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Portnikov: Yanukovych must not return

Viktor Yanukovych
Portnikov: Yanukovych must not return
Translated by: A. N.

Vitaly Serdyuk, the lawyer of the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, said that Yanukovych is preparing to return to Ukraine.

It is interesting that Yanukovych sets his lawyers to political tasks rather than legal ones: to bring to justice to those who are guilty of “surrendering Crimea” and “anti-constitutional seizure of power.” It is likely that leading reprisals against politicians who supported the people on the Maidan and came to power after Yanukovych’s flight would become part of the efforts to restore his political standing. After all, achieving such reprisals would make repealing the criminal convictions of the former president nearly effortless.

Only someone inexperienced in politics would view Yanukovych’s wishes as a bad joke. After all, any witness to the events of 2014 will recall that Yanukovych himself illegally signed the submission to appoint [the head of Moscow’s occupation administration] Sergey Aksyonov as the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. And they will also recall that the replacement of the head of the Crimean government was the first legal step towards a so-called “referendum” and ultimately the annexation of the peninsula by Russia. Any witness to the events of 2014 knows that Yanukovych did not fulfill the terms of his agreement with the Maidan and escaped from Ukraine with the help of the president of the country that organized the annexation of Crimea as well as the war in the Donbas. And, by the way, Yanukovych, who accuses others of “surrendering Crimea” to Russia, quietly lives in that very same country. It is Putin himself who is the guarantor of his security.

But the fact of the matter is that all this sober rationale matters no longer. We now live in a state where all decisions are made by one person, or rather, by one decision-making center, the “collective Zelenskyy.” And if this “collective Zelenskyy” decides that the Maidan was a coup d’etat, and that [former leaders of the Maidan Oleksandr] Turchynov and [Andriy] Parubiy, as opposed to Putin and Yanukovych, are guilty of the annexation of Crimea, then any court will agree with this judgement, and it will be reported on oligarch-owned television channels as Zelenskyy’s fans excitedly applaud this “new reality,” just as Putin’s fans are still excitedly applauding any decision of their idol, any of his fabrications, and any new round of lawlessness. This is the logic of authoritarianism.

One thing that we do not know yet is the reason the “collective Zelenskyy” would need Yanukovych in Ukraine. Perhaps, so facilitated by his rehabilitation the creeping revanche, for which the Ukrainians voted in 2019, will be able to finally crack down on the national democratic forces and ensure Ukraine’s surrender to Russia. Or perhaps, everything is much simpler: so Yanukovych might become an important factor in the decisive battle between the oligarchs for the role of the ultimate master of the serfs, who still imagine themselves to be free citizens. Or perhaps, Yanukovych is simply deceiving himself, misinterpreting the results of his conversations with “important people.” Similarly to how Zelenskyy is deceiving himself. And to how [Ukrainian oligarch Ihor] Kolomoiskyi deceives himself. How all personas who are infinitely far from the simple people and accustomed to living in a world of their own ambitions deceive themselves.

In any case, Ukrainians must do everything possible so that Yanukovych does not return.

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Translated by: A. N.
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