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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Praise and Derision for Yushchenko

ReutersYushchenko after giving a news conference on Thursday.
KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko won strong words of praise Thursday from his revolutionary comrade in arms, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, but his decision to dissolve the Cabinet brought derision from some Russian enemies of Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

"My forecast is that the crisis will deepen and a change of government in Ukraine will not better the situation," Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov said, Interfax reported. "I feel sorry for 'dear Ukraine' and for the citizens who pinned their hopes on the Orange Revolution."

Yushchenko abruptly sacked the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday amid increasing signs that the fragile coalition knitted together in the uprising against former President Leonid Kuchma was unraveling. The move came just six months ahead of parliamentary elections that could cement the achievements of the Orange Revolution, or roll them back.

"I consider that fate has smiled on Ukraine, and in general on our whole region, because it has such a competent leader," Saakashvili said. "For us, stability in Ukraine and its successes have a decisive significance for Georgia. This is not just a friend of Georgia, but a true brother."

Saakashvili went on to say that Yushchenko's "main quality" was "knowing exactly at the decisive moment what must be done."

In Berlin, President Vladimir Putin said he had spoken to Yushchenko by telephone from the office of Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der, whom he was visiting, and that there was no reason to "dramatize" the situation. "There is nothing unusual in a president dismissing a government," Putin told reporters.

The Ukrainians will "find a way to stabilize the situation. ... The situation in Ukraine is under the control of the president," Putin said.

The European Union urged Yushchenko to act quickly to maintain stability. "President Yushchenko won the elections on a platform of commitment to reform, commitment to rooting out corruption and a clean-hands policy, and we are confident that these remain the guiding principles of his administration," EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin told reporters.

Polish parliamentary speaker and presidential candidate Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Yushchenko had indicated in a conversation Tuesday that he was seeking a solution "that would not significantly diminish the chances of the political forces created by the Orange Revolution having success in next year's parliamentary election."

Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the Union of Right Forces party who supported the Orange Revolution, predicted that Tymoshenko would lead the opposition in the March parliamentary election.

"She is a very popular politician, and the people have not yet realized that this government was leading Ukraine into crisis," Interfax quoted him as saying.

Tymoshenko is wanted by Russian prosecutors on bribery charges, and she has frequently alienated Russian politicians by stressing the desire of many Ukrainians to distance themselves from Moscow's influence.

Lyubov Sliska, a pro-Kremlin deputy speaker of the State Duma, said that Yushchenko's firing of the government would ultimately increase Tymoshenko's power, RIA-Novosti reported. She called the crisis a "run-of-the-mill political trick, purely female cunning on Tymoshenko's part."