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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ukraine: clashes erupted in front of the Parliament building during the Rada historical session

Clashes in front of the Parliament building
(Image: The Daily Mail)
Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, has gathered on Tuesday, 14 October, for its last session before the upcoming early parliamentary elections to be held on 26 October. This session was considered being a historical one as Ukrainian MPs were expected to vote for seven important draft laws and initiatives aimed at reforming Ukrainian political and economic system. The Rada session was attended by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who represented also several draft laws and initiatives as well.

Though the clashes erupted in front of the Parliament building during the session as nearly three thousand activists have gathered there demanding ban of a Communist Party and Communist ideology in Ukraine and recognition of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as a participant of the World War II. The demonstration was peaceful at the beginning, with the people gathering in front of the Verkhovna Rada building and chanting, but later the protests turned violent. Protesters have clashed with the security forces and riot police, which were deployed in the neighborhood and encircled the building of the Parliament. Protesters have throwing the rocks, sound and smoke bombs and grenades and firecrackers at the building and at the lines of servicemen, while the policemen and security forces attempter to disperse the crowds and to push them back to the park, surrounding the Rada building.

Several servicemen were reportedly injured during these clashes. Protesters have also blocked the Parliament’s building for some time, demanding the MPs to vote for the necessary laws and to meet their demands.

The major political parties have denied any involvement and responsibility for the protests and clashes, though there were many people waving the flags and carrying the symbolic of a Nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the new Defense Minister
Stepan Poltorak in Parliament
(Image: The Daily Mail)
The clashes and protests came one day after the protests of some Ukrainian National Guard soldiers and special police unit, who protested on Monday, 13 October, demanding demobilization. Soldiers and servicemen stressed their term was over six months ago, but they weren’t still demobilized.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reacted harsh on these protests stating that these protests and clashes were an attempt to “open the second front” in the country and to disrupt the upcoming elections. Ukrainian President also stated that his Administration and SBU had information about the preparation of these provocations, and that police and riot police units were ready for it.

There were numerous allegations that these clashes and protests were organized as a provocation of FSB (Russian Special Forces).

Though despite the clashes parliamentarians have managed to vote for several important laws including the new Law on Prosecution which is considered being a really revolutionary one, anti-corruption law package, among them also Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s draft, creation of a special anti-corruption bureau and forming of a special National Anti-Corruption Commission, which was also an initiative of Arseniy Yatsenuyk, the law about reveling public information about the owners of Ukrainian companies and their assets, the laws about the responsibility for election fraud and violation of the electoral rights of Ukrainian citizens etc. In addition to that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has issued a decree to cancel celebration of a Soviet holiday Day of the Homeland’s Defender, which was traditionally celebrated in the times of USSR and later in the post-Soviet countries on 23 February, and declared the day of 14 October the new holiday – Day of the Homeland’s Defender. 14 October marks the day of creation of Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Another important decision of the last Parliament’s session held on 14 October was appointment of the National Guard General Stepan Poltorak as a new Defense Minister of Ukraine.