Posts Tagged ‘UDAR’

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Election loyalties and tactical blunders – Odessa example

October 12, 2014

Not so very long ago, by and large the Ukrainian voting constituency could be divided into Orange and Blue – or Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

Very much like other nations, many of those who voted Orange have never and would never vote Blue and vice versa.  No different to Americans who always vote Republican and never Democrat, or the British whom always vote Labour and never Conservative and vise versa.

Naturally onlookers may ponder such identity loyalty regardless of platform, policy or candidate – and many social and political scientists do.

The RADA elections in 3 weeks time, this year has no Blue running.  What is left of the official Party Regions is not running.  There is no party list for the party stalwarts to insure their RADA entry.  They are faced with first past the post, head to head electioneering for specific seats.  The exception to that may see Sergei Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine party pass the 5% electoral threshold.  The “Opposition Block” may very well struggle to overcome this hurdle.

Nobody would be surprised to see any of the old Regionaires who win any first past the post seats to coalesce within the “Opposition Block” in any new RADA formation – whether they have any current declared affiliation toward it or not.  It is unclear as yet whether Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine who whilst will certainly be in opposition, may shun any formal connections with the “Opposition Block”.  Time will tell.

However, the Orange vote is no longer Batkivshchyna or Ms Tymoshenko’s to dominate.  It too has been decimated.  The demise of Party Regions and Batkivshchyna long since predicted here.

Though Batkivshchyna and Ms Tymoshenko will enter the RADA passing the 5% party threshold, it is likely to lose a vast amount of votes to Block Poroshenko, Lyashko’s The Radical Party,  Hrytsenko’s Civil Position Party and Yatseniuk’s “People’s Front”.  Very vibrant, multi-party, democratic, and undoubtedly requiring coalition building to form a stable majority – a coalition from which we can expect Ms Tymoshenko and Batkivshchyna to be excluded.

So much for the party lists and 5% threshold – but what of those Regionaries who may win the first past the post seats for which the run and yet were uncomfortably close to the former President and were actively part of his corrupt pyramid?  In Odessa for example, the likes of Sergei Kivalov, Mykola Skoryk, and Eduard Matviychuk to name but 3.

Herein lies a problem for the traditional Orange vote and now displaced Blue vote from Odessa.

The Orange vote has numerous options and candidates for each seat to choose from as listed above – together with several others such as Svoboda who are unlikely to pass the 5% threshold but theoretically can win first past the post seats.  In short, the historical Orange vote will be distributed across numerous candidates.  All candidates will get votes, but none will get sufficient to be sure of victory.

And what of the Blue voters?  None will vote Orange per Batkivshchyna as stated at the very start of this entry, but some will vote for the Poroshenko candidates and perhaps the Yatseniuk candidates due to both leaders having history with Odessa – and history with Odessa counts when it comes to gaining votes.  Parachuted in candidates with no connection or history need not apply.  Others will vote for Strong Ukraine candidates in the belief it will be the only genuine opposition party to pass the 5% threshold.

Many however, will vote for those who used to be Blue – Kivalov, Skoryk and Matviychuk – based upon old loyalties, name recognition, the usual bribery, gift offering and local media bias.  This despite general acknowledgement they were far too closely involved with Yanukovych not have have been large beneficiaries of the Yanukovych system.

Very noticeably, there are no well known old Blues running against each other for any seat.  For example the Markov brothers or Evgene Tsarkov are not running for any seats, and thus the old Blue vote will not be as thinly distributed or split over a particular seat as it could have been.

It follows that although there may be some split of the Blue vote away from the Yanukovych loyalists and beneficiaries, Kivalov, Skoryk and Matviychuk – sufficient will remain to see them quite possibly become MPs due to the many Orange candidates sapping each others votes for each seat and failing to provide a more focused opposition.

As and when these nefarious individuals – and others from other towns and cities – are returned to the RADA, aside from onlookers pondering and decrying the misplaced/blind loyalty issues of some voters once again, perhaps there should be some recognition that had the non-Blue parties been more tactically aware, regarding certain seats against certain well known and corrupt/nefarious candidates, they may have chosen to field a single candidate to focus their voting constituency upon.

Maybe there is still time for parties to negotiate a single candidate to run against these men – maybe not.

All of that said, there is a definite need for an effective opposition in the RADA.  It is, however, a case of returning an effective and constructive opposition rather than returning a corrupt and nefarious body of people that are a hangover of the very worst of Ukrainian politics historically.  An effectively coercive and nefarious opposition may be as bad as a non-existent opposition.

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Much ado about the predictable in the RADA

July 25, 2014

The deliberate collapsing of the coalitions in the RADA this afternoon, followed by resignations seems to have caught many – particular western – on-lookers by surprise.

Quite why so many on-lookers were surprised is – well, surprising.

This morning, this tweet contained within  today’s entry.  Not much warning perhaps.

So lets go back more than a month to this entry that explicitly predicted this occurrence and the reasons why.

Not a surprise when working to time lines – or perhaps better stated, when working backward from a certain date.  For months the goal has been to set new RADA elections at the same time that local elections are to occur.  That date is already set.  It is 26th October.

Thus is it necessary to work back from that date to understand today’s events.

The Constitution of Ukraine states:

The President of Ukraine may terminate the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine prior to the expiration of term, if:
there is a failure to form within one month a coalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as provided for in Article 83 of this Constitution;
there is a failure, within sixty days following the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to form the personal composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;
the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine fails, within thirty days of a single regular session, to commence its plenary meetings.

So moving back from 26th October, adding together the one month required to allow for the forming any new coalition – which will deliberately not be formed – plus the 60 days required for electioneering, delivers us at 31st July as the very last possible day to legally fulfill the Constitutional requirements and simultaneously hold RADA and local elections on 26th October.

Therefore, that this happened on 24th July should come as no surprise to anybody.  That these matters have been engineered by way of dissolved coalitions when working toward 26th October as election day for a new RADA was clear.

It is a matter of math only, to realise that it was now or never if that goal was to be achieved.

It is also a step welcomed by President Poroshenko.

There may be a war on in a small part of Ukraine, but the rest of the nation expects new RADA elections – and will seemingly now get them – with the benefit of budgetary and organisational savings when holding the two elections on the same date.

Having voted in a president with a war on – why not a new RADA and local government too?

The only thing of particular note from today when looking forward is that Vice Prime Minister Groysman is now acting Prime Minister.

But that is predictable too.

Acting PM Groysman is a President Poroshenko man.  A very capable man it has to be said, but he is of the “right horse stable”.  Will Volodymyr Groysman remain Prime Minister after the elections?  There’s a good chance unless he drops the ball between now and 26th October.

 

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Events, trends, norms and containing corruption

June 16, 2014

Away from all the tragic and bloody headlines dominating the domestic and international media regarding Ukraine, other unreported interesting events are occurring in Ukraine.

To begin this entry, there is a  need to place a few jigsaw pieces together, and then describe an incident that occurred a few days ago, that will in turn then lead to the core of this entry.

Firstly, to deal with the jigsaw pieces.

A gentleman called Georgie Yaroshenko who stood – unsuccessfully – as an UDAR candidate for the Dnepropetrovsk City Council has a very close and visible business relationship with Valery Ishchenko.

Valery Ishchenko is the man behind Pivdenny Bank, one of the larger banks in Ukraine.  He also owns shopping centers, retail chains etc.  Mr Ishchenko is also an UDAR Deputy in the RADA.  More than that he was/is also a fairly major financier of the UDAR party.

It follows therefore, that he has a  fairly close relationship with Vitaly Klitshchko, leader of UDAR and now Mayor of Kyiv.

All of these men are well acquainted with Valentin Nalyvaychenko, the current head of the SBU.

By extension, all of the aforementioned are therefore firmly behind President Poroshenko.  Any nefarious smell that arises within this jigsaw puzzle has the potential to affect all concerned in some way, shape, or form.  The public presumption of guilty by association remains alive and well.

On 13th June I tweeted:

Explaining no more at the time, it was therefore left somewhat cryptic.  It is necessary to expand on the tweet a little now, without going into excruciating detail – there is no need, as interesting as the detail actually is.

Mr Yaroshencko called a meeting of all brokerage and import/export companies in southern and eastern Ukraine at a hotel called Bartolomeo in Dnepropetrovsk.  He then proceeded to inform all concerned that he will be the node that issues all necessary documentation for all such business – be it white, grey or black in nature.  He had been to Crimea during late April – early May, and struck the necessary agreements with those now in charge there (how patriotic?)  Any questions? – You all know who I am connected to, etc., etc.

Only one gentleman from Odessa spoke up – naturally – he had little choice.  One of Odessa’s most high profile organised criminals is now the Mayor, and he has long standing interests in the nefarious goings-on at Odessa ports.  That is unsurprisingly when you consider his connection to one of Ukraine’s most infamous mafia men “Angel” that goes back to the early 1990s.  Any new such scheme would clearly go head to head with the long standing interests of both of these “aggressive Odessa businessmen”.

That no others present raised any issues, presumably all were accepting of the new corrupt scheme to be installed.

What transpired next by way of telephone calls is very interesting – but not for repeating.  Suffice to say a smelly issue for Mr Yaroshchenko and under whose patronage he was peddling his corrupt scheme, was now wafting through the air with numerous witnesses having breathed it in.

Hence the somewhat cryptic tweet a few days ago, inferring UDAR, Mr Klitshcko etc., would need to act – 140 characters is simply not enough for the tale above.

Anyway, those around Messrs Yaroshchenko and Ishchenko did indeed act – the very next day.

Not only has the SBU been tasked with investigating the matter personally by both President Poroshenko and SBU chief, Vitaly Klitshcko has made it clear to Mr Ishchenko that if there is a case, he is expected to resign his RADA seat – and has received such an assurance that a resignation will be forthcoming.

It appears in this particular case, being a very close business associate of the man who finances UDAR, Mr Klitschko and stands behind the President and SBU Chief, will not save Mr Yaroshchenko from criminal proceedings – nor will it save Mr Ishchenko from losing his UDAR Deputy’s seat, a party financier or not.

The powers that currently be have been swift to go after two of their own.

How this event will effect the internal workings of UDAR – for Mr Ishchenko will obviously have many friends amongst UDAR – remains to be seen.

It is rather depressing that there are those actively seeking to create new nefarious schemes from within the ranks of a fairly unsullied political party – fairly unsullied because it has not had the time to fully sully itself thus far.

More broadly though, the leadership response also raises the issue for many amongst the corrupted, that if this is how those behind the president are dealt with, how much faith can those who are not behind him have when manipulating the system to create corrupt mechanisms and get away with it?

Another question therefore, if those engaged in new or on-going corrupt acts are to be rightly dealt with this way – what do you do with those who have engaged in corruption historically?  How far back do you go?  What level of corruption do you tackle and what do you leave alone?

Probably the most sensible answer is to go after the most serious national corruption and (also some) high profile cases – if the two are not naturally combined.   Add to that instructions to regional PGOs to go after half a dozen notable cases in each Oblast, and one hundred or so cases that will get the attention of the public across every part of the nation appear.

A case load the regional courts can cope with and that can also be observed by international observers, media and civil society for reasons of transparency and diligence to due process presents itself.  Perhaps wishful thinking – or perhaps a similar suggestion will emerge from the Presidential Administration over the coming months.

However the issue will be dealt with in the future, the response to this particular event, in comparison to how matters would have been handled under all previous administrations, is something of a bright spark in an otherwise historically very dark place.

But it remains a single event.

It may be the first event in what becomes a trend – or it may not.  Such a trend may become the norm – or it may not.

That a single event garnering such a response can momentarily be seen as a spark so bright, sadly illustrates what a dark place certain parts of Ukrainian life are – but everything has to start somewhere.

The question is whether this is indeed a start of something notable, or whether it is a single spark that will soon be smothered and forgotten.

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An eventful few days for Oleg Tsarov

June 4, 2014

Yesterday was Oleg Tsarov’s birthday.

Today, 235 RADA MPs voted to strip him of his deputies mandate – thus removing his immunity from prosecution – sanctioning his arrest and detention for “calls to commit violent regime change and overthrow the constitutional order in Ukraine” at the request of the out-going Prosecutor General.  (Let’s see how that comes into play in the future.)

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His Facebook page is an interesting read – and something to keep an eye over the coming days if his apprehension is less than swift.  Perhaps he will join what is a growing enclave of ex-Presidents in Rostov?  (Yanukovych and Ankvab.)

It is interesting that 235 RADA Mps voted to do so – for it is far more in number than Batkivshchyna, UDAR and Svoboda have amongst their number – and much less than the number of MPs present in the RADA today.  (Also today 300 voted to inaugurate persistent-elect Poroshenko at 10.00 on 7th June for example.)

One wonders just how much another 20 MPs leaving the Party of Regions today affected any voting.

Anyway, an incredibly rare occasion whereby the RADA strips one of its own of immunity – but these are extraordinary times.

 

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Tomorrow’s parties – Where are they today?

May 26, 2014

Yesterday was one of those days my good lady hates – my day full of meetings with diplomats, representatives of international institutions and international NGOs, talking politics, policy and solutions – and she sat thoroughly bored throughout.

It was the sort of day that provides more than a weeks worth of blog entries if all that was discussed, debated and  agreed/disagreed upon was written about by unpacking it all into separate issues.

As always with such meetings, the Chatham House rule applies if I decide to write about any discussion. Of the numerous topics discussed with various people, I will concentrate upon a specific issue raised during several hours of discussion with those very clever people from Carnegie.

Having firstly thoroughly trashed the use of  the almost meaningless but en vogue term “decentralisation” in favour of “devolution”  for reasons of clarity of function and perception when it comes to the subject of moving power from the political and policy centre to the regions, we eventually, several stops later, reached the subject of this entry – the political party void on the horizon for Ukraine.

All acknowledged that Svoboda has peaked and will become little more than a regional party once more.

All agreed that Mr Akhmetov deliberately chose Mr Mikhail Dobkin to lead the Party Regions into oblivion, allowing the ballot box to kill it off rather than Mr Akhmetov simply withdrawing his funding prior to the public nod of approval to bury it.

There was no disagreement that Batkivshchyna will also split into 2 or 3 far less potent individual entities – in effect ceasing to exist as it does today.

UDAR, once Vitali Klitschko becomes Kyiv Mayor will also struggle to remain whole.

So much for the agreed consensus of opinion.

Our problem – and more specifically the problem for Ukraine, was what comes next?

The days of personality based parties in Ukraine are all but over, so where will the new parties come from to fill the void?  They will be ideologically driven if they are to capture the attention of the ever-growing post-Soviet electoral constituency.

Despite a particularly uncivil civil society predating EuroMaidan, the events in Kyiv from December to February created a civil society with clear purpose, enthusiasm and no shortage of previously missing traction with the public.

In a democracy civil society is normally a fertile breading ground for the civic minded to move through from lobbying and activism directly into politics and the legislature.

The current problem is that civil society sees the Ukrainian political class as corrupt, feckless and generally contemptible – which it is.  Therefore it intends to fight the good fight and try and keep the political class from straying from a righteous accountable and democratic path – fair enough, that is part of the role of a robust and vibrant civil society.

However, the most capable individuals within Ukrainian civil society display no desire to move into politics themselves, despite the fact that it seems clear the current party structures that have historically fought for power within Ukrainian politics are all about to fall apart at about the same time.

Of the very few unanswered questions of the evening, was how to move the better and untainted civil society individuals through from civic activist to the political class when they have no desire to do so, and how to generate ideologically founded political parties now, in preparation for the significant party void that will soon descend upon the RADA?

Whether such parties be ideologically centre-left, centre-right, or centre, and be they pro-European or pro-Eurasian, they will need to emerge to replace and/or resist what remains of the political vehicles/parties created 20 years ago simply for personality projection or interests protection.

Some new parties will be created from the splits amongst current parties that have already – or will very soon – manifest themselves.  Others will necessarily need to be born free from inherited political legacies – but from where with a reluctant civil society is a big question.

 

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What are the chances?

March 30, 2014

Loathed as I am to write this entry, I do so in response to numerous emails and comments relating to what I think the political  future of Yulia Tymoshenko is.  Firstly it should be irrelevant to a large extent as the Ukrainian constituency seems to have finally turned away from populist personality politics and toward policy.  Hurrah!

Thus I am loathed to write about her as a political personality and wrongly be seen to give her more of my time than any other candidate – but I shall respond due to the sheer number of those who have asked the question.

As regular readers will know, when she was due to be released from prison I advocated for her graceful retirement from politics rather than what would be an undignified fall – acknowledging her ego would never allow such a graceful retirement.

In fact for many years I have advocated the retirement of both Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yanukovych from Ukrainian politics.  Therefore my personal position is already known – though that does not answer the question asked.

So to answer the question.

Ms Tymoshenko is fighting for her political life – she just doesn’t know who she is fighting with and is therefore somewhat adrift.

She no longer has Viktor Yanukovych (or Viktor Yushenko) to argue with and fight against.  All those with any realistic chance of winning the presidency hold the same Europe friendly views as she does, and in the current circumstances resorting to the traditional Ukrainian politics of trashing, undermining or attempting to buy off (with money or promises of position) her political opponents would do her more harm than good.

Those she would have to influence are beating her in the opinion polls, and to be quite frank, would not welcome involvement with her should they come to power.

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Secondly, her political party Batkivshchyna, currently has an electoral support rating of 15% – almost double that of Ms Tymoshenko’s own personal rating in the presidential polls, which currently stands at 8.2%.

Stepping back in time we must recognise that Batkivshchyna was created as a political party not around an ideology, but specifically as a vehicle to propel Ms Tymoshenko into power.  It has never developed an ideology because Ms Tymoshenko has always controlled the party in a very authoritarian manner – but as the recent polls show, the party can now – and should make a point of – controlling Ms Tymoshenko.

Nothing good has ever come from a situation where the party personalities are bigger than the party itself – particularly when both personalities and party are devoid of recognisable  ideology to which their supporters expect them to remain loosely tethered.

Her recent speech when announcing her intention to run for the presidency clearly displayed a continued self-centered mantra to the point where she stated, “Ukrainians feel nothing has changed after the revolution” – which is a fairly damning statement to make when her Batkivshchyna Party currently hold the vast majority of the Ukrainian ministerial seats and have installed 10 loyal regional governors.  If nothing has changed then her party holds responsibility for that.

Thus it is implied only she can save Ukraine, not only from external threats, but internal threats also – and included in those threats are the inabilities of her own party it appears.

What she does not yet seem able to accept is that the misrule of Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent Euromaidan has finally propelled the Ukrainian voting constituency away from “me, me , me, I, I , I” personality politics.  They look for policy (and its implementation), ideology they can recognise, democracy, transparency, inclusiveness and tolerance.  The empty rhetoric and zero sum politics personified by Ms Tymoshenko are no longer attractive.

In short, if the elections go ahead on 25th May as planned – and I suspect they will – in the absence of a serious accident happening to Petro Poroshenko, she will the thrashed to within an inch of her political life at the ballot box.  She may not even make it into the second round of voting unless she can overcome Vitaly Klitschko – something that I will get to shortly.  Oh Fortuna!

Looking past the presidential election – then we must look at that last remaining inch of her political life.

New RADA parliamentary elections with the current 15% support for Batkivshchyna may not be enough for it to keep its place as the largest political party in the RADA (since the implosion of Party Regions).

Party Regions is now of course something of a hollow political force – it has just lost 2 million voters with the annexation of Crimea and is naturally very much associated with looting the nation on an unprecedented scale under Viktor Yanukovych in the minds of the electorate.

Nevertheless, no self-respecting Regions voter would ever consider voting for Yulia Tymoshenko or Batkivshchyna.  Some will remain loyal to Regions under a new leader, whomever that turns out to be.  Others will vote for Poroshenko in the presidential elections, but will be faced with no Poroshenko candidate for the RADA elections as his small band of merry men and women have very little regional infrastructure to produce regional candidates.

At this point, as I have written before, we should be expecting Poroshenko and Vitaly Klitschko’s UDAR to merge or join forces prior to the RADA elections.  This will provide Poroshenko with a recongised party that has a very active regional infrastructure capable of producing local candidates.  For UDAR it provides finance for the RADA elections.

I do not discount the possibility of Klitschko withdrawing from the presidential race with both he and thus UDAR backing Poroshenko in return for a Solidarity-UDAR coalition guarantee in the RADA.  It seems logical for all concerned and may result in a first round victory for Petro Poroshenko large enough to dismiss the need for a second round – a result that would underline in no uncertain terms the legitimacy of the candidate within the Ukrainian voting constituency.

If that be the case, Klitshcko may run (again) for Mayor of Kyiv in order to try and mitigate the candidacy of Yuri Lutsenko whom Ms Tymoshenko has encouraged to run for that position – thus beheading her attempt to control the capital.

Failing that a Solidarity/UDAR merger or coalition immediately after RADA elections seems likely to mitigate the “Tymoshenko factor/fatigue/frustrations” that would certainly follow otherwise with coalitions with Batkivshchyna.

Mr Poroshenko’s Solidarity party currently has 14.9% support according to the same poll that gave Batkivshchyna 15% – in short, parity with Batkivshchyna – but Solidarity lacks the regional penetration of UDAR and I expect UDAR to eclipse Batkivshchyna given sufficient funding for an effective RADA campaign.

For Ms Tymoshenko it presents a problem – and a problem that may see the terminal breath to her political career.

Should a deal be done between Poroshenko and UDAR – and one may have already been quietly agreed – then it may be that the popularity of Poroshenko/Klitschko will result in UDAR being returned as the largest RADA party – or any UDAR-Solidarity coalition forming a majority – relegating Batkivshchyna to the position of minor coalition partner at best, unnecessary outsider at worst.

No doubt many within Batkivshchyna will in no small part put any such dismal result down to being anchored to an unpopular Yulia Tymoshenko who refuses to leave the stage.  Thereafter, just how long before the party necessarily shows her the political exist must be the question?

Perhaps after a disastrous presidential result they may try to convince her to go/stand down as party leader before the RADA elections – if they do, I would expect the party popularity to rise amongst the electorate.

However, Ms Tymoshenko is a ferociously ambitious woman with an ego that simply won’t allow reality to be recognised.  Her immediate plan must therefore be to attack and undermine Vitaly Klitshcko and UDAR, attempting to force a wedge between Poroshenko and Klitshcko, UDAR and Solidarity.  Time to accomplish this is not on her side with elections so near – so her maneuvering will soon become obvious as time does not provide for subtlety.

Her final political breath will probably come only after being crushed at the presidential elections combined with being hit by the falling masonry of a collapsing Batkivshchyna Party RADA result.  Even that may not be enough to convince her that her time is up.  It may prove that it will be necessary to vote to remove her as party leader before she final accepts the message that the party has moved on without her and that she is an anchor holding it back.

It will leave her nothing more than just another MP – or forcibly retired.  I would wish neither upon her.  Quitting politics with dignity between now and the RADA elections  is a far better path to take.

Whether any of this would change significantly if the elections were not to occur on 25th May as planned is very much dependent upon how far into the future they would be pushed and any “incidents” that may occur in that time.

In that regard, Russian and Ms Tymoshenko’s personal interests converge somewhat – the later the elections the better – and with regard to Russia, an economic/trade blockade (in full or in part) with Ukraine must now be a very real possibility in lieu of further direct military action.

All of that said, only a fool would write her off completely – and perhaps I have just been foolish, though being careful not to write her off entirely – but I have answered the question asked as I see it today – mindful that 24 hours is a long time in politics and things can change quickly and drastically.

Perhaps it is too optimistic to believe that she will soon leave the Ukrainian political arena and allow the nation and Batkivshchyna to move on.

 

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Committing political suicide – Ukraine

February 28, 2014

With the new leadership in Ukraine already coming under fire from OSCE for media censorship, no money, costly social promises to fulfill from the previous administration – or difficult explanations as to why this administration won’t keep the promises of the last one – external and internal sabre rattling threatening the integrity of Ukraine itself, the newly appointed government is surely committing political suicide with a raft of very necessary and very, very unpopular decisions to make.

A point not lost on Arseniy Yatseniuk it seems.

It will be a challenge indeed to make necessary very unpopular decisions whilst trying to keep a lid on so many simmering and potentially volatile issues.

Regardless of what anyone may think of the new look government – and it contains no UDAR party members – it has a particularly difficult time ahead over the few months we can expect it to last.

However, considering so many gave their lives in recent days, there are worse things than political suicide.

(Meanwhile a wary eye kept on events in Crimea – it will be telling as to the reception the World Congress of Tatars delegation receives when considering they are based in Tatarstan (part of the Russian Federation)  and the resurfacing of Viktor Yanukovych in Russia under Russian protection.)

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