Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yekhanurov in Moscow as Ukraine 'SURRENDERS' to Russia

AFP is reporting that Russian newspapers, Kommersant specifically, are gleefully announcing that Ukraine is "surrendering" to Russia...

Yekhanurov in Moscow as Ukraine 'SURRENDERS' to Russia Oct 4, '05 5:50 PM ET

Agence France Presse, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 30, 2005

MOSCOW - Ukraine's new Prime Minister Yury Yekhanurov came to Moscow Friday for talks with officials expected to focus on energy deals as newspapers said "orange revolution" President Viktor Yushchenko had sent his man to Moscow "to surrender" to Russia.

Yekhanurov met his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Fradkov, and other senior officials as press reports in both countries said problems with delivery of natural gas from Russia to Ukraine would figure prominently on the agenda.

Ukraine has faced mounting difficulties this year in obtaining gas deliveries from Russia, and has signed long-term deals with other ex-Soviet republics to offset plans announced by Russian gas giant Gazprom to set prices for Ukraine at world market rates, effectively tripling the price.

"It is anticipated that Yury Yekhanurov will today find new solutions for resolving this problem," the opposition daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta said.

In an article headlined "Yekhanurov has come to surrender," the liberal newspaper said the visit to Moscow by Yekhanurov, his first trip outside Ukraine since becoming prime minister earlier this month, confirmed that Yushchenko is doing an about-face and realigning his policy with Moscow.

"This means de facto that the leaders of the 'orange revolution' have abandoned their earlier ideals," the daily wrote. "The Yushchenko team has turned back to the principles and methods for conduct of foreign policy that characterized the Kuchma regime."

Yushchenko came to power late last year after a bitterly-disputed presidential election in which his opponent to succeed former president Leonid Kuchma was seen as "Moscow's man" in Kiev while Yushchenko, who promised a break from Russia, was cast as the West's favorite son.

In a banner six-column, page-one headline, the respected business daily Kommersant stated: "Ukraine Signals Change of Course" and commented in a sub-heading that the "cabinet of Yury Yekhanurov will be pro-Russian."

The article said Yekhanurov had made clear his government will defend and advance Russia's political and economic interests.

Both Yekhanurov and Yushchenko rose through the ranks of the Soviet bureaucracy.

"Finding a common language with his partners in Moscow will obviously not be complicated," Kommersant said. "The new cabinet, in contrast to the previous one, is closely-linked to Russian capital."

Yekhanurov is seen in Kiev as a moderate technocrat of unquestioning allegiance to Yushchenko.

Prior to being tapped for prime minister, Yekhanurov had served briefly as the head of a regional administration in the heavily-industrialized and strongly pro-Russian east of Ukraine, where he was placed by Yushchenko to soothe hurt feelings after last year's crisis.