The MPs traditionally missed the first session in the new year. Moreover, the parliamentary minority promises that if the power continues to lend a deaf ear and refuses to fulfill the demands of peaceful protesters, nobody will allow the current lineup of the Verkhovna Rada to work. Regionnaires in their turn complain that the oppositionists do not give a damn about the people and social payments, because they continue to undermine the “statesmanly” efforts of the guarantor and show no desire to vote for the 2014 budget. As an argument the most original representatives of the PoR point at the central entrance to parliament where white-and-blue silhouettes of hundreds of supporters of the Party of Regions filled the Mariinsky Park again, following the orders. “Opposition, don’t intrude! Let us approve the budget!” is almost the most popular slogan of the demonstrators. Traditionally again, the PoR adepts are guarded by police lines, and the traffic to the VR is blocked off.
In the same way hundreds of Euromaidan activists started to piquet the Presidential Administration. However, their number was considerably smaller than that of the policemen, who support the building to the hilt. This time, the traditional equipment set of some law-enforces include video cameras, which the police used to record all the movements of the protesters.
At the same time, Speaker Volodymyr Rybak opened the morning session in the Verkhovna Rada and immediately announced a break till 4 p.m., emphasizing that now the leaders of all factions are negotiating in his office. As it later turned out, they failed to come to agreement. The opposition brought forth the demands (resignation of the government, creation of Temporary Investigation Commission to see into the repressions against the Maidan and laws on Berkut), the governmental party brought forth the demands of its own (voting for budget for current year). “Current situation can be characterized as a political clinch, because the demands of the opposition are supported by the many-days action of protest, belief and firmness of people who are protesting, and it is high time for the power to finally heed to these demands,” Batkivshchyna MP Viacheslav Kyrylenko told The Day. “The power is deaf and blind, if it thinks that nothing is going on in the country. Therefore our demands should be fulfilled, of course. Otherwise we cannot speak about any consideration or approval of the budget.”
“As for the committee I am heading, we are ready to create Temporary Investigation Commission,” one of the few Regionnaires who wanted to comment on the situation, head of Regulation Committee Volodymyr Makeienko tried to convince The Day. “This clause has been included in the agenda. Moreover, 150 votes are needed to create this commission. Does the opposition have these 150 votes? Why is not the Party of Regions going to vote, if we have proposed our members to take part in the commission? Why? Then let’s for starts open the session, start working, and then discuss the rest of things. Is the question on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada? Yes, it is. Is the committee ready? Yes, it is. Have I prepared a speech? Yes, I have. Why do they say we do not fulfill their demands? We do fulfill them.”
The opposition is skeptical about Makeienko’s statements. They say Regionnaires included this proposal only nominally. In practice none of members of pro-governmental party is going to vote for it. “We agree to stop blocking the work of parliament only when the demands we have voiced will be fulfilled,” says Viacheslav Kyrylenko. “If they are included in the agenda, it is possible that we will stop blocking. But I emphasize, the question is about fulfillment of all the demands.”
Later leader of the Batkivshchyna faction Arsenii Yatseniuk told a briefing that the head of the PoR faction Oleksandr Yefremov said in presence of leaders of all the factions that the Party of Regions will not vote for the resolution mentioned by Makeienko. Apparently, the fulfillment of other demands of the oppositionists was out of question. “I personally consider that the negotiations will end in nothing,” Kyrylenko is sure. “Nobody will make any concessions to fulfill our demands, therefore mainly struggle in the streets beyond parliament awaits us in January. Maybe in February something will be resolved in parliament. If it does not happen, the fact can be ascertained – who needs this kind of parliament?”
When asked whether the opposition is confident that part of Regionnaires will vote for dismissal of Azarov’s government, Viacheslav Kyrylenko replied that the opposition is holding informal talks with the PoR MPs on a regular basis, but the results of heartfelt meetings and numbers on the indicator panel have many times been mismatching. “People think in one way, but continue to follow the commands of their party leaders,” MP Kyrylenko considers. “They are elementary scared. And this fear cannot be overcome only with the help of the opposition. They themselves should make efforts and understand that they are politicians rather than slaves of the ruling clan. Moreover, the demands we voice are not only the demands of the parliamentary opposition. This is a desire of millions of Ukrainians throughout the country. I hope they will experience some brightening before February, because today the parliamentary minority does not have enough votes to dismiss Azarov’s Cabinet,” the politician concluded.
However, the PoR members give more optimistic assessment of how the situation will develop in the following weeks. “We need to vote for the budget and I am sure we will vote for it. We have two weeks left at the least,” MP Makeienko is more than confident.