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Showing posts from December, 2013

He can't get them out of the Maidan

Well, it was too good to be true, the Yanukovych government did sent the riot police back into the Maidan overnight, but two bad things happened to them. The first is that even where the police pressed hardest, the crowd did not give way. The Berkut were simply not strong enough to get the crowd to move. The second was that the police themselves are now obviously divided. The most loyal forces of the government are wavering in the face of the spectacular size and determination of the crowds.

Meanwhile Yanukovych is getting desperate- the attempt to extort €20 billion out of the EU in exchange for signing the association pact is a frankly rather pathetic piece of blackmail and will privately laughed out of court in Brussels. It demonstrates how far away Yanukovych still is -or ever was- from engaging with either the European Union or the thousands still in the square. His obvious duplicity has weakened him still further.

The condemnation of last night's police action from the United …

Holding our breath for Ukraine and for Europe

The extraordinary roller coaster of the past twenty-four hours in K'yiv has not finished yet. I have friends in the Maidan at the moment and it does appear that the riot police are withdrawing. Inevitably rumours are swirling, but after the failure to dislodge the protest either in the City Hall or in the Maidan itself suggests that Yanukovych is in real trouble.

Three of the oligarchs are in the Maidan and it looks as though the rest are backing away from the regime. The presence of both Cathy Ashton and Victoria Nuland, the US Deputy Secretary of State seems to have focused minds in the regime about how to get out without the bloodbath that might have occurred last night. The huge cheer in the Maidan as the police withdrew to their buses certainly seems to suggest that crowd thinks that the threat level has eased a bit after the intense pressure of the past two days.

We can only watch and wait- and pray.

Ukraine has not perished yet.





Ukraine: Its the Russian economy, stupid!

Hundreds of Thousands of people on the streets of K'yiv. 

Viktor Yanukovych at bay facing allegations of corruption and criminality. 

Why it could almost be the Orange revolution of 2004 all over again.

Except it is 2013, and the stakes are even higher this time.

The root of the crisis does not lie in K'yiv, but in Moscow. The Kremlin is seeking to restore its influence in a remade USSR: the Eurasian Union. Ukraine is a country as similar to Russia as Denmark is to Sweden, so the idea that it would reject the Kremlin's overtures is shocking to many Russians. Yet the fact is that the Eurasian Union bears little resemblance to the European Union, which it seeks both to emulate and to compete with. Politically, Vladimir Putin's government lost its political legitimacy the day he sought to return to the Presidency, and as a result he was forced to fix the election in order to win it. Economically, Russia has little to offer except basic goods: oil, gas and other commodities. I…