Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko Trying To Reposition Herself As A Centrist 'New Democrat', Rather Than A European or Populist 'Social Democrat'

"Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukrainian prime minister, promised a business-friendly agenda yesterday if she succeeded in forming a ruling coalition, following her bloc's strong second-place showing in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Ms Tymoshenko said she would radically lower corporate tax rates to encourage investment.

"A few points won't make a difference. Only a radical lowering of tax rates will bring business out of the shadows," she said.

She also sought to dispel anxiety among investors that she might again challenge the legality of privatisations by the pro-Moscow administration before the 2004 Orange revolution brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power.

Investors were dismayed last year when Ms Tymoshenko, who served as Mr Yushchenko's prime minister until she was sacked in September, pursued populist economic policies including attempts to reallocate privatised assets and attacks on business oligarchs.

Ms Tymoshenko's latest promises will not in themselves assuage businesspeople's concerns. There is considerable worry in Kiev about how she can reconcile her business-friendly remarks with campaign promises to boost social spending and attacks on big business.

Ms Tymoshenko said the government should not try to reverse privatisations....

"The main task to bring foreign investment is to make all business equal before the law and no business more equal [than others]." ....

Alexander Valchyshen, head of research at the ING Bank's branch in Ukraine, said Kiev's financial community was heatedly debating the pros and cons of Ms Tymoshenko's likely return.

He said the pros included her success in fighting tax evasion and closing loopholes, while the cons included the uncertainty that was created by the challenges to past privatisations, sudden changes to tax rules she pushed through at the beginning of her term, and the overall higher tax pressure." ...

Tom Warner "Ex-premier of Ukraine vows softer approach to business" Financial Times March 30, 2006

Washington, D.C. ? No, Donetsk, [Eastern] Ukraine, as seen from the Donets river, a tributary of the Don River. Donetsk, a young city and the fourth largest in Ukraine, is home to Ukraine's richest oligarch Rinat Akhmetov -- one of the leaders of the pro-Russian Party of the Regions. The workforce of Donetsk is still primarily involved with heavy industry, especially coal mining; but the city is very green and lightly-polluted despite being a major industrial city. It has one of the highest standards of living in the Eastern Ukraine region, and is slowly emerging as a high-technology center. Its sister cities are Moscow, Russia; Pittsburgh, the United States; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Yulia Tymoshenko, like Leonid Brezhnev and Leonid Kuchma before her, comes from Dnipropetrovsk ('reestablished as a Russian City' in the 18th century by Catherine the Great as Yekaterinoslav, or "The glory of Yekaterina"), which was one of the key centers of the nuclear, arms, and space industries of the former Soviet Union. In particular, it is home to Yuzhmash, a major space and ballistic missile designer and manufacturer, where Leonid Kuchma was senior manager. Because of its military industry, the city was a closed city (no foreigners were allowed there) until the mid-nineteen nineties (similar to the naval center of Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine).

Dnipropetrovsk, which is slightly bigger than Donetsk (and the third largest city in Ukraine after Kyiv and Kharkiv) is situated on the broad Dnieper River (Greeks called it the Borisphen) with its picturesque islands and peaceful backwaters, lush flood-meadows and shadowy oak woods stretches along river valleys and ravines. The historic core of Dnipropetrovsk was virtually completely destroyed by the Nazis during their invasion in 1941-43, in pursuit of the oil fields of the southern Soviet Union.



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