By Oleh Mihailik

Time runs fast in Ukraine. Only three months ago the whole country was firing on all cylinders to reach the EU Association Agreement: officials trumpeting their near success, media hunting for the backstage rumours, battered and ill Yulia Timoshenko yielding her hopes of release from prison for the sake of the safe passage of the agreement.

As the country was tantalizingly close to finally break free of its USSR past, some people were hopeful, others sСРeptical, but the streetwise Joe Public remained indifferent. New Year presents and Christmas trees made the EU rather far and insignificant.

Three month later hardly anyone is cool. Citizens are angry, intimidated, brutalized. Government just about clings to power, running out of options quickly. And the opposition in parliament issues ultimatum upon ultimatum. As the degree of intimidation increases, more and more of moderate respected opinion leaders call for direct action, while the population grows receptive.

To put it bluntly, civil war becomes less and less 'unforeseeable'.

In that situation Ukrainians abroad scramble for any means to help the compatriots at home. Picketing embassies and residences made a sobering effect on an oligarch or two. Two petitions to the US government collected above 100,000 signatures, and made highest ranks of the politicians from both parties to discuss the situation.

These days the Ukrainans of the EU are lodging their petition in Brussels. While the EU may not be as quick on response, its ties to Ukraine are stronger, and influence reaches way deeper.

This petition attempts to be much more thorough, specific in describing the dire situation, and direct in calling for help.

Officials and bureaucrats sitting in Brussels will be reminded the names of Tetyana Chornovol an Yuri Lutsenko who were beaten, and recounted the numerous conventions, declarations and agreements signed between Ukraine and the EU starting with the European Convention of Human Rights in 1997. While European Court of Human Rights wasn't getting praise from the British shores, its role in upholding justice in corrupted Ukraine has been immense all these years.

The petition goes on to quote the Constitution of Ukraine that have been violated: article 3, the guarantees of the rights and freedoms of an individual; article 5, the source of sovereignty and power; article 39, the right for peaceful assembly.

On the basis of these violation and the widespread brutal oppression, the petition asks for 9 actions:

  • to bare Yanukovich, Azarov, members of the cabinet, the head of security police (SBU), judges, prosecutors and oligarchs and their families the entry to the EU;
  • to apply money laundering rules to the regime's officials;
  • to freeze private bank accounts of Yanukovich and son, Azarov, cabinet members, SBU head, judges, prosecutors and oligarchs and their families;
  • to freeze business bank accounts of the same;
  • to put trade embargo on the exports by oligarchs and government officials to the EU;
  • to create special commission at EU parliament investigating the crimes of the same;
  • to invoke protection from OSCE and NATO forces for Ukraine;
  • to hold an official meeting in Brussels with representatives of the associations of Ukrainians;
  • to allow a manifestation in Brussels in support of European integration of Ukraine.

Clearly, some of the requests are rather bold.

Trade embargo could bankrupt export-oriented businessmen from the global net-worth ranks virtually overnight. Even more controversial would be OSCE and NATO protection, risking the return of the cold war with Russia.

But it may not be as improbable. As more EU members grow tired of what they see as excessive burden in EU, a bold and risky investment in Ukrainian democracy may give a new justification to these central structures.

One way or another, having such a strongly worded and specific document even officially considered by the EU officials is already a good help to the people standing around the burning oil drums in Kyiv.

Note. The group plans to hand in the Petition to the EU on 15 February 2014 and is calling on supporters to take part in a rally planned to take place in Brussels on that day.  This is, howver, a provisional notification only.  Confirmation of the date, place and time will be posted on our Facebook page as soon as it becomes available.

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Ukrayinska Dumka


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