Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fateful week awaits

Yesterday Ukrainian prosecutor general Pshonka claimed all activists who have been detained during the current troubles have been released from custody [but, most importantly, charges against about 2000 of them have not been dropped].

Opposition leaders tonight have declared that Hrushevky Street will be cleared, the Kyiv city hall  will be cleared, and also several governor's administative building across Ukraine.

It would seem therefore, that some kind of conflict resolution process, perhaps overseen by foreign intermediaries, has commenced.

On Monday Yatsenyuk and Klychko are to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mirosław Czech in the Polish 'Gazeta Wyborcza' considers this may be a watershed event, and that Yanukovych may be softening his stance.

Czech claims the Germans have now weighed in, and have decided to ignore pleas from Russia to keep their noses out of Ukraine.

He writes: Mere hints of threat of sanctions made by German officials have badly shaken members of Ukraine's elites because the money of many Ukrainian oligarchs, including that of Yanukovych's son, flows through German banks

At Sunday's rally in Kyiv the opposition intends to ask protesters if they support the formation of a "Maidan government ". The answer will undoubtedly be positive, so Yatsenyuk and Klychko will go to Germany with a strong mandate for talks. In Berlin They will ask whether the new Ukrainian authorities can rely on financial assistance from Germany and the EU. Such guarantees are essential because Russia will not stand idly by and let Ukraine slip from its sphere of influence. Russia will close off gas supplies and financial support to Ukraine.

There are many unknowns in this kind of speculation. Leaders of the three main opposition parties are not fully trusted either by the 'hard cases' who have been manning barricades for nearly three months whose mates have had to endure great physical hardship in criminal isolation units, or by many the hundreds of thousands who have attended protest meetings. [Incidentally, most of those who have just been released from detention say they are quite prepared to go back to prison if necessary, and are disturbed the opposition are giving so much ground vacating streets and admin buildings.]

All of them want a complete reset of state/society social contract - the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU would have been the start of this process. They will not be satisfied with any new cabinet unless their dreams of a reset can be rekindled. Anything less will be a waste of time.

Yanukovych and a large chunk of his electorate will be horrified ..but disillusionment with him is growing too. Ukrainian have yet to see any signs of a better tomorrow - in reality the country's economic crisis is at a critical level and getting worse.

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