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Ukrainian protests are sure way towards economic collapse

December 05, 2013, 15:41 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, December 5. /ITAR-TASS/. Amid the complex political situation in Ukraine following the government’s refusal to sign the association agreement with the European Union a two-day meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers is getting underway in Kiev on Thursday. Ukraine, this year’s chair of the OSCE, has made a decision to make no amendments to the original schedule. Thereby the government merely demonstrated its capability in the wake of Wednesday’s abortive attempt by the Opposition to vote the Cabinet of Ministers out of office. In the meantime, Euro-integration supporters keep demonstrating in Kiev and in the West of the country.

Some wits in the local media have dubbed Viktor Yanukovich a “fly-high president,” because amid the political crisis the Ukrainian head of state dared to fly to China on a visit.

“The Ukrainian government has managed to ease tensions by calling for talks with the Opposition and banning the law enforcers from dealing with the demonstrators from the position of strength. However, the public mind remains turbulent”, Director of the Strategic Assessment Institute Sergei Oznobishchev told Itar-Tass in an interview.

“The leaders of the Opposition seem to be at a loss and have no idea what to do next. I believe that they will make an attempt to leave some sort of a message to the authorities after the mass protests. To express an informal vote of no confidence in the president and the government. By and large it was a test of strength by the Opposition before the 2015 presidential election,” the analyst said.

Oznobishchev believes that “in the medium term Ukraine has made its choice in favour of European integration.” The Opposition, which is so adamant for concluding the agreement with the EU has no economic program of its own.

“The troika of oppositional leaders — Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleg Tyagnibok — have been pronouncing fine and fiery speeches, but they are not specialists. Besides, it is the rule of history some make the revolution and others enjoy its fruits,” Oznobishchev said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov has warned his fellow countrymen against destabilizing the situation.

“Any destabilization first and foremost harms the economic parameters and the exchange rate of the hryvnia.” According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance, the state budget deficit in January-October 2013 was up 18.7%. The overall state debt (sovereign and government-guaranteed) exceeds 60 billion dollars. President Yanukovich had addressed the European Union in connection with the intention to sign the association agreement with a request for granting Ukraine 160 billion euros by 2017 only to hear a firm NO.

“One of Ukraine’s main problems in 2013 is the obligation to pay part of the debt to the International Monetary Fund (about 6 billion dollars) in order to be able to get another 15-billion-dollar loan. In May this year the IMF made Viktor Yanukovich hopeful its debt issue stance might be eased somewhat. Alas, the hope has not come true. It was also a signal to the European Union not to give Ukraine a dime. Yanukovich over-estimated the capabilities of his policy. One should also remember Ukraine’s debt to Russia. This explains why Yanukovich is hesitating between Brussels and Moscow. The IMF factor in Ukraine’s euro-integration aspirations had been obviously underestimated,” the director of the Modern Development Institute, Sergei Kulik, has told Itar-Tass in an interview.

The expert pointed out that “the current political destabilization in Ukraine has a major impact on the attitude of western financial structures to Ukraine’s debts and the possibility of more loans to Ukraine.”

“I am afraid the IMF and the European Union will stay under the impression of the current stalemate position of the Ukrainian authorities till the 2015 presidential election and change nothing in their stance. Russia will have to compensate for Ukraine’s current losses, including those following popular protests. In other words, we, Russians, will have to pay for the latest actions by the current Ukrainian political elite,” Kulik said.

Ukrainian experts have been warning that the Opposition might try to use the forthcoming meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting in Kiev to its benefit. In particular, they fear the situation may turn for the worse. The activists demonstrating in Kiev’s Independence Square and in front of the building of the OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting have been saying they hope for assistance from the world community in the struggle against what they describe as a “criminal regime.”

In the meantime, the Ukrainian society is developing a grudge against the “revolutionaries.” Whereas in the West of Ukraine the people still tend to support the protest demonstrations by and large, the members of legislative assemblies in the eastern regions have been voting for resolutions calling for the restoration of law and order.

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