms. Obviously, Timoshenko and her supporters aren’t happy about that.

Yushchenko’s supporters and Timoshenko’s supporters have been at odds for some time. Yushchenko’s supporters never miss an opportunity to accuse Timoshenko of being unprofessional and short-sighted. Timoshenko, being a clever and cunning woman, has chosen to respond with indirect attacks. For example, it’s rumored that Timoshenko’s supporters were responsible for digging up some dirt on Yushchenko’s son and leaking it to the media. And after that scandal was hushed up, open allegations of corruption were directed at Yushchenko’s inner circle. Deputy Prime Minister Tomenko, who resigned yesterday morning, said it straight out: “This country is being run by one or two people.” He promised journalists that the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office would soon tell the public quite a few interesting things.

Yushchenko observed developments for a week, trying in vain to settle the situation. At a confidential meeting on Wednesday, he implored the government not to wash dirty linen in public. But then Tomenko made his allegations on Thursday morning – and Poroshenko, who had already submitted his resignation, was stripped of his powers as a member of parliament as well. This was a declaration of war, and Yushchenko picked up the gauntlet.

A new government should be formed as soon as possible. Obviously, there will be no further talk of distributing posts on a parity basis. What will Yulia Timoshenko do? Will she move into opposition and join forces with Viktor Yanukovich? Will she try to bring Yushchenko down?

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