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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Euromaidan revolution: historical moment for Ukraine, but the battle continues

Independence Square (Maidan) on Saturday
(Image: Reuters)
After horrible days of the real street war led by Yanukovich regime against Ukrainian protesters in the streets of Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine the country has experienced really decisive moments changing the country significantly. But this victory is not final yet, and the battle continues, as the most important task of Euromaidan revolution and the key demand is total change of power in the country.

Ukrainian Parliament has gathered on Saturday for the fourth day amid the continuous attempts to resolve the deepening crisis in Ukraine in a peaceful and legitimate way, as EU ministers and diplomats are in Ukraine, and Western and Russian politicians as well follow the situation closely.

The majority of Ukrainian parliamentarians were presented on the Saturday’s session despite the fact that many members of pro-Yanukovich Party of Regions and officials close to Yanukovich and supporting him have fled the country. Parliament has voted on Saturday for immediate return of 2004 Constitution, release of political prisoners and release of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Aleksandr Turchinov, member of Yulia Tymoshenko Batkivshchyna (Homeland) Party, currently led by Arseny Yatsenyuk, was officially appointed new Parliament’s Speaker.

Protesters on the barricades in Kyiv
(Image: Illya Varlamov)
Prosecutor General Pshonka was officially dismissed by the Parliament’s decision. In addition to that he is wanted by SBU and was stopped on the border where he attempted to escape the country. Minister of Interior Vitaly Zakharchenko was also dismissed.

But the most important decision supported by Parliament on Saturday was impeachment for Victor Yanukovich. This decision was supported by 328 votes. Early presidential elections will be held in Ukraine on 25 May 2014, according to the document.

All the laws and decisions supported by Ukrainian Parliament on Saturday have been already signed by the Parliament’s speaker and published in an official governmental newspaper “Golos Ukrainy” (“Voice of Ukraine”), which means that they are immediately put in effect.

Meanwhile several MPs from the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine and Crimea led by Kharkiv leaders Mr. Dobkin and Mr. Kernes have attempted a coup d’état today as they’ve tried to announce federalization of Ukraine during the extraordinary meeting of the MPs from the abovementioned regions. Yanukovich and several high officials have reportedly left Kyiv late on Friday to arrive in Kharkiv and participate in this meeting, but they failed to appear, as the airplane of Yanukovich, monitored of Flight Radar programs, was caught on the way to Russia.

Maidan is packed with people
(Image: Illya Varlamov)
Tens of thousands of protesters and supporters of Euromaidan have gathered in Kharkiv to support the decision taken by Parliament in Kyiv and to prevent the separatist MPs from dividing Ukraine  and deteriorating the crisis. There was though no quorum, as many Crimean MPs failed to appear. Dobkin and Kernes have made statements from the stage claiming they don’t want Ukraine to be divided and announced they want cooperation with Russia. However, the attempt to federalize the country was made as the meeting has announced the text of its official Resolution, claiming that they don’t recognize the recent decisions of Parliament and consider them being illegitimate and take power in their hands in order to defend Constitutional order in Ukraine and save at least the Eastern and Southern regions. The federalization plan has failed again, like it happened already in 2004. Dobkin and Kernes in their turn are facing charges on separatisn and extremist calls and statements from SBU. Both of them have been arrested today in airport, trying to escape Ukraine to Russia.

Former Prosecutor General Pshonka and ex-Minister of Interior Zakharchenko have also fled the country, but Pshonka was stopped on the border, while Zakharchenko managed to get to the neighboring Belorussia, where he was met by the local FSB agents and was said that he must leave the country till 6 p.m. or he will be arrested. The same fate had Sergiy Kurchenko, another high official from the closest circle of Yanukovich.

Yanukovich's residence taken by people
(Image: Illya Varlamov)
Yanukovich is his turn has called today several oppositional leaders claiming that he is ready to resign and that he will make a statement about it. Later though his video speech appeared on the channel owned by the currently dismissed Prime Minister Sergiy Arbuzov. The prerecorded video, taken in a strange location, has shown angry and grim Yanukovich talking about coup d’état and taking over the power in an illegitimate way, about bandits and criminals in the streets of Kyiv and assassination attempts. He stated that members of Party of Regions who supported the current decisions of Parliament either made it under terrible pressure or are the traitor. He also added that his car was under fire, but he will not leave. Yanukovich stated that he will not step down and that he will not sign the documents and laws supported by Parliament today. He compared opposition, protesters and Euromaidan with the German Nazi in 30ies and declared that he will not give up on power.

Later though his private airplane was denied the right to leave Ukraine in Donetsk airport, as Yanukovich tried to escape to Russia.

Some of the numerous documents found in Yanukovich's
(Image: UA Info)
Among the most significant events of Saturday was also historical seizure of Mezhygirjya, Yanukovich’s luxury residence, which was left in a hurry in the morning leaving packages of documents burning and sinking in the lake located on the territory of the residence. The residence and all of its territory was totally taken by protesters, and journalists and activists had the possibility to finally get inside and see with their own eyes the amount of luxury and consumerism of Yanukovich and his regime. Millions of documents, financial papers and bills, dossiers of all the oppositional politicians, activists, journalists and civic activists with the detailed information about them were found in Yanukovich residence. These documents will be given to the Prosecution and Court and there are materials for several hundred cases, according to the journalists and lawyers. Among the evidence left in Yanukovich residence was also weapon of different kinds. Impressive albums with the pictures capturing the level of luxury and corruption are going viral in social networks now, and the residence remains open for visitors for at least two next days.

Meanwhile, Euromaidan commemorated today Ukrainian Heroes, slain during the days of the fight with regime. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Kyiv Independence Square and in the main squares of many other cities of Ukraine to commemorate the slain protesters.
Documents found in Yanukovich's residence
(Image: Tatyana Danylenko)
The ceremony was attended by released Yulia Tymoshenko, who arrived on Maidan and made a speech from the stage calling people for continuation of fight for changing the country and lustration and praising the heroes of Ukraine.

Yulia Tymoshenko was the strongest rival of Yanukovich when he gave an order to imprison her, and her release was one if the key demands of EU politicians on the path towards signing an Association Agreement with EU. She has extremely high chances for victory if she will decide to run for President, but many experts and activists as well are sure, there would be better if she would decide to leave political career.

Western countries in their turn have supported developments in Ukraine happened today and expressed their support of the legitimate resolution of crisis and hopes that Ukraine will start to rebuild itself and to develop. EU diplomats claim that Ukraine still has all the chances to sign an Association Agreement with EU and receive financial aid from the Western countries for implementing the reforms in order to stabilize the situation in the country and to rebuild economy.

People on Maidan, commemorating slain protesters
(Image: Illya Varlamov)
Ukraine though is only at the beginning of the long way of building the real democratic society and democratic and free country, as there are still a lot of things to do on this path, but it is totally clear: Ukrainian Nation was born today.