May 19, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Alexander Sobko, Alexander Rublev


Lutsenko's "debauch" in Germany can be a part of the US special operation aimed at forced conciliation of two "orange clans"

When in 2004 Victor Yushchenko had taken a presidential post in an unconstitutional way, the "orange" government has set coercive format of solving contradictions among different parties and branches of government. As the result special attention of interested participants of the process was paid to the coercive ministers' personalities. And Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs is one of them (together with the head of the country's Ministry of Defense and the leader of the Security Service of Ukraine).

This post becomes especially "insecure" during the pre-election period.

For example, during another election campaign on preterm parliamentary elections in 2007 Vasyl Tsushko, then Minister of Internal Affairs, supported Svyatoslav Piskun, who had been fired by Yushchenko. After that Tsushko himself with "Berkut" (elite special force) men forced his way to help Prosecutor-General, barricaded in a building. Few days after Tsushko had a heart attack, which, according to some sources, was caused by poisoning.

Luckily, in spite of all these mysterious conditions Tsushko stayed alive at least, which can't be said about Yuriy Kravchenko, the head of MIA in 1995-2001, who had suddenly committed a suicide by making two shots in head the day before an interrogation in Persecutor's General Office, which had already become "orange" (two shots in head were registered, at that from different sides; still the official version was "suicide" – what a joke!).

Against this backdrop, the story, which has happened to Yuriy Lutsenko looks like a child's play. We'll remind that according to some German mass media, Frankfurt police arrested drunken Lutsenko after a fight with airport staff on May 4. The reason of the conflict was in the staff's unwillingness to fly together with drunken passengers.

But actually there are many unclear sides in the story. A famous German Bild tabloid became the main source of information on the scandal during the first days of it. At the same time, according to Ukrainian weekly Zerkalo Nedeli ("The Mirror of Week"), Bild lied for at least two times: firstly by stating Lutsenko's intoxication was confirmed by blood alcohol test, and secondly by telling his son was also in a drunken state. Lutsenko in his turn stated that the airline staff member, who didn't let him get on the board, grunted in his face, when the minister asked her to introduce herself, which is the greatest offence according to German tradition.

Lutsenko's hot temper isn't a secret – you can recall his fight with Leonid Chernovetskyi, the Mayor of Kiev, right during the session of the National Security Council. So driving the leader of People's Self-Defense Bloc angry isn't really difficult.

Thus, there are definite reasons to suppose the scandal could be put-up on order of some political powers, deeply interested in creation of the conflict, which could lead to the resignation of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

At first glance, the Party of Regions was the most active in discrediting Lutsenko. The party members filled Verkhovna Rada (parliament) with posters signed with "Yura, take the hair of the dog [to ease the hangover]!" and blocked the work of parliament insisting on Lutsenko's rapid retirement. Nevertheless, the Party of Regions won't actually make any profits from this development of situation. Blocking the work of Rada is rather connected with another attempt of creating a reason to dismiss it, and aggressive anti-Lutsenko campaign – with a formed reflex of "bumping" the "orange" every time when it's possible.

But in reality the only people, really interested in Lutsenko's resignation are the partners in formally existing coalition, in particular, pro-presidential People's Union "Our Ukraine". As, in case a new head of MIA must be appointed, the coalition could vote for some compromise person. And then Yulia Timoshenko would lose a considerable resource of power.

We'll remind, that the People's Self-Defense Block headed by Yuriy Lutsenko (which used to be a part of pro-presidential Our Ukraine) joined the Yulia Timoshenko Block after the collapse of parliamentary coalition, so now the head of MIA is "Timoshenko's man".

It's curious, that representatives of German law machinery didn't intend to blow the scandal up right after the bullies' status became clear. Moreover, Lufthansa representatives were forbidden to comment on the situation (Lufthansa was the company, the personnel of which didn't let Lutsenko get on board).

But Yushchenko transatlantic friends could quite possibly help announcing and maybe even "stage-managing" the occasion. It's interesting, that the owner of Bild, which publicized the scandal, is one of the biggest European publishing houses called Axel Springer AG, which has rather specific position about numerous questions. For example, Axel Springer turned to be the only publishing house, which rejected to publish agitation materials of German left party in 2005. And corporative principles of the organization announce clearly the necessity of supporting transatlantic alliance and being solidary with the USA.

In that case we can't exclude the story with Lutsenko can become a part of a planned large-scale operation aimed to conciliate two "orange" clans and create conditions to the make peace between Yushchenko and Timoshenko, as without it the president of Ukraine can hardly survive politically and prolong his career (for example, as the head of Verkhovna Rada). Meanwhile, losing tried-and-true super-loyal "Yushchenko-1" isn't really attractive for the US, even though it has staked on Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is urged to become "Yushchenko-2". Moreover, the USA must show it doesn't "utilize" its devoted vassals even in case these servants went politically bankrupt.

Taking out of the game those people from both opposing camps who are the main "sources of irritation" is necessary to make that kind of peace between Yushchenko and Timoshenko possible. And Lutsenko, who is called a betrayer swindling his political benefactors in Yushchenko's clan, definitely belongs to that kind of people.

Commenting on the scandal with Lutsenko, Yulia Timoshenko acted evasively, saying the minister was, on the one hand, acting in a right way, as he "protected his ill son" from policemen, but, on the other hand, he was inappropriate trying to leave with a flight he was late to. According to some sources, Timoshenko was offered to make an exchange: if she surrenders Lutsenko, Yushchenko will finally fire her main ill-wisher, Victor Baloga, from the post of the head of president's secretariat.

The fact that after the occasion Baloga sent his resignation and Yushchenko accepted it says the idea of exchange is turning to real. And we can't exclude that we will see some compromise figure on the post of the head of MIA in the nearest future, which will calm down both Yushchenko and Timoshenko.

On the other hand, the question is whether Americans will persuade revengeful Yulia Timoshenko to spare Yushchenko and let him stay in big politics. Probably, the US partners will use some additional key factors to make her more compliant. Then the story with Lutsenko's "debauch" in Frankfurt airport will become only the first step in the range of strange episodes, which will radically change Ukraine's political scenery.

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