Ukrainian Prez and PM Bicker as Kiev Burns

Nation nears financial default, so why not call an election?
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2008 6:04 AM CST
A man counts Ukrainian hryvnas at a currency exchange unit in Kiev, Oct. 24, 2008. The Ukrainian currency has plunged against the dollar as people raced to exchange booths to convert their savings.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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(Newser) – It's been four years since Viktor Yushchenko, cheated out of an election victory, led Ukrainians in an "Orange Revolution" that seemed to portend a break with the Soviet past. But now Ukraine is paralyzed: the economy is in shambles, and Yushchenko and PM Yulia Tymoshenko are so absorbed in a power struggle that the country is on the verge of default. The New York Times looks at what went wrong in the once optimistic nation.

The IMF has pledged $16.5 million to bail out Ukraine—but Yushchenko and former ally Tymoshenko have ignored the crisis to jockey for political advantage, calling for new elections even as the nation's currency plunged. Ukrainians who backed the democrats' peaceful revolution now feel disappointed and leaderless. "People feel let down to the point of tears," said one writer.