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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Ukraine: le risque de partition de l’État est réel

by Vadim Kamenka

Real Risk of Seeing Ukraine Partitioned

Translated Sunday 2 March 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

To break the political impasse, the Ukrainian Communist Party is demanding a consultation of Ukrainians, notably on the cooperation agreement with the EU.

The partitioning of the Ukraine is not an impossibility for Anatoli Sokoliuk, who is in charge of international relations for the Ukrainian Communist Party (UKP). “The destruction of the Ukraine as a country cannot be excluded. The authorities, the opposition parties and the little neo-Nazis groups bear responsibility for this and for dozens of deaths,” he stated. In the space of three months, the political crisis caused by president Viktor Ianukovich’s refusal to sign a free-trade agreement with the European Union has become an insurrection.

“I have the impression that part of the population is now waiting for more. And above all that it no longer has confidence in the political leaders because they have not obtained anything in three months,” a Ukrainian journalist explained to us, because, in this protest movement, no social demand of the population is being put forward, whereas the average salary is around 250 euros a month. The unemployment rate is skyrocketing (officially 10%), as is the number of Ukrainians living below the poverty line (40% on average, above all in the western Ukraine).

“It’s one clan of millionaires that is fighting another to run the country. And in this struggle, a geo-political battle between Russia and the United States has been added,” is the analysis of the daily newspaper Nezavissimaya Gazeta.

For lack of a consultation of the people, innumerable tensions run through the country from east to west. In Lviv, the regional assembly has already proclaimed its autonomy vis-à-vis Viktor Ianukovich’s government. It now controls the police and military buildings.

For Elena Shaltseva, a political scientist at the national university in Donetsk, “all the attempts to create unconstitutional structures, such as the Rada (popular assembly – editor’s note) or a temporary presidency, are going to exacerbate the positions. Part of the population will back the present authorities; the other will support the opposition and this will lead to splitting the Ukraine.”

How then is the country to return to calm? “It is vital that there should be a return to the negotiating table with strong political proposals. It is necessary that a referendum should be organized which should decide if the Ukraine wants a treaty of association with the EU or a customs union with Russia. It is necessary to put an end to the presidential regime,” Anatoli Sokoliuk stated.

Over three million signatures have already been collected and several parties of the European left back this initiative. For the French Communist Party, “it’s up to the Ukrainian people freely to decide their destiny.”

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