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Western Media: Don’t distort the situation in Ukraine!

Western Media: Don’t distort the situation in Ukraine!
Halya Coynash
02.03.14
Quelle: khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1393797933
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They’re out on the streets, they’re vocal and they tacitly allow the West to think that since there are two sides to the story, expressing grave concern is enough. There are indeed a large number of pro-Russian citizens in the Crimea who welcome Russian intervention, however there are plenty of Ukrainians – including ethnic Russians – who vehemently oppose Russia’s effective occupation of the Crimea.

Any media coverage should be objective and present all sides.

A CNN report on Sunday afternoon spoke only to people who were pleased that the Russians had seized control and delighted to be asked if they were frightened of the new government in Ukraine. No attempt was made to ascertain what was meant by their allegations of “fascists” in control or what the grounds for their fears were. This has no basis in fact, making the fears unfounded, if understandable. If journalists had spoken to a broader range of interviewees, they would have understood that nobody is stopped from speaking Russian in the Crimea, and that these fears were largely being fuelled by propaganda on Russian television channels.

As of around 23.00, Kyiv time, just over 117 thousand “ethnic Russians and Russian speakers” have signed a petition entitled Mr Putin: We ethnic Russians and Russian speakers don’t need protection; there have been statements of protest from religious bodies; human rights organizations (Ukrainian and Russian); the Crimean Tatars (up to 15% of the Crimean population, and an indigenous people for whom the Crimea is their sole homeland).

Nobody is asking international news agencies to take a stand. Quite the contrary: the truth is needed to ensure adequate response to a situation of grave danger and to counter seriously distorted coverage of events which mislead the public.

Please be careful in your news coverage, and provide as full a picture as possible.

maidantranslations.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/western-media-dont-distort-the-situation-in-ukraine/

Media beware in the coming days and weeks Putin will try to destabilize Ukraine’s eastern regions with hired thugs and paramilitaries. And he may yet impose his will on these regions with a formal invasion. Get the word out and do good to stop a war between Russia and Ukraine.

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

In Memory of the Fallen Heroes of Ukraine Revolution of Dignity.

This is the Shrine to those who gave their lives yesterday on Maidan.
Symbolically, this memorial was set up at the foot of the monument to Ukraine’s independence – scarred with bullet holes, blackened by fire, but still standing!

Вічна пам’ять Героям Майдану!ALTHOUGH WE SAW THE END OF THE YANUKOVYCH BLOODY REGIME TODAY, UKRAINE LOST SO MANY BRAVE SONS THIS WEEK. VICHNAYA PAMYAT TO THE NEBESNA SOTNIA.
sotnya

shrine
Blood stains have been covered with flowers, and memorials set up at each spot where a person was killed during the fighting on Feb 19-20. The coffins of heroes who lost their lives to sniper fire and riot police grenades were brought to the stage in pairs all day today – each was sent off in a moving ceremony in the presence of tens of thousands of demonstrators.

fallen

21 century genocide in Ukraine February 2014 Massive funerals today in Kyiv.
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A tribute to the Heroes that gave their lives for Ukraine and her people ….. average folks like you and I in their regular lives; but extraordinary in their sacrifice. Maidan tonight. The city is heartbroken over its deceased heroes.
The Heavenly Hundred. A tribute to those who defended Euromaidan. Our Heros. Please share in their memory.
TO HEROES GLORY

Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands

Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands
18.02.14 | Halya Coynash

Two of those whom the authorities call "extremists"

Two of those whom the authorities call “extremists”


The first reports that Berkut riot police were positioned on roofs and aiming rubber bullets and grenades at protesters came early on Tuesday. They almost certainly preceded the later disturbances and the two women who received wounds were very clearly peaceful protesters.

This soon changed, and the conflict became ugly. As of 1 a.m. on Wednesday, at least 20 people are reported dead and the centre of Kyiv is burning.

It is those later images that have been published in the world media and that have prompted European and North Atlantic countries to issue statements condemning the violence and calling for “both sides” to renounce force and sit down at the negotiating table. Ukrainian oligarchs have also grabbed the opportunity and called for “an end to violence”.

Some western commentators are refreshingly blunt. David Kramer from Freedom House has stated that “legitimate democratic leaders do not order riot police to attack protesters asking for a more open government, Yanukovych has forfeited his legitimacy and needs to step down”.

The following are just a few of the day’s events that strip any regime of its legitimacy. More will become clearer over the coming days and weeks. Time however is not on Ukrainians’ side now that the president, Viktor Yanukovych, doubtless buoyed – or bound – by yesterday’s 2 billion loan from Russia has chosen bloodshed.

The reports from Tuesday morning showed ordinary protesters preparing for a march on parliament. The pro-presidential Party of the Regions was blocking attempts to even table a draft law proposing changes to the Constitution. Berkut riot police blocked the streets to prevent the protesters even approaching parliament. Judging by those early reports, and confirmed by photos, Berkut snipers began shooting (then only rubber bullets) and hurling grenades very early on.

This is indeed not the behaviour of a legitimate democratic government, but there is more. There have been reports from morning of large number of titushki or hired thugs in the centre. They were seen provoking conflict, looting and some reports suggest that they may have shot at Berkut officers. There is also a video clip which appears to show a protester injured, perhaps killed, by fire from titushki.

Can such reports be treated as standard attempts to blame the other side for any escalation? There is ample evidence of such use of titushki over recent months, as was noted by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner during his visit to Ukraine. The assertion by the police that 7 officers have been shot and killed seems at least strange since none of the western or Ukrainian media reports speak of protesters using firearms.

The government has tried to present the protesters as “extremists”, and has called the use of force to clear the EuroMaidan demonstrators on Maidan Nezalezhnosti “an anti-terrorist” action. Despite the violence and the number of deaths, the numbers on Maidan have not abated. Some thirty thousand people simply by virtue of their numbers can hardly be called “terrorists”. They do not fit the description in any other way either. Through the evening, they have been singing the Ukrainian national anthem, taking part in public prayer and listening to addresses, including one from Mustafa Jemilev, veteran defender of the rights of the Crimean Tatars and Soviet political prisoner, who expressed pride in his fellow Ukrainians.

These “terrorists” are being treated, when injured, by a medical service made up solely of volunteers, some of whom have themselves come under attack. The EuroMaidan Civic Sector reports that with Berkut setting protesters’ tents and some buildings on fire, the medical unit has been forced to move to the Myhailivsky [St Michael’s] Cathedral. A large number of people have been detained, with lawyers not allowed to see those held at 5 police stations

During meetings with EU and Council of Europe representatives at the end of January, EuroMaidan and human rights activists spoke of credible rumours that a crackdown would be attempted after the middle of February. The timing was linked with the fact that the Sochi Olympics would then be drawing to an end, and Russia would not need to fear any boycott of its games. Over the weekend that danger seemed to have abated with Maidan and opposition negotiators showing readiness to comply with the notorious “hostage law” by vacating government buildings, clearing part of the road, etc, in order to get the charges against a huge number of protesters waived.

The announcement on Monday that Yanukovych had agreed another loan of 2 billion from Russia led to considerable speculation as to what the agreement had entailed.

Tuesday began with Ukrainians of different ages, professions, ethnic origin and faiths endeavouring to present demands which are legitimate in any democratic country. The descent into violence and bloodshed is indeed a cause of deep concern. It is surely time, however, for that concern to be translated into action by those who hold democratic values dear.

khpg.org/index.php?id=1392772605

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

We need a Marshall Plan to fix Ukraine

UKRAINE_DANIEL BILAK
We need a Marshall Plan to fix Ukraine

DANIEL BILAK

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 13 2014, 10:07 AM EST

The turmoil in Ukraine, now in its third month, will be not be resolved without robust intervention on the part of its key western partners, the European Union, the United States and Canada
. The crisis began when Ukrainians swept into the streets to protest President Yanukovych’s abrupt refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Explaining that Ukraine was bankrupt and required an immediate cash injection that the EU was unprepared to provide, the president gratefully accepted a $15-billion bailout from an obliging President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

While the protests have morphed into a countrywide revolt against cronyism and corruption, a political resolution is currently deadlocked, while Ukraine’s beleaguered currency remains in freefall and its bankrupted economy faces imminent collapse. A bellicose Mr. Putin is using the unfolding drama to suborn Ukraine economically and politically, in much the same way that Stalin attempted to leverage the devastation in Europe to advance communism after the Second World War.

These circumstances pose a clear geo-strategic choice to the EU, U.S. and Canada: can the West afford a poor, politically unstable, autocratic, economically derelict nation of 46 million potential refugees on Europe’s eastern border tethered to a poor, but aggressive Russia; or is it in the West’s collective interests to embrace a prosperous, democratically confident and economically stable Ukraine firmly integrated into Europe?

Indeed, as pithily explained by geo-strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, the ultimate prize for the West is not even a stable Ukraine, but a democratic Russia; a peaceful, prosperous European Ukraine destroys Mr. Putin’s residual imperial ambitions and provides Russia with an opportunity to eventually transform into a democratic, responsible and peaceful partner, sharing common values.

This outcome requires the development of a comprehensive assistance plan for Ukraine modelled on the post-war European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan. In 1948, facing the dual threats of Soviet expansionism and the total collapse of Europe’s economies, the United States pumped $15-billion (roughly $148-billion in today’s terms) into modernizing and integrating Europe’s economies. This far-sighted strategic decision resulted in the total political reconstruction of Western Europe, leading to decades of unprecedented growth and prosperity on the continent.

The recovery plan for Ukraine (let’s call it the Ukraine Recovery Program, or URP) should take this same bold, strategic approach. It should be based on the following framework: in return for starting to implement pre-agreed structural reforms (and only then), a new reform-oriented Ukrainian government demonstrably committed to (and capable of) implementing reforms should be offered a substantial three-to-four-year aid package that 1) facilitates the democratic transformation of Ukraine’s governing institutions; 2) stimulates the modernization and competitiveness of the Ukrainian economy; and 3) by offsetting the adverse socio-economic consequences of Russian economic retaliation, provides a social cohesion cushion in three key sectors: energy, state-owned enterprises, and the pension system. Social cohesion assistance in the following areas would cost between $21-25-billion, comprised of stand-by money to be used to backstop the plan agreed with the government to modernize the economy.

Moreover, a detailed outline of the URP, beyond vague promises, should be announced immediately. The impact of the EU, U.S. and Canada demonstrating their willingness to stand behind Ukraine with a massive program of assistance will help break the political logjam and provide a framework for the outcome of the current negotiations. It will 1) reassure Ukrainians of the West’s seriousness in helping Ukraine integrate into Europe; 2) build support among Ukrainians for a European future; 3) assuage the fears, stoked by the governing party and Russia, among Ukrainians (especially in the densely populated and heavily industrialized eastern part of Ukraine) of losing their jobs and pensions during the integration process; and 4) undermine the specious arguments that Ukraine’s only hope of economic salvation lies with Russia.

With this plan the West reaffirms its position as an honest broker to the current dispute, as the URP would be politically neutral and addresses the concerns of all sides.

Notwithstanding the hobbling economic problems in the West, the URP is worth the investment; the cost of containing the long-term fallout from economic collapse in Ukraine will be significantly higher. For the West, Ukraine is too big to fail. Moldova and Georgia may also lay claims for massive assistance, but their own viability as independent states may depend on whether or not Ukraine falls back into Russia’s orbit. Only Ukraine has the heft to block Russia’s imperial aspirations.

Ultimately, the URP will reassure the Ukrainian people that they can enter through Europe’s “open door” not as paupers, but as proud partners.

Finally, the EU, backed by the U.S. and Canada, should take the long overdue, and now obvious step of explicitly promising to open talks with Ukraine on EU accession following implementation of the reforms.

Ukrainians have shown the world that they are prepared to die for the values behind the original Marshall Plan – they have certainly earned the right to be integrated back into Europe.

Daniel Bilak is an international lawyer based in Kiev and a former UNDP senior governance advisor to the government of Ukraine.

www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/we-need-a-marshall-plan-to-fix-ukraine/article16849121/

It is important for the Western World to act decisively and support the evolution of a prosperous, democratically confident and economically stable Ukraine firmly integrated into Europe!

I Am a Ukrainian

The people demand change.

They recognize that something is wrong in their country

Media Overblowing Extreme Right’s Role in Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests

> Media Overblowing Extreme Right’s Role in Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests

Posted 9 February 2014 23:40 GMT

Euromaidan protesters sing songs as they warm by the fire barrels near the barricades on Hrushevskoho Street in Kiev, Ukraine on 2 February, 2014. Copyright Demotix

Euromaidan protesters sing songs as they warm by the fire barrels near the barricades on Hrushevskoho Street in Kiev, Ukraine on 2 February, 2014. Copyright Demotix

This post is part of our Special Coverage Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests.

A group of domestic and international scholars of Ukrainian nationalism have warned that an increasing number of media reports are misrepresenting the role of Ukraine’s far right within the anti-government protest movement Euromaidan.

Ukraine has been rocked by the massive demonstrations for more than two months now, with thousands of Ukrainians from all over the country maintaining a camp in the capital Kyiv and many others joining on weeknights and weekends. The movement began as peaceful, but the short-lived passage of laws limiting the right to protest sparked violent clashes between demonstrators and police.

The movement is highly diverse, with Euromaidan protesters representing a wide range of ages, income, education and abilities.

The scholars’ assessment was part of a collective statement released on change.org titled “On the role of far-right groups in Ukraine’s protest movement, and a warning about the Russian imperialism-serving effects of some supposedly anti-fascist media reports from Kyiv”. To counter these misconceptions of protesters’ political affiliations, they stated:

Both the violent and non-violent resistance in Kyiv includes representatives from all political camps as well as non-ideological persons who may have problems locating themselves politically. Not only the peaceful protesters, but also those using sticks, stones and even Molotov Cocktails, in their physical confrontation with police special units and government-directed thugs, constitute a broad movement that is not centralized. Most protesters only turned violent in response to increasing police ferocity and the radicalization of Yanukovych’s regime. The demonstrators include liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, nationalists and cosmopolitans, Christians, non-Christians and atheists.

Anton Shekhovtsov, a blogger and a researcher of far-right movements in Europe, published an extensive investigation into what he alleges is an organized effort to defame Ukrainian Euromaidan protests in the West. He wrote:

Every single mass political mobilisation in Ukraine has been accompanied by the attempts to compromise the popular uprisings by associating them with the extreme right. And not only uprisings or protests, but big events too. For example, a few weeks before the start of the Euro-2012 football championship, British media hysterically accused Ukrainians of racism and xenophobia, and warned that any non-White person going to see football matches in Ukraine would definitely and immediately be killed. After the championship was over, no British media outlet apologised to the Ukrainian people when it turned out that not one racist incident involving Ukraine fans had been reported during the tournament.

The current campaign to defame the Euromaidan protests is so far the strongest attack on the Ukrainian civil society and democratic politics. Similar attacks took place in the past too [ru], although their intensity never reached today’s level. During the “Orange revolution“, the Ukrainian semi-authoritarian regime under President Leonid Kuchma was also trying to defile democratic presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko by associating him with the extreme right.

According to the author, the ongoing defamation campaign involves a number of individuals and groups that form a wide network aimed at promoting anti-Western, pro-Russian and pro-Eurasianist ideas in the EU, Canada and the US. He noticed that several individuals involved in the effort are regular commentators of Kremlin-sponsored Russia Today and Voice of Russia.

Shekhovtsov concluded by demonstrating how the tone of the Euromaidan defamation effort aligns with the official rhetoric of the Russian government:

The large network consisting of pro-Russian authors and institutions is a hard/extreme right breeding-ground of all kinds of conspiracy theories, Euroscepticism, racism and anti-democratic theories. Today, this is also one of the main sources of the articles, op-eds and statements that are one way or another trying to discredit the Euromaidan protests by associating them either with neo-Nazism or with the alleged US expansionism. The rhetoric of these authors fully conforms to the remarks made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who has recently slammed Western support for Euromaidan and declared: “What does incitement of increasingly violent street protests have to do with promoting democracy? Why don’t we hear condemnations of those who seize and hold government buildings, burn, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?”.

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/09/media-overblowing-extreme-rights-role-in-ukraines-euromaidan-protests/:antim

At Ukrainskyi Dim [an expo center seized by the protesters] extremists have attacked the floor – with mops. Minister of Interior is concerned. #euromaidan #євромайдан

This post is part of our Special Coverage Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests.
Creative Commons License
bohdWritten byTetyana Bohdanova

globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/09/media-overblowing-extreme-rights-role-in-ukraines-euromaidan-protests/

It’s time for the world order to accept the evolution of a “New” Ukraine a free, democratic, tolerant society with European values in their hearts and souls. The Kremlin ideologies must be quashed. They are Old World ,imperialistic, divisive, and most of all Ukrainophobic. Ukraine has the right exist as does the New Europe post World War 2 and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The majority of Ukrainians have had enough of Kremlin’s anti-Semintic and Nazi provocations against the evolution of a “New” Ukraine. The West must support this Revolution of Dignity to overcome Kremlin’s strangulation of Ukraine as occurred with the fall of the Iron Curtain in Berlin

Ukraine – Doomed After the Olympics

iputin
Posted on January 31, 2014 by Martin Armstrong

Ukraine – Doomed After the Olympics

According to a former adviser to Vladimir Putin, the economist Andrei Illarionov, the Kremlin will take one of three possible scenarios with respect to the Ukraine problem. The most dramatic will be the establishment of full control over the whole Ukraine. Within the first half of February, Illarionov states that Russia will begin the total pressure on Ukraine, the purpose of which, will be to assert full control of Moscow over the country.

According to Illarionov, within the next week, Russia will begin to assert a lot of pressure on Kiev.Moscow has resumed a reduced trade war with Ukraine and there has been an information war against Ukraine put out by the government. In particular, there is a delay at the border of Ukrainian goods moving into Russia for 10-15 days. This is expected to increase domestic economic pressure in Ukraine.

The mainstream news in Russia portrays the Ukrainian protesters as criminals and what they are attempting to do amounts to a coup. Some even claim this will lead to a resurgence of Nazis and neo-Nazis power on the border. Purpose of this revolution in Ukraine is to accomplish, says Illarionov literally, is “genocide and the destruction of the Russian population.”

Others in Russia talk about the “reunification” of Russian lands, not that Ukraine is even a separate country. They place this in the news and the context is justified the same as German unification. The Eastern part of Ukraine was historically once Russia. This is the same justification Iraq made on invading Kuwait. The Western portion of Ukraine was never part of Russia so this reasoning would not apply. Indeed, even in the West they speak Ukrainian whereby in the East they speak Russian. We could see Russia justify taking the East as a “reunification” but I would not expect anything before the Olympic games are over.

At the same time, according to the ex-adviser to Putin, Russia has increased its presence in Ukraine, in particular, in the Crimea and the Luhansk region, where the predominant Russian population live. They entered that region to protect the Russian population in eastern Ukraine. Additional Russians were sent into Sevastopol to protect it from the raging swells against Russians. All this gives the impression of a major well-prepared campaign that has just begun and will go on increasing in February. It is not much different from American troops being sent to a foreign land to protect Americans.

Illarionov believes that the active phase will begin immediately after the opening of the Olympics in Sochi, February 7-8th. It is unlikely that Russia would take any such action prior to the Olympics. What happens after the games, is purely political motivation. However, the Russian government will paint the Ukrainian protesters as criminals no different than Hoover called the Bonus Army criminals to justify military action against them in Washington back in 1932.

According to Illarionov, Russia’s options are

(1) establishing a baseline scenario control over the entire Ukraine. This would be the most appropriate option;
(2) pro-Kremlin politicians and political scientists see this as the federalization or confederation Ukraine in the context of reunification as a state subservient to Moscow. and
(3) llarionov suggests that if the first two options fail, then control over the Crimea, Luhansk , and possibly part of Sumy region will need to be established under this idea of “reunification” with Moscow over part of the country in the East joining the Russian population with their mother country.

Illarionov believes that the outcome is really predetermined and that whatever attempts are made to pretend to appoint a opposition Prime Minister of Ukraine, the decision is simply a stall tactic.

It is very clear that many Russian politicians call directly for a popular idea to recreate the age-old dream of reunification of Ukraine and Russia. It is very clear that many have never considered Ukraine as an independent state and call it “nedogosudarstvom”. From their point of view, Ukraine will no longer be so weak in relation to Russia, and Russia will not be as strong in relation to Ukraine, as it is today.

The Western powers represented by the EU and the US have nothing to stand on to protect Ukraine and can only offer lip-service at best. So once again, it appears that Ukraine is doomed and the best one can hope for there, is that Russia will allow the West to leave. The countdown goes forward and the political and economic crisis is indicative of what we see with the first shot across the bow in the rising trend of the Cycle of War.

Putin- don’t underestimate Ukraine’s determination for freedom and fight for dignity and self-determination. Ukraine is no Georgia in numbers. There are hundreds of millions both living and souls of dead Ukrainians in this world that will not stand down to you and your fascists! With God Ukrainians shall prevail!

Source: crimea24.info/2014/01/31/obnarodovan-plan-rossii-v-otnoshenii-ukrainy-zakhvat-nachnetsya-v-fevrale/

‘Civilized future’ of Ukraine at stake, says acclaimed Ukrainian writer

January 29th, 2014 03:09 PM ET
‘Civilized future’ of Ukraine at stake, says acclaimed Ukrainian writer

under
By Mick Krever, CNN

After months of protests, the very “civilized” future of Ukraine is at stake, acclaimed Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov told CNN’s Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.

“There are lots of things at stake,” he said from Kiev. “The European, or the civilized, future of Ukraine; but most of all, actually, is the question of rule of law.”

“For 23 years there was no rule of law in the country, nobody was respecting the laws, and actually the laws were used to punish the enemies.”

President Yanukovych, in power since 2010, is using those same tactics to punish his enemies, Kurkov said.

There is no sign that protestors, hunkered down since November in far-below-freezing temperatures, are ready to quit.

At least four people have been killed since the protests began, when the president reversed a decision to sign a long awaited trade deal with the EU.

“There is a big a split – bigger split than it was before – and the split was created by the politicians,” Kurkov said.

When demonstrations first started, he claimed, the government bussed people in from the Eastern part of the country and paid them to take part in the demonstrations as a way of portraying the protests as a battle between “two ways of thinking.”

Ukraine’s first post-independence president, Leonid Kravchuk, warned on Wednesday that the country was on the “brink of civil war,” but Kurkov called that an exaggeration.

The government has blamed unrest on foreign interference; Kurkov said that any foreign meddling has come from Russia, which supports the government, no one else.

“Most of [the protestors] came from small towns and villages in the Western part, in central part of Ukraine,” he said.

Many do not even understand what the idea of “Europe” means – for them the protests are no longer about a free trade deal, but about “this government, the corruption, the lack of rule of law.”

Kurkov, who lives just a few hundred meters from the main Independence Square where demonstrators are camped out, said that everyday life in Kiev has remained normal.

But in the square, where many protestors now wear makeshift armor, “there is a kind of wartime zone,” he said.

“They are very traumatized psychologically, people who are staying here for two months.”

In the beginning, he explained, protestors readily spoke to strangers. Now, they hide their faces – “they are very gloomy.”

They don’t expect anything good, he said, either from the government or from the opposition that has taken up the protestors’ cause.

“If [the] president finally promises early elections, for example – not 2015, March, as it is planned, but the end of 2014 – maybe that would be enough to stop the protests,” he said.

amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/29/andrey-kurkov-amanpour-ukraine-civilized-future/?sr=sharebar_facebook

Talks Stall As President Of Ukraine Takes a Leave

Talks Stall As President Of Ukraine Takes a Leave.

KIEV, Ukraine — Critical negotiations between the embattled Ukrainian government and opposition leaders were thrown into disarray on Thursday when President Viktor F. Yanukovych went on sick leave, complaining of a respiratory infection.

Ukraine has been in turmoil for months, since Mr. Yanukovych shocked much of the country by refusing to sign a trade deal with Europe and instead accepted a $15 billion loan package from Moscow. But he has found himself caught between the competing demands of the protesters in the streets of Kiev and other Ukrainian cities and his allies in the Kremlin, who suspended the loan deal on Wednesday after disbursing only $3 billion.

The nature and timing of the president’s illness raised immediate questions about his true motive for withdrawing from the political fray when negotiations with the opposition seemed to be gaining momentum. A statement on the president’s website said Mr. Yanukovych, 63, was taking time off because of “respiratory illness accompanied by a high temperature.” It offered no indication of how long he was expected to be absent.
sick
Protesters remained in Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday. Maxim Shipenkov/European Pressphoto Agency

Some opposition figures speculated darkly that the president was removing himself from the scene in preparation for declaring a state of emergency, a last-ditch measure that the protesters have been warning against for weeks, saying it could ignite an all-out civil war.

“I remember from the Soviet Union it’s a bad sign — a bad sign because always if some Soviet Union leaders have to make an unpopular decision, they go to the hospital,” said Vitali Klitschko, the former boxing champion who leads the opposition party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform.

Vitali Portnikov, an opposition journalist, suggested that rather than a virus, Mr. Yanukovych was falling prey to internal political pressures, perhaps losing power to a hard-line faction in his government, a development that could presage a coup d’état.

“I don’t remember official statements of Viktor Yanukovych having a cold,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “But I remember well that on the 19th of August, 1991, the vice president of the USSR, Gennady Yanayev, announced a serious illness of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.” The next day, Mr. Gorbachev was arrested as part of a failed coup.

Other opposition leaders took a less alarmist view. Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, a leader of the Fatherland party, who was offered the position of prime minister over the weekend but declined, said Thursday in an interview that the government seemed to have adopted a policy of dragging its feet, hoping the momentum on the streets would wane.

Mr. Yatsenyuk said the opposition would not falter. “I wish President Yanukovych good health,” he added.

“We will try to seek a peaceful resolution,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said.

Mr. Yanukovych’s sick leave took effect before he could sign a bill repealing harsh restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly that were enacted this month. The repeal was passed by Parliament on Tuesday with support from the pro-government Party of Regions, a significant concession to the opposition but one that means little unless the president signs it.

The rollback and other measures negotiated with the opposition this week had seemed to open the way for a possible ceding of some power by the government, potentially quieting the crisis atmosphere that has enveloped the capital for weeks.

The president, though, is facing pressure from Russia to take a harder line with protesters, rather than continue negotiations. The loans were suspended, the Kremlin said, until it became clear what sort of government would emerge from the current negotiations.

In Berlin, the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called in unusually blunt terms for Mr. Yanukovych and his allies to stop “playing for time.” Germany has followed the drama in Ukraine closely, with several news media outlets and politicians hastening to Kiev.

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was “outraged to the utmost” by Ukraine’s insistence on limiting freedom to demonstrate and by the use of violence against protesters.

Imagine Sen.McCain, Catherine Aston, the asst sec of state, Victoria Nuland, appearing in, for example Brazil, urging them to join NATO, and…

This all could have been avoided if politics weren’t so deaf to the citizens voice. After all, Power belongs to citizens or I’ve got it all…

It took decades to create the Soviet system and it is taking decades to dismantle it – by the citizems themselves – go Ukrainian people!…

On Wednesday, she opened a speech to Parliament with a renewed appeal to Ukrainians to stick to peaceful resolutions and demanded that the Ukrainian government not ignore the “many people who have shown in courageous demonstrations that they are not willing to turn away from Europe.”

There were signs in Kiev late on Wednesday that negotiations were unraveling. The Party of Regions passed a version of an amnesty law for protesters that lacked support from opposition lawmakers. It stipulated that the amnesty would not take effect until the prosecutor general certified that protesters had vacated all occupied administrative buildings, including provincial capitols that were seized last week, and it set a 15-day deadline, requiring police action after that to clear the buildings.

At least four demonstrators died during battles with the police last week, and evidence is mounting of kidnappings and abuse by the authorities or their surrogates. On Thursday, Dmitry Bulatov, a prominent opposition figure who had been missing since last week, turned up alive in a village outside Kiev, but photographs showed him bloodied and badly hurt.

The financial aid that Russia said it was halting had helped Ukraine avoid defaulting on its foreign debts. The Russian step was a signal of displeasure with the negotiations in Ukraine to resolve the crisis by bringing the pro-Western opposition into a coalition government to replace Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s cabinet. It was dismissed when Mr. Azarov resigned on Tuesday.

Under the Constitution, if the president is incapacitated or dies, the prime minister serves as acting head of state. After Mr. Azarov resigned, Serhei Arbuzov became acting prime minister; both men are allies of Mr. Yanukovych. There was no indication on Thursday that Mr. Yanukovych intended to hand over authority to Mr. Arbuzov, even temporarily, because of the illness.

Among protesters on the streets of Kiev, though hardly a crowd wishing the best for the president, no one could be found who believed that Mr. Yanukovych was truly ill.

“Of course he is not sick,” concluded one protester on Independence Square, who offered only his first name, Oleksandr, and his job, a bartender. “He wants to look like he is ill and therefore cannot sign these laws. This is obvious.”

Alison Smale contributed reporting from Berlin, and Oksana Lyachynska from Kiev.

Mr Yanukovych needs a psychiatric evaluation first and then an international tribunal court for crimes against humanity- No one from Lenin on in the former Soviet Union space have been held accountable for their crimes against the Ukrainian people and other nations subjugated to their oppression! Lenin, Stalin, Yanukovych and their collaborators MUST BE MADE TO REPENT FOR THEIR SINS!

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