Ukraine government resigns, protest bans repealed

posted at 2:01 pm on January 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The government of Ukraine took a big step backward today — and then fled the field — in the face of growing unrest in Kiev and across the country. The parliament controlled by President Viktor Yanukovich repealed the law that banned political demonstrations on public land, which Yanukovich had hoped to use to bully his opposition into silence. His Prime Minister and entire Cabinet then tendered their resignations:

There were growing signs Tuesday that Ukraine’s opposition movement was gaining ground in its efforts to remake the country, with the resignation of the prime minister, approval of an amnesty bill for protesters and the repeal of harsh new laws restricting freedom of speech and assembly.

Ukraine’s parliament, called the Verkhovna Rada, invalidated the anti-demonstration laws hours after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned. Passage of the laws Jan. 16 had triggered violent protests in the capital city, Kiev, following weeks of demonstrations against government corruption and the closer ties to Russia favored by President Viktor Yanukovych.

The parliament also passed an amnesty bill Tuesday that would drop criminal liability for protesters who agree to leave the government buildings they have occupied during the demonstrations. Vacating the buildings has been a key government demand.

In another retreat, Yanukovich has now begun negotiating to keep his job, while turning it into a nearly powerless post … as long as he retains immunity from prosecution:

Yanukovych also said he would be willing to cede considerable power to parliament as part of a negotiated deal. Some of his opponents have suggested that he would be content to stay on as a figurehead if that is the only way to keep his job — and his immunity from prosecution.

A deal with the opposition would mean a stinging defeat to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, who strove to keep Ukraine from building closer relations with the West.

Russia had earlier threatened to renege on a $15 billion aid pledge if Ukraine reversed course and the opposition toppled Yanukovich’s government. Vladimir Putin reversed course today on that threat:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday it would honor its obligations to lend Ukraine $15 billion and reduce its gas prices even if the opposition formed the next government.

“Regarding you question whether we will review our agreements on loans and the energy sector if the opposition will take power … No, we will not,” Putin told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Brussels.

This came after the EU sent a signal to Putin that their patience on his meddling in Ukraine had come to an end:

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the European Union’s top two officials were set to hold “clear the air” talks in Brussels on Tuesday after months of growing tension over Ukraine and trade and energy disputes.

Instead of the normal two-day summit, the EU decided to cut out dinner with Putin on Monday night, sending a message to the Russian leader that it is no longer “business as usual”, with relations at their lowest point in years.

The summit will now involve around three hours of face-to-face discussions between Putin, European Commission President of Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, over and after lunch. …

“There is a need for a certain amount of straight talking, to clear the air perhaps, to clarify where we think this relationship is going,” a senior EU official told reporters ahead of the summit, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow it was “high time for a frank and detailed conversation, including about our joint view of the prospects for Russia-EU relations”.

Putin’s position in Ukraine is slipping badly now, and he’s going to have to come up with a Plan B after Yanukovich, especially with his ally now trying to hang onto a golden parachute. Either Putin will have to accept dealing with a EU-directed Ukraine, or he’s going to have to roll tanks into Kiev, and those days — thankfully — have long passed. He’d better start making nice with the opposition, and the EU.


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Ukraine government resigns

Can we get one of those here?

Tsar of Earth on January 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Putin smacked down?

Maybe. Mitt still thinking he is a better President than 0?

Bmore on January 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Russia will never give up Ukraine.

John the Libertarian on January 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Goodbye heating fuels.

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

The opening ceremony in Sochi is in 10 more days. It’s all about optics at this point, and Putin probably wants to back-burner Kiev until after the closing ceremony.

Christien on January 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

He probably watched a documentary on the life and times of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and got the message.

It doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t leave the country, he’ll be dead soon enough whether he resigns or not.

BobMbx on January 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

“…the EU decided to cut out dinner with Putin on Monday night.

That’s how my parents disciplined me.
Obviously, it is effective for now I are the Tsar!

Tsar of Earth on January 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

I wish we could get that lucky…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Look what happens when energy isn’t as scarce as it was (thanks to fracking.) Glad someone’s willing to take on Putin. Our president was too busy wetting his mom-jeans.

notropis on January 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The government of Ukraine took a big step backward today — and then fled the field

Wow, reminds me of the GOP establishment surrender weasels! Was Prime Minister Mykola Azarov heard muttering something about living to fight another day and/or hill not worth dying on?

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Putin’s position in Ukraine is slipping badly now, and he’s going to have to come up with a Plan B [...]

Tanks?

ElectricPhase on January 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

I wouldn’t be so quick to say the days of rolling tanks are past.

I think Georgia (the country and former Soviet republic, not the US state) might differ in their opinion on that matter.

Don’t know that the Ukraine is looked upon any differently by Russia than they look upon Georgia.

From the Russian perspective, it’s all “theirs” kind of like how Syria views Lebanon.

Grinch on January 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Once the Olympics are over, Putin will roll in the tanks and declare the USSR is back baby!!!!

redguy on January 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The opening ceremony in Sochi is in 10 more days. It’s all about optics at this point, and Putin probably wants to back-burner Kiev until after the closing ceremony.

Christien on January 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Putin isn’t likely to do anything too drastic till he has collected all that revenue.

Then Lord knows what is going to happen.

Long Polonium.

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Strange Days….

workingclass artist on January 28, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Which way to the Bastille?

If we occupy the IRS building, will the gov’t resign; or do we have to take over the FBI, EPA, and DNI offices also?

Another Drew on January 28, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Why not roll the tanks? Who’s going to stop him? Sure, Russia may be weak, and pitiful, but it’s not like France is going to do anything. GB can’t get there. Germany? Please–the last thing Eastern Europe wants is German tanks going east for any reason.

China? Not likely.

Canada may be the Ukrainians only hope.

Note I said nothing about Barky. He’s worthless, and might deign to issue a statement. We all saw the “red line” bit.

Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

The opening ceremony in Sochi is in 10 more days. It’s all about optics at this point, and Putin probably wants to back-burner Kiev until after the closing ceremony.

Christien on January 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Kind of what I was thinking.

Bitter Clinger on January 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Yanukovych also said he would be willing to cede considerable power to parliament as part of a negotiated deal. Some of his opponents have suggested that he would be content to stay on as a figurehead if that is the only way to keep his job — and his immunity from prosecution.

Will Englund TheWashingtonPost on January 28, 2014

.
You just know Ukrainians aren’t going to go for that.
.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday it would honor its obligations to lend Ukraine $15 billion and reduce its gas prices even if the opposition formed the next government.

“Regarding you question whether we will review our agreements on loans and the energy sector if the opposition will take power … No, we will not,” Putin told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Brussels.

REUTERS (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk and Barbara Lewis; editing by Adrian Croft)

.
Hmmm . . . . . . “end run?”

listens2glenn on January 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Goodbye heating fuels.

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

If only there were a country with a huge stockpile of natural gas to export to Ukraine…………….

Bitter Clinger on January 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Tanks?

ElectricPhase on January 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The Closing Ceremony may be spectacular. Fireworks and such.

Tsar of Earth on January 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Ahem – hint to US citizens?

Midas on January 28, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Once the Olympics are over, Putin will roll in the tanks and declare the USSR is back baby!!!!

redguy on January 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

.
That makes more sense, than anything any other explanation, for this news.

listens2glenn on January 28, 2014 at 2:22 PM

If we occupy the IRS building, will the gov’t resign; or do we have to take over the FBI, EPA, and DNI offices also?

Another Drew on January 28, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Sounds like the premise behind a really bad movie. Revolutionaries take over the EPA or Dept. of Education (cause the children are our future) and nobody notices.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Who here thinks Barack has the ability to win a war? Like, if Haiti declared war on us, who would win? My money is on Haiti, just because Obama would screw it up somehow.

Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

That makes more sense, than anything any other explanation, for this news.

listens2glenn on January 28, 2014 at 2:22 PM

.
s i g h

listens2glenn on January 28, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Maybe we could bus in a bunch of Ukrainians to have a little protest on the Capital Mall…..

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Who here thinks Barack has the ability to win a war? Like, if Haiti declared war on us, who would win? My money is on Haiti, just because Obama would screw it up somehow.

Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

You mean like when the geography-challenged idiot decides to invade Tahiti?

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Maybe we could bus in a bunch of Ukrainians to have a little protest on the Capital Mall…..

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Just as uniformly white as the tea party without all the racism.

//////<—-

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Maybe we could bus in a bunch of Ukrainians to have a little protest on the Capital Mall…..

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Just be sure and explain to Obama that they are from the place the stuffed chicken cutlet came from.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM

In another retreat, Yanukovich has now begun negotiating to keep his job, while turning it into a nearly powerless post … as long as he retains immunity from prosecution:

Yulia Tymoshenko says hello.

Red Cloud on January 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Just be sure and explain to Obama that they are from the place the stuffed chicken cutlet came from.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Cordon Bleu?/
(in college, we called those “hamsters”)

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Just as uniformly white as the tea party without all the racism.
//////<—-

Murphy9 on January 28, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Another plus!

I just figured they seem to be able to get good results….

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Why not roll the tanks? Who’s going to stop him? Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 2:18 PM

His natural gas customers could come to the US.

Akzed on January 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

So the Parliment and Prime Minister saw what was happening, thought it would not go away, that they may not overcome it, so rather than fight to the bitter end they decided to backoff and run away. Sensible, I think. Eventually, if this continued long enough, people would not think of things as the Parliment did this or the Government did that, but will start to think, HE (their member of Parliment) did this and then bad things can personally happen.

Russ808 on January 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Have they accounted for the “disappeared” protest leaders yet?

That may affect immunity.

Lonetown on January 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Would that we could get our government to do the same.

Skywise on January 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Could it be that the old Soviet satellites will enjoy the freedom we taught them about, while we continue to disintegrate into a self-constructed Communist enclaves?

Don L on January 28, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Maybe we could bus in a bunch of Ukrainians to have a little protest on the Capital Mall…..

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Naw, Karl Rove and Boehner would have them arrested.

Don L on January 28, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Does anyone think Obama is up to authorizing a Kiev airlift to get them through any economic/resources pressure from Putin? Nah.

Deano1952 on January 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

We wouldn’t do that here…it’s too cold, too windy, too rainy, too sunny, too hot, too…

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 28, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Putin’s position in Ukraine is slipping badly now, and he’s going to have to come up with a Plan B after Yanukovich, especially with his ally now trying to hang onto a golden parachute.

Time for Choom to issue some empty threats and thereby save Vlad’s bacon. It worked before with Assad, it will work again.

Nomennovum on January 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

I wish we could get that lucky…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

We did, once. People got so fed up with their tyrannical overlord they revolted. Look what it took though.

Boston Massacre

Tea Party

And the attacks on Lexington and Concord.
http://theamericanrevolution.org/battledetail.aspx?battle=1

Still, only 25% supported the uprising. Things had to get very bad first.

dogsoldier on January 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM

That may affect immunity.

Lonetown on January 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

That whole immunity thing is probably out the window now.

dogsoldier on January 28, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Sounds like these people could teach NY CA NJ CT residents a thing or two about taking back their governments.

TX-96 on January 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

So the Parliment and Prime Minister saw what was happening, thought it would not go away, that they may not overcome it, so rather than fight to the bitter end they decided to backoff and run away. Sensible, I think. Eventually, if this continued long enough, people would not think of things as the Parliment did this or the Government did that, but will start to think, HE (their member of Parliment) did this and then bad things can personally happen.

Russ808 on January 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Ooops, it was the Prime Minister and the Cabinent that resigned. So the Parliment immediately turns around and repeals laws so they can say, “hey, I’m on your side”!

Russ808 on January 28, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Things might get too interesting in the Urals. The Olympics will be a distraction. I hope the ‘opposition’ will make the right moves in the short time they have to realign things. Otherwise they might relive history starting with Romania 1956.

Missilengr on January 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM