The president Victor Yushchenko intends to participate both in presidential, and in parliamentary elections

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The president of Ukraine agreed to reduce the term of the powers, having supported idea of simultaneous early elections of the president and parliament. VICTOR YUSHCHENKO told about conditions of their carrying out, a format of the participation in election campaign and plans of change of the Constitution in interview to special correspondents "Kommersant" to Sergey Sidorenko and Vladimir Solovyyov.

"People will apprehend other decision as weakness manifestation"

- Mister president, earlier you repeatedly declared impossibility of carrying out simultaneous early elections of the president and parliament, now you support this idea. What changed?

- Early elections - not the tragedy. I spoke about it also year, both two years ago, and now because the Verkhovna Rada at us is a constant source of crisis. But holding parliamentary elections for me not end in itself. The main thing - to avoid old mistakes in new parliament. Now in Rada there is a fight between two megaparties. One party костьми will lay down not to allow financing of elections because it accepts even that system which now is in parliament - absence of the majority. Other political force understands that it has three - four weeks legitimately to receive the power by early elections. I gave to parliament incentive for carrying out early elections - agreed on early presidential election. But I set a condition that we have to hold parliamentary elections by the new principle. For the sake of it it is possible to offer several months of my stay at presidential post because such elections can bring new quality and stability in parliament.

- When, on - to yours, these elections will take place? As well as solved parliament - on October 25?

- I ask you to forget about date on October 25 as about legitimate date of the next presidential election. It is far-fetched date, it is proved by nothing.As for date of carrying out simultaneous early parliamentary and presidential election, now I won't undertake to designate it. Lawyers have to make it, observing a letter and spirit of the Constitution, without breaking terms of elections of parliament and the president.

- If lawyers carry out this task and simultaneous elections will be appointed in what of them you will take part?

- I think, I will take part both in those, and in those.

- You are familiar with ratings of politicians and political forces?

- Yes, I receive them. But if I saw ratings, it doesn't mean that I have to grab at once validol and change the intentions. I know that behind me all the same there are some million people which divide my values. And if I make other decision, these people will apprehend it as manifestation of weakness and as change, as refusal of completion of the begun business.

- At the end of the past year you recognized that you don't expect growth of the popularity. More than once agreed that subjects which you defend, including about Famine-Genocide and NATO, won't add to you popularity within the next year. We correctly quote you?

- Yes, it is absolute. But there are things which are beyond habitual concepts of policy. Today the nations are necessary statesmen who will say that I speak now. Probably, people won't understand them today. Probably, even in five years them won't understand. But time will come, and to them will return! I have a simple logic - to make the state, the nation of the people, we have to speak about history. We have to remember that we have maternal language, the anthem which should be respected and sung that we have to have a respect for the flag. Though one person in the state has to speak about it, you like it or it isn't pleasant. I speak about it as the president. And you me suggest to tell to the nation sweet things which will add a rating.

- We don't offer, we state...

- Wait, let's talk that is made. About what we spoke five years ago, forming fundamentals of new policy? That it is necessary to come to a freedom of speech. That we had a journalist at whom knees don't shiver which can ask a question what five years ago it to itself(himself) would thrust into a sleeve. We live four years in conditions of a freedom of speech. Yes, we yet didn't reach the way end, but we have a progress. The second achievement - a freedom of choice, a basis of democratic society.Look back, in recent years we carried out two early election campaigns. Both times elections were won by opposition, and both times observers recognized these elections honest. And remember that was five years ago! I then didn't know the road on the central television.

- You are afraid, what with arrival of other president there will be a kickback in society democratization?

- And it is not my problem. It is your problem! This problem - at you and at 47 million other Ukrainians. Sorry, that I passed on "you", simply I want that I was apprehended by each person which it will read. If you believed that there is the best model, - please. And I offered enough to reach those values in which I trust! I spoke four years about these values and I tell the fifth year. God will give - I will be both the sixth, and the seventh, and to tell the tenth. I also don't set the task to be pleasant to the nation. Ponder, I am 55 years old, I was the head of the Central Bank, there was a prime minister - the minister. I have values with which I will die. Irrespective of, the nation will understand me or not, I will tell about generations of the Ukrainians tortured, tormented. In it mission of the president of Ukraine. You know, I never was and I won't be the Ukrainian, never was malorosy and never it I will be. If I need to accept the second dose of dioxine, I will make it, I won't refuse. I have five children, and I want that I had an opportunity to tell them "I transferred you Ukraine to the best, than I received it".

- Among those candidates who have the greatest chances to hold a post of the president, you see that person who can continue your course?

- You ask a good loaded question. But if I answer it, I actually recognize the answer to other question. Wait, let's do some fighting still. Ahead elections, let's wait for their results.

- If the parliament resists to dissolution, it is possible, what you will push him to this decision, having issued the decree about the early termination of powers of the Verkhovna Rada?

- I don't want that in parliament there was a feeling that the president only and dreams to hold early elections. But if we have a coalition which has no majority, I ask a question - we have a legitimate power or not? The system which works at discrepancy of the Constitution, is in poor shape. And instability from it inevitably extends on all institutes of the power - both in the City Councils, and in regional councils, both in prosecutor's office, and in National Bank.In such situation of all will bang! Therefore it is better to achieve compliance of the Constitution - let in parliament the majority of 226 People's Deputies who will be able to realize the political policy will be created.

- Now this majority isn't present?

- And here it is an essence of my inquiry in the Constitutional Court (CC). I don't want to make a start from provisions of regulations of the Verkhovna Rada and is ready to wait for the solution of KS. There is a norm that in the absence of the majority I have to fulfill the Constitution requirement (about dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada. - Ъ) but this norm can be used only after publication of interpretation of KS.

- And at present you have no bases for Rada dissolution?

- Quite so, the bases aren't present. But I consider that interpretation of the Constitutional court will give the chance to call things by their proper names. I will remind, the head of the Constitutional court promised that the decision will be passed within a month, and few weeks from this term already passed. I believe that these terms will be observed because in legal sense, as far as I understand, here serious discussion can't be.

- There is an opinion that after publication of the solution of KS it will be necessary to wait for 30 more days, and only after that there will be a right of dissolution of Rada.

- Not necessarily. Let's wait for court conclusions. If in this document it is accurately told that from the moment of coalition creation its activity didn't meet standards of the Constitution, this term will need to be counted from the date of its creation.

- Whether you support decrease in an election threshold within pre-election reform?

- I yet wouldn't do changes in the matter. The operating barrier considers interests of the voter. Another story that we need to change an electoral system and to enter the mechanism of open lists. And here Ukraine needs to be defined. If we speak about majority system, about the nonparty principle of elections, we come to the presidential republic. But, as far as I understand, the presidential republic after 2004 died. By the way, personally I am deeply convinced what exactly the presidential republic is the best model for the country which is in a transition period. But today we won't be able to find sufficient support for return to this model. So now, as though it was bitter, we need to support proportional system, усовершенствуя it by means of idea of open lists.Actually, it will be loan of some elements of majority system - on the district there will be one candidate from each political force.

- You have a 100-percentage confidence what the parliament will listen to your offers and will go with them to elections?

- I will honestly tell, no. I assume that people can win parliament with a weak position. Though Yulia Timoshenko, and Victor Yanukovych said that the operating system is unhealthy that it needs to be changed. But I understand while we will start speaking about details of the mechanism of open lists, it can seriously separate us.

- In that case, on whose support you count?

- On support of 47 million Ukrainians. It won't be possible to change the law on elections - we will adopt the updated Constitution where the mechanism of a legislative initiative will be entered from citizens. Then everything will be simple. Collected 100 thousand signatures, and the law got to parliament.

- But for Constitution change parliament support too is necessary, and it isn't present.

- For me as for the politician, it is very important that the Verkhovna Rada took part in creation of the Constitution. At least at the level of the first hearing, at the level of 226 voices. Simply to hear opinion of parliament. And surely the Constitution of Ukraine has to be accepted by the people. I emphasize, it is a question not of acceptance in parliament, and that the parliament will consider it. Five political forces will express on this matter. They will tell "yes" or "no" - it isn't so important, but they will speak. And acceptance has to be national. After the approval of the project which I offer, keys from the Constitution once and for all remain with the people. Any further changes of the Constitution, they will be initiated by the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies or the president, won't be able to be realized until people won't tell "yes".

- But the existing Constitution assumes that changes are made at a consent of two thirds of a depuy corps, and these are 300 voices. You have a legal mechanism which will allow to bypass this norm?

- There is the interpretation of the Constitutional court published in the spring of 2008. And there it is said that changes and additions go on traditional procedure and if it is the new Constitution, it has to be accepted on a national referendum. Now we speak about acceptance of the updated version of the Constitution. It is enough of it to involve that norm about which I told.
"You will see how we will say goodbye to odious people who disappointed party"

- You are the Our Ukraine party leader which now is in deep crisis. You have an exit plan from it?

- It is important to understand when it appeared in crisis. Crisis was earlier - when the party included people who moved it not that road which I wanted, not that which corresponded to my views. And now we say that the party is restored. A week before last I collected party presidium where the plan of its updating was submitted. We need to re-register members, to update and in many cases to re-register executive committees. We need to separate from those people, careerists who did parties enormous harm, defending the business - interests.

- About whom specifically you speak?

- The president has to have only good news. All bad let becomes lips of other people. But I can assure you that here actions will be resolute and cardinal. You will see how we will say goodbye to odious people who disappointed party. In many regional organizations we will need to change the management, to update council of the party and executive committee. And then quickly to hold regional conferences and All-Ukrainian congress.

- And when this congress will take place?

- I think, we will cope in a month. Maximum - month and one week.

- "Our Ukraine" will take part in elections?

- Certainly, will be. And it will return herself the voters. I want to tell that without "our Ukraine" the Ukrainian political world will be very poor. Any political force won't be able to formulate country priorities clearly so. Any party won't offer you more worthy road to the future, any force won't be so betrayed democracies, as "our Ukraine". By the way, we constantly suffer from it because in democratic party it is always more difficult to make decisions, than in the authoritative.

- Whether you plan to expand party before elections at the expense of other democratic forces? We will ask directly - whether there will be this partner a Uniform Center party?

- I will answer directly - there are difficulties... (I reflected. - Ъ) Let's depart from a reality of "The uniform center"... I will remind of history of associations. Since 2002 I caused so many political corpses from a next world! We then rescued the whole movements, groups of politicians which as it seemed to me, still can serve Ukraine.But as a result association in the block led us to undermining integrity, mobility and efficiency of decision-making.

- And if not to try to create the block, and to unite in uniform party?

- It was the last idea. We wanted to unite all - beginning from Boris Tarasyuk's Rukh and Yury Kostenko's UNP and finishing Christian democrats. Theoretically we had a chance to unite, but practice showed that democratic forces very badly stick together. And not national idea, and a small ego of petty politicians, yesterday's politicians becomes an obstacle. Proceeding from this experience today at me, I will honestly tell, it isn't enough desire to unite with someone at party level. Already the fatigue collected, bothered to be a stick - a lifesaver for other political forces. Though, of course, I don't speak categorical "no" because there is a political process, and compromises are possible.

- At the beginning of our conversation you told about positive results of the stay on a post of the president. And there is something, what you wanted, but couldn't make for these years?

- Yes. It is Constitution reform. This mine was set up in 2004... But then the nation faced prospect of civil war, and the choice was very difficult.

- Probably, it was necessary to cancel the constitutional reform initiated by the president Leonid Kuchma, in 2005?

- I then had no majority in parliament. The old majority (in the Verkhovna Rada of the IV convocation. - Ъ) lived the days, and new created (in the Verkhovna Rada of the V convocation. - Ъ) wasn't constructive from the first day. From - for it we wasted too much time.
"Our bilateral relations don't have pragmatics"

- During your board Kiev and Moscow didn't build the normal political relations. You didn't manage to make it neither with Vladimir Putin, nor with Dmitry Medvedev. What to you disturbed?

- Russia - the great country which can and has to be the soloist in many geopolitical questions. Naturally, it has the vision of foreign policy. In Moscow can say that Ukraine is a zone of special interests of Russia. But in Ukraine such terminology isn't perceived. As for our bilateral relations, they don't have pragmatics. On the person their deep politicization. I consider that in the best way the relations strengthen торгово - economic relations.To make a duty of politicians of two states so that business could communicate freely. In 1993 to make active the economic relations, the agreement on a free trade zone was signed. Today - 2009, there passed 16 years. Ukraine ratified this document soon after signing. Russia still didn't make it.

- What prevents to create such mode?

- It is a question not to the Ukrainian party. By the way, months through five Ukraine will sign the agreement on a free trade zone with EU. We began work on it 11 months ago and, I think, by September we will finish. And now I have a question: why with Russia we can't enter the same mode?

- Your aspiration in NATO which cool perceive in society, also causes irritation of Moscow. What need for it?

- It essentially. We need to understand, the role of system of safety in arrangement of the independent state is how important. For the last 90 years Ukrainians six times declared independence of the state. Ponder, six times - at one nation in Europe aren't present more such experience!

- You consider, what, remaining out of NATO, Ukraine can lose independence?

- I want that understood my argument. From six attempts of the announcement of independence of Ukraine five failed. As a rule, it was connected with an external factor. Certainly, I helped with it and the fifth column within the country. And so, I don't want that we lost independence for the sixth time. Look at Europe. Any country of Europe, excepting Russia, didn't go on the way of a self-sufficient security policy. All told that the only way to guarantee own safety - participation in model of collective security. Other model isn't considered neither in Austria, nor in the countries of Scandinavia, in Switzerland. There are distinctions in nuances - why one country was included formally in the block, and another isn't present. But it doesn't mean that these countries against model of collective security! To some extent all of them under protection of this system. And now we will follow examples of the contemporary history and we will look at countries of Eastern Europe, beginning from the Baltic States with which we together built developed a socialism. As soon as they gained the independence, joining to system of collective security was the first step in the sphere of safety.

- When Ukraine can join NATO?

- I understand that journalists want to hear year, month and day.But here everything is more difficult. It not in competence of the president Yushchenko. All people have to answer this question. Everyone has to understand that NATO is not policy against someone, it is policy for you. In a word, in order that Ukraine was in NATO, we need to carry out work among 47 million Ukrainians. Here the road won't be defined by the directive: Let it be. I am the optimist as I see dynamics. Four years ago we began work with 12% of support of the accession to NATO. The first year finished with an indicator 17%, today we have 33%.
We should convince Ukrainians that NATO is not a cloud in trousers which soars where - that is high. It is necessary that people understood that it is a question of independence, of guarantees of inviolability of borders and of what country they leave to the children. Therefore I knock four years at all doors and I speak: there is one way to keep tranquillity and stability - to join a uniform security policy of Europe. I don't know how it will be long necessary to drive the nation on the desert that it came to this opening. But dynamics of the last four years says that the number of supporters of NATO increases, and the number of opponents decreases. Whether accept I these rates? No, don't arrange. Power change in Ukraine if it takes place, will add something to the made? No, won't add! It will surely reject us. But this kickback won't be fatal. We will surely get back to this idea - in 5 or 7 years - and we will understand that today lost that we had on a threshold.

- As for stay of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation in the Crimea - there is an arrangement that it will be based there till 2017, but Kiev persistently suggests Moscow to prepare for a fleet conclusion now already. To what this haste?

- This contractual base doesn't suit us, it doesn't give to Ukraine any benefit and, in fact, any rent, any compensation of losses which are sustained by the Crimea. But we have an agreement till 2017, we are obliged to observe spirit and which letter. However our Constitution doesn't assume placement in Ukraine someone's military bases. The only exception till 2017 is the Black Sea fleet of Russia. But to remove fleet in a year, two or five it is impossible. So we don't set the purpose to torpedo agreements in force, we only want to warn the Russian partners.

- During August war in South Ossetia you came to Tbilisi and supported Mikheil Saakashvili.You on - former consider, what it was right in that conflict?

- Estimating those events, we proceeded from territorial integrity of Georgia. There are no arguments which allow to encroach on these principles and to divide the sovereign country.

- The West considers as. But the attitude towards Saakashvili there changed: it don't consider as the innocent victim of aggression.
- I don't speak about Saakashvili. I speak about the principles on which the world order is based. They were broken.
"I want to emphasize that the state is not cooperative"

- You met representatives of the IMF within negotiations on receiving the second tranche of the credit. Whether financial improvement of NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy by one of IMF requirements is?

- Yes, it is one of the most important components of the budgetary problem which I already mentioned. We need to change rules of the game in the market, to liberalize the wholesale and retail markets of gas.

- Whether it is necessary to increase gas cost for the population?

- Certainly. Also it is a sore point. Because this decision not in competence of the president or parliament, and is exclusive in competence of the government. And the government doesn't want it to do and looks for other ways. In particular, it is a question of allocation of the budgetary financing.

- Why you don't insist on immediate reforming of branch according to the vision?

- At these reforms the postponed effect - even if the government will agree on their carrying out, we will be able to feel consequences only in the end of the year because gas consumption by the population will grow only in the IV quarter. In the II-III quarters we will have no other way, except how to allocate to "Naftogaz" of 6,1 billion UAH. Yes, I am not the supporter of such approach because it postpones reforming of oil and gas sector. But today we have no exit.

- Where to take means for pumping gas in UGS during the summer period?

- There are two nuances. Tell, what country of Europe downloads in UGS the same volumes of gas, how Ukraine? Any of the countries. And Ukraine should refuse this practice. If we have an adjusted domestic market - the rhythmical consumption, the liberalized price and full payment of the consumed gas - we will be able to bring up this question. Why to us to buy gas in the advance payment to consume it in December? The only thing that can stimulate such purchase, - a price environment.If it is more favorable to us to buy gas, than in the winter in the summer, we will have a motive for downloading in UGS. One more moment - we can use UGS for storage of export volumes of gas which are intended for seasonal deliveries to EU. And I consider that we should follow this logic. Yes, the part of capacities of UGS needs to be used for critical reserves of internal consumption, but the lion's share should be reoriented for stabilization of deliveries to Europe.

- But it is plans for the future. And what to do in 2009?

- It is necessary to adjust domestic market. If he works like clock-work, we will have no problems with deliveries and gas payment to the seasonal period. With today's system we can't count on crediting because return of the credits will be very doubtful. I will give an example. Some days before new, 2009, I disposed that the National Bank allocated to "Naftogaz" about $2 billion for calculation with "Gazprom". I emphasize, the credit was given out for half a year. There passed a half of this term - the I quarter to which the main amount of the paid gas was consumed ended. And now I ask a question: what part of this sum was extinguished? Zero! In the II quarter, naturally, the revenue for sale of gas will be even less because the heating season ended. What to do?

- There will be a prolongation of the credit of National bank?

- For prolongation the government will be compelled to address again for the credits to National Bank which is limited in means. No other borrower will give money for these purposes. As a result possibilities of financing of other directions of development of economy will be reduced.

- But the government all - looks for alternative sources of proceeds of credit. In particular, the Cabinet of Ministers appealed to Russia to give out the credit of $5 billion. You support such initiative?

- Before answering this question, I will remind that the imbalance of the state budget of this year makes about 40 billion UAH plus about 30 billion more UAH of the hidden deficiency. For a start we need to resolve an issue of elimination of this imbalance. And it is possible to solve it only with the international financial institutions - neither Russia, nor Saudi Arabia here won't help us. As soon as Ukraine will fulfill IMF requirements, will find resources for a covering of a budget deficit and will receive IMF financing, any other credit programs will be interesting to us.

- Including Russian?

- And Russian, I not against.But I want to emphasize that the state is not cooperative, the state doesn't set the purpose to get money at any cost. During budget revision the government has to be put in a certain framework. In the budget the sums, terms and conditions of possible loans for a covering of gaps in 2009 have to be recorded. If these conditions are met - please.

- And if means are received not by the government, and "Naftogaz", it will allow to bypass the budgetary restrictions?

- If the Russian side wants to grant a loan to "Naftogaz" as to corporate structure and to help it to pump gas in UGS is it will be possible.

- And you aren't afraid, what this credit will have a political component?

- I understand about what you speak. I can assure you - in Ukraine there is no politician who would like to carry out audit of property of the gas transmission system. If you consider that you know such politician, you are mistaken. It is the fact! Certainly, there are politicians who speculate on this subject, but these are only political speculation, no more. Yes, I agree that the state not the best operator in use of a national resource, but GTS is the rule doesn't concern. Let's remember once and for all: the gas transmission system of Ukraine is an unseparable asset of the state. It is necessary to forget about any offers on revision of the status of management and GTS use.

- On March 23 in Brussels the international conference on a question of modernization of GTS took place. You expected, what this action will cause so sharp reaction of Russia?

- No. Because it is inadequate reaction. Simply in Russia many people had an impression that the Ukrainian GTS is an object for which they can apply.

- Why Ukraine quietly reacts to statements of the Russian officials, times they call in question the right of Ukraine to modernize system?

- Because if to react to all statements, it won't introduce construct in the relations.

- But Moscow declares it on the international scene, convincing Europe of the correctness. It is possible, what as a result Russia will achieve revision of the Bruxelles arrangements?

- No, because a problem of modernization of GTS - a problem not only Ukraine. It also European Union problem. Europe was shocked with the events occurring at the beginning of 2009. Very few people in EU assumed that someone will be able to block it gas in January.Also I made it, I emphasize, not the Ukrainian party. All this pushed Europe to creation of the new scheme of work of the gas market. Certainly, yet it will be possible to speak about creation of the clear, accurate European market of gas soon, but over it today work many times more actively, than, say, a year ago.

- Gas purchase on eastern frontier of Ukraine - part of the new scheme?

- Quite probably. This question will be brought up in a context of reforming of the gas market.

- We will return to the Bruxelles arrangements. Whether participation of Russia in GTS modernization is possible?

- Certainly, "Naftogaz" demands the practical help in GTS modernization. We found three structures which are ready to finance GTS modernization, is the European investment bank, the European Reconstruction and Development Bank and the World bank. But when we will receive financial resources, contractors for system modernization will be necessary to us. Competition on modernization of linear part, and if the Russian contract appears the most favorable will be held, it is obvious that the Russian side will take part in this project. The same concerns compressor stations. Restrictions for participation of the foreign companies in these competitions won't be. But I specify - GTS accessory from it won't change.

- Why you speak only about contract works? After all the Bruxelles declaration allows involvement of additional investors, besides three investment banks.

- Please, if someone wants to join financing, it won't be superfluous. Including if it is Russia.

- On March 23 in Brussels the prime minister - the minister Yulia Timoshenko supported the reached agreements. At the same time there is information that today the prime minister reconsiders the position. You can confirm or disprove these data?

- I too have such information. But I can express only a regret about it because Ukraine has no other option. Besides commercial links of this project суперокупаемы, they are extremely favorable to us. There can't be even slightest discussions. There are also noncommercial projects with separate financing - it is a question of the metrological center in Boyarke, construction of gas-measuring stations on seven entrances of GTS to Ukraine and formation of uniform system of monitoring. The purpose of these projects - to make the Ukrainian GTS open system where the European consumer will be able to receive any information on gas passing.Actually, it becomes an integral part of the European GTS and will be integrated into the European market of gas.

- You criticized more than once contracts on deliveries and transit of the Russian gas which were signed at the beginning of January...

- And now I criticize!

-... and still you said that they need to be reconsidered. Why there are no initiatives of their revision?

- Because it is competence of the government. There is a person who assumed a personal responsibility for contents of these contracts. It is Yulia Timoshenko, she gave directives, defined price and other characteristics. And those people who technically formed and signed the document, only carried out the directive the prime minister - the minister. But unless it is possible to say, what the transit rate in $1,7 gives stability of our GTS? It is an unprofitable rate!

- So all - Ukraine will revise contracts which you call unprofitable?

- If we bring up now a question of revision of this unprofitable, unreasoned contract, it won't find support in Europe. The contract is signed, and it needs to be carried out. It is necessary for us that our relationship with Russia was stable that we didn't surprise every year the whole world, telling as it is heavy to agree with Russia.

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