According to CNN, Viktor Yanukovych is said to be a puppet of Moscow President Vladimir Putin. An opinion piece written by Jill Dougherty, a former Moscow Bureau Chief who has experience as a White House Correspondent as well as reporting on the State Department regarding foreign affairs, claims that Washington pundits have theorized that Putin has created the situation that has left the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev in tatters. She implies that the Russian president persuaded the former Ukraine president to walk away from a trade agreement with the European Union in order to prompt protests.
It is further rumored that Putin was not close to Yanukovych but that Russia did not want Ukraine to get closer to the West. As the former Soviet satellite has been independent since 1991, it would have possibly been seen as an act of war for Putin to simply remove the Ukraine president. According to Dougherty, Putin has long sought to bring Ukraine closer to Russia again.
But Yanukovych appears to have attempted playing Russia and the West against each other which may have prompted Putin to seek a clandestine way to to topple him. If Moscow was indeed responsible for getting Yanukovych to walk away from the EU deal last November, surely it was known that the fiercely independent Ukrainian people would not sit for it. Whether Yanukovych was truly a puppet of Putin in the the crisis that pitted world news about Ukraine against the Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi remains to be said.
The protests, which took place almost immediately, were relatively uneventful until police and black-clad men started shooting at a throng of protesters marching toward the Parliament building. After that early February incident, chaos ensued. Buildings were set on fire around the capitol’s square, police snipers took to murdering protesters and the city’s very streets were torn up to be used against police.
During the days of fiery fighting that threatened to burn down Independence Square, a local media outlet, RT News, sent a camera-carrying drone above the fighting and captured spectacular video footage of it that was posted on its YouTube channel.
Since the departure of Yanukovych on Saturday, the fighting has stopped, the fires put out and the protestors have peacefully replaced the police. The NY Times reports that the presidential palace, which had been privatized under the former president, is again under state ownership. It also says that Oleksandr V. Turchynov, the speaker for Ukraine’s Parliament, has assumed the power of president until elections in May.
World leaders such as Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have been in contact with Putin about the situation in Kiev. Turchynov, whose name is in some media reports spelled “Turchinov,” is now acting president, according to a running live update page on the RT News site. The news outlet also announced that Turchynov is willing to speak with Russia.
While the political vacuum in Kiev is kept relatively peaceful, some cities are already taking sides in a way that could push tensions high again. The seaport city of Sevastopol has decided to stop paying taxes to Kiev in a bid for its own independence.
It is not being said if Yanukovich, who is said to be taking refuge in a city near Ukraine’s eastern border along Russia, will be taken in by his alleged puppet master, Putin.
By Randall Fleming
Follow Randall Fleming on Twitter: #BreweryObserver