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Always a marriage of convenience in Ukraine?


Ukraine’s President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko smile during their meeting with local businessmen in KievHe was a suave central banker and she a “gas princess”, a young politician desperate to make her mark. In 1998 Yulia  Tymoshenko, now Ukraine’s prime minister, said she knew her destiny lay with Viktor Yushchenko, who went on to become president.

“We understood that we are a team,” she said at that time.

It’s an assertion Yushchenko disputes — a clash of views that has defined this partnership since they overturned a Soviet-style leadership in the 2004 “Orange Revolution” and vowed a modern, Western future for Ukraine’s 47 million people.

Then they stood shoulder-to-shoulder — her revolutionary speeches firing up crowd after crowd, his more academic approach comforting those who feared she was reckless in her pursuit of power.

Now barely on speaking terms, their bickering over policy and outlook could force the former Soviet republic into the third parliamentary election in as many years.