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MOSCOW, February 21. /ITAR-TASS/. President Viktor Yanukovich’s statement on readiness to hold an early presidential election in 2014 and revert to the 2004 Constitution might mark an important step for extricating Ukraine out of the civil war and returning to peaceful life, Dr. Alexei Arbatov, the chief of the Center for International Security Center at the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and World Politics said Friday.
“One can draw a direct analogy between the current events in Ukraine and the events that unfolded in Moscow in October 1992 when gunfire at the Russian parliament was opened,” Dr Arbatov said. “Had President Boris Yeltsin called early elections then, there would have been no bloodshed.”
“Yanukovich’s statement on an early presidential election and reverting to the Constitution of 2004 with a re-distribution of powers in favor of a parliamentary republic may play the same role for neutralizing the radical moods in Ukraine today,” he said.
“It’s absolutely clear that the radical wing of the opposition in Ukraine pressed exactly for a replacement of the regime it disliked, and the prospect of early elections may mark a transition from a scenario based on the use of force to the political dimension,” Dr. Arbatov said.
Yanukovich’s statement came into being as a result of an agreement on settling the crisis, where he took part together with the leaders of the irreconcilable political opposition, foreign ministers of Germany and Poland, and the Russian President’s representative. The parties reached compromise in the early hours of Friday.
“The agreement should mark the first step towards ending the bloodshed and preventing a civil war,” Dr. Arbatov said. “An alternative to the political agreements on a constitutional reform and the early elections might have come in the form of a black hole, from which Ukraine would have never pulled out as a unitary state.”
“Ukraine has already been driven to the verge of an abyss: while the leaders of the opposition do not control the radical wing of the protesters, Yanukovich doesn't always control segments of state security and law enforcement agencies, and especially in the west of the country,” Dr. Arbatov said.
“Ukraine’s further immersion in chaos and bloodshed would mean a disaster for the country itself and for Europe,” he added.
“Naturally, an agreement on pulling out of the crisis can’t stop disorders in the country at a moment’s notice, and there’s little doubt there’ll be provocations,” Dr. Arbatov said. “Nonetheless, it will enable the sides to move towards reinstatement of order, which the majority of Ukrainians call for - and only in the central and eastern parts of the country but even in its western regions.”
“Peaceful civilians are interested in not hearing gunfire on the streets of their cities, as well as in putting an end to marauding and rampages,” Dr. Arbatov said. “This is heard from the pickets that stop cars on the roads and take away weapons and explosives. Everyone except the radicals is interested in disarming the militants.”
He believes that signing the agreement will make it possible to begin investigation of the cases where weaponry was used, and to bring those guilty of casualties in the clashes to account.
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