News / Europe

New Ukrainian President Touts Domestic Reforms, Non-Aligned Foreign Policy

Multimedia

Audio
Peter Fedynsky

Ukraine's newly inaugurated president, Viktor Yanukovych, says the country can only address its endemic poverty and corruption if it reforms a system of government currently designed to serve the interests of individual politicians.  Speaking in parliament after taking the oath of office, Mr. Yanukovych said Ukraine should be a non-aligned country that serves as a bridge between Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Yanukovych took the oath of office on the 16th century Peresopnytska Gospel, the oldest religious text printed in the Ukrainian language.  After receiving a mace, the traditional symbol of Ukrainian power, Mr. Yanukovych told lawmakers and foreign dignitaries that he assumes the presidency amid extremely complicated circumstances - including the absence of a national budget, a colossal foreign debt, poverty, a ruined economy and corruption.  

He says addressing these problems will require an effective government and political opposition, which all synchronize their work with the president.  He urged Ukrainians to cleanse their hearts of what he called "the poison of hate", in terms reminiscent of President Obama's call to extend a hand to foreign adversaries willing to unclench their fists.

Mr. Yanukovych says life confirms a simple and obvious truth: people do not like it when they are shown a fist, but tend rather to trust more in those who extend a hand as a symbol of peace.

The new president denounced the current structure of the Ukrainian government and court system, which he says have been "sewn together" in the interests of individual politicians.  

He was equally critical of Ukraine's failure to develop a post-industrial economy.  He says the country, instead, turned to unbridled capitalism, which has put the country behind in 21st century knowledge-based industries.  However, he says that direct government interference in the economy is a road to nowhere.

Mr. Yanukovych says the necessary conditions for renewed investor faith in Ukraine are ensuring internal stability, overcoming corruption, and establishing clear - and above all - fixed rules governing relations between the state and business.

Turning to international affairs, President Yanukovych said Ukraine is simultaneously an integral part of Europe and of the former Soviet Union and should serve as a non-aligned bridge between both.   

He says Ukraine will adopt a foreign policy which will allow it to gain maximum results and beneficial relations with the Russian Federation, the European Union, the United States and others that influence the situation around the world.
 
Only one former Ukrainian president, Leonid Kuchma, participated in the inauguration ceremony.  Defeated presidential contender and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko boycotted the event, having said earlier she does not recognize Mr. Yanukovych as president.  However, his immediate predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, welcomed him later in the presidential building for an official transfer of control of the armed forces.

Inauguration Day began with a prayer service at Kyiv's ancient Monastery of the Caves, led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.  He stirred controversy among many Ukrainians of other faiths who resented Kirill's presence as meddling in the internal affairs of their country.  In an allusion to Ukraine's linguistic and cultural divide, Mr. Yanukovych said people usually tend to politicize certain spiritual matters when they find themselves in a state of perpetual financial instability.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid