Since the very morning of December 3, one could feel at the Verkhovna Rada that the government’s resignation is not to happen. The leaders had not agreed it. And the MPs knew about it. Then some needed to play their role, and others to let the steam off. The government was openly procrastinating: Prime Minister Azarov and members of the Cabinet of Ministers did not show up at the Verkhovna Rada, even though they knew that the no-confidence vote will be considered. The opposition leaders delivered fervent speeches.
Vitalii KLITSCHKO, UDAR Party leader: “The government’s actions are an act of state treason. The matter of compensation from the European association has not been brought up a single time during the three years. It popped up in a week. The sum is astronomical – 160 billion euros. And when people came out with European and Ukrainian flags to defend their wish to live in a European country, this government drove people away with batons. We have a clear demand: resignation of this government, because it is lying.”
Then the opposition offered to vote for the ministers to come to the hall, even though they had to be there a priori. After the Party of Regions MP Shufrych said his party would vote for this decision, it became clear that there would be no resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers. The MPs voted. Azarov and ministers came to the hall. But when the prime minister started talking in Russian, Svoboda [Freedom] Party MPs traditionally chanted: “Ukrainian, speak Ukrainian!” and “Resignation, resignation!” So, noise effects were added. What for?
While Svoboda members were chanting, Azarov apologized for the action of law-enforcement officers in the Maidan and assured that an investigation was in process, so the guilty would be duly punished. But Azarov’s statements the day before were revealing and disgraceful: “I can tell you absolutely frankly, neither the president, nor the prime minister knew about this operation.” If this is true, it turns out that the solidity and powerfulness of the government are merely a myth. It is constantly criticized for controlling everything, and now it turns out it controls nothing?
“I think the question should be set in a slightly different manner: not just the resignation of the government, but forming a new one. What would a resignation alone achieve? According to the existing legislation, the government performs its duties until a new government is appointed. And it can take half a year. In this case, if this question should be set before the opposition, a new coalition government must be formed on the basis of the people’s trust. And it must include professionals,” said Yevhen MARCHUK commenting on the situation on the “Exclamation Mark!” show at the TVi channel.
My question is: If the president didn’t know about the crackdown on the Maidan, in the capital city, right after his return from such an important international summit, does this mean that he did not have the headquarters to keep the situation under control and monitor events that were taking place? Does this mean that something like this may happen again without the president knowing about what is happening?
And back to recent events in the parliament. The no-confidence vote predictably failed. Only 186 MPs voted for it. These are the opposition members, some of them non-allied, like Inna Bohoslovska, who has left the Party of Regions faction. David Zhvania, who has also left the Party of Regions, did not vote. The only surprise came from Yurii Blahodyr, member of the Party of Regions, who voted for the resolution.
“Considering the latest events, in relation to the situation that has formed in Ukraine, I declare my personal position: 1. The government must resign! Those guilty of organizing the violence must be punished. 2. A platform for negotiations must be created immediately. The president, the speaker, representatives of public activists, oppositionists, and observers authorized by the European community must participate in negotiations. 3. As a result of a compromise, a new government must be formed, which will finish the process of signing and secure the implementation of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Ukraine and the European Union,” Blahodyr wrote on Facebook.
“The oppositionists were also bluffing when they said they had enough votes for the government’s resignation,” says Party of Regions MP Volodymyr OLIINYK. “They decided to work with the communists through the hall, tried to pressurize them, even though they knew they would fail at getting the majority of votes.”
What about the opposition? “People present at protest actions all across Ukraine are there to achieve a specific result,” representative of Batkivshchyna Party Yurii ODARCHENKO tries to justify the opposition. “That is why I am convinced that the settling the matter of Azarov’s Cabinet of Ministers resignation is not limited to the sphere of competence of the government or opposition, now that people came out in the streets. There are no ways to settle this matter in a civilized way. There was a hope that the government would come to its senses after the bloodshed, but it did not happen. Yanukovych still hopes to solve everything with force, and therefore only pressure, only the protest of the people in the streets can change the situation.”
Why did they raise the question of government’s resignation, if they did not have enough votes? The opposition needs to immediately bring changes into its tactics. Otherwise, the initiative it gained thanks to the people’s discontent will be lost. Why was not the issue of creating a commission to investigate the brutal beating of protesters and punish the guilty brought up in the first place?
“Putting people on their knees, humiliating them, beating them, beating journalists – these are the crimes committed by those who wear Berkut riot police uniforms,” says the UDAR Party MP Valentyn NALYVAICHENKO. “The Prosecutor General’s Office must find out who they are, because according to the law, it has supervisory powers over the activities of the police. We hope for Prosecutor General’s reaction in the form of specific criminal cases involving the officials who ordered the beatings and also the executors. The provocations had to be neutralized by the Security Service of Ukraine and the criminal police within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They did not work even when provocateurs were there. Now the Security Service must report on what stopped them from pursuing a preemptive tactic and isolating provocateurs from the crowd instead of beating peaceful protesters.”
Unfortunately, the question of who exactly ordered to disperse the people in the Maidan and what sort of instructions Berkut received are still open. The government is still feeding everyone promises. “I think that the staff rotation is going to take place some time soon,” Oliinyk continues. “The thing is that a legal assessment must be given quickly (Prosecutor General promised to provide it by Wednesday), and a political assessment must be made on its basis. The president will make such decision, but it would be very strange if he made hasty decisions. Serious conclusions will be made there. And on the law-enforcement force as well.”
The opposition is incapable of taking specific action. Instead, after the failure to get Azarov’s Cabinet of Ministers to resign, its leaders urged the protesters to storm the Presidential Administration. What for, given that Yanukovych had departed to China?
In such conditions, when neither the government nor the opposition can satisfy the demands of people, it is possible that protests might escalate into the revolutionary phase. A real revolution, not a declared one. And then you will not envy the government. Azarov’s Cabinet of Ministers might even regret they chose to stay.
QUOTATION OF The day
Yevhen MARCHUK, General of the Army, ex-chief of SBU, ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine, ex-Secretary, NSDC, ex-Minister of Defense of Ukraine:
“We have heard the address of a Sevastopol MP to Russia, actually to Putin, with a call to bring Russian forces to Ukraine. There are 100 percent grounds for prosecutor’s office to start, mildly speaking, a conversation, although he is an MP. What is a legal formulation for such calls and addresses? You don’t need to think much about it. You will find an article in the Code right away.
“Can anyone tell what the regime on Ukraine’s border is? Has the frequency of travels into Ukraine increased? From what countries? Has the number of charter flights from Russia or to Russia increased or not? I think there is food for thought for the opposition as well.
“The Constitution envisages refusal to execute criminal orders. I remember very well, when I wrote this Article 35, when I introduced the Law ‘On Security Service of Ukraine.’ It is still valid. According to the Constitution Employees of Security Service, as well as police forces, must refuse to execute unconstitutional orders, which run counter to the law, and above all to the Constitution. Therefore they must refuse.”
(From a speech at the “Exclamation Mark!” (Znak oklyku!) TV show on TVi)