BETWEEN MOSCOW AND BRUSSELS
A lot depends on the determination of protesters, but - as a Ukrainian proverb says - one stick does not make a fence. The main quarterback is the president Wiktor Janukowycz, having the authority in his hands, reluctant to anything which would restrict his authority. However, he did not even expect the protests after Ukraine has retreated from signing the association treaty with the European Union.
Maneuvering between the Union and the Russia assured peace for a long time. When, finally a decision was made (justified by 'the respects of the national safety' and a necessity of improvement of the decreasing trade exchange with Russia, which could close its market for Ukrainian goods), there appeared troubles. Crowds of outraged Ukrainians went out into streets in order to overthrow it.
And although it is not known how the situation in Ukraine will develop, it looks that the authorities want to keep protesters waiting. - The authorities of Ukraine surely want to wait, make the opposition tired, check how it is determined - emphasizes the parliamentarian Witold Waszczykowski, the former Foreign vice-minister. The development of the situation in Ukraine depends to much extent, on the number of further protests.
When in 2010 the team of Witold Janukowycz won presidential election and presented a plan of reforms concerning the functioning of the country, and even when it started introducing one of them, it might seem that everything was going towards a good direction - for Ukraine. Without a strong position of Janukowycz, it would not be possible to initiate a reform of pension system, tax system, gas sector and even finalize negotiations with the European Union about an association contract and about establishing the sphere of free trade.
However, after some time, especially before the forthcoming election to the Supreme Council (they took place last year) and the increasing economic crisis, enthusiasm of the team of Janukowycz dropped, many reforms were postponed for undefined future. It was necessary to win the election and silence the voice of criticism. The power of the president was more and is being used in a fight against the opposition today.
Results of election to the parliament and the composition of the government of Mykoła Azarow, having a small majority, and being a compromise between two groups of oligarchs, showed that it is necessary to forget about the postponed reforms. What was important for the events, was presidential election planned in 2015, which Janukowycz wants to win. And it is important, regardless of the situation which appeared with the wave of the manifestation and protests which is going through Ukraine.
Nobody should expect that the new government will introduce important changed in the inner policy, where the main brake is the lack of stable pro-governmental majority in the Supreme Council. In the foreign policy Kijów will be trying to continue the process of the European integration despite the growing pressure of Russia - it was estimated so by experts of the government of Azarow, from the Warsaw Centre of Eastern Studies. And, as it turned out, they had been wrong, but they had also been……right.
A night on Majdan
Protests which broke out in Kiev, Lvov and other cities, were generally organised spontaneously. The authorities and opposition were surprised by the course or events. Also the apolitical character of the first protests was surprising for them. However, leaders of the opposition, among the others, Witalij Kliczko managed to take over the control of the protests. In Kiev, some demonstrators stayed on Majdan for night, and a tent place was organizes. If the authorities had tolerated it, who knows - experts are wondering - maybe the protest would have been dispersed.
However, it happened differently, and the brutal night attack of special divisions of militia on demonstrators roused outrage, social mobilization and exacerbation of the situation. Although the President Janukowycz and the prime minister Azarow issued a statement condemning using force and announcing to start investigation, it had already been too late. The number of protesters in the centre of Kiev increased.
On 1 December, a day after the attack, a few hundred people appeared. Some of them occupied some governmental buildings, others rebuilt the tent city and surrounded it with barricades. When the chairman of the parliament Wołdymyr Rybak, after a talk with Janukowycz, suggested the opposition talks of 'the round table', the opposition rejected the proposal and submitted a request for motion of no confidence towards the government of Azarow, demanding transcribing preterm elections.
People do not want to wait
Witalij Kliczko, the leader of the oppositional party UDAR, the former champion in boxing warns that moods of the Ukrainians, not only of those protesting in Kiev, are becoming more radical. They are fed up with stagnation, poverty, corruption, hopelessness and they want changes. And they do not want to wait for next election in order to eliminate the current team. The demand a new authority at once. They want a new government, a new president, a new parliament.
People have already lost their hope, that with the current system something would change in their life - he told journalists. - President Janukowycz disappointed them. He was persuading them all the time to think that his priority was the European integration. He spoke about it for two, three years. All leaders of the Union agree in one thing: it the Ukrainian party which should be blamed for disrupting the talks.
It would be the best - says Witalij Kliczko - if the prime minister Azaro admitted that he made mistakes, led the country to bankruptcy, apologized for disrupting the process of the European integration and beating demonstrators. It would be the best way to announce the dismissal of the government. - In this way he would save his name. But he keeps saying: 'It is wonderful, nobody is responsible for the current situation'. So, people ask themselves the question: If it is not the president or the prime minister who led us to this situation, then who did it? - says Kliczko.
It is 3 December: after a hot debate the Supreme Council rejects the motion of no confidence for the government. The request is supported by186 deputies (oppositional parties and some independent deputies) with the required minimum of 226 votes. The Party of Regions voted against, communists abstained from voting. It was one of the breakthrough moments in the dramatic situation taking place in Kiev.
Because the governing team felt confident and fortified its position. Statements of the president and the prime minister show that they do not intend to make any concessions towards opposition. For the time being, the only concession of the authorities will be tolerating the protest action in the centre of Kiev and not using any force against demonstrators. The sign of self-confidence of the authorities was the journey of the president Janukowycz to China, from which little results. For he did not bring any powerful credits which Ukraine needs as much as the ground needs the rain.
They want to wait despite the protests
It is not known how the situation in Ukraine will be developing, but statements and actions of the authorities prove that they accepted a strategy of waiting despite the protests and count for a quick decline in the social mobilization. - First they want to make protesters wait, make the opposition tired, check how determined it is - emphasizes the parliamentarian Witold Waszczykowski, the former Foreign vice-minister.
Recently the so-called plan 'B' was considered, that is, the change of the government and taking over the authority by the current vice-minister Serhij Arbuzow. Arbuzow, being a follower of European solutions, might calm the European Union and disarm protesters. When it turned out that the government maintained, Janukowycz made a journey to China, wanting - as Waszczykowski thinks - gain the time.
The situation is not certain, it is difficult to make forecast. - Also I do not exclude - in a kind of perspective of probably the nearest days - a pessimistic scenario. There may be a fight against demonstrators. And it would be more probable if only a small group of protesters remained. - It would be easier to remove them by force, and the government could decide on it, being sure that demonstrations would not be resumed.