Several days ago in Mykolayiv, 18-year old Oksana Makar was allegedly raped by three 'mazhory', sons of privileged elite parents, and then set on fire. She has had several limbs amputated and her life hangs in the balance. Two of the three suspects were released shortly after their arrest. Spontaneous ad-hoc protests sprung up, and as a result this diabolical event has figured prominently in news bulletins and political tv shows, and had led to much critical self-examination of Ukrainian society.
Since then, a similarly dreadful event has occurred in Simferopol.
Most Ukrainians agree that there now exists an entire caste of unruly untouchables who can simply pay off any law enforcement or judicial agency in order that their misdemeanours go unpunished. Barely a week goes by without their behaviour causing deaths amongst the innocent. Apart from the odd glib statement from ruling politicians, this shocking phenomenon remains unchecked.
Brazen flouting of the law, particularly by 'chinovnyky' and their offspring is encountered on a daily basis. Trust in the police, state prosecutors and judges is almost non existent.
My guess is the issue of law and order would figure very highly on the Ukrainian electorate's list of concerns - and yet these matters are not addressed by politicians with any of the seriousness encountered in Western democracies.
Despite being regarded of a nation of stoics, there are limits to what the man in the street will put up with. A Russian political analyst, Andrei Okara, in a 'U.P' blog, claims that recent resonant, despicable acts of violence against girls in Mykolayiv and Simferopol could be a detonator for public anger in Ukraine:
"If it were not for a student protest rally by 10 people before the regional department of Ministry of Internal Affairs' offices in Mykolayiv, the story would not have come to public prominence. Without this picket no-one would have gotten to know about it. All the detainees would have been released and the story would have been: the girl raped three boys from respectable families and then, realizing the gravity of her deed, doused himself with gasoline and set herself on fire. But the existence of a civil society ensured the events became publicly known and widely discussed," emphasized the analyst.
"These two terrible tragedies are an example of how everyday feudal reality intrudes into our lives. The cup of patience of the Ukrainian people is beginning to overflow. The story of [Yanukovych's] Mezhyhirya [palace], the story of the president's helicopter, the story of Peysazh Avenue [the brazen urban land grab of a public space in Kyiv by developers], now the story of these mazhory who raped and tried to burn a girl alive. As a result, a public vendetta against the government may spring up. This government does not know how to respond to these situations and their sole reaction - Yanukovych's social initiative, takes the form of bribing the electorate with a thousand hryvnia [in pre-election hand-outs]. Most people will recognise this as a crude attempt to buy the sympathy of voters, "said the expert.
"The latest horror was an analgous situation in Simferopol [where local residents discovered the body of a girl, that had been mauled by dogs. According to the Crimean media, the girl had been beaten, raped and left by the side of the roadway]. And every time it turns out that the children of those in government are absolutely immune from blame and punishment. It is always the victim's fault. This is a very powerful detonator for public anger and discontent which could create conditions for a revolutionary situation in Ukraine," concluded Okara.
[Note on the night of 9/10th March, three people allegedly lured 18-year-old Oksana Makar into an apartment after they had met in a bar. She was then serially raped. When the victim threatened to tell the police, one of the suspects began to strangle her. Believing that she is dead, the perpetrators carried her body to an abandoned construction site and set her fire. ]