Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has a reputation as a politician with great skill in political “survival,” writes the Financial Times.
“She is the face of a popular uprising, she is called a“ gas princess ”for her energy oligarch past, she was imprisoned as a rival, she is a former Ukrainian prime minister. However, the requirements for changes by the Ukrainians, who are tired of corruption and a low standard of living, can still threaten her third and possibly last attempt to become president of the country in elections this month, Glavkom news agency quotes the article.
She claims that her experience in negotiating with Vladimir Putin will help her end the smoldering war on the eastern border of Ukraine, expanding negotiations thanks to the participation of the United States and Great Britain - even if her past relationship with the Russian President makes her an object of some Ukrainians' suspicion.
But, if last year Tymoshenko confidently headed the ratings, now the situation has become complicated for her. The appearance of Volodymyr Zelensky, a 41-year-old comedian without political experience, diminished both her hopes and those of Petro Poroshenko, the incumbent president who wants re-election.
Now, on the eve of the March 31 elections, Zelensky is in the first place. The growth of his popularity left Tymoshenko alone in the fight against Poroshenko for reaching the possible second round on April 21.
In her quest to recapture, Tymoshenko has resorted to populist promises targeted at elder voters: halving gas prices, raising pensions three times and returning savings to Soviet depositors. Such slogans alerted investors, who fear that this could jeopardize the critical financial assistance from the IMF, which Poroshenko promised to support.
The attempt to metamorphosis of Tymoshenko is the last in her long career. When the former energy tycoon went into politics in the late 1990s, she spoke only Russian, but successfully transformed herself into a nationalist, pro-Western reformer, and her image was completed by a typical Ukrainian blond braid.
Populist statements made her the star of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which crossed out the falsified victory of the pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych. She served two terms as prime minister, but after signing an agreement with Russia to import gas in 2009, her popular support fell. Yanukovych returned to power in 2010.
He imprisoned her for a gas deal and paid American political adviser Paul Manafort, who is now convicted as part of an investigation into Russia's interference in the American election, to make a report justifying her arrest. Tymoshenko denies past corruption as "propaganda of Manafort." She really was not charged by the United States when her mentor Pavlo Lazarenko was imprisoned in 2006 for laundering $ 114 million.
Many observers believed that her career came to an end when Tymoshenko failed to win the election after being released from prison in 2014. However, Western supporters and investors of Ukraine believe that Tymoshenko will have to choose between fulfilling her populist promises and reassuring the IMF, which support depends on the reform of the public sector.
Yulia Tymoshenko’s ardent rhetoric no longer appeals to the masses as it was ten years ago. Support for Tymoshenko in the west of Ukraine has fallen so much that her assistants had to bring supporters so that the rallies looked massive, said an unnamed local party member.
But Tymoshenko’s persistent desire to power means that only few people are ready to devalue her, states the edition.