Eurasia Daily Monitor,
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C.
The September crisis and fall of the Yulia Tymoshenko government should not blind us to the fact that the Tymoshenko bloc in parliament are more consistent allies of President Viktor Yushchenko's People's Union-Our Ukraine (NS-NU).

Orange Revolutionary allies (Socialist Party [SPU], Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [PPPU]) still inside the government headed by Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov vote with NS-NU far less on strategic issues.

The Tymoshenko bloc and NS-NU will contest the elections separately; a step, ironically, which is likely to bring them greater votes than if they enter the elections in one bloc. Two recent votes reflect the re-emergence of de facto Orange Revolutionary unity ahead of the March 2006 parliamentary elections.

On November 2 the Ukrainian parliament voted down by 208 votes, 18 short of a majority, to ratify a Memorandum of Understanding with NATO over NATO using Ukrainian air lift capacity. The Memorandum had been ratified with centrist support in the Leonid Kuchma era because it brings tangible economic benefits to Ukraine.

The vote failed not because the opposition voted against with only 39 votes. Yushchenko's allies who remained in government (SPU, PPPU) failed to deliver 30 of their 39 votes. The Tymoshenko bloc and its allied Reforms and Order party supported its ratification.

The failure of the SPU and PPPU to support the ratification of the Memorandum cannot but be seen as a sign that their loyalty to the strategic domestic and foreign policy objectives of the Yushchenko administration are low.

What to make, for example, of PPPU leader Anatoliy Kinakh who is secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NRBO), an institution which under its two predecessors (Volodymyr Horbulin, Yevhen Marchuk) was always staunchly pro-NATO.

The weekly Zerkalo Tyzhnia/Nedeli (November 5-11) complained that such a voting fiasco placed the Yushchenko administration in a bad light as Kyiv could not follow through on its foreign policy commitments. "Political forces have proved unreliable and inconsistent, which came as no surprise to voters", it concluded.

The Tymoshenko bloc also supported the NS-NU over parliamentary voting against the re-privatization of Kryvorizhstal. Prior to its successful re-sale for $4.8 billion, parliament voted twice to block the re-privatization sale.

Parliamentary votes for a moratorium on Kryvorizhstal's re-privatization were opposed by the Tymoshenko bloc, Reforms and Order and NS-NU, but supported by all 39 SPU and PPPU deputies.

In a separate vote both the SPU and the PPPU backed a resolution calling for Kryvorizhstal to remain in state hands. Kryvorizhstal had been re-privatized from oligarchs Viktor Pinchuk and Renat Akhmetov (

In both cases (NATO Memorandum, Kryvorizhstal) the greatest cynicism has been displayed by the formerly hard-line supporters of Kuchma (Regions of Ukraine [RU] and Social Democratic united [SDPUo] parties).

Both parties supported the ratification of the NATO Memorandum under Kuchma and privatized Kryvorizhstal in 2004 to two oligarchs for a sixth of what was obtained last month.

The SDPUo's call for a referendum on NATO accession has been ridiculed by the Ukrainian media. SDPUo leader Viktor Medvedchuk did not resign in protest as head of the presidential administration when NATO and EU membership were included in the new 2004 military doctrine. As Prime Minister in 2002-2004, Yanukovych led a government that had declared its intention of seeking NATO membership in May 2002.

These two votes on crucial issues show that the September crisis has failed to irrevocably split the Orange revolutionary camp. The best chance for a pro-reform parliamentary majority is if NS-NU and the Tymoshenko bloc come together after the 2006 elections.

This view is strongly backed by two factors. First, public opinion has not been willing to accept the permanence of the split. Second, neither NS-NU or the Tymoshenko bloc will have sufficient votes to independently create a parliamentary majority.

Calls for re-unification of the Orange Revolutionary camp have increasingly been heard from both the NS-NU and the Tymoshenko bloc. Tymoshenko has initiated meetings with state secretary Oleh Rybachuk on unity with NS-NU. Two conditions have been put forward by Tymoshenko.

First, that the business entourage which surrounded Yushchenko be not included in the NS-NU election line-up. This demand is not problematical. Rybachuk has blocked the access of the most criticized of this business group, Petro Poroshenko, from the state secretariat so that he has no access to President Yushchenko.

Second, that Tymoshenko again become Prime Minister. This demand is unlikely to be met and could prove to be a major stumbling block to re- unification (Ukrayinska Pravda, November 3).

Yushchenko would want to maintain Yekhanurov in this position. Tymoshenko's abrasive style is seen in a negative light by NS-NU senior officials, such as parliamentary faction leader Mykola Martynenko (Ukrayina moloda, October 27).

Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, a potential NS-NU ally, called for 'professionals' in government, 'not those who can shout at meetings', a clear jab at Tymoshenko (Ukrayinska Pravda, November 6).

Lytvyn has depicted his eponymous election bloc as one that stands for 'compromise' and Ukrainian unity, not divisiveness, a jab at both Tymoshenko and RU (Ukrayinska Pravda, November 7).

The head of the NS-NU political council, Roman Besmertnyi, is as distrustful of Tymoshenko's populism and personal ambitions as is Martynenko and Lytvyn.

Nevertheless, he has accepted the need for unity negotiations after the 2006 elections to create a parliamentary majority (Ukrayinska Pravda, October 27, November 1).

Constitutional reforms set to go into effect after January 2006 will transform Ukraine from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary-presidential system commonly found in central Europe and the Baltic states.

This will be a major step towards democratization as presidential systems common in the CIS have led to authoritarianism and abuse of executive office.

At the same time, constitutional reforms will lengthen parliament from four to five years, prevent defection from factions and force parties to compromise over creating a parliamentary majority who, together with the executive, choose a government.

Of the six parties and blocs set to enter parliament, Yushchenko's NS-NU can only create a parliamentary majority with either two other large forces, the Tymoshenko bloc or RU.

The cooperation and goodwill created in the run up to the election between NS-NU and Tymoshenko bloc will serve to assist in the choice being to reunify with the Tymoshenko bloc.

They will be celebrating the first Orange Revolution anniversary together on November 22 on the Maidan.
Action Ukraine Report

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