Ukraine opposition trying to topple the government, bring in early elections
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
RT: What do you make of this surge of violence after more than a month of peaceful protests in Kiev. What's caused this to flare-up?
Neil Clark: I think we’ve got to be honest about what we’re actually witnessing now in Ukraine, which is an attempt at regime change. Because yes, the government could have done things differently, for example the anti-protest laws, which came into force on Thursday. Some of them were good for example the foreign agent’s clause, which prevents the funding by foreign powers and foreign NGOs of civil societies in the Ukraine. That was defensible, that was justifiable. However, other aspects of that law were not good, such as restrictions on peaceful protests in the center of Kiev.
So yes, you could argue that perhaps was a mistake, or parts of that were a mistake. But I really do think the opposition is looking for a pretext here to escalate the protest and actually bring down the government. So I think that what-ever the government had done there would have been fresh protests and actually more protests.
RT:The opposition leaders have called on their supporters to act peacefully - yet pictures from the scene suggest many demonstrators are not listening. Some of loudest voices at today's rally were those chanting 'revolution'. Is that where we're heading now?
NC: Well I think that’s what the opposition want. We’ve got a kind of good cop bad cop scenario with the opposition, with people like Vitaly Klitschko trying to distance himself verbally from the far-right groups. However, they are needed because they’re the heavy boys, because they are the people who are putting the boot in and are doing the violence.
And I think that, you know, if the opposition had the support which they claim to have then why don’t they simply wait for elections. We are not talking about 5 years-time, we’re talking about next February. We’re only talking about 13 months’ time.
So I think the opposition is now trying to bring down the government, to try and bring about very early elections, to bring forward the elections to topple the government. And this is anti-democratic because the majority of people are not represented by them. There’s no evidence that the majority of people in Ukraine do support them.
And I think that if the government were to fall then this would be an undemocratic move. And the hypocrisy of the Western leaders about this is quite striking because Yanukovich was a democratically elected leader. Ukraine is not North Korea, it’s not Saudi Arabia, it’s a democracy. And in a democracy if you want to remove the government then what you do is you try to persuade people to vote for you in free elections and they are coming up as I said in February 2015. No, I think what we’re seeing in Ukraine is an attempt at regime change.