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May 28, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Anatoly Grigorenko

COLONIAL MANAGEMENT: ATTEMPT OF REBOOT

The US State Department draws Ukraine to the brink of civil war

A WARFARE, OR NOT?

Some Russian liberal authors are so obsessed with the principle of formalistic democracy that their "ideal reality" screens off not only analysis but physical vision. As recently as on May 23, Novye Izvestia's observer Valery Vyzhutovich presented a cheerful eyewitness report from Kiev, describing this city in a positive contrast with Moscow. While the Russian capital is "subordinated to an all-penetrating and all-suppressing vertical", evoking "hysterical screams" and "posters urging to tear a neighbor into pieces", Kiev allegedly represents an idyll where only a few persons with blue and red banners (the colors of Victor Yanukovich's anti-crisis coalition, dominating in the parliament) march in the central Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnisti), while pro-Presidential activists politely keep their orange banners at home.

During the next two days after this euphoric report in a Russian paper (promptly reproduced by Ukrainian pro-Presidential websites) was published, President Victor Yushchenko replaced two (!) directors of the State Guard Office one after another, reshuffling also the National Security and Defense Council, along with the Prosecution and Ministry of Interior. During the same two days, the offices of the General Prosecutor and the supreme legal body, the Constitutional Court, reminded a battlefield, with two squads of special services, one of them with no signs or straps, physically attacking one another.

The bold aircraft of "model democracy", as Kiev was many times described in international press after Victor Yushchenko's "orange revolution" of 2004, struck the bottom on May 26, when a self-initiated destabilization hurled the President into a series of unlawful moves, resulting only in a worse deadlock which paralyzed the major and accessorial engines. News about divisions of the Interior Ministry's military command, approaching Kiev, and the Parliament-loyal MPs in Odessa, physically locking the gates of the Interior's garrison, indicated that the heat of the paralyzed machine was reaching a level of probable explosion. This day's decision of the President to alienate the Ministry from its own command, on the only grounds of the Minister's personal disobedience, served as a final accord of a pessimistic "orange" comedy, co-sponsored two and a half years before by the US State Department and the EU Commission for the only purpose of "snubbing Russia".

 

THE LANDSCAPE OF DISASTER

On the third year of the march of formal democracy, which started from an illegitimate third round of elections in December 2004, the economic situation in Ukraine was not less horrible than the political disarray. A liberal observer is hardly aware of this, as his attention typically neglects the sphere of production and its influence on public life.

On the third week of May 2007, half of Ukraine's regional gas distributing companies was declared bankrupt; paralysis hit the Kiev Heating Authority; mass media were full of rumors about accidents at nuclear plants. On the background of the protracted political crisis, which started on April 4 with President Yushchenko's decree on the Parliament's dissolution, reluctance of MPs to obey and the ambiguity of the Constitutional Court, the economy was going out of state control, falling right into the hands of gangsters. According to a politically neutral Korrespondent.net website, "efficiency of raider attacks on major industries reached 90%" – which means, in translation from sociological dialect, that only 10% of Ukrainian industries were able to protect themselves from gangsters. Statistics was confirmed by facts like the criminal overtake of Turboatom, the major Kharkov-based producer of energy turbines, and the Komsomolskoye Coal Mining Company.

The open-ended clash between two sides representing resp. the President with his Secretariat and the Security Council, and the Supreme Rada (Parliament) with the Government (except security bodies), did not much encourage investors as well. The Property Fund repeatedly failed to privatize Ukrtelecom, the major telecommunication company; a debate around an 18% share of Ukrtatnafta, deliberately conveyed from the state to the nominally private oil and gas authority, infuriated the major Russian shareholder, Tatneft. Uncertainty instigated flight of capitals, while anarchy in supreme state management undermined basic economic discipline. In mid-May, the Government published the official figures of company debts on salaries: since January 1, it had increased by 9%, reaching 880 million hryvnas (ca. $180 million).

The leadership of Ukraine's Central Bank kept desperately trying to convince citizens of durable stability of the national currency, denouncing warnings of "particular brokers from London". 62% of Ukraine's population was instead expecting an economic crackdown.

The troubled London City obviously relied on informed sources. In the morning of the "idyllic" May 23, UK Ambassador Tim Burrow hurried to the headquarters of the Central Election Commission in order to check the readiness of this body to implement the declared "snap elections" of the Supreme Rada. CEC's Chairman Yaroslav Davydovich, a top cadre of the "orange team" who met with US VP Dick Cheney days before the fatal April 4 dissolution decree, fairly confessed that things were going from bad to worse.

In the same talk, Yaroslav Davydovich obviously on the President's behalf expressed gratitude to "a number of international institutions" for their commitment to "provide technical assistance" in composing the State Register of Voters. Thus, the "vertical" of Ukraine's presidency demonstrated its inability even to count its own citizens. So much for efficiency of the "model democracy".

 

THE MELTDOWN OF AUTHORITY

Oddly enough, it was Russia's major TV channel Vesti one of those exposed by liberal author Vyzhutovich of "drawing an illusory image of civil war in Ukraine" which intentionally exaggerated Victor Yushchenko's popularity. On May 23, the state-owned Russian channel repeatedly convinced its audience that Victor Yushchenko's personal rating was boldly rising much amusingly for Ukrainian analysts.

The reasons for Vesti's Platonic sympathy to the "orange" President, married to a US State Department careerist, remains unclear. The decline of Yushchenko's popularity was well demonstrated in the spring 2006 elections of the Radas, where the "presidential" party, Our Ukraine, garnered a thrice smaller share of votes and Victor Yanukovich's Party of Regions. Since that time, Our Ukraine had twice split, each time with a scandal, and not a single local or foreign expert could promise Our Ukraine success "in case elections were held today". That is why Yushchenko's commitment for "snap elections", and especially the plan to accomplish the whole complicated job by May 21, looked illogical and absurd. That is why the initiative of the decree was ascribed to ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko, who had strongly pressured Yushchenko for a "decisive move" after a personal discussion with US VP Dick Cheney in early March.

The unexpectedly strong resistance from the Rada's majority and the Government, along with the obvious reluctance of Brussels to greet a new reshuffle of power in the country, serving as an indispensable transit link for oil and gas, undermined the dissolution affair along with the President's attempt of "hardline approach". During April and May, Kiev agencies were registering a continuing devastation of the President's authority during April and May. This decline was fairly visible from abroad. In mid-April, Israel officially announced that Yuschenko's presence on the Memorial Day ceremony was unwelcome. On May 14, British PM Tony Blair promptly cancelled a personal meeting with Yushchenko, scheduled for the next day. Kiev websites complained of "London's arrogance", as the inviting side provided no explanation for the abrogation of talks.

Why was Yushchenko so demonstratively ignored? For the five weeks between the dissolution decree and the cancelled trip to London, the Constitutional Court was reluctant to authorize the legally doubtful dissolution decree. The disgrace reached culmination when businessman Mikhail Brodsky, considered to be a strong political and business ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, confessed in public that the party boss had assured him of her ability "to buy up the whole [Constitutional] Court, and urged him for a personal investment in this operation.

One more blow followed on May 11, when Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev preferred the company of Vladimir Putin in Astana and Ashgabat to the "alternative energy summit" in Krakow, Poland, which Yushchenko pinned much hope on. The collapse of the whole design of fuel export routes, circumventing Russia, left Victor Yushchenko strategically disarmed and politically cornered. Inquiring about his state of mind, a sympathizing journalist would ask in a whisper: "How does he feel?" "Pale and perplexed", was the answer.

In politics, as well as in chess, a player has no right to pass a move. After Brodsky's scandalous remarks, the Constitutional Court the agency, viewed by Council of Europe's Chairman Terry Davis as decisive was quite hapless. The President was in need of some kind of a resolute judgment from the General Prosecutor's Office. But General Prosecutor Alexander Medvedko, as well as constitutional judges, was playing possum. On May 18, Yuschenko picked another figure for the crucial task: surprisingly, that was Svyatoslav Piskun, the person once removed by the "orange revolutionaries" and later striving for re-appointment. Satisfying his ambitions, Yushchenko probably believed to gain support from a part of the judicial community.

In his shaky position, Yushchenko did not seem to be committed for desperate moves. He was planning a new round of diplomacy, preparing to visit the informal summit of heads of Central Europe's states in Prague, as well as his only close friend from the invalid "Community for Democratic Choice" Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili. A leakage, appearing on a number of websites, revealed a confidential dialogue between the two. The wiretapped extract from this dialogue contained no hints at a possible "resolute move". Speaking about his sworn opponent Victor Yanukovich, Yushchenko politely called him in his absence by the first and father's name.

Yushchenko was seriously preparing to a new personal discussion of "snap elections" with Victor Yanukovich, where Yulia Tymoshenko was going to take part as well. The lady, who initiated the April 4 decree, hoped to play a key role in the solution. With some acceptable decision on his hands, Yushchenko was going to appear in Prague, in order to return on May 27, Sunday, and to congratulate Kiev on the Day of the City.

But on May 23, suddenly, the chess figures were promptly brushed off the negotiation table.

 

BURNING THE BRIDGES

Imagine a meeting at the office of the US Federal Attorney, interrupted by two persons, one of them almost unknown to the audience and the other known as a small State Department apparatchik, demonstrating a sheet of paper with the President's signature, and demanding the whole assembly to leave the place. The supreme official of judicial power would be enough surprised to display an impolite twisting gesture of a finger near the right ear: guys, aren't you crazy?

In a model democracy, as Ukraine had been permanently featured in innumerous euphoric articles in Western press, the acting General Prosecutor could not expect such a turn either. Svyatoslav Piskun, the person whom the head of the state had just expressed his confidence, believed that even the doubtful legitimacy of the "orange revolution" and the even more questionable effort to "overthrow" the Parliament, the judicial power is supposed to be respected.

The elementary rules of the game, impregnated in the constitutional law, suggested that the decision to replace the General Prosecutor should be made by the President with approval from the Parliament. The current clash between the first and the second power was making such an accord impossible. Still, according to even more basic and indisputable legal norms, any President's decree was valid since being officially published.

On May 24, this basic norm was ignored in a manner of "rule of revolutionary expediency", though a new revolution was not declared. Hours before, in his morning address to the Ukrainian people, the President said nothing about the Prosecution. He expressed his regret in definitions which did not sound aggressive over the situation in the Constitutional Court, which really changed six days earlier.

After weeks of idleness, the "decisive agency" resumed activity on May 18, the judges quietly approving resignation of Chairman Ivan Dombrovsky and electing his deputy, Valery Pshenichny, to the post of Chairman. This change was really unpleasant for Yushchenko, as on the last day of April, the President discharged Mr.Pshenichny by a special decree; two other judges had later undergone the same treatment. However, by May 24 all the three personal decrees were declared illegitimate by district-level courts. In an effort to subordinate the third power, the first one undertook more measures, not corresponding with basic rules of constitutional democracy. By one more early May decree, the President was taking charge for selection of judges of all levels. On May 23, a selected "obedient" court approved legitimacy of the three former decrees, thus leaving the Constitutional Court without a chairman again, as well as without a quorum, which had been provided only with the presence of the "disobedient" judges. By that moment, however, the "disobedient" constitutional judges denounced his decree as illegitimate.

Yushchenko's pressure upon the judicial power looked as doubtful as unnecessary. Concentrating upon the personal reshuffle of the supreme constitutional authority, Yushchenko was just multiplying enemies and bolstering sabotage in judicial bodies, as well as in the Supreme Rada and the Government. These moves gained him nothing. Moreover, they seem quite irrational on the background of concessions from the Rada's sides. His opponents had just demonstrated their commitment for a compromise: on May 4, Victor Yanukovich agreed to conduct "snap elections", and the next round of diplomacy (May 23) was supposed to determine the date.

According to a version spread by a number of websites, Yushchenko feared of a "change in mind" of his opponents. Somebody was trying to convince the cornered President that exactly on May 24, the "disobedient" Constitutional Court is going to assess his May 4 decree as non-constitutional, this decision to be then used by the Supreme Rada's majority for an official impeachment.

However, this rumor was too obviously groundless. On May 24, Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich physically could not supervise an intrigue of this kind. He was expected at the meeting of Prime Ministers of the Community of Independent States, convened in the calm health resort of Yalta, Crimea. Moreover, he was to chair at this event, traditionally preceding the earlier scheduled summit of CIS Presidents. The presidents of CIS states were going to meet in St.Petersburg, also participating in the traditional International Economic Forum.

The coverage of Ukrainian situation on the official Moscow TV channel, which inadequately hyped Yushchenko's popularity, rather reflected Moscow's peaceful stance in the dialogue with Kiev than some kind of an insidious game. Yushchenko's own diplomatic activity on the eve of the CIS summit indicated his readiness for dialogue. Thus, the foreign policy moves of Ukraine's Presidents strikingly contrasted with strange jerks on the domestic scene. For the domestic audience, this looked as either a split of personality, or a result of struggle of influences from outside.

On the third week of May, Victor Yushchenko seemed to be trying to play a game on two boards, in both cases getting into an unfavorable situation. This was obvious also for General Prosecutor

Svyatoslav Piskun, who did not display open disaccord and took part in the meetings of the Security Council, but categorically refused to authorize expulsion of the three "disobedient" constitutional judges. This alone served as a sufficient grounds for dischargement as unexpected as the earlier appointment.

 

ENTERS STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL

According to media sources, Victor Yushchenko was not committed for an open conflict with his opponents: from the three versions of the Presidential Address, prepared for May 24 morning, he chose the mildest. At 11.30 a.m, his press service confirmed his plans of the next day's visit to Prague. On the current day, he was expecting his most reliable foreign guest Mikhail Saakashvili. However, on 12.30 the President of Georgia decided to postpone his visit. The relevant announcement appeared on the website of Yushchenko's office twenty minutes before two newly appointed executive officials slammed in the General Prosecutor's Office.

What happened in a short period of time between half past eleven and half past noon? Nothing special except Yushchenko's meeting with David J. Kramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern Europe and Eurasia. That was not the first intervention of Mr. Kramer into the sovereign political affairs of Ukraine.

A day before, May 23, David J. Kramer joined the personal meeting of Victor Yushchenko and Victor Yanukovich. This meeting was supposed to be continued after a break for lunch. After Mr. Kramer's intervention, the dialogue was broken: without any explanations, Victor Yanukovich left Kiev for Donetsk, with the only purpose to watch a soccer game involving the strongest team of "Shakhtyor" (Miner) club. From Donetsk, he flew directly to Yalta.

Was Mr. Kramer, picked to his present position in March 2006 from the State Department's Planning Committee, enough competent to correctly assess Mr. Yanukovich's gesture? Was he informed that the next match of Shakhtyor, the most popular football team of the country, owned by the richest person of Ukraine, was going to take place in Kiev on May 27, attracting over 50,000 of guests from Donetsk? Did the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice overlook the "incoming circumstances", or intentionally hurl her protégé into a political operation with a high probability of an open civil conflict between Ukrainians and Ukrainians?

David Kramer's earlier achievements in his Eastern Europe-Eurasia zone of responsibility are not impressing at all. His advice on replacement of Russian peacekeepers by a NATO contingent along the border of Georgia and the breakaway republic of Abkhazia has not materialized. His March 2006 remark about the "last days of Alexander Lukashenko's rule" in Belarus has aroused nothing but ironical smiles. Therefore, the possibility of success in Ukraine, where the State Department could rely upon a rather short bench of executive cadres, was very feeble.

The potential of US influence in Ukraine was obviously not enough sufficient for a new revolution, or even for an efficient coup d'etat followed with a martial law. The only relatively achievable option was an upsurge of civil warfare in the country's capital, followed with administrative paralysis in regions and a threat of disruption of oil and gas transit across Ukraine. The only immediate reason for the bloody game, victimizing not only the citizens of the once declared "model democracy" but also Kiev-based US businessmen and diplomats, was to "snub Russia" yet before the CIS summit. For George W.Bush's White House, a more important event was the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm.

A year ago, the re-appointment of Victor Yanukovich to the post of Prime Minister, due to the role of a "trump jack" played by Socialist Party's leader Alexander Moroz the supposed easy tool of Washington, unexpectedly crossing the frontline and striking an alliance with the Party of Regions, was a real embarrassment. The White House, according to its traditional Cold War language, "lost Ukraine" right before the event in Vladimir Putin's native city. The Department of State was or at least felt painfully "snubbed", and the most convenient possibility to "snub back" emerged on the eve of a similar event in Europe. The choice of a German town for the summit could only instigate the planners.

 

"SELF-DEFENSE" FROM LAW

The team, selected for carrying out the knowingly inefficient coup d'etat, was picked from the few but most reliable of Ukrainian political actors, who had already proven their fitness for risky and irresponsible actions beyond the framework of law.

On May 17, a number of websites spread rumors on a possible replacement of Kiev Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky by ex-Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko, who had resigned voluntarily to set up a new version of a radical movement under the title of "Popular Self-Defense". The current Mayor, once brought to power by the US-based Word of Faith sect, was probably regarded as a "not enough predictable" figure for a mission of disaster. Even a bizarre priestly figure is not a correct choice for the role of warlord. During his Mayor's tenure, Mr. Chernovetsky got too much focused on Kiev real estates to greet a bloody mess on "the territory of his own". At least, too much time was required to "reshape" his mind.

The effort to convince Yushchenko to replace the Mayor did not work quite obviously, as the President viewed Chernovetsky as a useful counterbalance to the equally real estate-fascinated city assembly's deputies from Yulia Tymoshenko's party. Still, reports about Lutsenko's return to administrative power was useful to remind the Kiev citizens about the ex-Minister's influence.

Two other figures from the "special command" were successfully appointed to top positions on the eve of the decisive effort of destabilization. Ivan Plushch, elevated to the post of Security Secretary, deserved applause of Bill Clinton's White House in January 2000, physically kicking out the legitimately elected (but reputedly pro-Russian) Supreme Rada Chairman Alexandr Tkachenko, to overtake his seat. Alexander Turchinov was equally trusted. In February, he was welcome to President Bush's Prayer Breakfast. As he later explained, his role was to prepare the visit of Yulia Tyimoshenko to Washington. In Tymoshenko's government, this former Komsomol apparatchik served as Minister of Security by that time, already a believing Protestant. At the Prayer Breakfast, he was seen with his "brothers-in-faith" from Moscow and Riga, involved in "strategic" proselytizing operations across the whole of the former USSR.

 

IN GONGADZE'S SHOES

Officially, Alexander Turchinov is also the second important person after Yulia Tymoshenko in her BYUT party. However, the second figure often dream of the first role. Surprisingly for Kiev and Moscow observers, Yulia Tymoshenko herself was not granted any key role in the May 23-24 operation.

At her press conference on May 24, 4 p.m., Tymoshenko looked bewildered and irritated. She complained to her audience that Victor Yanukovich has "broken the agreements", reached earlier with Victor Yushchenko. According to her comment, the May 23 meeting of the President and Prime Minister was to result in a strategic decision on the date of the "snap elections". She meant the very meeting which was disrupted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David J.Kramer.

On the evening of the same day, Tymoshenko, earlier famous as "the iron lady", postponed the already scheduled extraordinary congress of her party. At the same time, BYUT officially refused to convey her party list to the Central Election Commission, admitting that "the process is unprepared".

Six weeks before, Yulia Tymoshenko was firmly committed for a political reshuffle, resolutely and passionately promoting the "indispensable" change in Washington and Kiev. Why was she neglected by the coup planners, despite her popularity? Was this mistrust the fault of the too talkative banker Mikhail Brodsky?

More events, preceding the May 23 eruption, indicate that the "iron lady" might have been exploited in a role, not corresponding with her self-esteem and ambitions. Moreover, she might have recognized the rules of the game, granting her a honorable, but unpleasant role of a martyr of democracy.

On May 8, a powerful explosion disrupted the major gas pipeline, connecting West Siberia with Central Europe across Ukraine. A week later, rumors were spread about an accident at a nuclear plant fortunately false but much neurotizing the public, which could seem calm and optimistic only to a blockheaded mind of a Moscow liberal journalist.

On this background, the version about a series of new terrorist acts, targeting major Ukrainian politicians, sounded credibly. This version was spread by Valery Geletey, serving then as chairman of the law enforcement commission of the President's Secretariat. From this body, established and trained by political consultants from the US Democratic Party, Mr. Geletey was elevated to the position of Director of the Guard Office on the decisive day of May 24. That was the very person who slammed in the General Prosecutor's Office to tell Svyatoslav Piskun that he is not more the General Prosecutor.

Yulia Tymoshenko was named as one of the possible victims of the plot, naturally attributed to the insidious Moscow. Moreover, Geletey's people proposed Mrs. Tymoshenko to serve as a "life target", in order to capture the supposed terrorists red-handed. She disagreed in public. It is noteworthy that a number of Russian observers took this life threat seriously. Popular Moscow website compromat.ru reminded about similar "victimization". Even without this warning, Mrs. Tymoshenko could well remember the strange circumstances of the abduction and death of journalist Georgy Gongadze and the way this death was planned upon, both at home and internationally.

Had Mrs. Tymoshenko agreed to serve as a life target, the late May destabilization could reach a far larger scale, triggering a bloodbath in a number of cities of Western Ukraine, where a massive sympathy towards Mrs. Tymoshenko conveniently coincides with the location of two major nuclear plants (Khmelnitsky and Rivne), along with the strategic transit facilities. An assault on the idol of Western Ukraine's population could efficiently "Chechenize" a vast territory at the gateway of the European Union.

When a desperate Victor Yushchenko, failing to overthrow the newly-appointed General Prosecutor, dispatched Valery Geletey's people also the Constitutional Court, and ruled to re-subordinate the Interior Troops directly to his office as Interior Minister Vasily Tsushko also appeared "disobedient" URA Inform website published an ironical comment under a title: "Now, the only further option is some kind of arson".

Was the above described "arson option" really planned, or it was only a fruit of unbridled fantasy of a Moscow expert? A pretty "arsonous" provocative story, appearing on www.rupor.info ("rupor" literally means "mouthpiece") indicates that the plan to stage a number of terrorist acts and then to point at Moscow really existed.

On May 24 noon exactly at the time of Yushchenko's meeting with David J. Kramer, "Rupor" introduced a breathtaking story about new plans of the insidious Moscow. Allegedly, a group of persons, including Russian political technologist Igor Shuvalov (not to be confused with Vladimir Putin's assistant with the same name) and Ukrainian-Jewish politician and lawyer Victor Medvedchuk was going "to set up explosions on major Ukrainian infrastructure, and to launch massive strikes". The same persons, allegedly steered by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, were supposed to "organize demonstrations of anti-Semites, and insert radical Islamic elements into the ranks of the Crimean Tatar Majlis".

Gossips over possible destabilization in Crimea were spread along with Geletey's terrorist warnings definitely indicating that the stakes were really high. Meanwhile, the timing of Rupor's "stinkbomb" suggested that not only the selected team of self-victimizing players but also the Deputy Assistant Secretary could be played blind. Anti-Semites and radical Islamists what else do you need to mentally destabilize an incompetent Jewish person, dispatched to supervise a coup which was not supposed to win?

 

ROBESPIERRE TO SUCCEED JEANNE D'ARC?

According to a popular Ukrainian joke, the only difference between Yulia Tymoshenko and Jeanne d'Arc is the latter's indifference to the property of the Nikopol Ferroaloy Plant. The "iron lady" has been heavily involved in the privatization fight primarily in the interests of BYUT's major financier, investment banker Igor Kolomoisky from Dnepropetrovsk.

By the end of May, Mr. Kolomoisky's influence in Ukraine was not rising but rapidly collapsing. Surprisingly for Kiev experts, he decided to sell Dneproazot Works. Right on May 24, the Kiev Economic Court ruled against his company in the debate over 1 + 1, the major TV channel which could provide Tymoshenko a powerful tool for her election campaign.

She was not supposed to run an election campaign. She was supposed to leave the scene along with the burned-out Yushchenko, and free the space for "the younger generations". Colored romantics were going to be succeeded by "black colonels".

Natalia Prikhodko, columnist of Gulyai-Pole website (named after the headquarters of the 1918-20 Civil War-time anarchist Nestor Makhno who challenged both the Red Army and the White Army), advertised the name of the person who was supposed to emerge as the supreme commander of the "black colonels": Yury Lutsenko, "the Robespierre from the Lvov Technological University". In a play of words with a similar name of a popular actor Georgy Kutsenko, starring in "Antikiller" serial, the author identifies the former Interior Minister as "anti-Yuler".

Yury was to replace Yulia. He was pretty aware of his role. On 1 p.m., May 24, exactly at the time when the attempt to replace the General Prosecutor turned a physical fight between two security commands, Yury Lutsenko convened his own press conference, declaring that "all the current politicians, I mean the Rada and the Government, are to leave the scene. They are doomed for a political pension. Instead, we need a provisional, technical government to carry out the snap elections". According to his remarks, the purpose of the new legislative body is a "complete reboot of the system named Ukraine".

As Mrs. Prikhodko explained, to make his message clearer, "euphoria of revolution is replaced by a new extreme current, which is ready to march over the dead bodies (sic!) of former comrades-in-arms". After all, Mr.Lutsenko had easily "marched over" his own father, who headed the regional Communist Party Committee in Rivne.

The ideology of the planned "rebooting" operation is comprehensible not only from Lutsenko's words but from the whole propagandist background. The April 27 decision of Estonia's government to demolish the major World War II memorial, the Bronze Soldier, was immediately echoed with similar plans of the regional authorities of Lvov and Ternopol in Western Ukraine. Meanwhile, a monument of Simon Petlura, the top war-time collaborationist figure, was erected in the city of Poltava, despite the official ban of the regional court. The new regime was definitely going to acquire the shape of the darkest types of Latin American dictatorships, built upon violent anti-Communism, martial law, and close partnership of the military and organized crime.

Vlasti.net, a popular website based in Melitopol, repeatedly pointed at Yury Lutsenko's involvement in drug trade "through the ports of Crimea". Gulyai-Pole's observer reminds that during Lutsenko's ministerial tenure, some powerful "thieves-in-Code of the times of President Kuchma" returned to Ukraine from the "near West". Meanwhile, Valery Geletey is viewed by experts as the right hand of the Secretariat's Chairman Victor Baloga, both originating from semi-shadowy business circles from Mukachevo, a major base of smuggling operations across the borders of Ukraine and Slovakia.

Victor Shemchuk, the person appointed on May 24 to the position of General Prosecutor, is Yury Lutsenko's protégé and official member of Popular Self-Defense. He was picked from Crimea, where he served as the autonomous region's Chief Prosecutor.

 

COUP CANCELLED OR POSTPONED?

The outcome of the shameless game upon the views and hopes, sympathies and superstitions of the Ukrainians was quite unclear until the morning of Saturday, May 26, when Victor Yushchenko, Victor Yanukovich, and Rada Speaker Alexander Moroz went out of the President's office, holding one another by the hand. The sides announced the major conditions of accord: the sides of the conflict agree to elect the new Supreme Rada on September 30 (exactly as Victor Yanukovich proposed in early May); to cancel its non-constitutional acts and cadre appointments, and to keep judicial and law enforcement bodies away from politics.

To demonstrate that the crisis was over, Victor Yanukovich and Victor Yushchenko jointly visited the soccer game in Kiev on May 27, and greeted Kiev with the city's birthday. The city sighed with relief; columns with party banners left the streets along with police.

A day after the peace accord, Interior Minister Vasily Tsushko was hospitalized with a sheer heart attack. He was one of the persons who saved Ukraine from a disaster which seemed inevitable. A similarly important role was played by General Prosecutor Svyatoslav Piskun. One more real but undeclared hero of the nation is Transport Minister Nikolay Rudkovsky, who did not allow to use railway communications for delivery of Interior Troops to Kiev. The list should be completed with thousands of Ukrainians who physically prevented Interior's units to leave the Odessa garrison, and blocked the way of trucks with soldiers at the entrance of Kiev.

These thousands of people, driven with a genuine impulse of resistance to dirty and bloody tricks played against the nation, shaped and constituted the real force of popular self-defense the force which crushed the coup scenario.

The "Robespierre" scenario collapsed. The very soul of the people, its peaceful essence, its memory, still keeping the awesome experience of the early XX century, refused to accept the design of civil war, whose planners were placing a stake upon young and instable minds the same planners who had just “democratized” Iraq into an endless disaster.

Still, political experts warn of new possible attempts of a coup d'etat in the summer period. The time of leisure may turn a new time of troubles. The stakes are still high; the period of student vacations may be used by shadowy organizers for new training of anarchic force; the everlasting intention to "snub Moscow" may express itself in new kinds of dirty international tricks in the fragile atmosphere of the Ukrainian society, with its persisting political disaccord and social stratification.

New hopes emerge from the positive aspect of troublesome experience. Ukraine's political establishment has learnt the most serious lesson of the past sixteen years. This lesson reveals the ugly truth about the power-players from the other side of the Atlantic: namely, their readiness to use the supposed strategic ally as a blind instrument, and to victimize its freedom, well-being and integrity, to hurl fifty millions of people into a bloodbath for an immediate need of affected ambition of the Iraqi war’s disgraced loser.

The European Union, which has not derived real benefits from its expansion to Ukraine's borders, is facing its own lessons of strategic importance. In addition to an irrational Poland and the disintegrated and criminalized Yugoslavia, Central Europe has nearly acquired a really "hot area" at the most sensitive doorway, and nearly faced disruption of strategic energy supplies. To prevent a new menace of this sort, Europeans should not idly watch the games with fire; instead of useless environmentalist propaganda and newly-invented trade barriers, Europe could take part in reconstruction of Ukraine's basic infrastructure, safeguarding its own vital interests.

Moscow, which obviously underestimated the scale of the cynical game, affecting its closest neighbor, has to derive lessons of its own. Window-dressers like Valery Vyzhutovich really deserve a pension, while adequate and competent diplomacy is of real demand. Some strings of the dirty operation, including Rupor.info's disinformation smear, were definitely pulled through Russia, where the prospect of presidential elections instigates serious ambitions of rivalry. The most useful option for Moscow and Kiev would be a joint investigation of all the circumstances of the late May crisis. The common memory of the peoples appeals to seek truth and to overcome contradictions, in order to establish a renewed Ukraine as a secure, flourishing and powerful economy, capable to fulfill the role of an indispensable bridge between Eastern and Western Europe.

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