Russia without Ukraine is a country;
|Leonid M. Kravchuk||01 Dec 1991||19 Jul 1994||Social Democratic Party|
|Leonid Kuchma||19 Jul 1994||23 Jan 2005||People's Democratic Party|
|Viktor Yushchenko||23 Jan 2005||25 Feb 2010||Our Ukraine|
|Viktor Yanukovich||25 Feb 2010||22 Feb 2014||Party of Regions|
|Oleksandr Turchynov||23 Feb 2014||07 Jun 2014||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc|
|Petro Poroshenko||07 Jun 2014||Jun 2019||UDAR|
|Vitold Fokin||23 Oct 1990||02 Oct 1992||KPU/Non-party|
|Leonid Kuchma||13 Oct 1992||22 Sep 1993||Non-party|
|Yukhim Zvyahilsky||22 Sep 1993||16 Jun 1994||Non-party|
|Vitalii Masol||16 Jun 1994||01 Mar 1995||Non-party|
|Yevhen Marchuk||01 Mar 1995||28 May 1996||Non-party|
|Pavlo Lazarenko||28 May 1996||02 Jul 1997||Hormada|
|Valerii Pustovoitenko||16 Jul 1997||22 Dec 1999||NDP|
|Viktor Yushchenko||22 Dec 1999||29 May 2001||Non-party|
|Anatolii Kinakh||29 May 2001||21 Nov 2002||PPPU|
|Viktor Yanukovich||21 Nov 2002||05 Jan 2005||Party of Regions|
|Mykola Azarov||07 Dec 2004||24 Jan 2005||Party of Regions|
|Yuliya Tymoshenko||24 Jan 2005||08 Sep 2005||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc + VOB|
|Yurii Yekhanurov||08 Sep 2005||04 Aug 2006||NU|
|Viktor Yanukovich||04 Aug 2006||18 Dec 2007||Party of Regions|
|Yuliya Tymoshenko||18 Dec 2007||11 Mar 2010||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc + VOB|
|Mykola Azarov||11 Mar 2010||28 Jan 2014||Party of Regions|
|Sergei Arbuzov||05 Feb 2014||Mar 2014||Party of Regions|
|Arseniy Yatsenyuk||Mar 2014||30 Mar 2016||VOB|
|Volodymyr Groysman||30 Mar 2016||2016??|
|excludes brief acting PMs|
Ukraine is two nations in one country. Eastern Ukraine looks to Russia, and Western Ukraine looks to Europe. The population of Ukraine is over 45 million. Ethnic Ukrainians make up approximately 78% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 17%, ethnic Belarusians number about 0.6%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the population is about 69% urban. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages. Although Russian is very widely spoken, in the 2001 census (the latest official figures) 85.2% of the ethnic Ukrainian population identified Ukrainian as their native language. While members of the three Orthodox churches comprise a majority of believers in the western part of the country overall, the Greek Catholic communities constitute a majority in three of the eight western oblasts: Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil.
The entrepreneurial dynamism and pro-European sentiment is palpable in western Ukraine, with construction visible in the cities and countryside, coffee houses full of students, and European Union flags proudly displayed and dreams of NATO accession unabashedly uttered. But overt Russian-affiliated intervention into internal Ukrainian politics includes both advocacy of a Ukrainian political force and via participation of a handful of Kremlin sponsored or tolerated fringe groups and NGOs.
Conventional wisdom divides Ukraine into the Orange provinces in the West, the center of support for politicians leaning towards Europe, and the Blue provinces in the South and East, the center of support for pro-Russian politicians. At times it seems that Ukraine's emerging two-party system could be dangerous for Ukrainian unity, leading to a possible East/West split of the country. Some speculate that Ukraine could be divided into three parts, with the east/south annexed by Russia, a Russian-controlled central region, and a European-oriented rump Ukraine in the west. But nothing in Ukraine is so simple. While Prime Minister, Orange leader Yuliya Tymoshenko made deals favorable to Moscow, and the Blue Party of Regions includes pro-European factions.
Political Crisis - 2016
Ukraine’s next presidential vote isn’t due until 2019, but two years after the massive protests that led to the ousting of Yanukovych, widespread discontent is simmering once more. Frustration at the slow pace of change threatened the present government’s stability. Its approval ratings have plummeted. Polling in December 2015 showed Poroshenko's approval rating had fallen so low that he was less popular than his ousted predecessor Viktor Yanukovych, and the prime minister and his cabinet are faring no better.
Another indication that endemic corruption and a failure to establish rule of law plagued reform efforts arrived on 03 February 2016, when Lithuanian-born Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius announced he would resign over what he called a 'sharp escalation in efforts to block systemic and important reforms.' He likened recent developments to 'the style of the old authorities.'
Ukraine needs a stable government to conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for new aid worth $1.7 billion to keep its war-torn economy afloat and pass economic and judicial reforms demanded by its Western backers. Top members of President Petro Poroshenko’s ruling bloc began Ukraine’s destabilization in an internal offensive against reform, as Aivaras Abromavicius spelled out upon his resignation as Minister of Economy and Trade. They ousted reform-minded ministers with the intention of appointing less-reformist ministers.
Yatsenyuk’s approval rating evaporated, hitting single digits in 2016, dwindling to close to zero prior to his April resignation. But Poroshenko’s popularity declined, with his approval rating hovering below 10 percent. The president had been able to shift the blame for domestic failures onto Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and his party. Self-Reliance already put forth unrealistic demands for supporting a new government, while Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party was strictly interested in securing government posts.
The embattled Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, faced a no-confidence vote 16 February 2016. "In order to restore trust in the government, the president asked the prosecutor general and the prime minister to quit," presidential spokesman Svyatoslav Tsegolko said 16 February 2016. "Is it not clear that successful reforms can only be conducted by a government that enjoys sufficiently high public support?" Poroshenko added. To restore trust, "therapy is no longer enough - you need surgery," he added.
The president said that all four parties that comprise Ukraine's current pro-Western coalition should take part "in a complete cabinet reshuffle." Ukrainian lawmakers gathered enough signatures to hold a no-confidence vote on the government. The president's party would vote to criticize the performance of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government as "unsatisfactory", its parliamentary leader Yuriy Lutsenko announced.
Yatsenyuk survived the no-confidence vote in parliament, hours after President Petro Poroshenko called on him to resign "in order to restore trust in the government." A total of 194 lawmakers voted that they had no-confidence in Yatsenyuk’s government, shy of the 226 votes required to pass the no-confidence resolution introduced earlier in the day by Yuriy Lutsenko, leader of Poroshenko's own party, the Poroshenko Bloc, in parliament.
Initially parliament voted on a resolution expressing dissatisfaction with the cabinet of ministers. Two hundred forty-seven voted in favor, including 120 votes from Poroshenko's bloc. This preliminary vote had no legal consequences. Then came the much more significant resolution -- the vote of no-confidence in the government. On this resolution, the Poroshenko bloc provided 22 fewer votes. Furthermore, the deputies of oligarchs Rinat Akhmetov, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, and Viktor Pinchuk did not vote no-confidence in Yatsenyuk, who had been working fruitfully with them for some time already.
An ally in Ukraine's ruling coalition quit, calling the alliance a "clans' coalition that brought the nation to the extreme point of destruction." The leader of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, Yulia Tymoshenko, made the announcement on 17 February 2016 and urged other lawmakers to also walk out of the coalition. Samopomich (Self-Reliance) party said 18 February 2016 it had decided to quit the ruling coalition, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to find new allies or risk the collapse of his government. The loss of the Samopomich's 26 lawmakers left the alliance of Yatsenyuk's party and the president's faction without a majority in parliament.
Natalie Jaresko should be the next prime minister of Ukraine as a person who has an unblemished reputation, Economic Development and Trade Minister of Ukraine Aivaras Abromavicius who resigned said 12 February 2016. "Anyway, irrespective of holding the early election or not, Ukraine needs the technocratic government. If this concerns the crisis of values, the next prime minister should have the unblemished reputation. The obvious candidate who meets the requirement is Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko. She could be blamed only for her American origin, but as experience of the Baltic states shows this is more positive that negative fact".
By March 2016 negotiations to form a new coalition government had reached a dead end and alternatives were being considered, such as the Cabinet of Minister being led by Volodymyr Hroisman, the current speaker of parliament and close presidential confidante. Jaresko also remains a top candidate, the report said. She’s unlike to work in a Cabinet led by Hroisman, the report said, which threatens future IMF funding. Hroisman’s candidacy also wouldn’t be supported by Western leaders.
On 21 March 2016 parliament coalition members privately agreed on another candidate for the post - Volodymyr Groysman, speaker of the parliament and an ally of Poroshenko. Groysman as prime minister, however, would be seen as a business-as-usual choice that would do nothing to advance the reformist and anti-corruption fight in the nation.
Ukraine's Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko confirmed on 22 March 2016 that she wanted to head a technocratic government as prime minister. Ukrainian media reported that President Petro Poroshenko had offered to nominate Jaresko as the replacement choice for the deeply unpopular Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Jaresko had big support among younger, politically independent and pro-Western lawmakers.
Ukraine's incumbent parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman is more likely to be elected as prime minister than Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko, according to MP from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko faction Svitlana Zalischuk. "The probability of electing Groysman as prime minister is higher than Jaresko today," the deputy told journalists in Kyiv 21 March 2016. The MP added that she personally would support the candidature of Jaresko for the post of prime minister, "as she is most distanced from all the political forces, financial political groups that would make it possible to obtain better decisions in parliament."
Concorde Capital informed clients in an online advisory 21 March 2016 “MP Serhiy Leshchenko suggested on his Facebook page that all the publicity surrounding Jaresko’s nomination is being used as a smokescreen and that could very well be the case. The most likely scenarios for forming the next government coalition are (1) Poroshenko Bloc, People’s Front and Radical Party, or (2) the current Cabinet remaining in place until September, when new early parliamentary elections could be called. The second option is more likely and, unfortunately, far worse than the first, likely delaying the arrival of the next IMF loan.”
New Elections - 2016-2019 ??
On 26 October 2014, Ukraine held elections for the Supreme Council (Verkhovna Rada). As the current parliament was elected in 2012 the next elections were scheduled for 2017. However, in August 2014 several parties withdrew from the governing coalition leading President Poroshenko to dissolve parliament and schedule early elections.
The Verkhovna Rada uses a parallel system where 225 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms, and 225 members are elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies to serve 5-year terms.
The IMF postponed a $1.7 billion tranche to Ukraine until Ukraine is put "back on a promising path of reform." On 10 February 2016 IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned: "Without a substantial new effort to invigorate governance reforms and fight corruption, it is hard to see how the IMF-supported program can continue and be successful."
The dominant view in Washington is that Ukraine must avoid early parliamentary elections. Many Ukrainians see them as inevitable. The 30-day term for creating a new parliamentary majority coalition expired on 19 March 2016. The president then had the right to call a snap election to the Verkhovna Rada. Another option was for the president to begin holding consultations with parliamentary faction leaders to create a new majority coalition, which will form a new government.
"Populists, oligarchs and Kremlin are those forces are the most interested in early parliamentary elections," Yatseniuk said during the "10 Minutes with Prime Minister" program, aired by the ICTV television network on 13 March 2016. "The Kremlin, in turn, wants a weak Ukraine fractured by internecine quarreling and conflicts. Putin will use Ukraine's political fiasco to divide the EU, lift sanctions and justify crimes he has committed against the Ukrainian state," the prime minister said. "Those who are laying the groundwork for early parliamentary polls are giving Putin an opportunity," he added.
The Minsk agreements approved on 12 February 2015 by leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) envisaged ceasefire and also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
Elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine cannot be held in the coming two years, the deputy head of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, Andrei Magera, said on 17 March 2016. "I don’t believe that it is possible to hold elections not only in June 2016, I doubt that in June 2017 they can be held," Magera told Channel 5 TV. Director general of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Alexei Koshel also said holding the elections in eastern Ukraine in the near future was impossible. In the best case scenario, the polls in Donbass could take place no earlier than in five years, Koshel said. In the worst case scenario, this could happen in ten or more years, he added.
On Monday 28 March 2016 Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's party said it had agreed to form a new alliance with Fatherland and Ukraine's biggest faction, belonging to President Petro Poroshenko. But the head of Ukraine 'Bat'kivschyna' (Fatherland) Party, Yulia Tymoshenko, said on 29 March 2016 that her party had up to 15 conditions that needed to be met before a coalition could be formed. "If someone thinks that parliament needs to be saved, then we have to outline together 10-15 categorical conditions that must be met before the formation of any coalition and which are related to the lives of people," Tymoshenko said in parliament. Leader of Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Yuriy Lutsenko, said he welcomed a decision by Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk's party to renew the coalition.
On March 29, 2016 Ukraine's parliament accepted the resignation of the general prosecutor, who had been criticized for not doing enough to tackle corruption. The move came a day after several hundred protesters rallied outside the parliament building calling for Viktor Shokin to step down. President Petro Poroshenko had asked Shokin, who was considered one of his closer allies, to quit. Shokin had failed to prosecute any allies of disgraced ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and was, instead, cleansing his office of reform-minded prosecutors.
Poroshenko also asked Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to resign because of failures to deal with government corruption. Ukraine's three major parliamentary parties agreed to form a new coalition on March 29 and nominate parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Hroysman to be Ukraine's new prime minister. The three new coalition partners include Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's party, President Petro Poroshenko's faction, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland party. All three were previously coalition partners.
Last-minute demands raised by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland party dashed hopes for a new governing coalition in Ukraine on March 29. Tymoshenko, at a meeting of prospective coalition members, raised new demands, including scrapping a tax on pension payments and rolling back energy price hikes. The price hikes were a key reform demanded by the International Monetary Fund as part of Ukraine's bailout program.
The President Petro Poroshenko's 'BPP' political bloc and the People's Front of Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk together had 219 lawmakers, only seven fewer than the number needed to form a coalition and appoint a new government. On March 30, 2016 several non-aligned Ukrainian lawmakers agreed to join Ukraine's biggest faction to help end the political crisis.
The New York Times editorial board published a piece called "Ukraine’s Unyielding Corruption" on 31 March 2016. " ... the president, the prime minister and the parliament must be made to understand that the International Monetary Fund and donor nations, including the United States, cannot continue to shovel money into a corrupt swamp unless the government starts shaping the democratic rule that Ukrainians demanded in their protests." According to a massive leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca on 02 April 2016, President Petro Poroshenko was tied to secret offshore companies on the British Virgin Islands. The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's office said it had seen no evidence that Poroshenko committed a crime based on the leaked documents. The head of Ukraine's populist Radical Party called for an impeachment investigation into Poroshenko over allegations he used an offshore account to avoid tax.
Timothy Ash, the London-based head of Central Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa credit strategy for Nomura International, wrote 05 April 2016 " Panama-gate likely has moved Poroshenko's focus elsewhere, and now he likely needs all the friends he can get, so not willing to take Yatsenyuk out just yet... For Poroshenko it is now about his personal survival first ... the most likely scenario is that Arseniy Yatsenyuk stays as prime minister, with Natalie Jaresko staying as minister of finance, so Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman hopes to become prime minister fall by the wayside for the time being."
Yatsenyuk lost much of his base when he championed painful austerity measures to get financing from Western institutions and prop up the ailing economy. An opinion poll by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) revealed 20 July 2015 Arseniy Yatsenyuk would get only 2.4 percent in presidential elections if they were held in July 2015.
By early 2016 Arseniy Yatsenyuk's approval ratings were near zero. Ukraine's embattled prime minister Yatsenyuk said 10 April 2016 he is resigning, opening the way for a new government to be formed in an effort to end Kyiv's political crisis. Yatsenyuk said that he hoped his resignation, to be formally submitted to parliament on Tuesday 12 April 2016, would give Ukraine a chance to adopt new electoral, constitutional and judicial reforms and to join the European Union and NATO, the western military alliance.
On 14 April 2016 the Ukrainian parliament elected a new prime minister Thursday, after accepting Arseniy Yatsenyuk's resignation. Lawmakers voted 250-57 in favor of President Petro Poroshenko’s nominee, Volodymyr Groysman, who had been the speaker of parliament. Andriy Parubiy replaced Groysman as speaker.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|