A backlash ensued from diverse parts of the political spectrum. The right-of-center, Western-oriented Party of Reforms and Order described Kuchma’s visit to Moscow and the proposals under discussion as "the most serious threat to Ukrainian sovereignty since 1991." The head of the party’s Economic Council, Serhyi Terekhin, described the proposals’ cumulative effect as "creating a common Russian-Ukrainian economic space under Russian leadership." He also cited unpublished points of the ten-year plan which, he charged, pose potential security threats to Ukraine. His party plans to challenge the agreements in the Constitutional Court if they are signed.
The Socialist chairman of parliament, Oleksandr Moroz, warned against turning over equity in "enterprises which ensure the independence of the state;" and against allowing "non-residents" from Russia to preempt Ukrainian citizens in the privatization process. He also strongly opposed, as he has in the past, turning the oil refineries over to Russian capital. Former Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk — who co-leads the slate of the left-of-center United Social-Democrat Party — admonished Kuchma yesterday that "he ought not to project the appearance of begging Moscow’s pardon like a boy to an elder brother." The Marchuk-controlled newspaper Den yesterday virtually accused Kuchma of national treason. (Ukrainian agencies, Eastern Economist Daily, DINAU, Reuters, February 25-26) The Party of Reforms and Order is a potential ally of Kuchma, while Moroz and Marchuk are rivals of the president. (Profiles of the three parties in The Monitor, February 4, 1998; November 6, 1997, and December 5, 1997)
Although these attacks on Kuchma contain an obvious element of electoral politics, so do Kuchma’s proposals to the Russian side. They represent a price for Moscow’s endorsement, which is in fact being forthcoming. (See Monitor, February 23) This can be crucial in populous eastern Ukraine and may put the embattled presidential camp over the top in the elections. The backlash in Kyiv, however, suggests that the president may have as much to lose as he may gain through this risky strategy.
Government of Kazakhstan Reshuffled.