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Friday, December 4, 2009

44 days: Putin, Tymoshenko and Obama jokes

“I don’t support Yulia Tymoshenko for the presidential election,” said Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “But we have a great amount of experience as functioning prime ministers. There’s a plan of common work and we are executing it,” Putin said in a recent interview.

Putin noted that as far as party politics go, his United Russia – the ruling party of power that dominates his country’s Duma – has a special relationship with Victor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

Tymoshenko and Putin have held several joint press conferences in Russia and Ukraine since last year’s natural gas wars. Putin, likely to seek a repeat resurgent Russian presidency in 2012, has used the occasions to take pot shots at Ukraine and her president Victor Yushchenko. Not once did Tymoshenko come to the aid of the Ukraine’s head of state, laughing along at the cheap jokes at the expense of her country’s honor.

Tymoshenko wants to show voters in the countries’ eastern and southern regions that she is capable of good relations with Russia – an important electoral consideration if she wants to win the presidency.

November polls showed Tymoshenko trailing her main rival Victor Yanukovych by up to ten percent. But the number of undecided voters is double that difference. The undecided will decide who scores highest in the 16-candidate race slated for Jan. 17.

Meanwhile, Tymoshenko wants the western world to know that she wants good relations with everybody. When asked about her first three steps as president, Tymoshenko joked about following US President Barak Obama’s example.

Tymoshenko said that during Obama’s first televised interview as president, he was asked about the “Book of Secrets, that only the President of the USA can read.”

“Barak Obama joked in black humour that he had, naturally, read the book [of secrets], but that he can’t tell the journalist what’s in it, otherwise he’d be replaced immediately,” Tymoshenko said.

“That’s why I can’t say anything about my first steps. So that nobody has time to flee. I’m joking, of course,” Tymoshenko told Korespondent magazine.

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