The message from Ukraine's protesters was very clear throughout yesterday: we will continue with the protest!

With the Party of the Regions splitting at the seams on Wednesday afternoon, President Yanukovych took it upon himself to personally intervene by attending a meeting of the party's MP's to whip dissenting voices into line, presumably on the advice of the companies in America to whom he’s paying millions for guidance on political strategy.

It is understood that at least 52 Regionnaires had been ready to vote in favour of an unconditional amnesty bill which would have allowed the immediate release of all detained protesters. This in turn would have certainly helped to ease the existing volatile tensions within the country.

But Viktor Fedorovych knows best. Just when you thought that the seriousness of the crisis was finally beginning to filter through to all of Ukraine's MP's (bar the communists, of course), by the stroke of midnight, Regionnaire "order" had been fully restored and a controversial conditional amnesty bill was duly passed in Parliament thanks to the unanimous support of all Regionnaire MP's.  The effect was to turn the arrested activists into hostages, whose release would depend on a multitude of activist groups all over Ukraine with no other guarantees about key demands. It also opened the way for the opposition to be cast in the role of bad guys for obstructing a peaceful compromise.

It is not yet altogether clear what exactly Viktor Fedorovych said to his party's MP's on Wednesday evening, but whatever it was, he is clearly a better orator in private than he is in public.

Then came the news yesterday that "the Ukrainian president has been granted sick leave due to an acute respiratory illness combined with a high fever". However, in making the announcement, the Deputy Head of the State Affairs Department on Medical Issues, Oleksandr Orda, didn't say how long it would be before the President would be well enough to be back at his desk to sign off Tuesday's all important parliamentary decision repealing the anti-democratic laws adopted on 16 January.

And just as one might have been forgiven for beginning to speculate about the genuine seriousness of Viktor Fedorovych's health, up he pops with a predictable statement saying that his administration has "fulfilled all obligations" to curtail the ongoing crisis in the country and that it is the opposition that "continues to aggravate the situation, calling on people to stand in the freezing weather for the sake of the political ambitions of some leaders". 

"I think it's wrong", he announces from his sick-bed.

Then, brushing aside his war speech to Regionnaire MP's during the previous evening, he continues...

"Each of us is asking ourselves: why are people suffering? Why are politicians not calling for peace, calm and understanding, but, on the contrary, fuel tensions even more by making unbalanced and irresponsible statements, thinking about their ratings more than about people's life and health"?

And he concludes...

"I am convinced that we should understand that the state and people have no future if the political interests of specific groups are put above the very existence of Ukraine […] As far as I am concerned, I have a lot of understanding for people's needs and aspirations, bearing in mind the mistakes that every administration makes, because you don't make mistakes only if you do nothing. I believe we can make the life of Ukraine and all people peaceful and calm".

It would be nice to see Viktor Fedorovych back on his feet again soon, if only to address these very same issues/concerns in person to his "suffering" people standing "in the freezing weather" in the Maidan. He can then also explain why the investigations into police violence in November, the killings on Maidan and the disappearance of activists have been progressing at a snail’s pace.

Fedir Kurlak

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Ukrayinska Dumka


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