The division in Ukraine’s orange coalition is a hard blow to those who saw in the movement the spearhead of a “western-like” political reorientation in the region. On the other hand, the recent disclosure of President Yushchenko’s campaign financed by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovski could theoretically lead to invalidate January 2005 presidential elections and lead to the President’s resignation. This failure, less than a year after the “orange revolution”, could have a negative impact on 2006 parliamentary elections.
In Kiev’s Vremya Novostyey, Ukraine Communist Party’s first secretary Piotr Simonenko tempered all of this agitation. In his opinion, this is only a new stage of the geopolitical plan thought up abroad during the formation of the “orange” power. The strategy of placing dismissed Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the position of an opponent allows introducing an “orange” candidate who won’t have to come to terms with the failure of the implemented policy. So, having absorbed both loyal and dissident votes in 2006, Orangists will come together again after the elections. Simonenko thinks this is a conflict among financial groups which will end up reconciling themselves when so required by their economic interests. Once attained the parliamentary majority, their representatives will work to join NATO and WTO as well as enhance their collaboration with GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldavia) against Russia.
On his side, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Leonid Kravchuk – who disclosed Yuschenko’s campaign funding – also tempered the consequences of this issue in Kiev’s Novyie Izvestia. Although he discredited a movement regarded as clean, the impeachment procedure is very unlikely to bear any fruit. Kravchuk shares the opinion that such Prime Minister and President conflicts are part of the country’s political tradition and have no further consequences as relations always have a happy ending.
France’s conservative daily Le Figaro gave the floor to the main concerned, Ukrainian multimillionaire Yulia Tymoshenko – Ukraine’s former Prime Minister and leader of the Mother Land Party – who is trying hard to calm down the “Orangists”: The democratic revolution is not dead, even if the new government appointed by President Yushchenko is closer to old Kuchma’s regime. For March 2006 elections, Yulia Tymoshenko will be in the opposition, though in topics such as the integration into the WTO her party will support the government. However, her main concern is that political tensions in Ukraine will not damage the image of the orange revolution in the West. Her speech moderation for non-Russian speakers particularly contrasts the tone she has adopted in the Ukrainian press lately these weeks. Obviously she has been trying to minimize the crisis abroad and appease those holding the tutelary power in the West. Stephen J. Flanagan and Eugene Rumor from the Institute for National Strategic Studies, in the International Herald Tribune, advocate the same line. Although Ukraine’s political crisis is disappointing for those who had believed in the orange revolution, they should not lose their patience. Instead they should analyze the crisis on the basis of the course taken since 1991. Not because Ukraine’s new Prime Minister calls to improve relations with Russia, one must get alarmed and think that the country is moving away from the West. Ukraine is a good atlantist pupil who steps away from Russia to strengthen relationships with the U.S., NATO, and EU, and participates in the Iraq war. That’s what matters. It is also the attitude towards Russia that worries Hudson Institute’s analyst Andrei Piontkovsky in the Washington Times – a daily highly prized by U.S. neo-cons. Piontkovsky thinks that the US-Russia relations have reached an unprecedented unbalance since Yalta in 1945, and as a proof he advanced President Bush “deferential” attitude toward President Putin, while the latter would be scandalously “arrogant” according to the writer. Taking advantage of the U.S. over-deployment in Iraq and the reconstruction following hurricane Katrina, Vladimir Putin has moved the pawns of his anti-American strategy. Putin demands the retreat of foreign troops from Iraq; helps those who oppose the U.S. bases in the Caucasus; and supports “unfriendly” countries such as Iran or China. This is not a good strategy - says the writer – neither for Russia nor for the U.S. A word to the wise is… One should start thinking of Putin’s replacement.
And just talking about that, Freedom House (a political propaganda lab managed until recently by former CIA director James Woolsey) teaching director Christopher Walker asked himself in the International Herald Tribune about the “2008 issue” in Russia. Considering that Vladimir Putin came to power in a dubious manner, the writer is concerned about what Putin will do at the end of his office term. There will be ten important ballots before 2008 in the former Soviet area. However, Walker has found a complete lack of democratic succession mechanisms in that same area, where only a few presidents have voluntarily given up power. For him, the Kremlin has already started the campaign aimed at removing any potential opponents by wielding the legal weapon and leaning on an indulgent press. There must therefore be a mobilization in order to avoid distortions and to have free elections. In other words, it is desirable that Putin should not be re-elected in 2008 and that some work be done to organize a “coloured revolution”.
In order to reach this goal, the U.S. can count on the activism of expert militants such as Ukrainian Serguei Taran who was once a top figure of the Pora Student Movement – the one that starred the “orange revolution”. Questioned by the German radio abroad Deutsche Welle, Serguei Taran gave a presentation of the institute founded by him, the aim of which is to export “democracy” to surrounding countries. Based on an allegedly informal network which, he forgot to say, was secretly financed by the Ukrainian branch of the George Soros’ Open Society Institute, Taran tries to use the non-violent civic insurrection methods, which already proved effective in Georgia or Ukraine in countries such as Azerbaijan or Belarus. The interview never approached the geopolitical challenges and implications of his action, but taking into account that he is a doctor in political sciences at the Duke University, Taran showed a somewhat suspicious naivety: he might be defending the action of his institute as driven by the simple will of “saving the world” and “helping build a better world”. Maybe his “heart” told him so.