Monday, February 24, 2014

Ukraine / hiatus

The Ukraine is in turmoil, the democratically elected President Yanukovich has been forced out of office, not only by protesters storming the government buildings, as a result of which about 85 were killed, but the Parliament seeing the way the winds were blowing, deserted him and voted him out of office. Now his worst enemy, Yulia Timoshenko, addressed the massed crowd of protesters in her wheelchair and seems set to return to power. Yanukovich not only imprisoned Timoshenko, but when she became ill he refuesed to allow her to leave Ukraine for treatment in Europe. But, his main error was in cancelling the treaty negotiations with the EU and returning Ukraine to the Russian orbit. Since Ukraine obtained independence when the USSR broke up, it has been trying to ensure its separation from Russia.

Ukraine is split beween the pro-Russian eastern provinces that are highly industrialized and the western agricultural and urban areas, that are more pro-European and want to have a relationship with the west. Although Yanukovich was elected, his reversal of Ukrainian policies caused him to lose support and eventually to be removed from office. He has now vanished, hiding somewhere in eastern Ukraine. Now a caretaker interim President has been selected by the Parliament and elections will be held.

But, the protesters are not leaving their positions in the main squares of the cities. Anything could happen now, from stability to a complete breakup of Ukraine into pro-Russian eastern Ukraine and pro-European western Ukraine. So far there has been no targeting of Jews, but the history of anti-Semitism in Ukraine makes this a possibility under circumstances of no state control. If the Russians decide to try to bring Yanukovich back to power as the "legally elected President" this could become a major international crisis. Stay tuned.
We have our family visiting now for the wedding this week of our oldest grandson. You will excuse me if I have a break from writing my blogs. You too can have a rest. Be back soon.


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