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Pushkov: Yatsenuk acts of despair in a bid to save his political career

According to Russian deputy, the Ukrainian government is in a deadlock
Russian deputy Alexei Pushkov ITAR-TASS/Mitya Aleshkovsky
Russian deputy Alexei Pushkov
© ITAR-TASS/Mitya Aleshkovsky

MOSCOW, July 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian deputy Alexei Pushkov believes Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk acted of despair when he submitted his resignation last Thursday.

“It was a well-calculated move, on the one hand. On the other hand, it was just a gesture of despair,” Pushkov, who heads the International Affairs Committee at the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“Yatsenyuk actually found himself in a situation when he could no longer pursue any other policy than the one designed to cut social spending and salaries to public servants and increase consumer prices,” the politician said.

“I do not think that Yatsenyuk wants to be a Ukrainian (Yegor) Gaidar (a Russian market reformer in the early 1990s) and become a person whose reforms and decisions have impoverished the better half of Ukraine’s population at such an early stage in his political career,” Pushkov said. He also believed that Yatsenyuk had decided to save his political career and dodge the responsibility for the worsening crisis in Ukraine.

According to Pushkov, the Ukrainian government is in a deadlock. It does not have the money to pay salaries or finance the costly military operation in Eastern Ukraine, and Yatsenyuk does not want to be responsible for the inability to pursue a policy aimed at an all-out war.

"The leading factions in Ukraine’s parliament have refused to vote for Yatsenyuk’s bills that would have allowed radical social cuts and tax increase,” Pushkov said. It showed that a large number of Ukrainian parties were unwilling to support such unpopular measures for fear that they would eco during the forthcoming election campaign. Yatsenyuk failed to push his policy through parliament and stepped down. His resignation could also be a tactical step.

“Since there are not so many people in Ukraine capable of heading the government, he hopes he may be persuaded to return,” Pushkov said.

He described Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister, Vladimir Groisman, as a technical rather than political figure.

“He is not risking anything. He is unlikely to have Yatsenuk’s political ambitions. He regards his appointment is a stair-step from which he can jump off at any moment without a detriment to himself,” Pushkov said.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk submitted his resignation on July 24 after the collapse of the ruling coalition in parliament and rejection of his initiatives by deputies. However, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko hopes that Yatsenyuk will remain the prime minister at least until new parliamentary elections slated for autumn.

Meanwhile, Pushkov slashed Ukraine for bringing criminal charges against Russian politicians. Their aim is to maintain an anti-Russian hysteria in Ukrainian society, the deputy said.

Ukraine has launched criminal proceedings against Sergei Mironov, the leader of A Just Russia party, on charges of helping the militias fighting in Ukraine’s Donbas region; LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, have been suspected of “financing separatist actions.”

“The aforesaid persons have been charged with financing actions designed to change territorial borders and the state border of Ukraine,” Zoryan Shkiryak, the Ukraine interior minister’s aide, said.

Criminal proceedings have also been opened against Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for “creating illegal paramilitary and armed units.”

“All aforesaid accusations are artificial and can hardly have any proof. I believe that their main aim is to maintain an anti-Russian sentiment in Ukrainian society,” Pushkov said, adding it was convenient to hype the theme in the media for propaganda purposes.

“Ukraine has been accusing Russia of all possible sins. This is the only way how the Ukrainian leadership can explain why the country is gradually turning into a black hole, and they are using this argument in full measure,” Pushkov concluded.