Ukraine Government Standoff:
April 5, 2007 (EIRNS)Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko declared today that the campaign for new Parliamentary elections has already begun, even as the sitting Supreme Rada and current Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych refused to obey President Victor Yushchenko's April 2 decree dissolving the legislative body, and the country's Constitutional Court began to consider the crisis. As EIR has reported, Tymoshenko met with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her early March visit to the USA, after which she trumpetted that "Cheney and Rice" support new elections, and a renewal of the 2004 Orange Revolution in which she had starred.
An update titled "Is Cheney Trying to Bust Up Ukraine?" posted yesterday on the LaRouche PAC website, noted a March 28 Interfax-Ukraine report that Cheney had also just met in Washington with Ukrainian Central Election Commission Chairman Yaroslav Davydovych, to discuss "development of democracy in Ukraine," shortly before the current crisis broke out.
Today Yushchenko threatened "criminal proceedings" against the government members and Supreme Rada majority, who are defying him, and said he would absolutely not rescind the decree. Yanukovych, at a press conference, said he was asking Austria to help mediate, and might also turn to Poland and Russia for such help. Yanukovych spoke against calls from within the Parliamentary majority to impeach Yushchenko, saying he did not want to "deepen the crisis."
The Supreme Rada, as well as Ukrainian and Russian media, today were swept by rumors that Yushchenko would declare a state of emergency and attempt to impose direct Presidential rule immediately after this Easter weekend (for the Orthodox, as well as Western Christians). Thousands rallied in Kiev to support the Parliament and Yanukovych, demanding that Yushchenko not "sin during Holy Week."
U.S. connections to the destabilization were the subject of sensational claims, as well as measured warnings today. Vasili Volga, a Socialist Party member of the Supreme Rada, asserted to Rosbalt-Ukraina that Tymoshenko had received $1 billion from the Shell Oil Company during her U.S. trip, "to organize a coup in Ukraine." On the Russian web site KM.ru, analyst Alexei Pushkov claimed that Tymoshenko was interrogated by American investigators about her connections with ex-PM Pavel Lazarenko, jailed in California on a large-scale embezzlement conviction (the public record shows only that Tymoshenko was asked about this during her appearance at the CSIS think tank in Washington), and that therefore she is completely blackmailable by the U.S. authorities.
Moscow Izvestia today published an interview with Prof. Stephen Cohen of New York University and his wife, The Nation editor Katrina vandel Heuvel, under the headline "The New Front in the Cold War Runs Through Ukraine." Cohen said he thought that some people in positions of power in the USA had come to believe, "Ukraine is ours, Georgia, the Baltic countries, are all ours."