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What will the protests in Ukraine lead to?

30.01.2014 15:43

Sergei Omelchenko

The protests in Ukraine are gradually approaching a point of no return. Both sides of the confrontation are responsible for the stalemate situation: the government has neglected an opportunity to timely take drastic measures, and the opposition was not ready to compromise.

The refusal of the Batkivshchyna and UDAR leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko to take the proposed posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs confirms that the normalization of the Ukrainian political process is outside the opposition's plans.

Moreover, the "peaceful" demonstrations have almost got out of control: the politicians who considered themselves "leaders of protests" do not control the actions of the crowd any more, but adjust to its mood. In such circumstances, none of the opposition leaders had enough courage to agree to participate in governance of the country.

In turn, the Ukrainian government continues to make concessions: in addition to offering the oppositionists posts in the government, the authorities decided to cancel the laws increasing the responsibility for violations during demonstrations.

After that, the protesters were able to rest content: for their occupation of administrative buildings, attacks on security forces, destruction of monuments and other disturbances they will not be responsible.

As a result, there are all the prerequisites for drawing the country into the funnel of instability: the oppositionists not meeting no resistance from the authorities, are increasingly inclined to radical methods of confrontation, and the country's leadership can not decide on tough retaliation measures for fear of conflict escalation.

At the same time a significant influence on the situation is provided by an external factor - numerous Western NGOs support the protesters. At the same time, the Ukrainian government has been severely criticized by the leaders of European countries and the U.S.

For example, the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden has twice called Viktor Yanukovych, demanding to withdraw special forces from the streets in order to "resolve the crisis". It is easy to imagine what consequences of such a "resolution" could be: after removing the main obstacle on the way of protesters, the crowd with new forces would start to capture and destroy government facilities, simultaneously satisfying the "needs of the revolution" at the expense of locals.

With such developments, the main outcome of the confrontation will not be a quick victory of one of the sides, and even not the transition to more peaceful forms of conflict. On the contrary, as a result of the authorities' indecision and impunity of the opposition, the tension will increase.

Moreover, taking into account the significant difference in relation to protests in the Western and Eastern Ukraine, we should not eliminate the possibility of appearance of a permanent focus of political and national tensions. Which - of course, entirely by accident ? will be directly in the close proximity of Russia.