By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research: February 25, 2014
The takeover of power in Kiev by the mainstream opposition is a coup that has been executed by force, which overlooks the opinions of at least half of the Ukrainian population. Yet, you would not know this from listening to such media outlets and networks as CNN or Fox News or reading the headlines being produced by Reuters and the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The events in Kiev are misleadingly being billed and framed by these media sources and the so-called “Western” governments they support, either directly or indirectly, as the triumph of people power and democracy in Ukraine.
Utter hypocrisy is at work. When similar protests and riots broke out in Britain and France, the positions taken and the tones used by the above actors was very different. These actors framed the protests and riots in Britain and France as issues of law and order, using language very favourable to the British and French governments. Where were the statements of concern about the rights and safety of protesters from the US government and the European Commission when force was used by the British and French governments or when protesters died?
While not overlooking, disregarding, or devaluing the loss of life in Kiev, the roots of the violence there need to be discussed honestly and traced back. On the same note, it has to be understood that members of the Ukrainian opposition and their supporters were agitating for a violent confrontation against the Ukrainian government. There is no argument here against the right of citizens to protest, but rioting or taking up arms with the intent to oust a democratically-elected government is a different matter that no government in the US or the EU would accept on their own territory.
When the laws that the US and EU countries have in place are quickly glimpsed at, gross double-standards are evident. Universally, the criminal codes of these governments forbid the assembly of their citizens for the purpose of discussing the overthrow of the government alone. Their criminal codes consider whoever advocates, aids, advises, or preaches for the overthrowing or the government by political subversion as a criminal and threat to the state. In the US “anyone with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so” is considered a felon under the criminal code. If two or more persons even meet to talk about removing the government in most these countries, they can be imprisoned. In the case of the United States, as the US Criminal Code states, these individuals “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”
Washington and the European Union have aided and encouraged the above acts by openly supporting the campaign of the Ukrainian opposition and even sending officials and politicians to encourage the anti-government forces in Ukraine. The irony is that this is the exact type of behaviour that the US and the European Union have outlawed on their own territories and would not tolerate against themselves whatsoever.
If it were merely a case of ethnocentrisim, this attitude could be called exceptionalism. It, however, is not exceptionalism. To be very candid, it is heartless regime change perpetrated by governments that have a record of insincerely hiding behind democracy and humanitarianism.
How the European Union Enabled the Coup
What has taken place in Kiev is a coup that has unfolded through the manipulation of the emotions and hopes of a significant segment of the Ukrainian population by opposition leaders. It has to be emphasized that many opposition supporters are doing what they believe is right for their country and that they themselves are the victims of their own corrupt leaders. It must equally be emphasized, regardless of which side they support, that the Ukrainian people are all the victims of their corrupt politicians. Both the governing party and opposition parties have taken turns ruling the country and exploiting Ukraine for their personal gains.
The opposition leadership has basically usurped power while the European Union and the United States have given their full support to them. This has been done via EU and US attempts to legitimize the opposition power grab through the portrayal of the coup in Kiev as the climax of a popular revolution in Ukraine.
Albeit the mainstream opposition is not truly united, opposition leaders have grossly refused to fulfill any of their obligations after an agreement was brokered between them and the Ukrainian government by the European Union through mediation by the troika of France, Germany, and Poland. The Ukrainian government and Russia have rightly accused the European Union and the EU mediators of refusing to fulfill their obligations to make sure that the opposition respects the EU-brokered agreement. Instead the European Union has allowed Ukrainian opposition leaders to ignore their commitments and to grossly violate the agreement.
While one faction of the opposition was negotiating another faction of the opposition continued the pressure from the streets, refusing to stop until the government was ousted. The agreement signed between the Ukrainian government and the mainstream opposition on February 21, 2014 had no clause or terms, however, that granted the opposition the rights or power to take over the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Ukraine or to unilaterally create new legislation. Any information that implies that the agreement allows for this is false and misleading.
Instead the agreement has been used as a disguise for the opposition’s takeover of the state. In truth, the European Union helped broker the agreement as a means of empowering the Ukrainian opposition. The leaked phone conversation between the US Department of State’s Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador in Kiev, even indicated that the US and EU were planning on creating a new government in Ukraine. The Nuland tape reveals that Washington was working to inaugurate a new opposition-led government in Ukraine with Ukrainian figures that would readily submit and acquiesce to US and EU demands.
What Nuland and Pyatt discussed is regime change in Ukraine, which has nothing to do with what the Ukrainian people want and everything to do with what the US government and its allies need from Ukraine. If the US government really believed that the Ukrainian people have the right to determine their future, it would not be busy working to appoint political figures in the Ukrainian government or trying to configure how the Ukrainian government would be constructed. Instead Washington would leave the creation of government in Kiev to the Ukrainian people.
Using Parliamentary Camouflage in the Rada to Disguise a Coup
The leaders of the opposition are trying to cosmetically deceive Ukrainians and the world by hijacking the legislative branch of their country’s government. There are strong chances that this is being done with the coordination and the encouragement of the US government and the European Union. To legitimize their takeover, the Ukrainian opposition is now using the Ukrainian Parliament or Verkhovna Rada. The Rada was already a heavily corrupt place with notoriously crooked and dishonest politicians dominating both the pro-government and opposition sides of the aisle, now it is functioning as a rubber stamp legislature. In other words, the Ukrainian opposition leadership is trying to legitimize its coup in Kiev by using the dysfunctional Ukrainian Rada.
The Rada has not been at full decorum for all the voting. The opposition initially used the instability and fleeing of the government to opportunistically declare its unchallenged Rada bills as legitimate. This happened while approximately half of Ukraine’s parliamentarians were either absent or in hiding due to the violence and riots in Kiev. In other words, opposition leaders used the absence of about half the parliamentarians in the Rada to falsely give a cover of legality to their coup by taking the opportunity to pass parliamentary legislation that would be defeated if all the Rada’s members were present and voting.
Albeit under the management of the opposition the Rada has retained a sufficient amount of parliamentarians or deputies to hold an emergency session, there are serious ethical, procedural, technical, legal, and constitutional questions about what is taking place. To hold an emergency session, the Rada needs at least two hundred and twenty-six of its parliamentarians to be present. Under opposition management there were initially two hundred and thirty-nine deputies, but this did not entitle the opposition to pass any type of legislature that it pleased or to pretend that the Rada was operating under a regular constitutional session. Moreover, there were important and specific procedures that still needed to be followed that the opposition parties outright ignored and violated.
Ukraine’s biggest political party, the Party of Regions, and the other pro-government parties or independent parliamentarians have not been present for all the Rada votes taking place. Albeit an increasing number of pro-government deputies are now beginning to negotiate with the opposition and a faction of the deputies from the Party of Regions have returned to the Rada to protect themselves, the absence of many of the Rada’s deputies and the fact that all Ukrainian parliamentarians are not inside the Rada to challenge the opposition bills makes, at the very least, the legislation that has been passed questionable. Examining other factors, the laws being passed in the Rada become even more questionable.
The Rada’s chairman (speaker or president), Volodymyr Rybak, has not been present for the reading of Rada bills either. It has been reported that Rybak has resigned from his Rada post. Not only must the individual that has been elected as Rada chairperson by a full constitutional session of the Rada be present for the voting process to be legitimate, but the Rada chairperson must also approve the acts adopted by the Rada with their signature before they are sent to the executive branch of government for promulgation. Nor can Ukrainian bills be passed into law or promulgated after the Rada votes without a final presidential signature. The only way that a presidential veto can be overturned is if two-thirds of the Rada’s deputies or members support a bill after the presidential veto, in which case either the president must sign it or the Rada’s chairperson signs the bill into law.
The opposition has tried to circumvent the necessary presidential approval and the absence of a Rada chairperson. Instead opposition leaders got their parties to unilaterally select a new chairman, Oleksandr Turchynov, so that they can push their political agenda forward without getting challenged. Turchynov’s appointment as Rada chairman was meant to give the Ukrainian opposition’s parliamentary work the cover of legitimacy. The opposition appointed Turchynov to claim that constitutional procedures have been followed, because a Rada chairperson has been overseeing their partisan bills and approving them. Moreover, Oleksandr Turchynov is not only overseeing and approving the unilateral bills of the Ukrainian opposition, but has also signed them into law as the acting president of Ukraine too.
What the opposition has done with Turchynov, however, is illegal for a number of reasons. Firstly, most of the Rada, meaning all the deputies or members of the Ukrainian Parliament, must convene before a new Rada chairman or speaker is selected to oversee parliamentary voting on bills. This did not taken place, because many of the Rada’s members were missing when he was selected. Secondly, Turchynov cannot assume the role of Rada chairperson if there is already a chairperson with a first vice-chairperson (first deputy chairperson) or assume the role of acting president until President Viktor Yanukovych resigns or is impeached by the Rada, which did not take place when he was declared acting president.
Using divisions inside the bewildered Party of Regions hierarchy, the opposition has sought to cover its unconstitutional tracks. Days after Turchynov was appointed chairman of the Rada, the opposition got a faction of the Party of Regions deputies that returned to the Rada and a series of independent Rada deputies to impeach President Yanukovych. These Party of Regions and independent parliamentarians are working with the opposition in order to keep their places or to secure positions for themselves under the new political regime in Kiev.
The Rada is now a rubber stamp body controlled by the opposition. It has already acted illicitly. Although there is still uncertainty or arguments on whether the 2004 version or 2010 version of the Ukrainian Constitution is in operation, Article 82 of the Ukrainian Constitution (regardless of whichever version is in operation) stipulates that the Rada is only “competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected.”
Discussions have also taken place about new media regulations and expelling the Russian media from Ukraine. Exposing just how fake their democratic leanings are, the opposition leadership has threatened to use the Rada to additionally outlaw any of the political parties in Ukraine that have opposed them. This includes banning Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions
The Party of Regions is not only the most widely supported Ukrainian political party; it also holds nearly forty percent of the seats in the Rada. No other political party even comes close to holding this type of support in the Ukrainian political landscape or the Rada. Excluding the parliamentary seats of its political allies in the unicameral Rada, which houses four hundred and forty-two seats in total, the Party of Regions alone has one hundred and sixty-five seats. The opposition political parties and coalitions comprised of the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland (Batkivshchyna), the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and Svoboda have a combined one hundred and sixty-seven seats. There is no question about which party the majority of Ukrainian voters support. Outlawing the Party of Regions essentially annuls the electoral choice of the most significant plurality of Ukrainians.
Opposition leaders also want to illicitly use the Rada to outlaw the Ukrainian Communist Party. The Ukrainian Communist Party has called the so-called EuroMaidan/Euromaidan protests a foreign-sponsored coup against Ukraine and its people. The opposition threats about banning the Ukrainian Communist Party, and even killing its members in the streets, is meant to punish it for the position it has taken and for the support it has given to the Ukrainian government against the anti-government protests in Kiev.
(Read the full article at Global Research)
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