Ukrainians are determined that no one will steal their revolution from them. The felt that happened after the Orange Revolution ten years ago. That one was bloodless, this one was not.
As a stop-gap government was being formed, designated prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk knew how hard his job was expected to be:
“We need to form a responsible government — and it’s not about personalities, this is about responsibility. You know, to be in this government is to commit political suicide. And we need to be very frank and open. This is the political suiciders.”
Yatsenyuk is an ally of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was just released from prison. At the head of a government of national unity, Yatsenyuk knows he’ll have to make a lot of policy decisions that are going to be hard on people.
Aged 39, he has served as Ukraine’s head of the central bank, foreign minister, economy minister and parliamentary chairman. From 2005, for five years he was the number two man in opposition President Viktor Yushchenko’s administration.
He even ran for the presidency in 2010, though he came nowhere close and then threw in his lot with Tymoshenko, while she was on her way to jail. He gets respect in European and American capitals. He says securing a new loan agreement with the International Monetary fund is vital for the country to stabilize.
Three weeks ago, a recording of a phone conversation between the US assistant secretary of state, and the US ambassador to Ukraine, made clear that, in Washington’s eyes, Yatsenyuk is preferable to former boxer Vitaliy Klitchko and ultra-nationalist Oleg Tyanybok. Victoria Nuland, like many, called Yatsenyuk ‘Yats’.
Nuland said: “I don’t see Klitchko in the government. I don’t thinks it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think Yats is the guy. He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know. What he needs is Klitch and Tyanybok on the outside.”
‘Yats’ will need all the help he can get to stave off collapse in the ex-Soviet state. He has warned there is an urgent need for unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments, before life in Ukraine can improve.