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27 May, 2013 11:00   ▪  

Alexander Motyl: in order to stay in power, Yanukovych will try to transform Ukraine into a country consisting of two irreconcilable parts

Trying to win next presidential elections Victor Yanukovych could divide and destroy Ukraine, Alexander Motyl, American historian and professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, notes in his blog on The World Affairs Journal.

“…even if Ukrainian society is transformed into two hostile camps on the brink of civil war, there is still no way that a leader as bad as Yanukovych could ever get elected in a free and fair election. Fraud is therefore inevitable, and a violent crackdown in the aftermath of defeat or mass protest becomes the inevitable Plan B,” writes Motyl.

“So there you have it. In order to stay in power, Yanukovych will almost certainly do the following: first, transform Ukraine into a country consisting of two irreconcilable parts, thereby guaranteeing that it is unstable and ungovernable. And, second, he’ll support one side against the other with coercion and, in effect, attempt to rule with martial law.”

“If that happens, Ukraine’s conversion into an authoritarian sultanate will be complete. Worse, since the country’s survival and integrity as a state will then depend entirely on Yanukovych and his dubious ruling abilities, it’s quite possible that the sultanate will collapse and that either Ukraine will descend into civil conflict or its eastern provinces will be annexed by a Russia fearful of spill-over and mass refugees,” expert claims.

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Motyl thinks that polarization can be avoided with the efforts of Ukrainian society, opposition and the West.

“So how is such a dreadful outcome to be avoided? If one can no longer rely on Yanukovych and the Party of Regions to act in the country’s interests, then everything will depend on the population, the opposition, and the West. Ukrainians will have to resist Party of Regions` calls to split into two warring factions and, instead, recognize that, if they don’t hang together, they’ll hang separately. The opposition will be able to promote consolidation if it presents itself as a serious democratic alternative with concrete proposals for improving people’s everyday lives,” analyst explains.

“Europe can reduce the likelihood of violence by holding its nose and signing an Association Agreement with Yanukovych. Finally, both Europe and America can make sure Yanukovych leaves before the deluge by giving him a place to hang his hat. The West has provided refuge for dictators in the past. Why not for a sullied sultan in the future?”

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