The start of the by-election campaign in five problem districts coincides with autumn congresses of two opposition forces. "Motherland", though, attracts special attention, mostly due to strange and inconsistent statements of its parliamentary leader Arseniy Yatseniuk.

Cure impossible to pardon

These days leader of the "Motherland" faction cannot decide on his position regarding the fate of Yulia Tymoshenko. Arseniy Yatseniuk repeatedly declared his fierce intentions to save "Motherland" eternal symbol from jail, and this summer he even insisted on meeting the President in person to discuss the issue.

However, strangely enough, after a series of "sieges" of the parliament "Motherland" has tamed its vengeful spirit and shows philosophic calm to every failure to decriminalize "Tymoshenko's articles". At the final stage of preparations to "Ukraine-EU" summit, Yatseniuk insists on releasing Yulia Tymoshenko for treatment aboard. Focus of his statements has obviously changed: if earlier he spoke about complete legal rehabilitation, now he speaks exclusively about necessity of treatment abroad.  

Moreover, the politician is making now a new maneuver. If earlier Yatseniuk included the adoption of a draft bill enabling convicts to undergo treatment abroad into the list of possible means to release Tymoshenko, now he declares it must be an initiative of the Party of Regions and President. Considering that last week Oleksandr Yefremov made it clear that it was not the task of the parliamentary majority to work such draft bills out, the document will not appear soon. Moreover, Yatseniuk has already started speaking about lack of time for the initiative.

Seemingly, the politician wants presidential guarantees of approving the draft bill in case of its adoption. But in reality, all his statements express the same idea - to send Tymoshenko abroad, for treatment. According to Yatseniuk, pardon is the best option, considering that Cox and Kwasniewski propose the same. However, such move may contradict the intentions of Tymoshenko herself. Pardon does mean legal rehabilitation and cancellation of criminal records, but only release from jail. 

Right after the letter from Cox and Kwasniewski, Tymoshenko seemed to agree to treatment abroad, but the next day her position took a twist. She repeatedly appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of Pechersk court on "gas issue". Thus, she gives to understand that she does not want to be released without full legal rehabilitation and wants to continue her political career. And this circumstance can indeed make Yatseniuk's political life difficult. Hence, admitting that Tymoshenko's loyal companion-in-arms fears her rehabilitation, inconsistency of his statements becomes very clear.

Saying "Tymoshenko" - meaning "Yatseniuk"

However, the problem of Tymoshenko is not the only one Yatseniuk worries about. The question of by-elections is more pressing for him now. Observers doubt that Yatseniuk controls the whole "Motherland" and the letter of party supporters from Mykolaiv to Tymoshenko, in which they refuse the merge of "Front of changes" with "Motherland", is a good proof of it. Implicit discontent with Yayseniuk within the party also manifests itself in the party's position not to nominate him as a candidate for presidency, motivating the decision by the presence of the leader - Tymoshenko.

Moreover, there are interesting changes going on within the very "Front of changes". Thus, Volodymyr Polochaninov, former leader of Kyiv organization of the party, and Andriy Pavelko, expelled member of "Motherland", have appealed to Yatseniuk with a request to transform "Front of changes" into a separate and independent political force. Does it mean that Yatseniuk is preparing the plan B in case Tymoshenko is released? Or do "les miserables" from "Motherland" want to deprive Yatseniuk of his backup plan?

Director of the Institute of global strategies Vadym Karasyov told ForUm in a comment that "this project is being created not for Yanseniuk, but for those who do not want to join "Motherland" but think about an independent political project. Thus, they want to deprive Yatseniuk of a spare platform for 2017. If Tymoshenko is released, Yatseniuk would switch to the plan B, but if "Front of changes" is transformed into a separate project, plan B disappears. However, if there is a chance that this new project is being prepared with silent approval of Yatseniuk himself, it means that he is not sure how and who to run for presidency with."

Meantime, on Wednesday, October 15, the meeting of "Motherland" was marked by two scandals. Firstly, journalists were not allowed in, as well as some MPs, who were expelled from the party earlier. Secondly, deputies of Cherkassy city council from "Front of changes" announced their entry into the Party of Regions. Considering that 12 leaders of local party organizations were dismissed during the meeting, we can speak about serious reformation of the party exclusively for "Yanseniuk and Co." 

Yatseniuk is freaking out, fearing "to miss"

Yanseniuk's inconsistency, however, reflects upon himself and makes other opposition leaders to seem better. Director of the Institute of Ukrainian politics Kostyantyn Bondarenko told ForUm in a comment, that Yatseniuk's behavior is driven by attempts to take control over the whole "Motherland" and to become the leader of the whole opposition, which does not meet understanding on the part of his colleagues. "Under the conditions of unclear status and further fate of Tymoshenko, as well as the status of Yatseniuk himself and his ratings, no surprise he gets the needle and starts making mistakes." 

In turn, Vadym Karasyov adds that inconsistency of Yatseniuk's statements and behavior is a manifestation of his worries over many unpredictable factors, one which is Tymoshenko. "He is in a certain standstill. Current President and Yatseniuk's colleagues from the opposition have actually started their election campaigns, but Yatseniuk cannot do it because the official candidate from the party is Tymoshenko, who believes she still can take part in the presidential campaign. And these factors make him stress out. However, these factors are that grave to speak about split within "Motherland" or open fight between Yatseniuk or Tymoshenko."
It is not a secret that Yulia Tymoshenko used to contradict herself as well, moving from one extreme to another. In this respect, Arseniy Yatseniuk is her worthy successor. And it seems he does not care that his inconsistency may split the opposition. In fact, having used "Motherland" as a launching platform for his career, Yatseniuk is able to beat Tymoshenko in her own game. In this case, "Motherland" faces the same fate as "Front of changes", while Tymoshenko herself faces a longstanding treatment somewhere abroad.

Lilia Brudnytska


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