Our very own distinguished Saanich-Gulf Islands Policy Chair, Canada’s Former ambassador and current UVic fellow Derek Fraser fills us in on what led up to the dramatic events taking place in Kiev this week.
Derek Fraser: All Points West – CBC
Derek Fraser: Stand with Ukraine – National Post:
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is pursuing an increasingly repressive course and has now assumed dictatorial powers. He has also concluded an understanding with Russia that surrenders Ukraine’s economic independence and threatens its political independence. His actions could lead to turmoil and perhaps revolt in Ukraine, an indefinite postponement of any return in Ukraine and perhaps Russia to democracy, a shift in the balance of power in Europe, and a period of enmity between the West and Russia.
Since President Yanukovych assumed power in 2010, he has pursued two principal goals — to enrich himself and his family and to ensure by fair means or foul his victory in the presidential election in March 2015. He has certainly has achieved the first goal. There are reasons to believe that the amounts his and his family have robbed run into the billions of dollars. In order to achieve his second goal, that of re-election in spite of poll ratings in the mid-teens, he has pursued an increasing oppressive course. He has done away with the rule of law. He and his allies controls most of the media. He has harassed the opposition, fixed elections and dominated parliament by bribes and blackmail.
Faced with the present unrest, on the basis of a dubious vote in parliament, he has acquired dictatorial powers. His security forces can act with impunity; he can ban independent demonstrations; criticism, whether justified or not, can be treated as criminal defamation; the immunity of parliamentarians can be revoked; opposition activities can be criminalized as extremist; organizations supporting them can be banned. Yanukovych’s Ministry of Culture has already followed in Stalin’s footsteps by threatening to outlaw the Greek Catholic Church. The Internet is to be controlled; telephone conversations to be overheard, and NGOs receiving outside money are to be treated as foreign agents.
Read the full article here: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/01/28/derek-fraser-stand-with-ukraine/