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Ukraine faces threat of change of power due to disagreements over European integration

December 02, 2013, 15:31 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, December 02. /ITAR-TASS/. The revolutionary situation in the city of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, after the refusal of President Viktor Yanukovich to sign an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union may lead to the change of power in the country, Russian and Ukrainian experts believe. On Monday, the protesters in Kiev have blocked the approaches to the Ukrainian government building and attempted to storm the presidential administration building.

The events in Ukraine are looking like a strong blow from the tension of a door spring violently unloaded. On November 21, the Ukrainian government ruled to suspend the preparation to an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. This decision resulted in multi-thousand protest actions throughout the country. The rallies of supporters for European integration were peaceful. Their participants urged the authorities to revise their decision and sign an association deal at the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, on November 29. However, Yanukovich refused from this step in Vilnius.

This event stirred up an uproar of indignation among Ukrainian supporters of European integration that grew into massive rallies in different cities of the country. Meanwhile, according to the results of the Ukrainian sociological surveys, 38% of respondents call for European integration. The same 38% of pollsters came out for Ukraine’s membership in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As many as 20% of respondents remain undecided over the reply to this question.

The supporters of the membership in the Customs Union and rapprochement with Russia are organized worse than the advocates of European integration. Their rallies in Kiev gather few people, they are holding the protest actions against associate membership in the EU in eastern industrial regions of Ukraine that tend to side with Russia.

On Friday, November 29, as long as the reports about Yanukovich’s denial from association with the European Union came from Vilnius, the moods of protesters in central Kiev turned sharply radical. The leaders of the Ukrainian opposition began to appeal for a resignation of the incumbent president and the government. Overnight to Saturday, the Berkut police commandoes have broken up the protesters with the use of force, tear gas and stun grenades.

The tension has immediately mounted in Kiev. According to different estimates, from 100,000 to 500,000 people, mainly young people, attempted to storm the Ukrainian presidential administration building. The participants in the protest action have captured the building housing the city authorities and the headquarters of the trade unions.

The peacemaking statements of the Ukrainian leadership did not cool down raging supporters of European integration. The president and the prime minister condemned the breakup of the rally on Saturday, head of Kiev police Valery Koryak, who filed resignation (but it was not accepted) assumed responsibility for the incident.

“A classical revolutionary situation has emerged,” Vedomosti daily quoted Ukrainian political expert Vadim Karasev as saying. “The authorities are disintegrated and cannot agree on an action plan, the opposition does not control the flow of people, who came out in the streets, people do not want to live in the old way, because they hoped for the policy of European integration that the country’s authorities will take up after the signing of the association agreement with the EU,” he said.

Director of Russian Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis Sergei Oznobishchev considers three scenarios of development in Kiev. “The first scenario is the change of power in Ukraine by the use of force. The backers of European integration like the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 may capture the buildings housing the state authorities and the Interior Ministry, the Berkut police commandoes and the police will step aside and the power will pass to the opposition,” the expert told Itar-Tass.

In his view, the second scenario may be the following one, “The president and the government under the pressure of the opposition and the protest actions will resign voluntarily and new elections will be announced.”

The third scenario is that “the situation in Ukraine will get back on a peaceful track and thanks to this factor the authorities will make some facelift - they will dismiss several ministers, including the interior minister and will give a promise to people to continue the talks over an association deal with the EU,” Sergei Oznobishchev added.

“The outcome of the revolutionary situation in Ukraine mainly depends from the actions of the incumbent authorities. Up to now the Ukrainian leadership did not have a clear-cut action plan. Over the two past years the president and the government have propagated Ukraine’s association deal with the EU among the Ukrainians. Then they have changed unexpectedly their intention to sign the agreement. On Saturday, they use the force against the protesters supporting European integration. On Sunday, they offered their apologies and began to dismiss the law enforcers,” deputy chairman of the committee of international affairs in the Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament Andrei Klimov noted in an interview with Itar-Tass that the actions of the Ukrainian authorities were inconsistent.

“The Ukrainian opposition has a concrete position - European integration, but this does not mean that totally all Ukrainian residents share the idea of association with the EU. All TV reports are mainly broadcast from Kiev and people have an impression that the whole country is roaring, but this is far from being true,” the Russian lawmaker noted.

Estimating the situation in Ukraine Andrei Klimov noted that the situation in the country cannot be called completely uncontrollable, “The state authorities have an opportunity to put the situation on an adequate track, stop a flip and flop policy, not to make new mistakes similar to the dispersal of the demonstrators by the Berkut police commandoes.”

“The authorities of any country should protect their position not by the sticks, through talking people into something, consistent steps and by consolidating their supporters in the interests of the whole society,” the expert noted.

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