Ukraine gov’t threatens emergency decree as protesters take over Justice Ministry building

posted at 10:01 am on January 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

For a brief moment yesterday, the conflict in Ukraine seemed close to a resolution. The government of Viktor Yanukovich offered two top posts to the opposition as a way to resolve the near-revolt in the streets, but refused to call for early elections. In response, demonstrators seized a building in the Justice Ministry, adding it to a number of government buildings seized in western Ukraine as the crisis intensifies:

On Saturday, Mr. Yanukovych had offered to dismiss the government and install one opposition leader, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, as prime minister, and a second, the former champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, as a deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs. He also proposed an array of other concessions, including a rollback of constitutional changes, made at his direction, which broadly expanded the powers of the presidency earlier in his term.

The opposition leaders, who represent different minority parties in Parliament and share little in common politically other than their antipathy toward Mr. Yanukovych, rejected the offer. That decision came much to the relief of thousands of protesters on the street who say they little have faith in any of Ukraine’s elected politicians, and want deeper, more systemic changes. …

On Tuesday, the Parliament is scheduled to hold an emergency session, and Mr. Yanukovych said over the weekend that many of his concessions could be put in place at that time. In addition to promising to reconsider the changes to the Constitution, he said Parliament would revisit laws rammed through by his supporters on Jan. 16 that imposed severe new restrictions on political dissent, including freedom of speech and assembly. Opposition leaders have said they want those laws repealed, not amended.

Euronews reports on the conflict:

Russia Today has raw video of the action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGIjXpYDE-0

Today, the Ukrainian government threatened to declare an emergency, which would in essence declare war on the protesters:

“If the ministry isn’t freed immediately, I’ll have to ask the National Security and Defense Council to discuss a state of emergency,” Justice Minister Olena Lukash said today on Inter TV. “I’ll have to turn to the president and ask to stop negotiations unless the ministry is freed without delay.” …

Under Ukrainian law, such a decision must come by presidential decree. The president also has to address the public with a warning that such a move is possible. Parliament would have two days to approve the decree.

Imposing a state of emergency “would be very detrimental for the authorities as it would lead to further escalation, further destabilization and fiercer confrontation,” Yuriy Yakymenko, head of the political department at the Razumkov Center for Economical and Political Studies in Kiev, said by phone. “It would be a more painful means of resolution.”

Yanukovych said Jan. 25 that he’s ready to give the premiership and a deputy prime minister position to opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko. While Yatsenyuk said he’s ready to form a government that would free jailed ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko and guide Ukraine toward better ties with Europe, he fell short of endorsing Yanukovych’s offer.

The protesters have countered this leaving the building –but want to continue to block access to it. If the Yanukovich government declares an emergency, they pledge to start seizing more government offices, and the countdown to an armed conflict in Kiev will begin.

The EU and Russia are both sending mediators to try to negotiate an end to the impasse before serious bloodshed begins. However, the opposition wants a full accounting of their leaders who have been “disappeared” from the streets, a demand with which the Yanukovich government has not yet complied. Until that happens, the two sides may not have much to discuss.


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This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

No kidding…

PatriotRider on January 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Except our leaders are rarely ‘disappeared’. They either ‘evolve’ or get harassed by the IRS et al.

Fenris on January 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Look at our future America. As the rat-eared dictator does more and more stuff by fiat and not the rule of law, there will demonstrators on the streets of American cities.

What other choice do citizens have with a corrupt government that literally has killed, a media that ignores the corruption and furthers the propaganda coming out of the White House, and establishment Republicans turned into surrender weasels more intent on keeping their political offices than in fighting the filthy bastard.

Happy Nomad on January 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Watch Putin send in “peacekeepers”. It will be 1956 Hungary all over again.

merlich on January 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Ukraine protests over EU agreement delay

Ukraine
1h
==
Ukraine anti-government protesters say they have left justice ministry after minister threatened state of emergency – @BBCBreaking
see original on twitter.com

https://twitter.com/YuliaSkyNews/status/427770343638720512/photo/1/large
=========================================================================

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/ukraine-protests-over-eu-agreement-delay/

canopfor on January 27, 2014 at 10:16 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

We can always Hope for a Change.

Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

Mord on January 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Civil war in Ukraine to go along with the Iraq-Syria civil war? And an emergent fascist state here in America?

I’m getting nostalgic for the Jimmy Carter years.

rbj on January 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I’m getting nostalgic for the Jimmy Carter years.

rbj on January 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I don’t know why you’re feeling nostalgic, we are living in Carter’s third term.

Happy Nomad on January 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Time for the Ukrainians to start voting from the rooftops.

A (well planned) shame that they don’t have access to much in the way of weaponry. Although given the extent of the underground economy in all of the remnants of the old USSR, the authorities may be in for a surprise.

Tom Servo on January 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06

AM

Except American sheep wouldn’t attempt to occupy any government agency’s building and the government wouldn’t need that excuse anyway.

Shay on January 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM

And now their Justice Ministry is as big a circus as ours.

viking01 on January 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Smirking Benedict Roberts was overheard scoffing: “Bloody Peasants!!”

viking01 on January 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Except our leaders are rarely ‘disappeared’. They either ‘evolve’ or get harassed by the IRS et al.

Fenris on January 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Didn’t the former Ukrainian prime minister Tymoshenko end up in prison for corruption?

Ah, good times!

NavyMustang on January 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Didn’t the former Ukrainian prime minister Tymoshenko end up in prison for corruption?

Ah, good times!

NavyMustang on January 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

I don’t know whether she’s guilty of the myriad things she was convicted of. But I do know that if Hillary were half as pretty as Tymoshenko she wouldn’t be a credible Democrat here in the US.

Fenris on January 27, 2014 at 11:37 AM

This could be our future in America.

Bitter Clinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Gotta disagree. We won’t see protests of this kind until the EBT cards are turned off. The political right is too beaten down and our “leaders” have been mostly subverted.

Once the Obamacare debacle was in full flower, the Republicans (if they were a real opposition) should have flooded the streets with protestors. Instead they discuss “fixing” Obamacare and how best to punish the Tea Party.

Doomberg on January 27, 2014 at 11:41 AM

That decision (to reject…) came much to the relief of thousands of protesters on the street who say they little have faith in any of Ukraine’s elected politicians, and want deeper, more systemic changes.

Tyranny often comes from no faith in elected leaders and demands for systemic change (codeword for revolution). I have no faith in people who riot and occupy buildings. No democratic society or republic can survive with incessant revolution. They are practically begging for Russian intervention. I wonder how they would like that for “systemic change.” This situation is not one that conservatives should be taking sides. It is one fraught with peril. In my opinion.

rlwo2008 on January 27, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Doomberg on January 27, 2014 at 11:41 AM

A supine response is what the Dems are counting on. So far, so good. My fear is that the mostly law aiding people in this country will fight back by peaceful means only for so long. But when open protest really breaks out, it will make Ukraine look like a garden party.

tngmv on January 27, 2014 at 12:18 PM

…It is one fraught with peril. In my opinion.

rlwo2008 on January 27, 2014 at 11:57 AM

You’re right. Rioting in the streets and revolution almost always lead to horrible situations. However, when you are already in a horrible situation, some people decide to throw the dice.

Fenris on January 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I have no faith in people who riot and occupy buildings. No democratic society or republic can survive with incessant revolution.
rlwo2008 on January 27, 2014 at 11:57 AM

And I have no faith in a government or “opposition” party that is now talking about promoting amnesty. The so called leaders in our country are making it impossible to vote our way out of this. They don’t even seem to be trying.

What was that line by JFK again about peaceful revolution denied leading to violent ones?

oryguncon on January 27, 2014 at 2:24 PM

I’m getting nostalgic for the Jimmy Carter years.

rbj on January 27, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I don’t know why you’re feeling nostalgic, we are living in Carter’s third term.

Happy Nomad on January 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Feels more like his 9th term.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM

As President Soetoro says, he has the power of the pen and the phone, as does the Ukranian dictator.

virgo on January 28, 2014 at 12:42 AM