Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Political animals

I thought a brief summary of the political landscape might be helpful.

Viktor Yanukovych was elected President in 2004 in what was considered as a rigged election. People took to the streets to protest in the Orange Revolution.

The Supreme Court annulled the election and ordered a revote; this time Viktor Yushchenko of the opposition wins.

The future was bright, the future was orange! Or so everyone thought.

Six years later Viktor Yushchenko and his Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are embroiled in an internal power struggle that all but paralyses the government.

Viktor Yanukovych capitalised on the political in fighting and makes the most unlikely come back to win the Presidential post in February this year.

He then sets about smoozing the IMF in to lending him $15 billion by agreeing to austere budget reforms.

In the meantime he is accused by many of taking Ukraine back to the bad old days; the media complain of censorship; protestors complain they aren’t being allowed to protest and opposition parties complain he is taking power and control from the state and instigating a dictatorship.

Yanukovych plays the anti-corruption card and starts in on the previous administration with threats of legal action against ex-ministers. This is seen as a bit rich from the guy who nearly stole the election back in 2004

The opposition (now split) accuse Yanukovych of deflecting interest away from his own corruption by attacking the former ministers.

The honeymoon is over. Yanukovych’s approval ratings take a hammering as the IMF austerity conditions kick in. Gas prices rise; the age of retirement for women is increased; the cost of travelling on the metro goes up to two hrivnya and the threat of increased bread prices becomes a real possibility.

There you have it, Ukraine's recent political history, colour coded and in a nutshell.