THE UKRAINE IN TURMOIL

It\’s true.  The Ukraine\’s President, Viktor Yanukovych, has left Kiev, his residence and the offices of government have been overrun by the opposition to his Soviet-styled governance, and its Parliament is calling for new elections.

But feeling about this are far from unanimous.  Yanukovych had plenty of supporters, and parts of the Ukraine remain strongholds of the old-school USSR…therefore allies of former KGB operative, now Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Excerpted from Sergey Ponomarev\’s article in today\’s New York Times:

Abandoned by his own guards and reviled across the Ukrainian capital but still determined to recover his shredded authority, President Viktor F. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Saturday to denounce what he called a violent coup, as his official residence, his vast, colonnaded office complex and other once impregnable centers of power fell without a fight to throngs of joyous citizens stunned by their triumph.

While Mr. Yanukovych\’s nemesis, former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko, was released from a penitentiary hospital, Parliament found the president unable to fulfill his duties and exercised its constitutional powers to set an election for May 25 to select his replacement. But with both Mr. Yanukovych and his Russian patrons speaking of a “coup” carried out by “bandits” and  “hooligans,” it was far from clear that the day\’s lightning-quick events would be the last act in a struggle that has not just convulsed Ukraine but expanded into an East-West confrontation reminiscent of the Cold War.

I don\’t claim to know a great deal about Ukrainian politics.  But I know a potential civil war when I see one. 

And I can\’t help thinking that Putin – a man who a) has just lost a major ally and b) seemingly has a strong taste for violent “solutions” – would not hesitate to utilize Russian resources, including military resources, to get things back to where he wants them.

Stay tuned.  And be prepared for the worst, because there is an excellent chance that it is what the Ukraine is about to experience.

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