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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Black Tuesday?

Volodymyr Rybak: “We’ll let them do some rostrum-blocking.”
27 April, 2010 - 00:00
APRIL 24. THE OPPOSITION RALLIES IN FRONT OF THE VERKHOVNA RADA / Photo by Oleksandr KosarIev

At long last there is opposition in the Ukrainian parliament. At a rally near the Verkhovna Rada on Saturday we saw the Tymoshenko we had become used to. The lady had got over her fiasco and ready for battle. The sure theme of Moscow hand has aroused feelings of protest in the diversified Ukrainian opposition. Viktor Yush­chenko, Arsenii Yatseniuk, and Anatolii Hrytsenko have condemned the Kharkiv accords in approximately the same vein. Another thing is whether the opposition in its current state will be able to take advantage of this situation. Will it be strong enough to prevent the Kharkiv pact from being adopted by the VR, or the Black Wednesday will be followed by a Black Tuesday?

Apparently it would be premature to expect concerted action, as urged by Viacheslav Kyrylenko. Yatseniuk met with the BYuT leader last Thursday and even signed a joint statement on an extraordinary session of parliament, but held his yesterday’s rally “No To Selling Out Ukraine!” separately. For Ukraine! took part in Saturday’s rally, but distanced themselves from the one staged by Tymoshenko.

Minority opposition members’ conduct is understandable; they risk getting lost in the opposition medley. Also, there is the factor of personal ambitions and party egotism. Finally, there is the factor of Tymoshenko. Stepping out on stage, she makes the rest of the cast fade into the background, which noticeably hampers concerted action.

Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko, however, believes coordinated effort is something the opposition needs very badly: “The optimal scenario would be some sort of joint leadership, without a single one in the forefront. So far, Tymoshenko stands far out with her energy and charisma. This makes the rest feel uncomfortable, mildly speaking. Hence their critical attitude to the Kharkiv accords which they show parallelly rather than in the same information space with the BYuT.”

For the sake of justice, another moment should be mentioned: the gas agreement signed between Tymoshenko and Putin also raised many questions and complaints. As a result, Russian Gazprom has been annually pomping extra 3.5 billion dollars, compared with the average European price. A lot of Tymo­shenko’s fellow oppositioners, specifically Viktor Yush­chenko and Arsenii Yatseniuk have not forgiven her for this “economic betrayal.”

Yet, all contradictions notwithstanding, today is the moment of truth for the opposition. Yulia Tymoshenko urged the opponents of what she calls an act of betrayal against the Ukrainian national interests to take part in a rally in front of the VR at nine this morning. An early morning of a weekday isn’t the best time for a rally. Also, the effectiveness of rallies has noticeably abated, but the opposition has no alternative; every effort must be made to prevent the ratification of the Russian-Ukrainian accords in parliament.

Meanwhile, the Regionals look confident and optimistic. And they have all grounds for this: they are supported by the parliamentary majority and leadership, as well as the sophisticated parliamentary fighter Elbrus Tadeiev.

At the Friday session of the Party of Regions the party’s first deputy head Volodymyr Rybak assured The Day that nothing would come out of the opposition’s actions.

“We will let them block the work for a while, yet we are going to pass the decisions. Tuesday will see the second reading of the governmental program, the first reading of the budget, and, thirdly, the ratification of the ‘Kharkiv accords.’”

But the opposition has serious intentions.

“We have the majority. When they had the majority, they did not ask us for anything, just passed the decisions. And we will do so. We will find forms and methods to pass the decisions, because Ukraine needs them.”

How? Will you go to the Ukrainian Home?

“We will never go to the Ukrainian Home. We will stay in the Verkhovna Rada building.”

Nonetheless, many political scientists have strong doubts that the opposition will succeed in preventing the Kharkiv accords from being ratified. The Regonals have forestalled the events by seizing control over the VR hall, whereas the opposition is ready for rather information-symbolical actions. It is emphasizing its disapproval and protest, and that’s it.

Meanwhile, mass media report on the next “surrender” being drafted in Bankova Street. Supposedly, the May agreements between Yanu­kovych and Medvedev will be no less sensational than the gas and fleet treaties.

The Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta (Independent Newspaper) reported that the agreement on border demarcation in the Strait of Kerch is being drafted now. The sides have been trying to resolve the problem since as early as 1996, but without success. The publication assumes that the Ukrainian side may agree with the Russian formulation of the

Kerch Strait’s status as both states’ inland waters, all the more so Viktor Yanukovych has recently confirmed his interest in another, previously stalled, project to construct a bridge across the Kerch Strait.

So, to all appearances, Yanu­kovych is pushing forward like a tank that does not pay attention to the noisy opposition infantry.

By Olena YAKHNO, The Day

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