Beyond the Cusp

January 22, 2014

Ukraine Violence Expanding and Intensifying

As the violence in the Ukraine, especially in their capital of Kiev where demonstrators are estimated to exceed one-hundred-thousand almost daily, and as the legislature and President Yanukovych are granting the police with harsher laws which are due to take effect today, the confrontations show little sign of abating in the immediate future. President Yanukovych posted on his official website, “I ask you not to join those who seek violence, who are trying to create a division between the state and society and who want to hurl the Ukrainian people into a pit of mass disorder. Now, when peaceful actions are turning into mass unrest, accompanied by riots and arson attacks, the use of violence, I am convinced that such phenomena are a threat not only to Kiev but to the whole of Ukraine.” The stimulus for the violence comes mostly from the Ukraine government, mostly simply backing the decision of the President, chose to bow before Russian President Putin’s threats and hardball tactics where he gave the Ukrainian leadership a choice of continuing to open up and sign an agreement already negotiated with the European Union to normalize preferred trading agreements which could have led to admission of the Ukraine to the European Union and lose all trading ties with Russia and the possibility of an energy embargo by Russia cutting all flow of petroleum and natural gas in or out of the Ukraine along the Russian border. President Yanukovych folded almost immediately which will only serve to entice Putin to press his newly won advantage even further if the Ukrainian leadership should decide to placate the protesters, or should we call them rioters, and reopen talks with the European Union. The show of weakness before President Putin is raw meat placed in front of a starving wolf and could lead to the wolf taking your arm with the meat.


The demonstrations have escalated with the police using water cannons despite sub-zero temperatures as well as rubber bullets, tear gas and full riot gear. The use of truncheons has only served to enrage more citizens and the unrest grew as more citizens decided to join the demonstrations to protest the overt violence by police which many have believed was completely uncalled for and the main reason for the escalation by the demonstrators. There have been numerous government buildings and vehicles put to the torch and some of the front line demonstrators have taken to wearing helmets and other sports equipment as makeshift riot gear including makeshift shields and bats along with other blunt instruments making these demonstrators equally armed to the frontline police units. A British news outlet noted that the violence is confined to one central square, though it has raged out of control and the local authorities have been unable to keep the outrage contained. Reports claim that over a hundred demonstrators have been injured needing medical attention while three were reported to have been blinded and one lost an arm. So far, more than eighty police staff have required hospitalization; thirty-two protestors have been arrested; and thirteen face serious criminal charges including some who face sentences of up to fifteen years for “disturbing the peace.”


Meanwhile, laws were reportedly rushed through Parliament at the last minute that prescribe jail terms for anyone blockading public buildings, ban wearing masks or helmets at demonstrations, and making statements against the government a criminal act. These are the laws that are set to come into effect today according to the local news.


This harsh reaction made hastily is very likely to inflame the people further as they will see such laws as a return to Soviet style enforcement and suppression of the citizenry. The people of the Ukraine have properly recognized that their government sacrificed their future by surrendering to President Putin’s open threats. The Ukrainian people see their President as not having the backbone to stand up to Putin and this was just the last straw as they have also become fed up with his quasi-criminal activities which have included overt nepotism and the channeling of contracts to close friends without seeking bids. Add to this the arrest and imprisonment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko whose popularity made her the greatest threat to President Yanukovych in future elections. The demonstration leadership has posted evidence of numerous crimes and other misdeeds committed by President Yanukovych and his administration on the internet requesting that Western Leaders freeze his illegal funds in foreign banks but thus far the United States, European Union members and other western leaders have ignored their pleas. There have also been posts by the demonstrators asking for the people of the world, especially those in free and democratic nations, to demand that the governments and other international institutions take a stand on the crisis in the Ukraine. These demonstrations and rioting is unlikely to end soon as the demonstrators are simply trying to claim the right to control their destiny and are going to continue to fight and anything the government does to suppress the voices of the people using violence and new criminal legislation passed targeting the demonstrators will only serve to fuel these demonstrations with the violence actually proving to be extremely counterproductive. This could probably be called the Ukrainian Spring and this revolution is all about freedom, liberty and the fight against corruption and Russian bullying tactics.


Beyond the Cusp


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