Wynnyckyj: “It’s not over yet”

Mychajlo Wnnyckyj, associate professor at Kyiv Mohyla Academy, has provided a useful summary of today’s events, entitled “It’s Not Over Yet.”

A few excerpts:

“It must have been exceptionally painful for Yanukovych to watch his precious Mezhyhiriya residence opened to journalists and ordinary citizens today. There, they found evidence of hasty packing, and multiple works of art and collectibles (e.g. a collection of vintage cars) that were left behind. They also recovered documents that demonstrate the scope of Yanukovych’s massive corruption machine, and others that show his regime was systematically targeting opposition journalists and civil society activists. In Yanukovych’s private quarters, they found his famous golden toilet, and also a Viagra equivalent at his bedside. Strolling through the gardens, the private zoo, and the golf course, journalists gasped at the opulence of the palatial mansion and grounds. Amazingly, given the extreme security measures in place at this site previously, the guards at the entrance to Mezhyhiriya simply allowed journalists to enter today – without even suggesting the need for special permission. Clearly, they were just as fed up with his regime as the Maidan revolutionaries. [. . .]

“In the wake of today’s events, and after having lost all support from Ukraine’s police and security forces, it is difficult to see how Yanukovych could possibly return to effective office as President. However, it is conceivable that Yanukovych could (for example) try to establish himself as the leader of an erzats-Ukraine that includes the three eastern Ukrainian oblasts (Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk) and the Crimean republic. Clearly this would require him to regain the loyalty of local elites and to negotiate Russian support, but such a turn of events cannot be discarded yet. [. . .]

“Destabilizing the situation in Kyiv, and simultaneously playing up the regional identity of the east while positioning himself as the “legitimate President whose country was robbed from him”, could be a successful strategy for Yanukovych if sufficient Russian support could be arranged. The best that he could hope for if this strategy is successful would be a lifelong Presidency in a criminalized buffer state on the Ukrainian-Russian border (similar to Abkhazia, TransDnistria, or Kaliningrad oblast). But even this option, from Yanukovych’s perspective, is likely preferable to exile or trial.

“Unfortunately, this option is likely also in Putin’s interests. Today’s events must be seen as absolutely disastrous for/by the Kremlin. Yuriy Lutsenko actually verbalized the threat today from the stage of Maidan when he wished that Russians would soon feel the same taste of freedom as Ukrainians experienced tonight. For Putin, Maidan is a deadly threat to his own regime because a domino effect is inevitable: the average Russian will now ask “if the Ukrainians could throw off their authoritarian regime, why can’t we do the same with ours?” And so, the Kremlin is likely to try to undermine the image of revolutionary success in Ukraine in whatever way it can during the coming weeks and months. One obvious way of doing this would be to help Yanukovych establish himself as the “President-in-exile” in a Ukraine that includes only the eastern regions of the country, but claims legitimacy over the rest. In reality, such a Yanukovych-led “Ukraine” would only control three eastern oblasts, and the government would be fully dependent on the Kremlin, but it could be “spun” in the Russian media as the “legitimate Ukraine” (in contrast to the “bandit Ukraine”), and therefore worthy of protection and a better example to the Russian people than the revolutionary government in Kyiv.”

The entire article can be read here.

 

 

One Response to “Wynnyckyj: “It’s not over yet””

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