May 27, 2007

Ukraine Crisis Abates, For Now

The crisis in the Ukraine eased this weekend as the two main antagonists reached a compromise on new elections. Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko agreed to hold new elections in September and to leave the Ukrainian security services alone:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday declared his feud with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych "finished" after the political rivals agreed on holding snap parliamentary elections in September.

"The political crisis in Ukraine is finished. We have come to a decision that represents a compromise," Yushchenko said at a joint press briefing with Yanukovych after seven hours of overnight talks in Kiev between the two leaders.

"Early elections will be held on September 30," Yushchenko said.

Yanukovych signed a joint statement with Yushchenko sealing the deal.

The breakthrough signals a major step towards resolution of a months-long crisis in this ex-Soviet republic that has sparked concern in neighbouring Russia and the European Union.

"Finished" may mean "postponed" in this context. The feud between the two men has gone on for years now, and at least for Yushchenko, has become very personal. In his attempt to win the presidency in 2004, someone poisoned him with dioxin, leaving his face badly scarred and Yushchenko lucky to be alive. Most people believe that the attempt came from someone in Yanukovych's movement or that of the previous president, Leonid Kuchma.

The problem arises in part from a disagreement over how the Ukrainian system controls power. Yushchenko wants it held in the executive, while Yanukovych -- who earlier would have agreed -- now exploits the parliamentary sentiment that the legislature should control the state, along the lines of most European democracies. That's what led both sides to attempt to take control of security services over the past week and threatened civil war.

Both sides have a few months to calm down. The end of the Machiavellian machinations of the two factions should allow Ukrainians to rationally decide which approach works best, and which approach will keep Ukraine's clans from grasping power once again. The biggest winner of all could be the one politician apparently uninvolved in the latest crisis, Yulia Tymoshenko. The firebrand may be able to cast herself as the cleanest of the options Ukrainian voters have on the slate. If she wins, we may have another crisis loom on the horizon.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Ukraine Crisis Abates, For Now:

» Ukraine on the verge of civil war? from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
And the Orange Revolution began with such promise. A murderous president, Leonid Kuchma, tries to rig the vote to get his hand-picked successor, Yanukovich, elected. Ballot-box stuffing and graveyard votes are rife. The Russians, who want to reassert t... [Read More]

Comments (1)

Posted by Mr Michael | May 27, 2007 11:58 PM

Among those folks we should Honor on this Memorial Day are those Founding Fathers of the United States. Two hundred odd years ago they understood that the Power should be distributed in the Government, so that the Power was actually held by the People. They envisioned a duality, and Marbury v. Madison made it a three sided entity, with checks and balances in place to keep it so.

It was one thing to envision it, another completely to succeed in making it happen.

Whenever I see modern Nations struggle to achieve what I have been given, I AM forever grateful...