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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Secret Service Head: Breach 'Will Never Happen Again'

update Julia Pierson answers questions about the latest break-in well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid