Ukraine Parliament Repeals Anti-Protest Laws As Prime Minister Falls On President's Sword

from the fighting-against-the-tide dept

A while back, we discussed the uprising and protests in Ukraine, along with the almost sadistically Orwellian threats utilized by the government there to attempt to stifle protests. Those efforts, combined with hamfisted legislation rammed through the Ukrainian parliament via the laughable hand-count voting technique, achieved the opposite of their intention and lit a fire under the protesters. We made the argument then that, in this age of technology, ruling with such an iron fist couldn't and wouldn't work, and that the Ukrianian government was ignoring the lessons governments in the Middle East were forced to learn mere years ago.

It turns out not only were we correct, but we were to be proven as much with somewhat shocking speed. The most recent news out of Ukraine is that the parliament has voted to repeal those laws against protests with a near-consensus.

In a first step, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to repeal sweeping anti-protest laws whose passage this month angered anti-government demonstrators. The special parliamentary session is now looking at legislation that might provide amnesty for more than 200 people arrested since the demonstrations began in late November.
This 360 180 degree reversal was brought to you by a popular Ukrainian movement unimpressed with the Orwellian tactics and attempted legal machinations brought against it. It's the quickest expression of the idea that governments should fear their people, rather than the other way around, that I've seen to date. And it's only a first step. Everyone must have known that the reversal of policy wouldn't be enough and that very high level politicians were going to have to lose their jobs over this. The cross hairs for that were rightly pointed at Ukraine President, Viktor Yanukovych, who set all this off by unilaterally ending negotiations with the EU on a trade treaty in favor of a Russian bailout that can only result in more of the same bullying of Ukraine seen in years past.

Unfortunately, Yanukovych appears to lack the gumption to fall on his own sword, so he's let someone else leap onto it instead.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government Tuesday, amid a political crisis fired by violent protests on the country's streets. Azarov and his Cabinet will continue in their roles until a new government is formed, a notice on the presidential website said.
This, I fear, won't be enough to send the protesters back to their homes. A new government with the same President is only "new" as a method for parody and derision. An attempt to turn on the free speech of a people isn't going to be forgiven in exchange for lesser resignations.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 12:11am

    180 degree turn, used Orwellian too many times, too many self references

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 12:53am

    Commenting on Ukrainian affairs is a thorny business. On one hand, Yanukovich certainly had it coming, as his rule didn't improve his country's fortune in any way. This package of stupid laws, seemingly, was created out of sheer panic over protests and could not be enforced without turning them into full-scale civil war anyway, so one can only applaud their repeal.

    On the other hand, Ukrainian opposition does not seems to be benign too. It already had a go at power during previous term and it wasn't a raging success either.

    Present situation seems to me very much like a failed Russian political operation vs. successful American one, but neither has much good in store for the country. If Ukraine is to join EU in near future, it will do so with a failed economy (which is mostly eastern-oriented and could not become competitive in time) and mostly as another source of emigrants. And of course, if Russian operation somehow would turn things around (which doesn't seems possible; Russians haven't another horse in this race, but Yanukovich, and he's already politically dead), it will probably just put another easily-controlled man in charge (and the most easily controlled men are those who are already corrupted).

    And of course, Russia simply could not leave Ukraine alone, if only because of fleet base in Crimea, so the country will probably continue to be pulled apart by powerful forces.

    What this country needs, is, probably, a smart and wily leader, who could manoeuvre between Russia and the West, angering neither, but not committing too heavily to anyone. It is not likely to get one suddenly, though...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:15am

    A president in these democracies have a different role than in yours.
    In the US, its closer to dictatorship as he has absolute power over everything.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    not ukrainian, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:18am

    Re:

    These protests were about the corrupt government, not the US.
    The russians were controlling the government and had a lot of shady deals. Saying that the US is the sole power in these protests is just stupid.

    You know what would be great? If the US would stop fucking around in other countries so we could finally have some peace.
    I mean giving chemical weapons to terrorists is certainly not a good way...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:37am

    Re: Re:

    Yep, the protests are about corruption (among other things!), and it is there, and it is bad, from what I hear from Ukrainian sources.

    The question is, will Opposition's victory end it, or just redirect it to other pockets? Yushenko's term seems to suggest the later. So I pity the country whoever wins. I've been to Kiev and I liked it very much, and I would hate for things to become worse for Ukraine.

     

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  6.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:50am

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government Tuesday, amid a political crisis fired by violent protests on the country's streets.

    LMAO in feudal Japan this would be akin to a samurai committing sepukku (suicide to "pay" for dishonor or something like) by cutting somebody else's bowels.

    His best move would be to call for new elections and resign (ethically and morally speaking). Politically he probably did the least damning thing he could.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 2:18am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 29th, 2014 @ 12:11am

    Thanks, this needed to be said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 2:52am

    Re:

    Russia has just invested tens of billions to "normalize relations" with Ukraine. It has already been reported that Putin is furious because Yanukovich hasn't crushed these thugs already (Putin is blaming EU. In RT the description of what is going on has been thugs and hooligans loving gays and using cowardise tactics to spread chaos in Ukraine...).

    Yanukovych is far too weak as a president for Russias taste and far too corrupt for EUs taste. It is rumoured (I am a bit embarrassed by using this FOX news wording!) that these deals are made in an attempt to get him out of the inevitable post-election corruption case. If that is true and the opposition will let him get sufficiently off the hook, there is a fine chance that they can reach a deal on a soonish new presidential election/resignation.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re:

    > Yanukovych is far too weak as a president for Russias
    > taste and far too corrupt for EUs taste.

    Yeah, let's be fair... He's not TOO corrupt for EU, he's just corrupted by the wrong people. Were he in pay of the likes of Hollywood and Big Pharma, EU would be totally OK with it most of the time.

     

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  10.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 3:31am

    Re:

    Most people don't understand that, to "turn right around" or, to do a "360," means you are still in the same position. Must be a gymnastics or a math thing.

     

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  11.  
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    Trails Abroad (not a broad), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 3:58am

    I Can Geometries?

    360 degree reversal? Really??

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 4:03am

    but everywhere is doing the same thing! democracy is failing badly! when the USA and the UK start to do the same sort of thing, banning gatherings and protests, stopping donations from unions and charities, for example, to political parties but not stopping donations from businesses (which is exactly why this has happened in the UK with the Conservatives being sponsored by massive corporations and Labour by the various Unions) this coalition is hoping, expecting that the Conservatives will be able to win the next election through money! that will mean a bought government, the likes of what we see in some 3rd world countries. Cameron, i fear, is relying n the too placid nature of the UK citizens. they do nothing until that final thing goes too far and then they retaliate!

     

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  13.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 4:12am

    Re: I Can Geometries?

    He's pretending to change but in reality things will run as always after the smoke disperse?

     

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  14.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 29th, 2014 @ 5:01am

    Re:

    http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0774837.html

    You were saying...?

    There are limits on executive orders, etc. so no, he's not a dictator.

    http://answers.usa.gov/system/templates/selfservice/USAGov/#!portal/1012/article/4436/Presidential-E xecutive-Orders

    There are limits on executive orders and he doesn't exactly have the absolute power a dictator requires to operate. If he did, he wouldn't face as much opposition as he does - he'd simply get rid of them. But he can't - they're still here, aren't they? Spreading conspiracy theories pretending he's not even American, etc.

     

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  15.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 6:41am

    Re: I Can Geometries?

    Heh, I'd like to pretend that this was a joke referencing Last Action Hero, but, no, I'm just an idiot....

     

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  16.  
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    DOlz (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Gee our government already figured that out

    "It's the quickest expression of the idea that governments should fear their people, rather than the other way around, that I've seen to date."

    U S A U S A N S A N S wait where are you taking meeee

     

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  17.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    There are limits on executive orders, etc. so no, he's not a dictator.


    Nice in theory but that's not how they're being used under the current administration. Just in the past few months they've been used to change Congressionally passed law to something that better suits the administration re: Obamacare, changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice which is the province of Congress, creating succession orders for several departments of government, changing pay rates all over the place, etc...

    Have a look at the rest with an eye for "Does this power belong in the executive?"

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/executive-orders

    It's nice that we theoretically have limits on executive orders. It's not as nice to see them eroded and outright ignored.

     

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  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just in the past few months they've been used to change Congressionally passed law to something that better suits the administration


    Oh? What laws have been changed through executive orders? I can't find a single example of this. Perhaps you can provide some support for this assertion?

    Executive orders are orders to the rest of the executive branch about how they are to go about the business of running things. They cannot negate, or create law, and I've not seen one from Obama (or anyone else) that does this.

    What they can do is alter the impact of laws. This is legitimate and is part of the whole adversarial system of our government.

    Obamacare was not enacted through an EO. It is law passed by congress. The changes to the UCMJ that I could find were all laws passed by congress, not EO. Changing succession orders within governmental departments can be a completely legitimate use of EOs, assuming that the departments are all in the executive branch and succession is not defined by the Constitution. Changing pay rates for executive branch employees is a totally legitimate use of EOs.

    It is a long, long tradition for opponents (regardless of party) to claim that using EOs is an abuse of power, but actual examples of abuse are rare. For the record, Obama's use of EOs is on the low side of average.

     

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  19.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you not watch the State of the Union?

    http://exposethemedia.com/2014/01/16/dictator-obama-delays-another-obamacare-deadline/

    He's taken passed law and rewritten/ignored it more than than once recently just in regards to legal deadlines for Obamacare.

    And, no, changing governmental spending is always a congressional prerogative. So much so that any bill doing so has to specifically originate in the House.

    The number of EOs doesn't matter, the number of abuses does. Is Obama that much worse than Bush/etc...? Not really. Does that make it okay? Hell no.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Scratch the SOTU bit. Rewrote the response and missed removing that part.

     

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  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He's taken passed law and rewritten/ignored it more than than once recently just in regards to legal deadlines for Obamacare.


    The link you provided doesn't support this assertion. Can you show me the law he rewrote or ignored? As near as I can tell, actual dates of implementation were not in the law itself.

    And, no, changing governmental spending is always a congressional prerogative.


    Setting the budget is the congress' responsibility. Obama didn't change the budget. He altered the spending within the confines of the budget Congress approved -- he's shifting dollars within the same budgetary category. That's totally legitimate.

    So much so that any bill doing so has to specifically originate in the House.


    Not true. Congress must approve spending changes in the areas that are congressional responsibility. Obama didn't change any of those -- he's doing spending changes within the executive branch itself, which is squarely within his Constitutional responsibilities.

    The number of EOs doesn't matter, the number of abuses does.


    True, but as of yet I haven't heard a single example of such abuse of EOs. Is Obama being aggressive in his use of EOs? Without question! But please show me one where he's exceeded his Constitutional authority.

    (By the way, I'm not an Obama fan at all. But I am a fan of keeping criticism accurate.)

     

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  22.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Can you show me the law he rewrote or ignored? As near as I can tell, actual dates of implementation were not in the law itself.


    Subtitle B, Section 1101, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, paragraph a. He had no legal authority to extend that January 1 deadline but did, first to January 31 and then to March 15.

    Spending bills and the budget are similar but not the same thing. Some things Congress just slaps a big wad of fungible money in the executive's hands and some it spells out specifically where the money has to go. Regardless, we would both have to read both to find out for certain which of us is correct. I don't know about you, but reading a large chunk of Obamacare was plenty for me for the day.

     

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  23.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 30th, 2014 @ 6:26am

    Re:

    "...now you turn a... 360 on me!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiCF1QdyxhM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 30th, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    And by "sword", they mean...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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