Tuesday, December 29, 2009

AP Interview: Presidential Frontrunner Says Ukraine Paid Too High A Price On Democratic Reform

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine has paid too high a price for the democratic reforms ushered in by the 2004 Orange Revolution, according to the pro-Russian front-runner in the country's presidential race, who pledges to bring back the "rule of law" if elected next month.

Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych, whose Kremlin-backed election victory in 2004 was overturned by the Supreme Court amid allegations of fraud, says the pro-Western revolution that brought his rivals to power has led to political chaos, corruption and a dismal economy.

"So what did this Orange Revolution give us?," Yanukovych asked in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "Freedom of speech? That's very good. But what price did the Ukrainian people pay for this? For the development of this democratic principle in our country, the price was too great."

Democracy is "above all the rule of law," which the Orange Revolution has failed to bring, he said.

Since taking power in 2005 on a wave of hope and excitement, the revolution's leaders have disappointed many Ukrainians, fostering nostalgia among some for the stable, if autocratic, rule of an earlier era.

The Orange Revolution took Ukraine out of Russia's orbit, as the pro-Western leadership sought membership in the European Union and NATO. It also deepened animosity between the pro-Russian east and the west of the country, where Ukrainian nationalism is strong.

Yanukovych said his first priority as president would be to revive the use of the Russian language in schools and in the workplace, a move that would reverse the "forced Ukrainization" of the millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians who support him.

"This is the main question that we have to solve right now, the one that is very seriously worrying the people," he said.

This change would comply with the one wish Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made last week for the Ukrainian elections.

"The only thing I really want is for the future president ... to be intent on warm, heartfelt, even brotherly relations between our countries, and for the Russian language not to be insulted," Medvedev said in a televised interview.

With elections less than three weeks away, Yanukovych, 59, is leading in the polls. The former electrician told the AP that he would put his weight behind Moscow on issues ranging from trade to security.

He repeated his pledge not to seek membership in NATO, Russia's Cold War foe. But he said he would give his full support to Medvedev's proposal for a joint European security regime, which has gotten an icy reception in most of Europe.

He also promised, if elected, to do everything in his power to speed Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Viktor Yushchenko, the current president and the leader of the Orange Revolution, is going into the vote with approval ratings in the single digits. He has been at loggerheads with his former ally, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, for most of his time in office, causing political gridlock that has deepened the country's economic collapse and alienated voters.

Yanukovych, a barrel-chested hunting enthusiast, also denied that his 2004 presidential victory had been fixed. Instead the Supreme Court broke the law when it overturned his election and ordered another round of voting, he said.

"The third round of those elections was illegal," he said. "Why? Because five years have passed, and in those five years, the falsification of my election has basically not been proven. This means that those elections were legal. They were not rigged."

His campaign has focused on shaming Tymoshenko, his only real competition, for her leadership of the Orange Revolution, which he blames for turning Ukraine's government into one of the most corrupt in the world and its economy into one of the worst-performing.

"Democracy is above all rule of law, it is compliance with the law and constitution by everyone, and in these five years we have seen how the laws have been systematically broken, how the principles of the law have been replaced by political expediency," Yanukovych said.

In most of the country, the issues of language and national identity have been more divisive than bread-and-butter issues like unemployment. The word "Ukraine" derives from the Russian for "at the outskirts," an identity the leaders of the Orange Revolution have sought to uproot by promoting a unique Ukrainian identity. The use of Russian, seen by its opponents as a symbol of Soviet subjugation, has been phased out.

On a recent campaign trip to the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula, where he enjoys broad support, Yanukovich poked fun at the Ukrainian language and the politicians who insist on speaking it.

As he mocked Tymoshenko's upbeat appraisals of the economy, he sarcastically switched into Ukrainian from Russian, drawing laughs from the crowd of about 2,000 supporters.

Switching back into Russian, he said, "I'm tired of hearing five years of this gibberish, and seeing this variety show performed by the Orange troupe."

Valentina Goncharova, a 59-year-old retiree who said she receives a pension of around $100 per month, said she supports Yanukovich not because of his promises of higher pensions and wages, but because of his pro-Russian views.

"The Crimea has always belonged to Russia," she said. "It has always been closer to Russia. I think that is why people support him here."

Source: The Canadian Press

2 comments:

wesley rodgers said...

THE YANUKOVICH INTERVIEW AND HIS COMMENTS ARE INTERESTING BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY LET US BE REAL.

...THE UKRAINE BROKE AWAY FROM THE OLD SOVIET UNION AND SO DID THE
SAME FOR SOME OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE FIFTEEN REPUBLICS IN ALL.

..THE UKRAINE SPECIFICALLY DID BECAUSE IT HAD BEEN A --MAJOR PART-
OF THE OLD SOVIET UNION AND IT IS A STRONG COUNTRY WITH STORNG AND HARD WORKING PEOPLE.

...OF ALL THE FIFTEEN REPUBLICS IT WAS AND STILL IS THE MOST DESIREABLE AND HOLDS THE MOST STRATEGIC LOCATION ALONG THE BLACK SEA.
...IN THE REMARKS BY YANUKOVICH HE SAYS THE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SPEAK UKRAINE BUT RUSSIAN INSTEAD..BUT, THEY ARE UKRAINE.!!
WOULD HE TELL RUSSIANS TO SPEAK UKRAINE???? AND WOULD THEY??

...HE SAYS HE DOES NOT WANT TO JOIN NATO OR POSSIBLY THE E.U..
...WELL, THERE ARE STILL QUESTIONS ONE CAN ASK ABOUT THE UKRAINE JOINING NATO BUT RUSSIA DOES NOT WANT ANY OTHER COUNTRY OR FORCE TO BE IN THE REGION WHO CAN TAKE A STAND FOR THE SMALLER AND LESS POWERFUL COUNTRIES.

...THAT MEANS THAT RUSSIA CAN ONCE AGAIN GO REPUBLIC BY REPUBLIC AND CONTROL ALL OF THEM AND CONSEQUENTLY THEY WILL NOT HAVE A GOOD DEFENSE MECHANISM.
...AFTER GEORGIA EVERYONE SHOULD REALIZE...YELTSIN IS NOT PRESIDENT ANYMORE,NOR GORBACHEV BUT VLADIMIR PUTIN, A VERY INTELLIGENT, SMART, CALCULATING
LEADER BUT HIS ALLEGIANXE IS TO ONE COUNTRY ONLY--RUSSIA!!...AND EVEN SOME RUSSIANS DO NOT LIKE MANY OF HIS SOVIET LIKE POLICIES.
BUT--HE MUST HE RESPECTED!!

IF YANUKOVICH CAN DO BETTER THEN MORE POWER TO HIM BUT HE SOUNDS MORE LIKE A RUSSIAN BUT LIVING AND WORKING IN A FREE UKRAINE, NO LONGER A PART OF RUSSIA.
VOTERS,DIPLOMATS AND NEWS MEDIA BE LEARY.!
THE RUSSIANS STILL PLAY THE BEST GAME OF CHESS IN THE WORLD AND IN THE END, IT IS A STORY OF ONE
RED KING VERSUS WHITE KNIGHTS.
AND RED MAY BE A STRONGER COLOR THAN ORANGE AT THIS POINT BUT ITS COLOR IS NO MORE
BEAUTIFUL THAN THE COLORS OF THE UKRAINE FLAG.
MISS TYMOSHENKO STILL HAS A CHANCE AND ALTHOUGH SHE MAY NOT BE THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE UKRAINE, THE
PEOPLE OF THE UKRAINE HAVE BEEN USED OVER AND OVER BY RUSSIA AND IT IS NOW A NEW YEAR AND DECADE.

LET THE COLORS OF THE UKRAINE FLAG STAND STRONG OVER THE COLOR RED AND KREMLIN.

..THE PEOPLE OF THE UKRAINE SHOULD NOW HAVE AT LEAST THEIR OWNW IDENTITY AND THIS PERHAPS MORE THAN ANYTHING IS WHAT IS HOLDING THE UKRAINE BACK WITH FORMING A STRONGER LINK WITH THE WEST--WESTERN EUROPE AND THE U.S. AND CANADA.
THE OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ARE NOT SURE WHICH DIRECTION THE UKRAINE IS GOING BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT AND AT LEAST GRANTED THE UKRAINE E.U. MEMBERSHSIP BY NOW BUT REMEMBER THE UKRAINE IS A GREAT EXPORTER AND HAS A LOT TO OFFER OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND EVEN EUROPE
KNOWS ONLY TOO WELL THAT THE UKRAINE CAN BECOME A POWERFUL COUNTRY ON ITS OWN IN A SHORT TIME AND DOE NOT NEED RUSSIA.

THE OIL DISPUTE LAST WINTER PROVED THAT EVEN RUSSIA AND EUROPE AND NEEDS THE UKRAINE MORE OR THEY CAN ALL BUILD THEIR OWN PIPELINE.
CHECKMATE..for THE WHITE NIGHTS AND LET THEM SPEAK UKRAINE OR RUSSIAN BUT THE UKRAINE ALWAYS WILL BE THE UKRAINE NO MATTER WHAT LANGUAGE IT SPEAKS BECAUSE IT SPEAKS BEST BY ITS ACTIONS AND NOT ITS WORDS...
WES RODGERS, U.S.CORRESSPONDENT WHO HAS LIVED AND WORKED IN THE UKRAINE AND WILL AGAIN...
CAN BE CONTACTED AT PATRIOTSTV.COM or west-patriot@msn.com .
P.SW. KLITCHKO STILL IS AGREAT FIGHTER JUST LIKE THE UKRAINE!!

alain said...

Viktor Ianoukovitch c est un salaud !! comment tu peux insulter la langue d un pazs que tu vx devenir president !!
et je suis mm sure qu il ne px pas parler pendant 1 heure que en ukrainien
donc moi je dit alors que s il devien president qu il change le nom du pazs et met russie2