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article imageOp-Ed: New prime minister may be Washington's man in Ukraine

By Ken Hanly     Feb 28, 2014 in Politics
Kiev - An article in Forbes claims that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the new prime minister in the interim government, is setting up the Ukraine for ruin. The article claims that Yatsenyuk is "Washington's man in the Ukraine."
The article uses quite alarmist terminology for the results of Yatsenyuk's policies claiming that Yatsenyuk, "may prove to be arsenic to the beleaguered nation."Vladimir Signorelli , president of the investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC, notes: “Recall the phone exchange between the Ukraine ambassador and Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs) that got leaked out, where she basically said ‘we want Yats in there.’ They like him because he’s pro Western, Yatsenyuk is the the kind of technocrat you want if you want austerity, with the veneer of professionalism,He’s the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite.... willing to do the IMFs bidding,”
The developments in Ukraine illustrate the triumph of the street over the politicians since Yanukovych and the political opposition had worked out an agreement through the EU but events in the streets forced the politicians to oust Yanukovych and force him to flee. The parliament voted to impeach him. Apparently billions in government funds are missing adding to the financial stress.
The 450-seat Ukrainian parliament approved appointing Yatsenyuk as prime minister by a vote of 371 to 1. Yatsenyuk served as Minister of the Economy in 2005 and 2006.He was also deputy-governor and later head of the Central Bank. He headed talks for Ukrainian membership in the World Trade Organization and also is head of the Ukraine-European Union commission. Yatsenyuk wants European Union membership and also a visa-free relationship with EU countries. While he is in favor of austerity policies, unlike many he does not favor privatization of state assets. He may be over-ruled on this by the IMF. Yatsenyuk also opposes Ukrainian participation in peace-keeping operations abroad. While there are elections to be held in May the country is operating under the 2004 constitution: Under the restored 2004 constitution, executive power will rest largely in his hands, regardless of who wins the presidential election that is planned to be held in May.
Yatsenyuk has promised to implement "very unpopular measures" as means of stabilizing the country's finances. He said: “The treasury is empty. We will do everything not to default. If we get the financial support from the IMF, the U.S., we will do it. I’m going to be the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country. But this is the only solution. I would never promise any kind of huge achievements. First and the most important issue is to stabilize the situation.” Signorelli commented on his remarks: "Yatsenyuk was saying that what the Greeks did to themselves we are going to do ourselves,He wants to follow the Greek economic model. Who the hell wants to follow that?”
Yatsenyuk also said that he wanted Russia and the Ukraine to have fair and transparent relations and said he did not believe that Russia would intervene with military force. The political and financial crisis has driven down the value of Ukrainian currency which is down 16 percent this year in a record decline against the dollar. While former president Yanukovich resisted IMF demands to increase taxes, do away with subsidies, and devalue the currency, Yatsenyuk appears quite willing to do so. Signorelli and no doubt liberal economists who share his views about austerity see the coming policy as a road to disaster.Quite probably the economy will sink into recession for some time. Signorelli concludes: “We saw this in the 90s and what the IMF did to Russia with Yeltsin. They’ll do that to Ukraine,” Remember Slobodan Milošević in Yugoslavia? After the IMF finished with Yugoslavia it was only a matter of time before the separatist movements gained traction,” he said. “I think things in Ukraine can get really really bad.”
A deteriorating economic situation can hardly help ease political tension, and may even encourage parts of Ukraine to attempt separation. Ukrainians are already beginning to vote a lack of confidence in the situation by withdrawing funds from banks but the government has responded by placing limits on withdrawals.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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