Rostislav Ishchenko: Why the Failed Trial of Yanukovych Reduces Poroshenko’s Term of Stay in Power

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


In recent weeks the weakening of Poroshenko’s control over the courts became especially noticeable, which led, in particular, to a refusal to elect a measures of restraint in the form of house arrest for Saakashvili. However, it’s not even Poroshenko, but the collective Kiev regime that started to suffer its first judicial defeats since the moment of coming to power, and they still suffer.

These defeats are inseparably linked to the name and fate of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. By the way, here is also one of the possible answers to the question “why Russia saved and sheltered him” that people who don’t like Viktor Yanukovych (and who likes him?) often ask. He gave Russia a benefit by the very fact of his existence and stay on its territory not only concerning this matter.

Let’s consider the situation. Certainly, it was all the same for the oppositionists who seized power in February, 2014, where Yanukovych is and how he feels. They were interested only in two things. The first — the readiness of the Ukrainian financial-economic, political, bureaucratic, and military elite to accept the developed state of affairs. The second — the possibility of a Russian intervention, aimed at quelling the anti-constitutional mutiny.

Literally, during the very first days and hours after the coup, its organisers were able to make sure that the servile Ukrainian elite was ready to serve the nazis in the same way that it served “euro-integrators” beforehand, and even earlier — the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The elite followed in the footsteps of the President. Yanukovych betrayed the people and elite, trying to negotiate behind their backs. The elite betrayed the people and the President, having intercepted an initiative and having opted for a separate collusion with the mutineers, who were rather not numerous at the beginning.

In turn, it limited the possibility of Russian military help. It turned out that in the country there were no legitimate authorities (besides the Crimean parliament, but even this one was helped towards being illegitimate), which would refuse to recognise the coup and would ask Russia for help. Even in Donetsk and Lugansk the people did it over the heads and contrary to the resistance of electoral bodies.

Having being convinced that Yanukovych won’t return, that Russia won’t invade, and that the West is with them, the Ukrainian authorities ceased to be interested in the former President, Maidan, the Heavenly Hundred, and even Crimea, which was quickly sailing away from Ukraine, crossing to Russia. They were completely captivated by the fascinating race for power and property. By the way, the Ukrainian authorities [junta – ed] went on a punitive campaign on Donetsk and Lugansk (which still hadn’t become the DPR/LPR) precisely for attractive assets. Even now they say: “Take the population away to Russia. We don’t need it. We need only territories”.

It is the West that should solve the foreign policy problems of the Kiev regime, according to its leaders, while the regime was going to concentrate on the repartition of property, robbery of the budget, and general Ukrainisation mixed with lustration and decommunisation. The latter was necessary not so much to localise the energy of bandit marginals and city crazies in the fight against monuments to Lenin and memorials to Soviet soldiers as it was for the creation of a legislative basis to repel russophile and left-wing opposition from the political space, which could offer effective legal competition for the representatives of the regime in elections, if they weren’t banned.

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It seemed to the leaders of the regime that the scheme of legalising their power, which assumed the holding of early presidential and parliamentary elections, was perfected, and that it is possible to forget about Yanukovych. But they took such a position not because they were very savvy. The fact is that in politics every word said officially and publicly automatically demands defined actions. Even the US, accusing Iraq of developing bacteriological weapons, considered it to be undesirable to begin an aggressive war against Hussain just like that, on the basis of mere allegations. Colin Luther Powell, the then Secretary of State and former general of the US Army, was obliged to shake a test tube of laundry detergent at a UN Security Council meeting, presenting it as a sample of the criminal developments of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Exactly in the same way, the Kiev regime, in order to provide Washington with arguments for international bargaining, was obliged to prove its affirmation that the “Heavenly Hundred” was killed by the order of Yanukovych, who suddenly forgot about his “leopoldian” position and became thirsty for the blood of “revolutionaries”, and also that the President withdrew himself from the fulfilment of his duties, having dropped the country in a critical period and having disappeared in an unknown direction, although absolutely nothing threatened him. Otherwise, no matter how many “free elections” are held, an armed rebellion against the legitimate authorities will still remain an armed rebellion against the legitimate authorities.

Therefore it will be always possible to call into question the legality, transparency, and the indeed free character of both the actions of the State authorities, who tried wherever possible to legitimise the coup, and the subsequent elections. The change of the international environment (and it always changes sooner or later) threatened a number of unpleasant consequences for the US and their Ukrainian puppets. In particular, it was possible to declare as illegal all agreements reached during all the post-coup governments, all the loans made by them (this is what the Ukrainian authorities wanted to do concerning the Russian credit to Yanukovych, but couldn’t because they had no legal arguments), and all concluded contracts guaranteed by them, etc. I.e. the money invested in Ukraine could be lost in the blink of an eye.

By the way, I will report that the Russian recognition of Poroshenko’s election win is irrelevant, because it is the Ukrainian authorities who make decisions about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the regime, on the basis of the Ukrainian constitution. International recognition legitimates the regime only for external relations. But, for example, the whole world recognised Admiral Kolchak as the legitimate Supreme governor of Russia, but it is the Bolsheviks who won, and they weren’t going to return the credits taken out for the purchasing of weapons that were used for the fight against them.

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The regime failed its task of internal legitimisation using proof in court of Yanukovych’s guilt, and at the same time – of proving a lack of reasons for his fleeing from the country. It failed, first of all, because of a lack of qualification of its leaders, and also simply because of their frank stupidity.

Having at least a week or two before the first investigations into the murders of the “Heavenly Hundred”, the regime didn’t bother itself with neither the elimination of proof against itself, nor about the creation of proof against Yanukovych. Simply, one fine day publications appeared in the press exposing the regime (and what is characteristic – in western ones), and also a documentary, after which then the authorities urgently started sawing the trees that the bullets struck from an inconvenient side.

But it was too late. Already in 2014 the case on the murders of the “Heavenly Hundred” against Yanukovych didn’t have any prospects. The whole world knew too well whose hands are responsible for this, and the subject quickly came to naught in the West. But Kiev exploited it exclusively in the format of propaganda aimed at marginal segments of the population. The process has despondently lasted until now only because to finish it by acquitting Yanukovych means to recognise the full defeat of the regime and its professional insolvency.

Exactly in the same way that the topic of the causeless fleeing of Yanukovych failed. Yanukovych, according to the description of his enemies, in general looks like some mad monster. Either he senselessly shoots protesters, or in two days flees from a country where “nothing threatens him”.

The question of Yanukovych’s fleeing was considered in court in the context of the charges brought to him, but was key from the point of view of justifying the legality of the actions of the putshists aimed at the seizure of power. If it was succeeded to prove that Yanukovych “withdrew himself” and fled without reason, then it was possible to recognise the actions for the dismissal of the lawful President and the formation of new authorities as being committed in a state of extreme necessity. I.e., although the law was also violated, but allegedly there wasn’t another way out— there was a need to save the country.

However these vainglorious fools, trying to show their personal “toughness” to each other and their environment, said so much nonsense during the very first days and hours after the coup that the compelled nature of Yanukovych’s actions was clear.

Firstly, as they couldn’t prove Yanukovych’s guilt in the death of the “Heavenly Hundred”, it became clear (and proof also appeared) that it is the leaders of Maidan themselves who are guilty. So, it means that the President fled after massacres began on the streets.

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Secondly, one of the leaders of the “Party of Regions” Mikhail Dobkin described how he frightened Yanukovych in Kharkov, not allowing him to go to the congress of the elite who already betrayed him. Thirdly, the leaders of the State Border Service raced each other to describe (some hoping to save their jobs, some hoping to get a promotion) how they tried to arrest the President, the legitimacy of the power of which at that time wasn’t called into question by anyone, and who was the Supreme Commander also of the border guards (as well as of all law enforcement officers). According to the testimonies of numerous eyewitnesses, back then Yanukovych’s bodyguard was nearly obliged to safeguard him using a firearm.

Fourthly, the military also didn’t want to lag behind, and described how they threatened to shoot down the presidential helicopter that Yanukovych flew off in from Kharkov. Fifthly, Turchynov reported that he gave the command to catch Yanukovych and to bring him to Kiev in handcuffs to force him to renounce.

In general there are quite enough testimonies, even if we don’t take into account the testimony of Yanukovych himself and his bodyguard about the fact that real hunting was unleashed against the President and that in fact his motorcade appeared to be surrounded, and thus it was possible to leave such encirclement only by opening fire (and it is exactly at this moment that the Russian helicopters arrived, which the Ukrainians were afraid to down).

Thus, by trying to prove the guilt of Yanukovych and the groundlessness of his fleeing, the regime managed to legitimise during the court session the testimonies that convict the leaders of Maidan of preparing and carrying out an armed coup, of mass murder, of attempting to murder the President, etc.

The external legitimisation of Poroshenko and the attempt to internally legitimise him were the only arguments in his favour, forcing the US to be reconciled with the inefficient character of his corruption governance. However, the actual disruption of the Minsk Agreements reduces the effect of the external legitimisation of Poroshenko. The attempt of internal legitimisation by the adjudication of Yanukovych also failed. On the contrary, the regime framed itself with a flow of proof of its own crime. Petro Poroshenko doesn’t represent any even relative value anymore. His opponents, of course, are no better, but it doesn’t mean that the US must interfere in the fascinating process of the dividing up of Ukraine by the successors of Maidan in favour of one of the parties involved. They are ready to recognise any winner and to work with them. They are all pro-American anyway.

So the failure in court against Yanukovych seriously reduces the days of Poroshenko in power, and, what is much more important, it reduces the regime’s value for its curators, because all bonuses received from the regime are temporary and can be declared as being received in a criminal way. I.e., there will be an obligation to return everything, and to even pay penalties.

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