Yo Vic! Look Left!
Yanukovych better start looking both ways before crossing Ukraine’s political street. The “left” is increasingly joining the “right” in criticizing him; the union in parliament and cabinet between the communists and his Regions is being questioned by the believers of bolshevism.
Communist Party of Ukraine leader Petro Symonenko said that his reds are the “only political opposition” in Ukrainian society to the “governing oligarchic capital.” Speaking after local elections that saw his party clash with the Regions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea – areas that provide core support for both parties – Symonenko appeared on the defensive as he justified his party’s cooperation with the Regions in parliament as “tactics.” He said his communists joined the Regions in creating the governing coalition in parliament and cabinet for the sake of “stability” and the chance to better protect the rights of the working class.
Why is Symonenko now justifying his party’s cooperation with the government? He didn’t see the need to do so nine months ago, when his party essentially delivered Yanukovych the victory in the presidential elections.
Yanukovych won those elections by less than fifty percent of the vote. He beat Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round by 887,000 votes; Symonenko scored 872,000 votes two weeks earlier in the first round of elections before endorsing Yanukovych in round two.
Yanukovych thanked the communists with positions in government, including control of the Institute of National Memory (that’s supposed to deal with the crimes of communism) and the appointment of Dmitri “the false” Tabachnyk to head the education and sciences ministry.
Yanukovych and his party have remained true to some of the ideological tenets they share with the commies, including genocide-denial, no to NATO, hate for Halychyna, love for Russia and the Russian language.
But issues of history, language and geopolitics tend to take a back seat when hunger and basic social needs are driving peoples’ needs.
Yanukovych’s government is working closely and depending on the IMF for sustained bailout and pushing through some unpopular measures like raising natural gas prices for residential consumers (after promising lower prices as a result of prolonging Russia’s lease of its naval base in Crimea).
These measures, coupled with funny business at the ballot box that saw the Regions snatch some sure victories away from the commies, have some communists to start asking questions. One prominent communist leader, Leonid Grach of Crimea, demonstrably left the party caucus in protest over his party’s marriage of convenience. All of a sudden the communist leaders have some splaining to do to their rank-and-file rickies and lucies with coal on the soles of their shoes.
Leonid Kuchma was once confronted by an opposition that transcended left and right, but he made sure it remained fragmented and divided by skilfully making concessions to the right and the left as required. Yanukovych could borrow a page from Kuchma’s playbook, but will firing Tabachnykoff, for example, be enough when students come out to protest Russian as a second-language and higher tuition fees?