Ukraine—one of the Europe’s largest states, which has every right to be called European—is in in the midst of a revolution. The Ukrainian people openly rebelled against the regime, and the greater part of the country is now affected by the unrest. The regime lost control of the situation; the system of governance is essentially destroyed. President Viktor Yanukovych’s disregard for the protesters’ demands only exacerbate the confrontation between the regime and significant part of the population.
There is every reason to conclude that the Yanukovych regime is doomed. It can temporarily restore its control over some parts of the country only by resorting to violence and dictatorial rule. This spells mass bloodshed. For Yanukovych, actually agreeing to the Maidan’s demands—early presidential and parliamentary elections—is tantamount to losing power; he will not be able to win fair elections. So Yanukovych is trying to buy time, which only intensifies the already fierce confrontation. Moreover, there is “the third power” in this conflict—it is the Kremlin. By providing Yanukovych with financial assistance, the Kremlin effectively became an essential support factor for the sinking Ukrainian regime. Thus, the situation in Ukraine has already acquired international dimension.
However, at some point, Yanukovych and his team have apparently started to realize that a tactical change is in order. On January 25, Yanukovych offered the opposition a deal with two clear goals in mind. First, he wanted to split the opposition trio of Klitschko-Yatsenyuk and Tiahnybok and drive a wedge between the trio and the Maidan protestors. Besides, he wanted to buy some time by promising small concessions but retaining control over the concession-making process. Yanukovych offered the office of prime minister to Arseniy Yatsenyuk and an ambiguously-defined position of vice prime minister to Vitali Klitschko, thus ignoring Oleh Tiahnybok. He did not agree to completely repeal the dictatorial laws, eschewing the questions of early elections and reverting to the 2004 Constitution. The opposition returned to the Maidan and openly rejected the deal with Yanukovych.
Thus, the Maidan’s demands remain in effect. They are the repeal of the dictatorial laws, the early presidential and parliamentary elections, the return to the 2004 Constitution, removing the Berkut special forces from Kiev, and the release of political prisoners. The next few days, particularly the January 28 emergency session of the parliament, will clarify Ukraine’s future trajectory—the country will either continue drifting to further confrontation or Yanukovych will have to yield.
It is hard to predict the next turn of events in Ukraine’s ongoing revolutionary struggle. But we can already draw certain conclusions about some major trends in the Ukrainian drama.
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