The session of the Verkhovna Rada on January 28 started with unexpected news: Azarov resigned. The opposition has many times lacked the needed number of votes to dismiss the prime minister, and now he decided to resign himself. The oppositionists called this step belated, MPs from the Party of Regions – nearly a heroic deed. Mykola Yanovych, they say, sacrificed his office for the peace in the country. However, The Day’s sources in the PoR report that pensioner Azarov simply decided to leave the post of the country’s prime minister in a decent fashion and on the president’s order submitted the resignation notice, not waiting for the voting in parliament. “Azarov was supposed to be dismissed even before the Maidan events. So, it is not a big loss,” the Regionnaires shared.
Later it became known that Viktor Yanukovych satisfied Mykola Azarov’s request. However, on January 28 in the morning the opposition stated that until the president signs Azarov’s notice, it was too early to speak about any reformatting of the government.
After a two-hour break and consultation of the leaders of parliamentary factions in the Speaker Rybak’s office, the parliament started to work at last. This time it was working more efficiently. Nine out of 12 dictatorship laws approved on January 16 have been cancelled. Three hundred sixty one people’s deputies voted for this decision. Regionnaires Kolesnichenko and Tsariov voted against it. Nearly 20 members of their faction refrained, as well as all members of the faction of Communists.
UNLIKE ON JANUARY 16, ONLY CHECHETOV RAISED HIS HAND ON JANUARY 28. BUT THIS IS A TRADITION FOR THE PARTY OF REGIONS
When asked by The Day, why the CPU did not vote, one of the Communists who wanted to stay incognito said that “the reason is that the laws of January 16 are European.” “If Europe has a good law, why cannot we bring it to Ukrainian reality?” the MP complained. Mouthed by a Communist, these words sounded surrealistic at the least. It turns out that the CPU, too, wants Europe in Ukraine. However, far from the best of its interpretation.
“Cancellation of the laws of January 16 is only the first step and I welcome it,” PoR MP Anatolii Kinakh told The Day. “The next step should be passing of the amnesty law, which must strictly define the responsibility of all the sides, as well as the demand to reformat the government. We need the government to work for the interests of the state, not represent the interests of political-financial groups. This is a package that will make it possible to ride out the sociopolitical crisis in the country peacefully.”
However, UDAR MP Pavlo Rozenko explained to The Day that the field for achieving compromise and leading a dialog between the power and the society (including the opposition) is still quite broad. “At the moment we are not the power. The question of government, cancellation of laws and amnesty are only several demands from the 15-demand package, which Ukrainians have put forward to Yanukovych. The society is waiting for concrete actions.”
While these steps are made in a somewhat slow fashion, the parliamentary journalists decided to remind the Regionnaires of their responsibility for the current situation in the country. Before the beginning of the session, all Regionnaires and Communists who voted with their hands for the dictatorship laws of January 16 received leaflets with the words: “Stop the violence, abolish the dictatorship, hear the people!”
OUR REVOLUTION’S PREPARATORY GROUP WITH THE “DESIGNER” IN THE CENTER
“I can see how lively, but not joyfully they are discussing this printed production in the hall. They are not pleased to see own faces in connection with deaths of people,” MP from Batkivshchyna Andrii Pyshny writes in his blog on Ukrainska Pravda. “You say, party discipline. It won’t succeed this time. You must think with your head and be ready to account for your decision. So, be responsible!”
Apparently, some Regionnaires faced the challenge to take responsibility. According to The Day’s sources, many PoR MPs refused to take part in any potential voting by hands in the future. MP Serhii Mishchenko, who is not a member of any party, registered recently a corresponding draft law in the VR. However, according to The Day’s sources in the PoR, this decision will remain valid until someone from above decides otherwise. At the moment the minimum task both for the power and the opposition is to find a peaceful way to ride out the crisis. It’s advisable to find it as soon as possible.
“A POSITIVE THING IS THAT THE PARLIAMENT HAS MANAGED TO GO BACK TO THE LEGISLATIVE COURSE, BUT…”
Kostiantyn MATVIIENKO, expert at the corporation of strategic consulting “Hardaryka”:
“My optimism is quite restrained. It is a positive thing that the parliament has managed to go back to the legislative channel, i.e., the laws are again passed according to the procedure, not the way they were approved on January 16. The rest… Azarov’s resignation is still up in the air. The same refers to the cancelation of the laws of January 16, which is still to be signed by the president. Besides, there is an absolutely barbarian situation which links the law on amnesty with freeing of squares and administrative buildings. This means that the protesters were thrown to jail as hostages. The public recognition of this fact by the power means that the question of whether these citizens are guilty of committing the ‘crimes,’ which are incriminated to them, is not a criteria for choosing the preventive restriction.”
“MAIDAN WON’T AGREE TO SMALL CONCESSIONS”
Myroslav MARYNOVYCH, human rights champion, opinion-journalist, religion expert:
“After the parliament session the following conclusion can be made: whereas previously the tactics of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions was not to make any concessions, now they have chosen a different tactics: to save the most important thing they have, the power, by making small ransom concessions. As for me, it’s very dangerous: if this team stays in power – it will unfold grand repressions in a month or in a week after the end of the Maidan. I have lost any trust whatsoever to the incumbent government, its words, and declarations. It has to leave. For this Maidan should stand firmly and make them understand that they won’t deceive them like kittens. I hope not as much for the leaders of the opposition as Maidan itself, which understands very well the nature of this power. And it won’t agree to small concessions.”
“IN TERMS OF STRATEGY THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THE NEW ‘SOCIAL AGREEMENT,’ WHICH YET NEEDS TO BE OUTLINED”
Oleksii PANYCH, philosopher, culture expert, translator:
“My first impressions from the events of this day:
“1. Not only have we found ourselves on the edge of the abyss of a mass bloodshed, but also made a small step back from the edge. But clearly it’s just the beginning.
“2. Re-approval of the four laws is an evident fruit of political compromise and a sort of a signal to the part of our fellow countrymen who take painfully the process of ruination of Soviet heritage. On the whole, we can and should understand them, because, apparently, apart from the political compromise we, no doubt, should make a broad social compromise. To say anything more concrete, I need to analyze the texts of the laws.
“3. There remain numerous threats in this situation. The president has not signed today’s decision yet and the repressive apparatus continues to function. It is evident that the power has cracked (practical rebellion in the PoR faction), there are some cracks in society (hunting after the football fans who supported the Euromaidan in Donetsk). But the biggest problem is as follows: everyone understands that we need to ride out the situation somehow, but at the moment nobody has any clear notion how and where to go. Neither in terms of tactics, nor in terms of strategy.
“4. In terms of tactics, one of the most problematic knots is going back to the Constitution of 2004. There are certain traps in the legal plane (who will be reelected now, the VR or the president), and in the political plane (the architecture of power according to this Constitution envisages permanent, structurally embedded conflict between the Cabinet of Ministers and the president with his Presidential Administration). Constitution lawyers must say their word about this. Anyway, revalidation of this Constitution, even if it can be done in a clean legal way and without ‘ruination’ in power, is only a temporary measure, and everyone (at least it seems so) understands this. In the negative plane, I can say, we already have consensus around the thesis that ‘it is not the face that needs to be changed, but the system.’ But here we are moving from the question of tactics to the question of strategy.
“5. In terms of strategy, the main problem is about offering the new ‘rules of the game,’ the new architecture of power which would lead to consensus around this proposal and make the main business players (so-called oligarchs) consolidate around it, as well as most of political forces, most of civic activists and the rest of the society. Actually, I am speaking no less than about a new ‘social agreement,’ which needs to be clearly outlined, discussed, and concluded. There is work going on in this direction, but it depends on the main participants of the process how long it will take.”
Interviewed by Ivan KAPSAMUN, The Day