Interfax: Protests in Ukraine to go on, unlikely to result in revolution – Russian experts

Map of Ukraine and Ukrainian Flag

(Interfax – December 2, 2013) Protests in Kiev do not look like an orange revolution, but they may be the implementation of the scenario of part of the Ukrainian leadership, Gleb Pavlovskiy, president of the Effective Policy Foundation, has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 2 December.

Commenting on mass protests staged in Kiev and in other Ukrainian regions by supporters of Ukraine’s European integration and on force used by the Berkut special-purpose police to disperse protesters in Kiev on 30 November, Pavlovskiy said: “On the one hand, the majority of protesters are quite peaceful. They are indignant at the beating-up of demonstrators on Saturday [30 November] and at the behaviour of the Ukrainian authorities who have lost influence after their manoeuvres this autumn. On the other, there are forces that are trying to inflame the situation to a certain extent. However, this does not look much like a revolution.”

According to Pavlovskiy, the protests may be supported by part of the Ukrainian leadership who is not happy about Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

“It is hard to say what is the purpose of destabilizing the situation. In fact, as far as I understand, blocking the area of government buildings is likely to be secretly supported by part of the Ukrainian leadership, the part that is not happy about Azarov. Azarov has many enemies in the country’s leadership,” Pavlovskiy said.

“[President Viktor] Yanukovych kept Azarov in order to accuse the government of the whole bag of tricks and dismiss it. It is not ruled out that this is exactly what will happen now,” he added.

A strong argument proving that the current situation in Ukraine does not have signs of an orange revolution is the fact that all protests are staged mainly in Kiev, Pavlovskiy said.

“I would not say that the president has entirely lost control of what is happening. One should pay attention to regional councils in the east supporting Yanukovych. And the protests are mainly a process in Kiev, so far. In fact, what will happen next is a very simple question. Everything depends on who manages to pacify Kiev and who takes responsibility for Saturday beatings. I believe that now this issue must be solved somehow and then a new configuration of power will probably be defined,” he added.

“I believe that Yanukovych reserves an opportunity to place responsibility on Azarov and dismiss him. He still has this trump card. I think this opportunity is really being considered. I think the opposition will not agree to anything less important. Will Yanukovych be able to stand up for Azarov in this situation? In this case, he bears responsibility for what is happening himself and finds himself in a role of a lame duck,” Pavlovskiy said, as reported by state news agency RIA Novosti on 2 December.

“There will be some tough decisions,” Pavlovskiy said adding that until they are made, the protests will not abate.

According to political analyst Pavel Svyatenkov, the current situation in Ukraine may be referred to as the pre-revolutionary one, RIA Novosti said on 2 December.

The Ukrainian opposition wants to come to power, but do it legitimately, Svyatenkov said.

“I believe that there is a chance of Yanukovych keeping his balance, but he will have to make very serious concessions and resume the signing of the association agreement [with the EU]… Yanukovych has very little good moves and he is likely to try and wait until this public discontent is over, but I think that the opposition will not let him do this,” he added.

The protests may stop if the opposition does not take any active steps. “Clearly, if in the near future it does not step up its activities, the Maydan will abate,” Svyatenkov said.

For his part, Aleksey Makarkin, deputy head of the Centre for Political Technologies, believes that the protests will continue, but will not result in a revolution.

“I think that street protests will continue until some decisions are taken. I believe that the main decisions will be made during consultations and talks within the elite,” Makarkin said.

The elite is both from the authorities and from the opposition, so they will find a way to come to agreement, Makarkin added.