Tuesday, August 08, 2006

RFE's Maksymiuk Says Ya's New Cabinet Favorably Distinguished from Those of Yekhanorov and Tymoshenko

Jan Maksymiuk comments. . .from RFE here.

WHO IS IN NEW CABINET? Ukraine's tortuous, four-month-long
process of forming a new government ended on August 4 with
the confirmation of Party of Regions leader Yanukovych as
new prime minister.
The Ukrainian parliament also endorsed a new Cabinet of
Ministers, in which the Party of Regions will control some
major portfolios concerning the country's economy.
Yanukovych will have four deputies, as he had in the
cabinet he oversaw during his previous stint as prime minister
in 2002-04. Mykola Azarov will serve as both first deputy
prime minister and finance minister, as he did during
Yanukovych's first term. The three deputy prime ministers will
also take on additional roles. Andriy Klyuyev will be in
charge of the fuel and energy sector, Dmytro Tabachnyk will
oversee humanitarian and social issues, and Volodymyr Rybak
will head the Construction Ministry. Azarov and Klyuyev are
among Yanukovych's oldest and staunchest allies. Azarov is
generally seen as a technocrat. As head of the State Tax
Administration in 1996-2002, he was repeatedly accused by
the opposition of applying fiscal and tax pressure on

businesses linked to political opponents
of former President
Leonid Kuchma.
Klyuyev is a wealthy businessman with interests in the
machine-building sector who led Yanukovych's campaign team in
the 2004 presidential election. He was rumored to be the
main player
behind the falsification of election results in
favor of Yanukovych
, although those rumors have never been
confirmed by investigators.
The Party of Regions' quota of ministerial posts also
includes Minister for Liaison with the Verkhovna Rada Ivan
Tkalenko, Labor Minister Mykhaylo Papiyev, Environment
Minister Vasyl Dzharty, Coal Industry Minister Serhiy Tulub,
Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, Economy Minister
Volodymyr Makukha, and Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers
Anatoliy Tolstoukhov. Virtually all of the Party of Regions'
ministers have considerable experience in serving in senior
government posts [and what did they do as they gained
considerable experience? What are they
experienced and good
at doing?
] This favorably distinguishes [huh?!]
Yanukovych's cabinet in comparison to that led by Yuliya
Tymoshenko in 2005. Her cabinet to a large extent consisted
of Orange Revolution personalities with little or no
experience in government [this seems right, but Ya's
experienced crooks are favorable?]
It can be expected that the new Ukrainian cabinet should
easily be able to agree on a basic set of economic reforms,
which will be needed to continue the current positive trends
in the economy. After all, it was under Yanukovych's
premiership in 2004
that Ukraine posted impressive economic
growth of 12 percent. [What?
One of Yu's major claims in 2004
was that it was his premiership that set the stage of Ya's
] However, a disturbing feature of Yanukovych's
cabinet is that -- as in virtually all former Ukrainian
cabinets -- there is no clear separation between politics
and business
. Many cabinet members have vested interests in
different business spheres. This could become a seed of future
conflicts in the uneasy "coalition of national unity," which
includes not only ministers from the largely oligarchic Our
Ukraine, but also from the Marxist-Leninist Socialist Party.
In accordance with the constitution amended in 2004,
President Viktor Yushchenko nominated the foreign minister and
the defense minister, Borys Tarasyuk and Anatoliy Hrytsenko,
respectively. Both politicians are strongly supportive of
Ukraine's integration with Euro-Atlantic structures and were
delegated by Yushchenko to assure the public both at home and
abroad that Ukraine's pro-Western course will not undergo any
significant changes under Yanukovych's premiership.
Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, a former Socialist Party
member who is now independent, is also seen as a Yushchenko
man in the government. Lutsenko, an iconic leader of the
Orange Revolution, is widely seen as an uncompromising
custodian of the "Augean Stables," to which Ukraine's
notoriously corrupt police force is sometimes compared.
In accepting his post, Lutsenko asserted that he sees the
possibility of implementing the president's policies in
Yanukovych's cabinet. However, most Ukrainians have apparently
not yet forgotten that he completely failed to implement a
major tenet of the Orange Revolution -- "bandits will go
to jail" -- in the preceding cabinets of Yuliya Tymoshenko
and Yuriy Yekhanurov. No major investigation by the Interior
Ministry into corruption or election falsification has
resulted in jail terms. It is hard to imagine that Lutsenko
will be more successful now that some of the "bandits" have
returned to the government.
[Did he fail or did the people he was working for fail?
Is it his failure or failure of Yu's leadership?]
Our Ukraine, which has yet to sign a formal coalition
accord with the three other parties in the cabinet, is
represented by Justice Minister Roman Zvarych, Family
and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko, Emergency Situations
Minister Viktor Baloha, Culture Minister Ihor Likhovyy,
and Health Minister Yuriy Polyachenko. Taking into account
that the Verkhovna Rada is headed by Oleksandr Moroz of the
Socialist Party and all deputy-prime-minister positions are
filled by people from the Party of Regions, it is clear
that the pro-presidential Our Ukraine has no major
post in the government. This is the price Our Ukraine had
to pay for its clumsy
coalition negotiations following the
March 26 parliamentary elections
and its protracted
hesitancy over whom it likes more [true]
--Tymoshenko or

Our Ukraine supported Yanukovych for prime minister on
August 4 only half-heartedly: just 30 of the party's 80
lawmakers voted in Yanukovych's favor. It appears that the
cohabitation of Our Ukraine with the Party of Regions in the
ruling coalition -- irrespective of whether it will be
formalized or not -- will not be easy. There seems to be a
pervading mood of frustration and political
failure among a
majority of Our Ukraine leaders and rank-and-file
The Socialist Party is represented in the new
cabinet by Education Minister Stanislav Nikolayenko and
Transport Minister Mykola Rudkovskyy. While Nikolayenko
is seen as a good specialist in education and his
reappointment was to be expected, Rudkovskyy's main
contribution to Ukraine's transportation system seems
to lie in his fondness for driving expensive cars and wearing
smart suits. The political affiliation of Agroindustrial
Complex Minister Yuriy Melnyk and Industrial Policy Minister
Anatoliy Holovko is not clear. Theoretically, they should
belong to the quota of the Communist Party, which brings 21
votes to the coalition. But Melnyk is known for his
anticommunist views and pronouncements. Some Ukrainian media
suggest that the Communists exchanged their cabinet
portfolios for an undisclosed sum, which was paid by some
unidentified sponsors.
On the whole, Yanukovych's cabinet seems to be more
carefully assorted in terms of professionalism [with a
bunch of professional crooks and liars, a justice minister
who is a liar and weasel, and other questionable fellows]

than those of Yekhanurov and Tymoshenko. But it is too
early to predict whether the new government will become
an immediate success or can contribute something substantial
to bridging the east-west divide in the country, as some
commentators expect.
In actual fact, neither the 2004 Orange Revolution nor
the 2006 parliamentary elections have brought any
significant changing of the guard in Ukrainian politics.
Instead, it is the country's voters who seem to have
undergone an important transformation. They are now more
politically active and more inclined to judge their
political leaders by deeds rather than pledges. And if
the trend of Ukrainian voters keeping a watchful eye on
their government continues, their chances of seeing a
change in their political elite might improve.
(Jan Maksymiuk)

[He's also a bit too silent here on the new Energy
Minister Yuri Boiko for my liking; see this and this]

1 comment:

Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Thanks for the update, Stefan. I really like your take on things, and the other takes you provide.