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Focus on Ukraine, April 13-19, 2009

April 20, 2009

Overview of political events of the week
April 13

President Viktor Yushchenko is demanding that the Verkhovna Rada re-establish cooperation with the IMF.
The president held a meeting in the Presidential Secretariat on this matter with the participation of Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, VR Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, senior officials of the NBU and representatives of the IMF and the World Bank.  
The head of state said balancing the budgets of the Pension Fund and Naftogaz Ukrainy are top priority. 

Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Viktor Onyshchuk informed that private enterprises are responsible for more than 70% of wage arrears.
He said that although the government does not have direct influence on private enterprises to clear wage arrears, it does have the right to call upon employers’ unions to take measures for clearing arrears.  
At the same time Onyshchuk pointed out that wage arrears at state-run enterprises are gradually falling.

April 14

The Verkhovna Rada did not include on its agenda bills regarding cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.
Members of the Communist Party, the Party of Regions and some members of OU-PSD, which is considered pro-presidential, voted against the bill.
As a reminder, three bills were submitted to the parliament for consideration – on amendments to the Law on the National Budget 2009 concerning emergency measures to guarantee the national security of Ukraine, the bill on pension security and recalculation of pensions of working retirees.


The YTB accused President Viktor Yushchenko of blocking voting for the bills regarding cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.
As leader of the YTB faction Ivan Kyrylenko stated, the anti-crisis bills were disrupted “upon the direct and blatant instruction of the president by those deputies that he personally controls”.
Kyrylenko said this is the conscious policy of the president and his personal revenge against the people for their dislike of and disenchantment with the president.


The government circumvented the parliament approving anti-crisis decisions needed to receive the second tranche of the IMF loan.
At a special meeting the Cabinet of Ministers approved a resolution on balancing the budgets of Naftogaz Ukrainy and the Pension Fund. The government unanimously supported documents intended to fill budget revenues.  
As the premier stressed, the Cabinet will not submit these bills for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada. Meanwhile, the IMF has not yet decided how to issue the loan to Ukraine.

April 15

President Viktor Yushchenko said in an interview with Kommersant Ukraina that he will run for a second term as president and in the next parliamentary elections will run for a seat as a national deputy.  
The president noted that he is aware of his current rating and feels that several millions of his proponents will view his refusal to run for president as a sign of his weakness and betrayal.


The documentary film “Ukraine and NATO. Myths and Reality” shot by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation was shown in Kyiv upon the order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.  
The film dispels the most widely spread myths about NATO, in particular the bloc’s aggressiveness or mandatory participation in the Alliance’s military operations.
Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski promised that he would personally work on Ukraine being accepted as a member of NATO.

April 16

Today the parliament failed to override the veto of the president against the law on overcoming the repercussions of the financial crisis.
The deputies voted against the amendments the head of state submitted, in particular those on introducing a uniform rate card for calculating the salaries of employees on the budget payroll.
The government stated that due to these amendments the state would be forced to increase expenditures by more than 50 billion hryvnia.

April 17

Head of the IMF Mission in Ukraine Jeyla Pazarbaziolu said the fund is planning to issue the second tranche of financial aid to Ukraine in the amount of US $ 2.8 billion.
She said such an agreement was reached during talks between representatives of the Ukrainian government and the IMF mission. She pointed out that the level of inflation in Ukraine since the beginning of the year is lower than the forecasts of the IMF.

April 18

If the presidential election in Ukraine was held in the nearest weeks, Viktor Yanukovych would have the best chances of victory with 25.6% of the votes. Yulia Tymoshenko would get 14.4% and Arseniy Yatsenyuk – 13.6%.
Such were the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). Petro Symonenko (3.3%), Volodymyr Lytvyn (2.9%) and Viktor Yushchenko (2.4%) are far behind the three leading candidates. Moreover, 13.6% of the surveyed responded that they are undecided, 11.1% will vote against all candidates and 9.4% will not vote at all.




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