by Ievgen Bilyk
Ordinary citizens wearing helmets and throwing molotovs into internal army troops. Riot police firing protesters with rubber bullets and 4 deaths being officially confirmed to result from gunfire of an unclear origin in the evening of January, 23. Thousands of people being wounded and cured in the street by self-organized medical groups. Politicians of rival parties blaming each other, sometimes even NATO forces for ordering unrest and killings. Groups of paid thugs from other regions and groups of common kyivans hunting each other at night. This is the reality of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, today.
Without engaging in conspiracy theories, the first actors that caused these painful and demented events are the Parliament and the President of Ukraine. Last week, January, 16, they adopted the laws that made all protest activity illegal. These laws were voted in an unconstitutional manner, that is, without any discussion and by simple hand-voting of the majority in the Parliament, and later signed by the President. But more important is the fact that new regulations transcended the anti-governmental protests that lasted around the country in almost 2 months beyond law. People were deprived of legal ways to show their discontent.
The second side to put the blame on is the opposition. The alliance of three parties, namely UDAR, which is lead by Vitaliy Klitchko, Bat’kyvshchyna, the party of imprisoned Yuliya Tymoschenko, and Svoboda, which represents right-wing interests, called people to the streets in response to the laws. Basically, they kept gathering people’s council on the Independence Square every weekend since December, 1. Just as it happened in previous cases, no plan of action was offered to the crowd this time. Several hundreds of thousands listened once more about some vague negotiations and ‘bad guys’ in power.
The third place can be granted to both extreme right-wing groups and riot police forces. The first ones came to the people’s council ready to fight, that is, armed with wooden shields and sticks, while the latter decided that it would be appropriate to neutralize them. A small sparkle in the form of a hustle between these two groups was enough to kindle the fire. The masses ran after right-wing activists in the direction of the governmental quarter, on Grushevskogo Street. There, the long-lasting and fierce standoff between citizens and police began, involving more and more people of different age, profession, and political views every day.
At the same time, it seems from the news that the whole capital has gone crazy. The events that were mentioned at the beginning breached the usual peacefulness of Kyiv for the first time in 22 years of Ukrainian Independence. It is becoming more and more obvious that the opposition does not control the protest actions. In a nutshell, the three leaders keep meeting with the President in order to abolish the laws and change the Government, while people in the street are demanding President’s resignation and justice. Probably, the fight is the only thing the masses are ready for in such situation.
Considering all above mentioned, it is quite surprising that the reaction of EU officials is quite restrained. Almost two 24-hours after the first gunfire victim, no clear sanctions are imposed on Ukrainian officials, except of the declared abdication from continuing the negotiations with Ukraine. Well, if Brussels claimed that they were still ready to sign the Association Agreement, it would be a cynicism of the highest level. But how many common citizens have to be shot almost in the center of Europe because of the irresponsibility of their country leaders for the Union to act and stop simulating action? What about some pressure from students of European countries on the EU officials if the latter ones are too timid? Ukraine needs your support now!