The day the crowds started to follow the opposition politicians? Ukraine

January 27, 2014

Yesterday I closed my entry with “In the meantime an all-encompassing national unity government seems the only possible way forward politically – whether society follows is a different question.

Hours after that was written, a very poor attempt at forming something loosely resembling a national unity government was offered by President Yanukovych – an offer quite rightly refused by the opposition leaders as it was neither all-inclusive, politically viable due to the current formation of the RADA, and in accepting it, it   would have legitimised the illegitimate new laws to mention a few “flaws” within the offer.

That misguided offer and the subsequent refusal may very well prove to be the moment when the opposition leaders will no longer be simply following along behind the crowds, struggling with legitimacy and traction, but have been propelled by President Yanukovych once again failing to understand the cause and effect of a poor offer, impossible to accept, to a position whereby they can now lead the crowds – or a significant number therein – with a reasonable amount of traction and approval.  Their chances of doing so have at the very least increased.

The possibility of the military and tanks on the streets of Ukrainian cities and towns now also seems extremely remote – effectively ruled out via Rinat Akhmetov via this statement from SCM.

The extraordinary meeting of the RADA on Tuesday 28th January now becomes far more interesting and unpredictable in its outcome than would have been expected 48 hours ago.

Room for maneuver for the President narrows almost daily – and the need for leadership from somebody grows in equal measure.  Concerns relating to who is doing what, and preparing to do what – from all sides – during the time that passes prior to Tuesday are obvious, both on the streets and within the RADA machinery.

A very tense few days awaits – and whilst buildings can be repaired, and cuts and bruises heal, lives cannot be replaced.

For the attention of regular readers – This will be my last regular entry for two weeks, as I am leaving for another democratically and politically stable nation – Thailand – tomorrow.

Whilst I am away I shall mull over the pro’s and the con’s of a “federal Ukraine” – for federalism most certainly has both pros and cons – when considering the best way to maintain the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the future.

The current situation if nothing else demands a cursory look at federalism as a possible solution to strong local and regional governance of particular bias whilst retaining overall territorial integrity.

Naturally I shall be following events at home closely, but will try to keep any comment to the 140 characters available via twitter for the simple reason I do not relish typing anything lengthy on an i-pad – and that is all I can be bothered to carry with me.

My twitter feed is at the right of this page should you want to keep up with my thoughts as things develop – intermittent as any tweeting may be.

I expect that matters will have progressed apace in Ukraine by the time I return – hopefully with the core democratic components of tolerance and inclusiveness driving the process – though perhaps for that to happen within a matter of two weeks is somewhat ambitious!


  1. Lets say the opposition realises their dreams and Yanukovich goes, are they not going to wake up with a severe hangover? Who’s going to take charge of the economy and the deficit during the three months’ elections? The opposition will presumably be emboldened to run against each other plus – Tymoshenko. Even after elections, what soft of coalition will be formed and above all who will take the responsibility of acceeding to the IMF terms and putting up gas prices. The political groupings (so called parties) will be falling over themselve with promises of economic handouts and justice such as stripping the oligrach assets (last tried 2005). In the past the opposition parties haven’t been particularly responsible either as far as doing the right but not popular thing.

    • All true. One hopes that somebody – or to be frank a lot of somebodies – in the boiler rooms of the opposition are working on this quietly and very hard, liaising with the IMF, EU, WB – and in the event Russia pulls up its drawbridge the WTO.

      The next few years may benefit from an all-inclusive, power-shared (ie Party X Min Int, Party Y Justice etc for balance should there be a temptation to misuse power again by either) government – almost technocratic in nature dealing with the big issues. Devolve a lot of the budget and a lot more autonomy to the regions thus insulating the centre and other regions from problems if a single oblast catches a political or economic cold due to mismanagement.

      I am mulling over the pros and cons to an official “federal” solution, but regardless, the dissemination of power and budget to far more self-contained/run oblasts releases the core to deal with the major issues you raise and in a genuine national unity government, those problems are shared problems amongst every party as they all have ministerial seats within.

      It would also go some way to retaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine whilst managing through local governance some particularly strong allegiances – at least long enough to make some progress on the big issues without too much distraction or fire-fighting.

      Off to Bangkok tomorrow for a while – will deliberate and debate with myself and others in a different part of cyberspace regarding the options and the risks going forward in several scenarios.

      What is for certain, is that if the opposition are successful sooner rather than later – or even if later – they will have time for nothing more than a celebratory cup of tea before having to make some very hard (and undoubtedly unpopular) choices very quickly.

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