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Fracture, danger after Ukraine “coup”

  • February 23rd, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Kiev 2014 3 tymoshenko“They are people who freed us”, said Yulia Tymoshenko, paying homage to the dead, just after her release from prison in Kiev.

 In a rush of events, the parliament, where the three main opposition groups had wrested a majority, impeached President Viktor Yanukovych, and scheduled elections to replace him on 25.5.14.


Yanukovych V Ukraine - Yak meetingThe President travelled to a political stronghold in the East of the country, after declaring on television he had not resigned, and was the victim of an  attempted coup d’etat, like the Nazi take-over of Germany in the 1930s. (See pictures, pro-Yanukovych rally, Ukraine TV, ex BBC).

In the divided country, gatherings in some of the Eastern districts have been making declarations of autonomy from the central state, under any new management from the opposition side – though stopping short of a broad movement to partition the country. See EUAustralia Online, Ukraine agreement, bitter and begrudging calm …, 22.2.14.


In an unraveling reminiscent of the toppling of the Soviet-backed governments of Eastern Europe, a quarter of a century ago, government agents have marched off, or sauntered off the scene in the capital.

Some security officials have made their declarations, withdrawing allegiance from the ousted government, streets are unblocked, crowds are able to move to places cordoned off during the weeks of crisis.

The revolt, as in the events of the Eastern bloc, was carried out in the glare of world media attention, sustaining it by airing information and, in giving witness, providing some protection.

An early sign of loss of authority, and collapsing legitimacy of the state, was the evaporation of direct controls on the movement of journalists.

 One more classic sign stands to be, an eventual split among the opposition parties forming the present united front, once they begin the struggle to move their movement onto a stable base of party organisation, policy, and probity in government.


Not today, in the moment of great success, after a campaign of spontaneous public anger and courage and loss.

It was expressed in the impassioned address of Yulia Tymoshenko, coping with illness, in a wheelchair. She was gaoled two years ago by the Yanukovych government in a trial for white-collar crimes,  most widely seen as at best a politically motivated event. 

“They will always be inspirational to us”, she said of hundreds killed in the fighting of the last three months. “This is a Ukraine of free people, they have given to us as a gift.”

Outside of Ukraine, responses were predictable enough: aggravation in Moscow over the turn of events in the former Soviet republic, especially the tearing-up of the agreement signed too late by the embattled President, (see EUAustralia Online, Ukraine agreement …, 22.2.14); early recognition of the change as a legitimate move, among political leadership of the European Union.


Ukraine crisis: No talk of split in eastern city of Kharkiv, BBC, London, 22.2.14., (23.2.14).

Andrew Higgins,With President’s Departure, Ukraine Looks Toward a Murky Future, NYT, NY, 22.2.14., (23.2.14).


Pictures wikipedia, bbc