The fact is that the Parliament voted to diminish Yanukovych’s powers through a return to the 2004 Constitution, and that Yanukovych agreed to holding early elections in December 2014. This was the resistance’s agenda a month ago. Before the first human victims. Like the opposition leaders, Yanukovych is lagging behind in his understanding of the situation.
Listen to the people on Maidan. Basically, today we want Yanukovych’s head. Whoever brings it to Maidan will be declared a national hero. Tens of thousands of people will donate toward the bounty. Quite possibly a street will be named after him.In these circumstances, talking about another year of Yanukovych in power is idiotic. He should have left today, and the opposition’s only guarantee should have been safe flight out of Ukrainian airspace within 24 hours. They should follow the example of [Kyrgyz President] Roza Otunbayeva and appoint an interim president who can ensure a peaceful transition.
Yanukovych’s fate hangs by a thread. He’s killed hundreds of people. These citizens of Ukraine have friends and relatives. Some of them are armed. Thus, should Yanukovych remain in Ukraine, it’s conceivable that his whole life will be spent in fear of being shot point blank, or his motorcade being hit with a rocket propelled grenade, or he himself being burned alive in Mezhyhirya under the rain of petrol bombs.
The only way for Yanukovych to avoid harm is to flee the country. The question is, who would be willing to accept him? Not sure Putin wants to be associated with a loser twice in ten years and ruin his plan of domination in the post-USSR world. It would make him look like an idiot in front of the leaders of the world.
Not sure Lukashenko would want to host Yanukovych either, considering his recent derogatory comments about his Ukrainian colleague. Yanukovych could flee to Africa, where he is not a well known character, for example, or to Venezuela, or to Syria. His options are few.
What might I suggest for the victims’ relatives? Sue Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights and demand financial compensation? The proceedings will take time. But the compensation could reach tens of thousands of Euro. In society’s eyes, this would also legitimize the confiscation of the property possessed by the Yanukovych gang .
And another thing. Yanukovych’s oligarchs still had a chance to salvage his prospects about a month ago, before the bloodshed. Now it’s too late. Retroactively from the beginning of Yanukovych’s reign in February 2010, Viktor Yanukovych and his sons, as well as Akhmetov, Novinskiy, Ivaniushchenko, Khmelnytskiy, Firtash, Lyovochkin, Klyuyev, and Pshonka, shall be stripped of the assets that were transferred from public or quasi-public ownership.
This includes Mezhyhirya, countless estates, hunting grounds, regional electric power networks, regional gas networks, power companies Zakhidenergo, Dniproenergo, Donbasenergo, Ukrtelekom, Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol, lucrative mines, titanium assets, solar power stations — anything that was “privatized” through fake tenders, with straw parties, or even as a result of hostile takeovers. These should be returned to public ownership following Krivorozhstal’s model of re-privatization, with restitutions made by the oligarchs after subsequent resale in open auctions. Akhmetov should realize that Yatsenyuk is not authorized by Maidan to give him any guarantees.
In addition, the privatization of Cherkasioblenergo, which is currently going full steam ahead despite many, many deaths, should be stopped. Firtash’s scheme of taking over Titan Ukraine, which is in full swing, should be stopped too. The country is drowning in blood and they are conspiring to steal another share of property under the cover of the smoke of burning tires.
The oligarchs must be stripped of any political influence. The property of their bodyguards, chauffeurs, lovers, and solicitors should be confiscated by the people who fought the dictatorship for three months in freezing cold and under the shower of bullets. And the new politicians should understand that if they repeat the mistakes of their predecessors, an even bigger punishment will await. Because they would be betraying not Yanukovych, but the people who died for the sake of a better Ukraine.
Similarly, all current judges and law enforcement officers must be permanently expelled from their posts. All the communists and members of the Party of Regions should likewise go, even those who hoped that jumping the burning ship of the Party of Regions was a noble deed. All those Khomutynniks, Rudkovskiys, and Buryaks should understand that they have two choices today: either court, or a life outside of politics. The country has changed, and in this country there is no third option of continuing their political careers. The behavior of these people who have been sitting on government money flows for decades cannot be changed.
Likewise, Yulia Tymoshenko should be aware that her release does not mean her automatic return to power. Over the past few years, a new generation of leaders has risen, and if she wants to ensure her positive mark on history, she should stay away from government posts.
And one more thing. Do not believe the fairy tales about how re-privatization would cause the country irreversible harm. These people will only lose a part of the property they acquired using their special relationship with the criminal regime of Yanukovych. Perhaps Akhmetov will sell his US $200M flat in London and buy himself a humbler pad. Perhaps he will sell one of his private jets and several footballers. Still, these are the people who for three months stood stolidly by the genocide of Yanukovych, and they should pay the price.
These are not my words, but those of retired American diplomat John Herbst, representing a country where private property is inviolable: “The thing is that the most powerful people in Ukraine are still motivated by their own narrow interest. And the Ukrainian society doesn’t have enough power to demand punishment for those ‘powerful people’ who reach too far.”
It’s time to prove that Ukrainian society has accumulated enough strength to put these people in their place.
Translated by Oleg Mihailik
Edited by Michael Donovan, Theodor Pana, Robin Rohrback, and Shaun Williams