"THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT - AUR"
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In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis, and Commentary
"Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
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YULIYA TYMOSHENKO SPEAKS OUT
Complete text of her Friday night press conference
"THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT - AUR" - Number 556
E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
Published in Kyiv, Ukraine, SATURDAY, September 10, 2005
--------INDEX OF ARTICLES--------
"Major International News Headlines and Articles"
1. UKRAINE'S FORMER PRIME MINISTER BREAKS UP WITH PRESIDENT
PRESS CONFERENCE: with Yuliya Tymoshenko
Inter TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1700 gmt 9 Sep 05
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Fri, September 9, 2005
1. UKRAINE'S FORMER PRIME MINISTER BREAKS UP WITH PRESIDENT
Says her dismissal was "deeply unfair"
PRESS CONFERENCE: with Yuliya Tymoshenko
Inter TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1700 gmt 9 Sep 05
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Fri, September 9, 2005
Ukraine's former prime minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, whose cabinet was
sacked on 8 September, has declared that she is no longer part of President
Yushchenko's team and will lead her own coalition in the 2006 parliamentary
Speaking in a live appearance on Inter TV on 9 September, she praised her
cabinet's performance, and said its dismissal was "deeply unfair".
She blamed it on her opponents in the Yushchenko administration, accusing
them of systematic corruption and sabotage of her cabinet's work. She spoke
emotionally at times, but largely avoided direct attacks on the president
himself, blaming his "entourage" instead. She said she would now move "on
parallel paths" with the president and seek to avoid direct confrontation.
She also said her aim was to win the 2006 parliamentary election and get her
job back. In an apparent U-turn, she said she might reconsider her
opposition to constitutional reform that will transfer some of the
president's powers to the cabinet of ministers in 2006.
The following is an excerpt from Tymoshenko's live prime-time appearance
on the leading Ukrainian channel Inter TV on 9 September:
[Presenter] The guest of our programme is Yuliya Tymoshenko. Good evening.
[Tymoshenko] Good evening. [Passage omitted: pleasantries]
[Presenter] Mrs Tymoshenko, what has happened? What is the reason for
[Tymoshenko] In fact, I would not like to formalize this issue now. I
believe I would like to talk in a bit broader context. I have come today to
the people who want to hear me without any scripts, as if it was my own
family, as if I am talking to my own mom, my daughter, just to tell them
I believe that when we had heated events of the election campaign, we very
often communicated. You know it was at the squares at the time. Now this
can be done in this way thanks to the presidential election, and we can talk
calmly on TV.
PRAISES THE CABINET'S RECORD
Dear friends, I want just to begin with the following. The cabinet which was
elected by you, by the people who voted for the new authorities, democracy -
this was a very successful cabinet. I just want you to know that the
accomplishments of this cabinet were extraordinary. I would like to name the
ten biggest accomplishments, which I would like to be recorded in history,
to be recorded in people's memory because these are the accomplishments
of the team which I had a privilege to lead. FIRST and foremost, this is us
seeing the real situation in the economy.
We have closed all, well almost all, unlawful, shadow flows. We have largely
stopped smuggling, fictitious exports and on the basis of that we saw what
the real figures should look like. I can tell you that all those inflated
figures we removed gave us the right to see that in the first six months
this year Ukraine had the dynamics of economic growth at 4 per cent. To
compare, the USA posted 3.7 per cent, the EU 1.7 per cent, Poland 1.2 per
cent. I want to tell you that the country is developing successfully.
There is brilliant macroeconomic culture, which the president also said, it
currently exists in the state. There is nothing false. I can tell you that
another thing we did, and this is very important, we have begun to create a
unique investment climate in Ukraine. You should know that over 3,000 pieces
of regulation have been cancelled in Ukraine, which used to complicate the
work and life of businessmen.
We have done everything to ensure that everyone who comes to invest in
Ukraine could find a normal investment environment. For the first time ever
in Ukraine, agriculture posted a unique growth of 7 per cent. Last year
there was a big slump. Now we can see this, and this is the third great
success of the cabinet because the amount of credit resources, the special
policy of donations have made it possible to make a step forward in our
I believe that the FORTH thing is that while legalizing the economy and
closing all shadow schemes, we have achieved good budget indicators, which
are 70 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. To make you
feel what amount of money we have taken away from the shadow sector - we
have taken away 22bn hryvnyas [4.4bn dollars] as of this moment.
By the end of the year there will be almost 40bn hryvnyas. This is the
figure that the Ukrainian budget has never had. As a result, against the
background of the economic growth, against the background of legalization we
have managed to implement the social programmes which no cabinet has been
able to achieve. We have implemented everything that the president promised
to those who believed in him.
We have provided excellent assistance to children. You know this is 8,500
hryvnyas [one-off payment to families with a new-born child], although we
took over the budget with a 34bn-hryvnya deficit for this year. We have
raised pensions by almost 21 per cent on the average, and wages in science,
culture, education by 44 per cent as of this moment. We have brilliant
results in the economy.
The gross incomes of families and households increased by 43 per cent in
Ukraine. I believe that this is a brilliant result. By the way, in terms of
pensions, we have increased the revenue part of the pension fund without
raising taxes. I want to say that this was possible just because the economy
is growing and going legal.
These are thing which has Ukraine never seen. We have developed the strategy
for Ukraine for the next several years. The strategy of our energy
independence which is fundamentally different from what we used to have. The
strategy for developing our motorways which we have begun to implement. This
is clean privatization and this is our next accomplishment.
You know, this is the same as clean hands [programme] of some time ago. This
is privatization which can at the expense of two or three companies yield
for Ukraine 50bn hryvnyas by the end of the year.
This is transparent privatization at auctions without all those corrupt
schemes behind the scene. These 50bn [hryvnyas] which we will definitely get
from privatization by the end of the year, I hope it will not switch to
corrupt schemes again - this money will help us to return the lost deposits
in the [Soviet] state savings bank - this is what has not been settled for
years because privatization was unfair. We wanted at the expense of this
money to give small credits to all who want to start their own business.
We wanted to launch the colossal programme of supplying computers to almost
every student with this money, and many other things which we had to do. I
can say that an absolutely new outlook has been introduced to almost every
industry, the new system of approaches that was absolutely far from the
chaos that we inherited.
However, as usual, at least for me personally, we have been stopped at the
take-off. You recall me having been sacked not by Kuchma but by his inner
circle. By that time I had worked for almost a year in the cabinet [of
Viktor Yushchenko under President Kuchma in 2000]. Today I have been
sacked once again by the inner circle. I am confident that this has not been
a strong decision by the president. It was a decision of his entourage,
had been working to make sure that I am not in the cabinet.
You understand that seven months is not enough to clear up the debris which
we have inherited after the 14 years of life before our cabinet. The same is
true of any human and of any cabinet. However, now I would like to tell why
this happened that in the most positive period of the work of our cabinet,
when we made all the main basic decisions that were about to yield a
fundamental result for the public, and why this was done. I will tell.
First, just returning to your question. We and Mr Yushchenko united our
teams before the presidential election and quite sincerely I walked hand in
hand with the president. The president needed someone to rely on. After My
Yushchenko prevailed in that difficult struggle in which all people made
their heroic deeds, at that very moment we had firm and formal agreements to
the effect that Mr Yushchenko would nominate myself as the prime minister.
But you remember that for a long time after the election the president named
no candidacy and there was a long pause. This pause was taken because as it
turned out no-one expected me as the prime minister in the presidential
team. The president held lots of talks with me to step down in favour of Mr
Poroshenko. He wanted me calmly to accept Poroshenko's appointment as
To be honest I disagreed [laughs]. But at one critical moment I was
confident that I would be nominated. When was the critical moment? During
the presidential inauguration at the square, the whole square was chanting
my name. This had a fundamental effect and I was appointed. But I can tell
you that this have been was the most difficult seven months in my life. This
was just day-to-day ruining of my life and work, it was the difficult and
absolutely unconstructive cooperation which did not allow me to do what was
needed in full.
"PARALLEL GOVERNMENT" OF POROSHENKO
I can say that instantly after my appointment another cabinet was created on
the basis of the National Security and Defence Council headed by Poroshenko.
Its staff was considerably increased, objectives were set which should have
been the cabinet's prerogative. Poroshenko received an absolutely
anticonstitutional right to give orders directly to ministers bypassing the
The whole history of my life in the cabinet is the history of the two
cabinets in existence, when ministers received orders from four or even five
sources - from Poroshenko, from the president, from the secretariat, from
myself and also from their party leaders. It was the ministers who were
being torn apart. Obviously this is an institutional thing, but two cabinets
cannot exist in Ukraine.
Apart from that there was a very interesting thing. Virtually everyone who
was in touch with these two cabinets said that a firm decision was made to
set up a crisis group on the basis of Poroshenko, which, first, creates
crises and, second, makes everything possible to make sure that the cabinet
resigns in September - compromised, almost ruined with frustrated people in
this country and this was prearranged and Poroshenko had to take my seat.
As you can see the first part has taken place and in September I faced the
planned and, to my mind, absolutely unfair, dismissal. But the second did
not happen. Poroshenko simply ruined himself by all these events which have
taken place lately.
I would like to say another thing: virtually from the very first day the
president's inner circle was put in charge of all powerful cash flows in the
state. I will not name then, you know them - this is Naftohaz Ukrainy
[national oil and gas company], these are the railways, this is Ukrtelekom
and many other flows, which were virtually covered with specific people.
I can tell you that not only myself but the whole public felt that something
went wrong in this country, that some unique model of ruining those
principles and foundations with which we came in power had been enacted.
Corruption began. You recall that there were reports that people felt that
corruption increased two- of threefold. Everyone knew who was taking
bribes, where and how.
I have to say that I came to see the president on various occasions many
times and this all could be seen in documents. For instance, in terms of
gas, there was and there still is - we have inherited it - a powerful,
corrupt geopolitical model and at the time they simply banned me from
dealing with gas, I could not do anything there and restore any sort of
order there. I am firmly convinced that all the crises, I mean the petrol
crisis which was developing before your own eyes - I had a firm agreement
with people who produce oil products in Ukraine.
They are monopolists but we reached understanding and all of you remember
that petrol and diesel prices went down. At the time, the president's inner
circle simply invited these people and suggested that they do what you can
see now. So can't you see what is happening to petrol now?
I want to tell you that regarding sugar - well I can begin even with meat -
when it all we needed to do was one small thing - to open up all markets for
real meat producers. But there were parallel orders to close, to ban, and
everything good that was proposed was buried. As for sugar, each MP knew
that every year a special law is adopted to import raw sugar, and those who
hold rallies now almost voted for this law and for a quota.
This quota was blocked absolutely deliberately, I even have written orders
banning the import of much-needed sugar and you saw what happened. But
colossal efforts made it possible to slow down the prices and return to
their previous level . I want to say that this all was my daily life, when I
did not have a chance to implement any my project in full, because the
resistance was so strong - including in parliament - that it was impossible
LAST-MINUTE TALKS FAILED
But the latest events were simply scary. You know, till the very last, till
the very last moment I hoped that Mr Yushchenko and myself would manage to
find a common language. I seemed to be his most sincere partner. I wanted us
to go hand by hand for another ten years, and there was no reason to ruin
But when this unique crisis broke out involving the president's inner
circle - [National Security and Defence Council chief Petro] Poroshenko,
[head of Our Ukraine parliamentary faction] Martynenko, [president's first
aide Oleksandr] Tretyakov - it became clear that it is impossible to keep
anything secret after our revolution.
It is impossible to conceal anything from people, it is impossible to
conceal anything from the media. And at that time this bunch of people from
the president's inner circle realized that they should save their skin. They
put the president in an extremely difficult situation. They were looking for
a way out. When I felt that this critical situation started to run like an
avalanche, the president invited a broader circle including Poroshenko,
[Deputy Prime Minister Roman] Bezsmertnyy, Martynenko and other people,
and there I heard things which simply scared me.
It turned out that this team gathered to voice their complaints against me,
to formalize them and to tell that it is their decision to dismiss
everyone - Poroshenko, Tretyakov, the cabinet and in doing so to put an end
to the scandal which took place. I heard things which I think will remain in
my head for the rest of my life. Martynenko took the floor and said that I
am implementing a special project against the president and that
[president's former chief of staff Oleksandr] Zinchenko is my programme to
ruin the authority of the president.
You know how indecent these people are. They do not understand that
Zinchenko, who has been through a colossal stage in his life, you know that
he was on the verge of death, that this man managed to raise himself over
all these petty squabbles, over all this filth over insincerity and the
courage of this man cannot be someone's programme, project or someone's
terrible idea or conspiracy. I should say that they simply do not understand
that a man like Oleksandr Zinchenko will not tolerate this and that this is
not Tymoshenko's special project.
Then the president took the floor and said that he is absolutely indignant
that I personally created such a situation in the state that in the media
the president looks weak and incapable of running things, while the prime
minister seems strong, efficient, and that he would never allow this to
continue. He said that there are other countries, Russia and Belarus. He
said: look at Putin or Lukashenka, they have brilliant prime ministers.
No-one ever sees them on TV.
The second serious claim against me was that I should not head the cabinet
in a manner that I give my public results of the cabinet's performance, but
everything that is happening in the cabinet should be simply passed on to
the presidential administration and then after the president announces this,
simply do my routine job.
Dear friends, I am saying honestly that all this was the ruining of my hope.
No claim was raised against me that I failed to do something in the economy
or in the social sector because the president is a good economist and a good
financier and he knows better that anyone else what has been done in this
country. By the way, the president told this at Maydan when we marked
Then they told me that I had failed to come to terms with the president's
inner circle, with his team, that I should have done so. And after this I
tried to prove that this was absurd, that the president's fears that I will
stand in the election separately were absurd. I want to work in a team, I
want to be close, I want to be a supporter of the president. By the way,
nothing has changed for me.
I do not want these people to be frustrated, their hearts broken, their
families separated if one is for Yushchenko and another for Tymoshenko. For
this reason I told the president that we should put this aside because I do
not have to come to terms with the team, I have to have the president who
lends me a hand, and this should be the hand of a friend.
Three days and half a night of these talks and after that, I think this is a
key point, I was presented with a very clear set of conditions. The first
condition is that I have to extend my hand not the president but to his
team - Poroshenko, Martynenko, Tretyakov, Bezsmertnyy, that I should give
them a hand. By how could I extend my hand to them if their hands are
constantly busy stealing something?
By the way, this idea to sack everyone at the same time, the cabinet and
those who were suspected of corruption, this idea came from Roman
Petrovych Bezsmertnyy. I can says that this was a unique, destructive idea.
have just remembered how Roman Bezsmertnyy proposed this territorial
reform and travelled to his native village to present it, and he almost got
beaten up just for proposing it in his native village, he barely escaped
Such experiments must not be made in the country. That is why I told the
president that instead of shaking the hands of his entourage, I was ready to
shake his hand personally, and to be by his side under any circumstances in
The second condition, which was set clearly, was that I had to close my door
for the people who did a lot to help me work, to help the government work
and to help the country work. I was presented with a condition that I could
not have any political agreements on forming election teams with the Reforms
and Order Party, the Ukrainian People's Party led by Yuriy Kostenko and that
I had to publicly support Poroshenko, Tretyakov and Martynenko, to say that
they were honest and moral people who had been slandered. At the same time,
I had to publicly condemn Oleksandr Zinchenko and I could not include him
into my bloc's election list under any circumstances.
Another condition was that I sign decrees to dismiss those cabinet members
who supported me in that difficult situation of a two-chamber cabinet, so to
speak. These people supported me, helped me, they tried to protect me from
all those splits in the government. I was supposed to sign decrees
dismissing those people.
The main thing was that I had to agree to the dismissal of Oleksandr
Turchynov from the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU]. I understand that it
was discomforting to have the prime minister on one side and the head of the
SBU on the other side, we could see everything clearly, everything bad that
was happening in the country - corruption, abuse and illegal lobbying. Of
course, this tandem did not suit the president's entourage.
I can say that 90 per cent of these conditions were communicated by the
so-called team, who demanded that I do it immediately.
In addition, in the joint election list for the parliamentary election, two
thirds had to be given to the president's team and one third was to be given
to our party. By the way, I was not against this. A coalition agreement and
a joint election bloc - I welcomed this, it was the only way to resolve the
However, honestly, I was somewhat psychologically shaken by this formal
proposal. I asked the president whether it was possible to sack those who
were suspected of corruption. Whether we could at least suspend them from
their posts and later decide on their fate after the investigation.
But Viktor Andriyovych said no, he could not do it, because they were his
team and they would feel that it was unfair that they were sacked and I
stayed on. This would offset the balance. I want to ask, what kind of
balance can exist between the people who are suspected of corruption and
those who are not? Sack them all together?
I understood that I had to think about those conditions and I did not sign
any decrees that night. I simply came to my team, I gathered everyone who
would be affected by those conditions set by the president. I gathered those
people because I could not just stab them in the back and do the things I
could not do. I gathered them and sought their advice on the situation. We
exchanged ideas on what to do and how to behave in this case.
I can say that they did not protest against their dismissals or anything at
all. But the main thing was that I just could not do it. I could not do it
because my seat means nothing to me. Hundreds of times I just wanted to
drop it all, because it was torture to work under these conditions.
But I thought that I could not drop it, because it was not some officials
who appointed me to this post. I was appointed by the people who trusted me,
who stood in the squares and who voted for the president. I simply could not
abandon it, because it would mean betrayal, it would be like deserting from
the battlefield, from the barricades.
YUSHCHENKO "DESTROYED UNITY"
I could not do it by myself. So in the morning I spoke with the president by
phone and I told him that I would not be able to accept those conditions,
because I would not be able to look in the mirror in the morning, I would
want to spit at the mirror. I would always remember those whom I betrayed
to keep this seat, which was not worth much in tactical terms.
I asked the president to meet one more time and to try to find an option
that would not ruin the morals of our relations. I came to the president and
we talked for 20 minutes before his fateful live TV appearance when he
dismissed the cabinet. I sat next to him, I took his hand in my hand and
said: "Viktor Andriyovych, I am asking you, and I am struggling to find the
right words, but don't ruin people's hopes, don't ruin the authority of our
revolution, don't ruin the people's hope for morality, honesty and justice.
Let us walk out to the cameras hand in hand, together, look at the cameras
and say that as long as we are together, stability in Ukraine is
At some moment I thought the president hesitated but you know, fate will
always be fate. At that moment Poroshenko stormed into the president's
office, without invitation, without knocking. He was covered, excuse me, in
tears and snot, and he started yelling that he had just been stripped of his
parliament seat and that the decision had been backed by the Yuliya
Tymoshenko Bloc, that they were traitors who literally removed him from
parliament. It looked comical, honestly.
So the president looked, stood up, turned his back to me and said that the
conversation was over. He went on, having practically destroyed our unity,
our future and the future of our country. I would like to say that I
consider this step absolutely illogical. [Passage omitted: correspondent's
background report on the cabinet crisis, commercial break]
BLAMES DISMISSAL ON PRESIDENT'S ENTOURAGE
[Presenter] We are back. You are watching "Podrobnosti". I remind you that
our guest today is Yuliya Tymoshenko. Back to our questions. Yuliya
Volodymyrivna, I would like to ask you a question put by one of our TV
viewers. Halyna Fomicheva from Zhytomyr asks - Who specifically do you
think ordered the government's dismissal and who could benefit from it?
[Tymoshenko] First, I read the press and it says that the president took a
bold step by sacking the government. I would like to tell you right away
that the president did not sack the government. The president was merely
held hostage to the ultimatum made by his closest entourage, who demanded
that the government must be sacked.
What are the reasons for that? Why was the ultimatum made? Reason number
ONE. It is their personal fear for their personal future if public trust in
me grows in society.
Reason number TWO. They could not go ahead with all their corruption schemes
when I and [sacked Security Service of Ukraine head Oleksandr] Turchynov
were in office, watching every step they made and practically catching them
red-handed. They felt that they simply could not leave the country's
potential and financial flows untapped.
And reason number THREE, which the president himself could have borne in
mind, is to drown the corruption scandal involving the president's entourage
in a more loud scandal. Why did they need it to happen now? As regards the
first two reasons, they would have found a different time to sack the
But why did it happen now and why was it so illogical, where some people are
accused of corruption while others are held responsible? A scandal over the
government's dismissal was needed to drown out corruption by the president's
inner circle in the media space and in the world - simply to shift the
I have a pile of clippings from the world media. Just picture all the
newspapers and the news ticker tape. What do I read there? No-one recalls
Poroshenko or Martynenko. They say the government was sacked in the
context of a corruption scandal in the president's team. So, I would like to
say to you that this was the main aim - to shift the blame to the
But I can say that I as prime minister worked so honestly and so logically
that every person working alongside of me knew for sure that corruption is
unacceptable to me under any circumstances.
[Presenter] You keep saying they. Could you name some names?
[Tymoshenko] Yes, of course. First of all, this is Poroshenko. This is
Tretyakov, who has virtually become a bottleneck blocking access to the
president, who shaped his opinion and who imposed negative assessments [on
the president] every day. Undoubtedly, this is [Deputy Prime Minister] Roman
Bezsmertnyy, who was the ideologue behind this Jesuitical model of how to
cut this knot and this shame. This is Martynenko, and another five or six
[Presenter] Very briefly.
[Tymoshenko] I just don't want to go any further. I think everyone knows
TYMOSHENKO, YUSHCHENKO TO PART COMPANY
[Presenter] Oleh Kurdyukov from Bohuslav asks whether you think that the
government's dismissal means a split in President Yushchenko's team? Is
this a split?
[Tymoshenko] The thing is that the president and I were a team. I would say
that the main thing we had, unity, has been ruined by the president's
entourage. I am very sorry that the president succumbed to such advice. I
am very sorry indeed. That is why at the moment we are undoubtedly two
And I think that these two different teams will go different ways. I think
that if such developments occur again - [changes tack] I think that the
president's entourage, Poroshenko and Tretyakov, will not disappear into
Don't be fooled by thinking that if Poroshenko has resigned and Tretyakov
has been suspended - [changes tack] Regardless of whether Tretyakov is
sacked or not, whether Poroshenko is sacked or stays on, they are the
president's team, they are the closest people to him.
They are the people he trusts. They are the people he works with as one
team. Therefore, I would like to say that they will remain alongside of him.
These people will be there. Therefore, I think we should part our ways, but
undoubtedly without war, without war.
[Presenter] Did the president propose that you form a new government?
Did you refuse?
[Tymoshenko, laughing] Today I was very surprised to hear, I think it was
Oleh Rybachuk, the president's new state secretary, that after the dismissal
the president supposedly proposed that I should head up and form a new
government. This is not true, to put it mildly. Nobody offered me anything.
Nobody held any talks with me about forming a new coalition government after
Once again I want to recall those last minutes before the president left for
that pivotal, historic news conference. To the very last minute, I tried my
best to make sure that our unity was not ruined, that the ideals of the
Orange Revolution were nor devalued, that our orange colour did not turn
This is tremendous pain for me [sighs]. I just want to say that - my friends
tell me I look very optimistic - that to me this may have been the deepest
moral trauma in my whole lifetime. Because competence or incompetence
are not at issue here. By the way, another curious detail.
You know that an economic forum in Poland conferred on me the title of the
person of the year in Central and Eastern Europe for achievements in
economic reforms and reform of all state systems. I found this a great
honour of course.
But just before I left for this interview, I checked the Internet. Just
imagine in what state I came here. When I checked the Internet, I saw
reports coming from Poland that at the personal request of the Ukrainian
president I was stripped of that award, which had already been announced.
[Presenter] Have you had a chance to check whether this is true?
[Tymoshenko] No, just before coming here, I saw this in the Internet. That
the award was allegedly given to another politician of the year. I would
like to say that such trifles are very hard to live with. [Passage omitted:
Presenter invites journalists in another studio to ask questions.]
[Male journalist] Yuliya Volodymyrivna, how would you answer the question
put by Inter to its viewers.
[Tymoshenko] Are you talking about the interactive poll [asking what
Tymoshenko should do now]? You know, dear friends, frankly, I am happy that
you came up with this interactive poll because I really need advice now and
I would like to perceive this interactive poll as a council with you, an
assembly with everyone who is now listening to me. I care about everything
that may happen to this country.
I want no chaos in this country. I want peace, accord and calm in this
country. It is very true that when I was leaving Yekhanurov's office - the
office of the prime minister now - I left him a note on the desk that with
all my heart I wished him success, good luck and happiness in his work.
So, depending on what you advise me to do, I will make up my mind at the
next meeting of the political council [presumably, of her Fatherland party].
But I think that we will find a model that will not dash your hopes.
[Passage omitted: technical exchange between the presenter and the studio]
ATTEMPTS TO SALVAGE UNITY
[Male journalist] Svyatoslav Tseholko, 5 Kanal. Yuliya Volodymyrivna. Why
did the corruption scandal erupt in September, not earlier? You said you
were aware of this happening even earlier.
[Female presenter in the studio] I would like to add a question from
viewers. If you knew so much about corruption in the president's inner
circle, why didn't you raise this issue before? That's a question from
Yevhen Urcharov, Kiev.
[Tymoshenko] I think the reason is obvious. Until the very last moment I
hoped - and by the way, I still hope - that the president would deal with
the outrage taking place in his team, that the president would manage to
overcome this. I simply had no right - understanding that the president has
a chance of overcoming this - to ruin our unity in public. I wanted to make
I asked the president to sack the people who are getting in the way of this
country's life and work and who are ruining his authorities. I hoped that it
was time to get rid of those people. That is why I tried to maintain our
unity at any cost, I tried to save the Ukrainian people from disappointment.
That is why I behaved this way.
INTERFERENCE BY POROSHENKO
[Female presenter] Another question from my colleagues please. Maryna
[Female journalist] Is it true that you once signed a secret instruction for
central bodies of power to notify you of information requests from the
National Security and Defence Council and the presidential secretariat. Have
you analysed the reports? Who collected what information and about whom?
[Tymoshenko] Certainly, this document exists, and it is not secret at all.
It's just when Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko] came to the National Security
and Defence Council, he assumed the role of prime minister and started
issuing a large quantity of totally unbalanced instructions and inquiries to
Then I gathered the government and said - dear friends, the government
should not be plunged into such imbalance. The government's work should not
be undermined in such a way.
That is why I said I would send an instruction to each minister to collect
all the rubbish they were getting and to forward it to me so that I could be
responsible for how well Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko was informed and so
that the government could act as a single team and so that it did not get
all kinds of instructions all the time.
So, this was an absolutely open instruction. It was not secret at all.
[Female journalist] What was Poroshenko looking for? Did he find the
information he was looking for? What was he looking for when he requested
additional information? Was it information about you or your associates?
[Tymoshenko] Well, actually, Petro Oleksiyovych wanted to run the government
and to get feedback. He wanted to issue instructions and to receive reports
in response. I think he succeeded only partially, and only unofficially, for
instance, by directing certain ministers - certain, I should emphasize - in
PROOF OF CORRUPTION
[Female presenter] We have another question. Volodymyr Aryev.
[Male journalist] Volodymyr Aryev, "No-go Area" [TV programme]. Yuliya
Volodymyrivna, have you as prime minister gathered material that could prove
corruption by Poroshenko, Martynenko and Tretyakov so that we could finally
see the facts of corruption that Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mykola Tomenko
[Tymoshenko] Actually, such things exist on two planes. The first plane is
kind of semi-official, where seemingly normal instructions are issued, but
there are serious, well-planned actions are behind them - I mean undisguised
lobbying. I honestly forwarded all this to the Prosecutor-General's Office
and the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] and I can say that I acted this
way with regard to all signals.
This is one plane because I am not an investigative body or a security
agency. I cannot keep an eye on Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko all the time -
I have better things to do - not to mention his team. I simply worked a lot,
I had no time to follow his shenanigans.
On the other hand, there are things that look public enough, but it is
simply impossible to catch one in the act of doing them. When some
businessmen complain of being forced to sell their stakes, for example, when
they complain of being forced to give up part of their dividends, when such
serious things happen as the Nikopol ferroalloys plant [conflict] - by the
way, a very telling thing - [change] I heard the president say that this is
a fight between two gangs. I agree with the president.
This was the gang of [tycoon Viktor] Pinchuk fighting the gang of Poroshenko
and a Russian businessman, who was in the same package with Poroshenko. I
can just say that when Pinchuk hung out there at the Nikopol ferroalloys
plant, using the authorities for lobbying purposes to hold on to the plant
despite a legitimate court ruling - that was when such things surfaced.
Everyone knew about the backroom deals that were struck - why Pinchuk was
being met half-way.
[Passage omitted: Presenter announces preliminary results of interactive
poll, correspondent's report about government performance; video report
about the political crisis; Tymoshenko says living standards have increased
in Ukraine during her tenure; says her government was doing its best to keep
food prices down; comments on rising sugar prices]
ACCUSES OPPONENTS OF SABOTAGE
[Tymoshenko] The government was prohibited from carrying out interventions
on the sugar market. Over the past week we found a way to bypass the need
for new legislation and use existing laws to alleviate the crisis. But just
when we had almost solved the sugar crisis, when we had brought in ships
wish sugar - because no matter what they say, we are having sugar shortages,
and the prices were rising due to artificially created shortages - as soon
as we started addressing the situation, I received a written instruction
from the president categorically forbidding us to implement that programme.
That was wrong. The president's team were putting pressure on him to prevent
us from doing our job.
[Presenter] You said that the sugar crisis was a special operation. Who was
behind it, can you give us names?
[Tymoshenko] It's the same old people. I don't want to make accusations on
the air. We all saw the sugar crisis unfold. And now I am not going to spend
time collecting documents - who is going to let me have those documents now?
I am not going to collect compromising materials. It was in the public
domain, that sugar was being brought in as contraband, and a well-known
person together with his father was behind it. And the father of this
well-known person was criticizing me on all TV channels when we started
solving this problem.
[Passage omitted: presenter comments on volatility on the hryvnya following
the government's sacking; video report on falling hryvnya exchange rate in
PROMISES ECONOMIC STABILITY
[Presenter] Can Ukrainians expect that the hryvnya exchange rate will remain
[Tymoshenko] I am absolutely optimistic that everything will be well in this
country, regardless of the political crisis. I will do everything I can to
stabilize the situation and prevent some people from taking advantage of
those difficult events in the country. [Passage omitted: presenter comments
on the situation in the country, video of Yushchenko commenting; interactive
[Journalist Larysa Hubyna] We'd like to come back to the previous topic. Mrs
Tymoshenko, if the facts of corruption were so well disguised that it is so
hard now to find documentary proof to them, how will the situation unfold?
How will those facts be proven?
[Tymoshenko] I am confident that what Oleksandr Zinchenko said and what
other politicians said does have documentary proof. I think there are
complaints by businessmen who have made official statements. There is
evidence. I think there will be no problem with the evidence. But it is not
my job to collect evidence.
[Journalist Viktor Shlinchak] Good evening, Mrs Tymoshenko. A lot of people
hoped to see you without your braid [Tymoshenko laughing] and with a
statement that you are going into opposition. Judging by the fact that you
are still wearing the braid, you are still undecided. Please tell us under
what circumstances you will go into opposition. And if you don't go into
opposition, how will your run for parliament?
You said you would be on a parallel path with the president. Is a single
election bloc of the forces that were together with Yushchenko during the
previous election still possible at the next election?
NOT TO BACK YUSHCHENKO DURING ELECTION
[Tymoshenko] As to whether I will go into opposition, I would like to say
that unlike many other politicians who have changed after the revolution, I
have not changed my policies, my views, my morals. I have not changed
my attitude to Ukraine. So if someone has changed, they should go into
opposition, not me. I am on the right and clear path.
I can firmly say that Viktor Yushchenko and I will go to the election by
parallel paths. It does not mean we are at war. But we have two different
teams, two very different sets of people. Our teams are different, and I
will not go to the elections together with the people who have so
discredited Ukraine. I do not mean the president, I mean his entourage.
[Shlinchak] Who will be in the Top 5 of your election list? Who will be the
basis of your team in the next six months?
[Tymoshenko] I think it is too early to speak about this because the party
lists are not yet being put together. But I can firmly say that it will be
worthy people, strong people, people who have moral credibility and
[Passage omitted: journalist Hubyna says many questions are coming in
PREDICTS SMEAR CAMPAIGN
[Journalist Serhiy Rakhmanin] We were deeply impressed by your statement
that you were a single team with the president but now you are not, as I
understand. So what do you think about the fact that on the initiative of
your team partner, several criminal cases linked to your business activity
have been resurrected? And my second question is, can you be sure that after
all this you will not be extradited to Russia and your other colleague,
[Interior Minister] Yuriy Lutsenko, will have no qualms about it?
[Tymoshenko] Very good question, honestly. I will certainly lead an election
bloc and I will lead my own team. I know that staring from yesterday they
have been working on a campaign of persecution against me. I want to say
one interesting thing to you. Interior Minister Lutsenko has already filed a
criminal case against me, actually, when I was still prime minister.
It is in connection with the United Energy Systems [gas distribution company
Tymoshenko chaired in the early 1990s]. And later, when he found out that
there are court rulings absolutely exonerating me he apologized. But the
president in fact knew about it.
I can even tell you another thing. After we came to power, all those
criminal cases were dropped. But the president gave an order to some heads
of law-enforcement agencies not to close the criminal cases against me and
not to settle this issue until election lists [for the parliamentary
election] are formed. I was of course told about it. I had no doubts about
it. So it hurt a lot. I told the president is was absurd. He agreed with me,
but nothing changed.
I think that there will be a real smear campaign against me. Yesterday, when
I was sacked, I collected comments by well-known politicians about my
dismissal. And the positive comments from people who honestly told the truth
about how the cabinet had performed, those very positive comments, there
was not a lot of them.
But some very famous politicians - and I actually want to thank them,
because this is how people are tested, when truth must be told and the top
leadership does not want to hear this truth - so these people I have known
for many years were saying this was merely a struggle between two clans, or
that it was just a war of commercial structures.
Dear friends, this is yet another test. I am very surprised that this pack
of men have for many years, for eight or nine years, are dreaming about
ripping me apart and getting rid of me somehow. I want to say to you, dear
men, you will not get rid of me. It is not you who are protecting me.
Three things are protecting me, and I want you to know it. You have no
control over these three things, no matter how arrogant your comments are.
The first thing is the true goal I have - it is a good goal, and the Lord
protects me. The second thing, I know that day after day people will believe
me more and support me more, because my every deed is transparent and
understandable. You cannot do anything about it.
No matter how much dirt your pour on me, people are much wiser than you
think. And the third thing that protects me is my faith that the era of
Ukraine's cleansing has already begun, and what is happening now is
evidence to that. It is not like it was under [former president] Kuchma -
under Kuchma everyone kept silent. Now we can clean up, and step after
step my faith will become true, and Ukraine will change, it will become
strong and beautiful.
[Passage omitted: presenter comments on promise by new presidential
chief of staff that the new administration will not lobby private business
interests; news reports on the crisis]
AIMS TO GET JOB BACK AFTER ELECTION
[Presenter] Mrs Tymoshenko, I know that you have wished good luck to
[caretaker premier] Yuriy Yekhanurov. Do you think parliament will support
[Tymoshenko] Yes, I left a very warm note for him on the table when I left
my office. I truly wish him well because my country's wellbeing depends on
how well he does.
[Presenter] Svitlana Yakovenko from Kiev asks whether you want to work in
the new cabinet.
[Tymoshenko] Of course I will work in the new government, but after the
parliamentary election in a few months' time. I am sure that I will get a
chance to continue building my country. You know, I remember that when
Kuchma fired Viktor Yushchenko, Yushchenko came out [of parliament
building] and said, I am leaving to come back.
Well, I am not even leaving anywhere, dear friends. I am still with you, and
I will keep working to make sure that the new government that will come
after the parliamentary elections, and not a lot of time it left till then,
I will make sure that this government is how it should be, that nothing
[Presenter] How about the cabinet being formed now? Is you party going to
[Tymoshenko] No, we are not going to take part in the formation of those
cabinets. You see, we criticized Kuchma over the fact that his cabinets
never stayed in office for much more than a year. This was because of
jealousy, competition, doubts - he did not want anyone to become a
competitor for him. But under the new government, the cabinet has survived
for just seven months. The next cabinet, if it is approved by parliament,
will only work until the election, in the best case scenario. [Passage
omitted: presenter hands over to the panel of journalists]
[Journalist Viktor Shlinchak] Mrs Tymoshenko, yesterday morning agencies
quoted first you and then you party members as saying that you had thrice
been betrayed - first when Yushchenko did not support you when you were
deputy prime minister [in Yushchenko's cabinet under President Kuchma],
second when he signed the statement of three [criticizing anti-Kuchma
movement in which Tymoshenko took part after her dismissal in 2001] and
the third time now [that he has sacked you]. Do you really believe that
Yushchenko has betrayed you?
[Tymoshenko] I am not going to judge Viktor Yushchenko. And I just want him
to hear this now: I forgive him. Committing this great injustice against me
is not a good thing to do, of course. But I want him to know that I forgive
him and I bear no grudge against him because I know that my path is light
and clear to me.
U-TURN ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
[Journalist on the panel] Mrs Tymoshenko, when, on the president's
initiative, attempts will start to abolish the political reform [bill that
transfers much of the president's powers to the cabinet of ministers and
that is due to take effect on 1 January 2006], will you and your party try
to prevent this?
[Tymoshenko] You know that I have always been very clear on this, I have
always said that this reform is not a good thing for Ukraine. I remain on
this position, because this reform is illogical, it is not ideal. Back at
that time I really hoped that the arrival of the new president, of the new
team will be able to give the country a new impetus without changes to the
Now I just see what is happening, and to be honest, all of this reminds me
of the old days which it seems are returning now. So we just have to choose
now between the bad - the constitutional reform - and the very bad, the
things that are now happening under this administration. So we will think
about it, and our party will define its position on this.
[Journalist on the panel] If the president offers you some compromise now,
will you accept? What kind of compromise should it be? It's a question from
our caller, Maryna Kobzar from Boryspil.
[Tymoshenko] I think this compromise could be peaceful coexistence on
parallel paths. Our paths will be parallel, and I am sure that everyone will
take this path. Everything is still ahead of us, and everything will be
happening right in front of you.
[Journalist Svyatoslav Tseholko] Mrs Tymoshenko, how will the new coalition
be formed in 2006 if you have already declared that you want to become prime
minister once again? Which political forces will take part in the coalition?
Will [Yushchenko's] Our Ukraine be among them?
[Tymoshenko] Time will tell. We will take part in the election as a separate
and very powerful political force, and I think the result we will obtain
will be very good. Then we will decide who to form a coalition with in the
new parliament, and on what principles. [Passage omitted: interactive poll
[Tymoshenko] Many people really do not approve of such inhumane treatment of
me personally and of my cabinet. But on the other hand, seeking compromise
does not necessarily mean being in the same team. I will be seeking
compromise that will preclude confrontation. I think we [Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko] will be moving on different paths but without active
WOOS YUSHCHENKO'S OPPONENTS
[Presenter] Mrs Tymoshenko, you have repeatedly said that you haven't been
on vacation for ages. Are you now going to go on vacation? We already know
what you are going to do after the election, but what about now?
[Tymoshenko] A lot of people, when they resign, the first thing they say is
that they want to have a sleep. Well I don't want to sleep, and I do not
plan to go on vacation. My task is that under no circumstances you are
disappointed in the government. I know that many people, especially those
who were protesting on Independence Square [during the Orange Revolution],
they feel that the idea they fought for has been discredited. I want to tell
you, please don't feel that way. Some people may have let the flag of our
victory fall down.
But I want you to know this. When I was going to this studio, and generally
when in a difficult situation, I always have this little ribbon for luck
with me [showing an orange ribbon]. I want to tell you now that I do not
divide people into Orange [Yushchenko supports] and Blue [backers of
Yushchenko's opponent Viktor Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential election].
Because I now understand all those people with my heart.
Me and the team I lead, we will make sure you do not regret freezing on the
squares. But what we didn't realize at the time is that the ordinary people
who were freezing on the squares for the Blue camp, they wanted the same
thing. They wanted change, they wanted respect, they wanted a say in what is
happening in the country. So I have in this studio, for the first time, both
ribbons, orange and blue. [Showing two ribbons.]
What we haven't noticed is that if we put these two colours together, we get
our national flag [blue and yellow]. And I do not want us to go to the
election campaign as separate teams, under separate colours. I want us to
combine the best we have in our colours.
I want us to unite Ukraine, so that as a single powerful team that has not
betrayed its moral values we could come and build Ukraine in which there is
justice, prosperity, economic growth, investment and everything we are
A Ukraine with a proper justice system, without corruption, where no-one
uses power to enrich themselves. I want you to hear this: I am going to the
election as the leader of my own team. I will lead all those people who are
ready to join us, both from our team and everyone who feels that Ukraine is
our only goal, and all our life is devoted to Ukraine.
I want you to know that I will not betray you. And I am not leaving to come
back. I am not leaving at all. I am still with you, and I will always be
with you. [Passage omitted: presenter signs off, invites Tymoshenko's
opponents to respond] -30-
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