The latest news from the Independence Square, in Ukraine has made clear that the protesters have a clear problem of “human-political trust” with the President Viktor Yanukovych, despite the deal signed yesterday, under international mediation (the EU + US – Russia):
Thousands of protesters have remained in Kiev’s main square despite a deal aimed at ending Ukraine’s political crisis, in which dozens have died. The pact, signed on Friday by President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, says a unity government will be formed and a presidential election held. But many protesters do not believe Mr Yanukovych can be trusted. The US and Russian presidents have agreed that the deal needs to be swiftly implemented, officials say. Russia‘s Vladimir Putin told Barack Obama in a telephone conversation on Friday that Russia wants to be part of the implementation process, a US State Department spokesperson said. The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, came after the bloodiest day since the unrest began in November. Police opened fire on Thursday on protesters who have been occupying Independence Square in central Kiev. The health ministry said 77 people had been killed since Tuesday. The deal has been met with scepticism by some of the thousands of protesters who remain in the square. Opposition leaders who signed it were booed and called traitors, the BBC’s Gavin Hewitt reports from Kiev. Earlier, coffins of anti-government protesters were carried across the square as funeral ceremonies for those killed in the clashes got under way.Meanwhile, one group of far-right protesters is threatening to take action if President Yanukovych does not resign by Saturday morning.
On the other hand, the West clearly supports the idea that bringing Ukraine closer to the EU its economy is to become more transparent and its political system more democratic. But given today’s situation in the Eurozone, under Berlin’s strict austerity policies, this political-economic objective remains highly unclear and dark:
When Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich suspended an agreement with the European Union (EU) on November 21, his personal considerations would certainly have been a driving factor. Signing the agreement would not only have brought Ukraine much closer to its Western neighbors. It would also have made its political sphere more democratic and competitive and its economy more transparent — outcomes that would have been unlikely to fit with Yanukovich‘s personal interests. What the EU did in the past with its enlargement policy, and what it is trying now to replicate with its “Eastern Partnership”, is to use its economic power as a tool to push neighboring countries towards liberal democracy. The more these countries — among them Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia — move towards rule of law, democracy and a market economy, the more access they have to the EU market, and the easier it is for their people to travel and work in the EU. But the project to transform Ukraine’s political and economic structures is unlikely to please Yanukovich. Allegations that his party had rigged voting in 2004 triggered the “Orange Revolution,” forcing him from office and giving power to his political opponents, including Yulia Tymoshenko, who became prime minister. Soon after Yanukovich was elected president in 2010, Tymoshenko was jailed after being found guilty of abuse of office, in a case many believe was politically motivated. In its negotiations, the EU had been demanding that Yanukovich free Tymoshenko. Ukraine is seen as a deeply corrupt country, ranked number 144 out of 177 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. This environment provides a breeding ground for arbitrary rule by powerful clans. A rapprochement with the EU would, at least on longer term, put pressure on that rule. Another reason to put the agreement with the EU on hold seems to have been the Russia factor. Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to bring the Ukraine into his sphere of influence through integration into a Moscow-led customs union which in the future shall be transformed into a fully-fledged “Eurasian Union.” In the past few months, the Kremlin has put considerable pressure on Ukraine to move over to this camp. But for Yanukovich, an alliance with Russia would be a double-edged sword. While Putin is likely to give the Ukrainian leader a free hand to consolidate his power base, he would also want control over key economic and political decisions. In a close alliance, Ukraine would lose core elements of sovereignty. If Yanukovich were to hand his country over to Moscow, he would very likely be met with another revolution. Since the Orange Revolution in 2004, Ukraine’s political class has been aware that it needs to stay in tune with popular opinion. And a clear majority wants to go West.
More importantly, the leaders of the opposition in Ukraine, had called for international sanctions against their country since last December, in an effort to put increased economic pressure on Yanukovych, but this could dramatically deteriorate Ukraine’s serious cash problem:
Ukraine‘s opposition leaders called for western sanctions to be imposed and urged demonstrators to further protest action after police used force to break up a demonstration on Saturday against the government’s refusal to sign a trade deal with the EU. Kiev’s central Independence Square has been ringed by police to prevent a repeat of the rally, which saw up to 10,000 people waving flags, singing songs and demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych. The protest was prompted by Yanukovych’s confirmation on Friday that he had decided to turn his back on a landmark pact with the EU, instead keeping Ukraine closely aligned with Russia.About 500 police officers descended on the square – the symbolic heart of the 2004 Orange Revolution against elections rigged in favour of Yanukovych, as well as Ukraine’s 1990 anti-Soviet protests – at 4am on Saturday, attacking protesters with truncheons. Yanukovich said on Saturday he was “deeply outraged” by the events which led to violent confrontation between protesters and police. He called for an immediate investigation, though did not specifically blame the police for the incidents.
Finally, as the bloody crisis evolves it is becoming clear that the Ukrainians have to take a responsible decision about their future. The have to “fight” against the “Soviet pathogenies” of the past and their unrealistic vision of democracy in today’s European Union of Germany. What they need..? They need a clear political decision to move forward, and also to build trust about their future. It is not Yanukovych, or Putin, or the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. It is about real democracy and geopolitical position. Ukraine is not the only country which faces the call…