The Fact That The Ukrainian President Is “Missing” Is So Ukrainian It Hurts
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainians awoke Saturday morning to rumors and reports that President Viktor Yanukovych had fled to his home town in the east or left the country. Thousands poured onto the grounds of presidential residence, 12 miles from downtown Kiev, to gawk at the manicured lawns, the golf course and the botanical gardens, while other government offices were shuttered amid reports that workers at the public prosecutor’s office were destroying documents.
Police had abandoned the center of Kiev to protesters who had commandeered water cannon trucks and claimed full control of the city.
Museum officials were working with opposition cadres to guard their shuttered buildings. They were also awaiting permission to enter the presidential mansion and inventory possessions and art works they say were likely borrowed or stolen by Yanukovych from state museums and institutions.
The crowds of ordinary Ukrainians getting their first glimpse of the luxurious estate wandered the grounds taking photos. An elderly pensioner shouted, “What a thief!” as he took in the marble statuary.
There was no looting, no one was allowed to enter the houses or outbuildings, and opposition protesters who had manned the barricades in Independence Square, the epicenter of the anti-government demonstrations, warned visitors to keep off the grass.
On Friday, Yanukovych signed a deal with opposition leaders to dilute his powers, form a caretaker government and hold early elections. Lawmakers introduced an article of dismissal for Yanukovych and chose Oleksandr Turchynov as the new speaker of the Ukrainian parliament. But the accord appeared likely to be a hard sell among the thousands of demonstrators who vowed that nothing short of his ouster would get them off the streets.
Opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was also ordered released from prison, according to Associated Press reports, but had still not been freed Saturday afternoon.
Turchynov, a leader of the opposition Fatherland Party, said he wanted to quickly form a caretaker government. His selection was welcomed by the U.S. ambassador in Kiev.
Parliament was at work Saturday on a measure that would set presidential and parliamentary elections for May.
The agreement Friday represents a remarkable, humiliating fall for Yanukovych, whose decision to turn away from closer ties with the European Union and toward Russia sparked protests that began here peacefully in November but turned increasingly violent.
Several Ukrainian outlets reported late Friday that Yanukovych had fled Kiev, the capital. In Washington, a senior State Department official said the president is believed to have traveled to Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, for meetings. The official said that after major announcements or developments, “it’s not unusual for him to go to the east, where his base is.”
The atmosphere remained tense late Friday in Independence Square. When one of the opposition leaders, former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, told the crowds this was the best deal they could get, one of the protesters grabbed the microphone and demanded that Yanukovych resign or face the wrath of the people.
“We will go with weapons,” said the protester, who leads one of the more militant groups in the square. “I swear it.”
The pact, reached after Ukraine’s bloodiest week of street fighting and following all-night negotiations sponsored by European and Russian officials, calls for an immediate return to the 2004 constitution, which gives parliament, not the president, the right to choose a prime minister and most of the cabinet.
The accord also called for authorities and the opposition to refrain from violence and withdraw from public spaces, and to return the country to normal life. Protesters were to turn illegal weapons over to police.
Haven’t posted anything about the conflicts in the Ukraine.. now’s the time, here’s a bit of a Ukrainian Riots Round-up. Just a quick summary.
The people of Ukraine are mad at the President Viktor Yanukoych because he wants to ease away from the European Union and get back into bed with Putin and the Russians.. as a result..
Kiev is on fire
People are on fire
Government snipers are wreaking havoc
Protestors have taken over the parliament chambers
The Presidential Residency has been overrun with protestors.. people just golfing with the president’s clubs, just shooting the shit
And now Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is missing…
Oh nobody knows where Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is? He just disappeared into thin air? I don’t think so Ukraine. I know exactly where Viktor Yanukovych is.. He’s laying lifeless in a ditch somewhere, because he was assassinated.. yeah, you heard it here first, because if I know Eastern Europe like I think I do when people say someone’s missing they always wink afterwards.. “oh yeah he’s missing *wink* nobody knows where he is *wink*” Oh he’s dead, isn’t he? That’s what you’re telling me? “Nope, just missing *wink*” Yeah I’m not buying it guys.
Yeah, not buying it one bit. I don’t know if anybody remembers former Ukrainian President Victor Yushcenko? Just casually getting poisoned in 2004. Oh this soup is delicious.. sike. Tons of poison in it. The Ukraine is so old school with it’s assassination attempts. Doctors were like “oh it’s just food poisoning…”
Yeah right. “oh wait.. it was dioxin..”