According to 'K.P.' Ukraine's parliament split in half today.
The pro-presidential majority conducted an alternative parliament session in a small cinema/conference hall on Bank Street, while the opposition gathered in the regular parliamentary session hall.
The majority's decision to move elsewhere without prior notice was branded as “a coup” by the opposition. They are now calling for protest demonstrations to be held. Ironically, the disappointing turn-out at recent anti-government demos organised by the 'united opposition' may have emboldened the parliamentary majority to such measures.
The small hall in which the highly questionable "parliamentary session" took place comprises 11 rows of seats with 22 seats in each row, plus 6 other places. If every seat was taken there would only be room for 259 persons in the hall. There are 450 deputies Ukraine's parliament - quite where they all would have fitted had they all turned up is anyone's guess.
Photographs [such as this one from 'Ukrainska Pravda'] and videos tend to indicate that there may well not have even been the 226 deputies required for a quorum present.
The vote on the decision to stage the parliamentary session at an alternative location was not taken in the Verkhovna Rada, but rather by the 'renegades' in the hall on Bank Street. The decision to transfer the parliamentary sitting to Bank Street is therefore highly constitutionally questionable, to say the least.
The parliamentary speaker claimed 244 parliamentary deputies turned up at the alternative location even though everyone knows for the last 20 years absentee voting and other fiddling has been widespread amongst parliamentary deputies ..
Opposition deputies who wanted to get in and journalists who wanted to scrutinise proceedings and check the true number of those present were denied admission, raising much suspicion of foul play. Video recordings outside the entrance to the hall and the building will no doubt be carefully examined to see who was there and who was not.
So..was this a putsch?
At time of writing neither the parliamentary speaker nor the president have signed off resolutions passed today...if/when they do, there may be a clear criminal case to answer some time in the future.
The day's events provide more evidence to what we already know - Ukraine is becoming an authoritarian state - the point of no return has probably already been passed, and the book on Euro-integration closed.
p.s. picking up the bat and ball, declaring "I'm not playing with you any more," and slinking off to another place is not the way winner's behave..
p.p.s. The sh*t will hit the fan soon when big-names holding off-shore accounts in the BVI will be dribbled out...
Update - Careful checks of videos of renegade deputies entering and leaving the hall on Bank Street reveal in the 244 figure is almost certainly inflated...there was probably fewer that 200 deputies present.