On partition of Ukraine, security forces and Yanukovych

Read few comments.

Questions:

1. In case of a state of emergency, how much is President Yanukovych controlling the security forces, military in your opinion?

2. Polish PM Tusk said, and he is not the only one saying it, that Ukraine risks falling apart. Is really the unity of Ukraine in the question or you might see it differently?

Answers:

Maksym BugriyNon Resident Fellow, Jamestown Foundation

1. President Yanukovych has prevailing control over the police force – about 300,000. In the event of the state of emergency, the military (140,000) is not likely to be used widely. There are also other security forces, in lesser number. Despite growing radicalism in Ukraine, the number of civilian protesters determined to organize active resistance, looks inferior at the moment. It is also important to note that neither side is experienced in urban warfare and that the ammunition and supplies issues could be problematic, given the poor state of the economy. Radical protesters have been acting more like violent hooligans, while on the opponent side, including government and formally unaffiliated civilians or provocateurs of unknown origin we have seen substantially higher produced impact and damage. But even more important is the fact that currently, Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition parties are interested in a peaceful solution as their preferred strategy is to compete in the Presidential Elections. Leadership and strategy are major issues among all players.

2. There is a danger of Ukraine’s “balcanization” stemming not from people’s Russia/Europe geopolitical divide, but from weak Ukrainian political institutions and the lack of the Rule of Law. Local elites in some regions have substantial power that was cemented by corruption. Russia is interested in weak, but unified, or federalized Ukraine, perhaps in raising Sevastopol’s pro-Russian posture and status as the “enclave”, but within Ukraine. Notably, protesters seized oblast administrations, virtually President’s governors and appointees. this is also a signal of local and central government decay. Regionalism is very visible in the protests as well as the central government based in Kyiv and representing the party of a lower-middle class and state capitalism, Russia-type voters does not match Kyiv’s largely liberal, pro-EU and middle class attitudes. Governance issues have longer history nationwide.

Marcel de HaasSenior Research Associate, Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael

1. So far my judgement would be that Yanukovich is still controlling the security forces (police and defence). However, we already see attacks/uprising on regional and local authority buildings. If local/regional commanders belong to the same grouping (either West or East orientated) – which in the Soviet Union was always prevented by the military leadership – then there is a sincere chance that at those levels military and other police units will join the upraise. However, on the contrary, if commanders/units belong to the opposing side, then there are chances of bloodshed.

2. Referring to my first reply, I would agree with the Polish PM. The upheaval, which until a few days ago was concentrated in Kiev, is now spreading over the country. In the worst case (parts of) West Ukraine, e.g. around Lviv, which is the leading region against Yanukovich, might secede from Kiev.

Olexia Basarab, Research Director, Strategic and Security Studies Group

1. Regarding control: Yahnukovych is in , let’s say, 99% control of police. Usually, to get a position in police, you had to pay or have a connection who will introduce you and take care of your carrier, and you will be obeying member of the clan. Regarding clans, police is quite monolithic now, Since coming into power PoR was removing internal dissidents, current officers depend are dealt by blood and many with current authorities. To encourage junior staff, recently ministry started to issue higher ranks in advance, honours, promises new accommodation, increases payments.

SBU, security service, is more complicated question. They are not so depending on current political authorities, and are not involved in current kidnappings, tortures and intimidation. I am recalling words of one retired KGB general, who was leading one of organizations of SBU veterans: every authority needs us. They will analyse and look in the future, there service and carriers do not end with current authorities.

Army: week or so ago colonel Hrytsenko (retired), now one of the leaders of oppositional forces, said, that half of the army will turn on the side of protesters, if they will be involved in the fights. Well, top management will serve to Yanukovych, e.g. provide police with ammunition. But by now army was neutral. It is really in poor situation, and officers and soldiers have no many reasons to support Yanukovych, while many of them ideologically are on the side of opposition.

2. If there will be strong will of Russia to divide UA, and the absence of will to preserve it from the EU and US, we will not be able tosurvive by ourselves. In 90’s, Russia started to work hard on dividing of Ukraine, but it was distracted by own problems, mainly Chechnya. ( Russsia invested much in separatism in Crimea, in political rusynism in Transcarpathia, founded and funded all-Ukrainian movements and parties. They understood that it would be hard to return Ukraine into imperial embraces with its western part, “spoiled by Polish”. Since 2004 Moscow again intensified attempts to cut of the “bad Ukraine”. On other hand, there is decisive divide of society. There are pretty enough those infuriated by Yanukovych oppression of business, civic society, absence of rule of law, especially in the context of law in courts and police… It is curious when protests in the eastern cities are supported by football ultras. It is curious when pro-Russian Crimean Cossacks are calling to support protests, saying that if newcoming authorities will come with ukrainisation to Crimea, they will solve the issue then, but now they should join Ukrainian nationalists in the protests.

Leonid Shvec, Journalist, Publicist

1.     Yanukovych, of course, controls SBU and army. The other thing is how far his control goes. In all  unofficial comments of ‘sylovyky’ is continuous motive: whatever, but without use of arms. And what it is the security forces  or army, which  So, what  do not want to use arms on the order of authorities.

2.   There is no threat of division, but in political rhetoric of conflict parties this issue  is constantly evolving. However, since orange revolution times the value  of Ukrainian independence is practically without any question for all country’s regions.

Iryna Kravchuk, Public Activist, Former Head of the Office of the Vice Prime Minister for European Integration

Division of Ukraine  is very beneficial to our eastern neighbor. And more the conflict will flare up, the more victims will be, the weaker will be our country . Farther from  the West, closer to Russia . I do not exclude even  the possibility of ” assistance ” from Russia to resolve the conflict. Can you imagine what it may be? According to some military experts, unfortunately,  we can not exclude the possibility that these victims of firearms, torture, kidnappings to forest tracks the modus operandi of Russian special services. Nowadays, weak and non-European Ukraine with blood-handed president is never as ever profitable for Russia.  But such things can not happen without the knowledge of the current leadership of Ukraine and law enforcement agencies…

Now you can really watch how people took  over state administrations – mostly in western and central Ukraine . But the maidans are also observed in the eastern regions of Ukraine – Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrivsk, Kherson. On the Kyiv Maidan, there are many people from the eastern and southern regions. One of my friends from Artemivs’k ( Donetsk region) said that Western Ukraine is transforming very quickly,  and it is already in Europe, while Eastern Ukraine should take another 20 years to accept these changes. After 20 years of independence eastern Ukraine already accepted the independence of Ukraine , it is no longer talking about joining Russia . But, maybe, eastern Ukraine needs some time to accept Europe and its values. Maidan is an extremely useful thing for civic education and increase of civic consciousness, because there are communicating and finding the way to understand each other  representatives from all regions of Ukraine

Mykhailo Honchar, Consultant for the Secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in 1996-2000, Director of Energy Programs, NOMOS Center

After the Moscow agreement on December 17, Yanukovych de facto transferred control levers of Ukraine to Kremlin , which performs power scenario through a group of government officials known for their pro-Russian orientation. Among them are the heads of the power ministries . Unfortunately , the system of national security of Ukraine does not function as fell under the control of the Russian secret service agents.

The integrity of Ukraine is at risk. The critical mass of problems here is increasing rapidly by the external stimulation. The main threat to Ukraine (alongside and no less than its kleptocratic regime)  is a Russian policy that aims at eliminating the Ukrainian state as such and its territorial dismemberment.

Moscow aims on the separation of Crimea,  eastern and southern regions, in order to incorporate them into Russia. Based on the central and north- eastern regions has to be formed a quasi-state formation, which will be named as Ukraine , but will have a status similar to the former Ukrainian Soviet Republic in the USSR.  And he western regions are expected to be  ” throw ” to Europe, and thus put an end once and for all (as considered in the Kremlin ) to the ” Ukrainian problem”. It also has the aim to provoke a conflict between the European neighbors of Ukraine on its territory. For example, between Hungary and Slovakia for Transcarpathia.

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