Saturday, February 22, 2014
Hungary '56, Czechoslovakia '68, Ukraine '14?
Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, has been sent packing. The parliament has turned on him and proclaimed him constitutionally unable to carry out his duties. It is being reported that jailed opposition leader and former president, Yulia Tymoshenko, has been sprung from prison and reunited with the anti-government faction.
Yanukovych has gone into hiding but not without first making a television appearance in which he condemned his ouster as a coup d'état.
Hovering in the wings is the Kremlin which views a pro-Russia Ukraine as almost indispensable. Rumblings out of Moscow, while restrained, sound just a bit ominous and harken back to the Hungarian revolution of 1956 and the Czech revolution of 1968, both of which were crushed beneath the treads of Soviet tanks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday expressed his "most serious concern" over what he said was the failure of the Ukrainian opposition to deliver on its February 21 deal with President Viktor Yanukovich.
Yanukovich agreed to sweeping concessions under the peace deal - clinched with the mediation efforts of the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland - that include early elections as well as a reduction of presidential powers.
Lavrov spoke on the phone with the European Union trio on Saturday, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, and expressed to them his "most serious concern" about the latest developments in Ukraine.
"The opposition not only has failed to fulfill a single one of its obligations but is already presenting new demands all the time, following the lead of armed extremists and pogromists whose actions pose a direct threat to Ukraine's sovereignty and constitutional order," he told his counterparts.
Could Putin intervene in the Ukraine as the Kremlin did in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968? It seems unthinkable today but Russia did invade Georgia in 2008 to force then president Saakashvili to drop Georgia's claims to South Ossetia. Back then Putin claimed his forces were 'peacekeepers.'