“IN MY VIEW, GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION BEAR JOINT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SUNDAY DEVELOPMENTS”
Volodymyr MAKEIENKO, Party of Regions MP:
“Everything that is happening in the country now is to the detriment of our people and the Ukrainian state. The only way out is unblocking the parliament provided it holds an open or even closed session and discusses all the issues.
“Those of us in the Party of Regions who are currently in Kyiv are pondering on these issues. Moreover, we are now ready to support any way out option which would take people off the street. It does not matter whether it will be a session of parliament, a meeting with NGOs, politicians, or international organizations. Our main goal is preserving unity of Ukraine.
Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day
“Moreover, in my view, government and opposition bear joint responsibility for the Sunday developments. I believe politicians are jointly responsible for everything that happened on the night of January 19. We understand that, as well as ordinary people, Maidan had politicians standing there and using the people to further their personal goals, to get this or that position in the government, because every position comes with power and money... People have become tired of politicians. As a result, they just stopped listening to them and went their own way to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, it resulted in a street confrontation with the law-enforcement forces. Therefore, the task of politicians today is to immediately return to the negotiating table and resolve the issue without much ado, so that no outside force benefited from the current situation in the country...”
Photo by Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day
“IN SUCH A DIFFICULT SITUATION NO ULTIMATUMS OF THOSE IN POWER OR OPPOSITION WILL WORK”
Leonid KRAVCHUK, first President of Ukraine:
“One must always study the reasons behind the radicalization of the situation, the sharpening of the conflict. In this case it is the last session of the Verkhovna Rada. Unfortunately, our parliament followed in the footsteps of radical MPs and the bills passed were their products, as in the case with the bill on the languages. I mean the MPs who propose bills that are essentially illegitimate and tabled at the wrong political time. Their actions are aimed at aggravating the situation in Ukraine – as happened during the events in Volyn [Party of Regions and CPU MPs’ message to the Polish Sejm. – Author].
“MP Kolesnichenko acted then the same way he is acting today, doing his best to worsen Ukraine’s relations with Poland. He was a co-author of the language bill and this time he paved the way for the bills that are referred to as dictatorial and antidemocratic. I’m not saying that there are no such laws in the West and in the United States, but one ought to have thought twice before proposing such bills, thus adding fuel to the fire of public unrest. Under the circumstances, Kolesnichenko and Oliinyk should be carrying bucketfuls of water to extinguish this fire – if they really want to help the people and Ukraine rather than aggravate the situation.
CLAIM TO LEADERSHIP / REUTERS photo
“The Maidan is turning into an increasingly radical structure. There is no accord on either side. I tried to organize a roundtable, but instead of a dialog all we heard was a monologue. Someone joined the roundtable only to deliver a speech and then left, believing that was enough. A roundtable can work only if there is a constant dialog, if attempts are made to find solutions to problems, if those at the table are prepared to meet each other halfway. The Maidan and opposition must realize that the government cannot be pushed into a corner – just as they shouldn’t discuss things that are not envisaged by the Constitution and legislation. Their strategy should rely on realities.
“With thousands of people on the Maidan, there can always be radicals who will make provocations. Precisely what happened on Sunday. People can’t sit with their hands folded endlessly. They want to act and they need an action plan. The Maidan cannot be held in suspense, but the main reason behind what has happened was the illegitimate passing of those bills on January 16.
“Klitschko visited Yanukovych and proposed early presidential elections, but that was actually an ultimatum. In such a difficult situation no ultimatums of those in power or opposition will work. Dialog is the only solution to the problem. Now it is necessary to determine its format that will be acceptable to both sides, and then join the roundtable and discuss concrete measures to prevent further conflict in Ukraine.”
“OPPOSITION CANNOT CONTROL ALL THE PEOPLE ON THE MAIDAN NOW, BUT…”
Viktor Chumak, Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms MP:
“If the president will attend the negotiations, Vitali Klitschko will too. If the president will be absent from them, I do not see any reason to attend them at all. We should not talk to some working group, but only to the person who makes decisions. Under the Constitution, it is the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Therefore, we should talk only to him.
POPULAR RESPONSE TO ONE OF THE "DICTATORIAL" LAWS THAT FORBIDS THE PROTESTERS TO WEAR CRASH HELMETS / Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day
“Now the Ukrainian people is talking very loudly. It was simply impossible to not hear it after the Sunday developments. Any talk about radical young people notwithstanding, this radicalism has been caused by the fact that the government does not want to listen to its people. The opposition is probably at fault in this, too. We just did not manage to get there in time... But by and large, the government pretended all that time that it was not even noticing Maidan. Now, the protesters have shown their presence, and that of the crisis, too... If the Party of Regions has some real statespersons in its ranks, they should admit it and negotiate. If the Party of Regions has real parliamentarians in its ranks, they should take a decision on the unconstitutionality of the law adopted on January 16, which became the starting point of the current situation.
“It is clear that it is no longer possible to turn a blind eye to the crisis in Ukraine. Similarly, nobody can anymore put a fig leaf instead of real negotiations. Now the opposition cannot control all the people, but I am glad that most of the protesters are still reasonably minded and can be persuaded. But there are people who are losing their patience. They see no future and they have nothing to lose.
“I have a positive attitude towards the idea of a parliamentary way out of the situation. The parliament should be a platform for negotiation and decision-making. The main thing is for us and Party of Regions MPs to agree on much more than just repeal of the January 16 laws. It is necessary to vote for transition to the Constitution of 2004 and the adoption of European laws on elections... This would simplify life for everyone. But first, leaders of the Party of Regions should just admit that the country they imagined just does not exist, and they were very wrong in their assessment of the situation and the mood in the country. These people believed that the Ukrainians slept, but they were just a little tired and have quickly woken up. This fact cannot be ignored.”