Internet Press Conference with Oleg Rybachuk

Joint Internet press conferences with leading experts from different countries on the topical issues of the modern times are organized within the framework of the project, entitled "Enhancing knowledge and understanding of ‘the other side’ by Armenians and Azerbaijani through Alternative and First-Hand Information". This project, implemented by Region Research Center (Armenia) and the Institute for Peace and Democracy (Azerbaijan), is supported by the British Embassies in Armenia and Azerbaijan.   

Armen Minasyan, (Armenia)
1.After the first victims in the result of collisions in Kiev anxieties began to be expressed within and from out the country that the situation is getting out of control and a civil war is imminent. To what extent is the given scenario of developments realistic?
-It is typical of Ukraine and the Ukrainians to avoid conflicts at the moment of maximum tension of the situation. The decision may come at the last moment and we have had such a practice at most complex historical moments of the independent Ukraine. For the first time we become witnesses of use of arms against the peaceful population by the government which in its turn sharply radicalizes the protestant sentiments. Neither the government, nor the opposition may assert that they fully control the situation. Without the interference of the external forces of our Big Neighbor the possibility of reaching a compromise remains realistic.
2.The West responded to the events in Ukraine in a harsh way. The USA started talking about sanctions, in EU they do not exclude suspension of relations. To what extent, in your opinion, will the current situation affect the relations of Ukraine with the West, in particular the euro-integration process of the country?
-The Euromaidan arose as a reaction of the population to the sharp change in the European course of the country fixed in the Law about the foreign policy of Ukraine. After the merciless dispersal of the peaceful student pro-European Maidan the protests acquired an open anti-presidential and anti-governmental nature. Sociological surveys reveal that the number of supporters of Ukraine’s European choice has increased and civilians do understand that they should elect a real European president of the country and carry out European reforms. I would like to mention that presidential elections in Ukraine must be held in February 2015 but now that the conflict has been radicalized and weapon has been used against peaceful protesters by the police, after 7 fatal victims increasingly harsher are the calls for preterm presidential and parliamentary elections.
3.Is there a real split in society? Is it voiced or is it a taboo?
-In Ukraine it is impossible to muffle any information, if you control TV channels it still doesn’t mean that the information doesn’t spread via new media. Because of this the society is united in their disapproval of the government, outrage for the level of corruption, impunity of officials and majors. This is why the government with the support of Russian advisers strives to bring this conflict to a split between West and East Ukraine. But the sociological survey shows that it is not succeeding much.
4.After numerous calls for starting negotiations, the previous day the meeting of president Yanukovich with the leaders of opposition took place. However after the meeting the opposition stated that there are no tangible results but the negotiations will go on. Will the parties come to an agreement, if yes, on what issues?
-If previously before the first victims, time worked for Yanukovich and the government hoped to force the Maidan with attrition, now things have changed. The whole country is growing into a huge Maidan, civil activists call for civil disobedience movement, threats about proclaiming Emergency state don’t frighten the society and don’t save the government. My outlook is – Yanukovich should determine his position and as soon as possible.
5.Do you share the opinion that the protest movement supporting European integration served the grounds for actions towards change of the government in Ukraine?
6.The government lays the blame of bloodshed on the opposition and vice-verse. In your opinion who is to blame for the escalation of the situation and which is the way out from the crisis?
-I have already answered such a question, undoubtedly the main responsibility is on the government which plays up to a foreign scenario.
Davit Stepanyan, Arminfo news agency –
1.David Stepanyan “ArmInfo”, Good afternoon Mr. Rybachuk. There is an opinion in the Ukrainian analytical environs that Viktor Yanukovich is actually isolated from reigning Ukraine by Kreml and strategic and operative headquarters of RF work in Kiev which are aimed at disrupting the state order of Ukraine. To what extent in your opinion is this point of view in conformity with the reality.
-To a considerable extent. The style and ruthlessness of dispersal of peaceful protesters that we first underwent is not typical of Ukrainian security forces. Demonstrative bloody beating and dispersal of the student maidan, application of firearms, bombshells, snipers, targeted first of all at journalists. This kind of scenario isolates Yanukovich from the Europe and USA making him fully dependable on Russia. Many experts claim that transfer of control of the situation in maidan to Russian special services was one of the conditions for providing 15 billion credit to Yanukovich by Kreml.
2.Enumerate in your opinion the main advantages and shortcomings of integration of Ukraine with CU and European association.
-It is easy to find expert analyses on the Ukrainian internet. As to me, I can say that for the integration of Ukraine with the CU it is not necessary to introduce any reforms or meet any criteria. This is the model of conservation of the past. The EU practically demonstrated that introduction of reforms into the economy and governance inevitably brings about rise in living standards of civilians and in business capability.
3.The position of Moscow relating to the events in Ukraine is more than active. What are the reasons, in your opinion, for the passiveness of western countries and structures?
-In contrast with Moscow, the words and actions of which are not interconnected, the West makes decisions exclusively based on lawfulness. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t call it passiveness. The State Department of the USA has already announced and introduced sanctions against a couple of officials, at yesterday’s briefing of the government of Ukraine on the situation in maidan European ambassadors made a public demarche. I may assert that the EU for which it is more difficult to make decisions, is also technically and politically prepared to support sanctions against Ukrainian governmental officials, the majority of which possesses residences and offices and keep considerable financial resources just in the banking system of the EU.
Artak Barseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
-Mr. Rybachuk the current opposing in the Ukrainian capital is acquiring a more bitter nature. Can we say that a battle between Brussels and Moscow is taking place in the streets of Kiev?
-In the streets of Kiev a battle between the Good and Evil, between the Future and Past is already taking place. At nights the police in close league with thousands of youngsters of sporting appearance brought to Kiev make an open safari attacking the activists, journalists, taking away the wounded right from wards, beating them nearly to death and leaving them to die in forests in the outskirts of Kiev or in torture chambers of police stations, performing trials using the newly adopted laws of dictatorship (of 16 January), i.e. charging them with mass disorders which poses a threat of 15 years of imprisonment. In Answer, the scope of peaceful protesters increasingly evolves no fear.
Davit Stepanyan, Arminfo news agency –
-It has already been reported about 5 deaths in the result of collisions between the protesters and the police. Will you name the powers interested in the fall of people at the movement of protest?
-First of all Kreml and the president Putin, who has proclaimed the creation of the Eurasian Union the priority of his presidency. Enclosure of relations of Ukraine with Europe are direct challenge for the project of Putin as the successful realization of the integration of Ukraine with the EU will be followed by other countries of former USSR. Such a scenario is supported by a part of the regions’ ruling Party, by communists and marginal politicians such as Viktor Medvedchuk, former head of Administration  of president Kuchma, Putin’s godfather, photos of meetings of whom are regularly publicized by the press-service of Kreml.
Artak Barseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
1.To what extent is the removal of Yanukovich possible?
President Yanukovich has so far been demonstrating complete ignorance of the situation, obstinately refuses to fulfill the demands of protesters, none of the officials in fault for the bloodshed has borne responsibility or even been suspended from duty. In compliance with the Ukrainian legislation the decision of preterm presidential elections under current circumstances may be made only by Yanukovich himself. Millions of peaceful demonstrations did not affect the preparedness of Yanukovich for a dialogue, neither did yesterday’s deaths of peaceful protesters but at the moment a precautionary strike is announced all through the country, mobilization of civilians, all-Ukrainian movement of civil resistance, tough sanctions on the part of international community. Possibly, all this put together will push our president out of dormancy.
2.In your opinion, who may benefit from escalating the events on Kreshatika?
-Bankovaya street (Kiev) and Smolenskaya square (Moscow).
Tarana Kyazimova, Turan news agency –
1.Is the limit of trust of democratic society of Ukraine in president Viktor Yanukovich exhausted or are there still chances of regulation of the situation through dialogue?
-Undoubtedly, the limit of trust is exhausted, but most Ukrainians are conscious to the fact that there is no alternative to dialogue. For this very reason the negotiations between the president and the leaders of opposition are still going on. At the same time the protesters are full of determination to stand their ground up to the end until those to blame for the bloodshed are suspended from duty and punished and the laws on dictatorship of 16 January are repealed. The demands for preterm presidential and parliamentary elections sound more and more binding.
2.What kind of “road map” of measures for crisis recovery there may be?
-Fruitful dialogue, repealing of law package on dictatorship (of 16 January 26, 2014), punishment of those to blame for the bloodshed, release of the victims of political repressions, reformatting of the government, preterm presidential and parliamentary elections.
3.In case of escalation of violence may the army interfere and support specifically one of the parties?
-Yesterday the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense officially answered that the army will not rise against the protesters, but our Commander-in-Chief is not the minister of defense but the president of the country and some photos appeared on the internet on which heavy machinery, particularly tanks, are moving towards Kiev. Along with this I will mention that in the practice of independent Ukraine there hasn’t been a single case of involvement of the army into “political settlements.”
4.Will it be possible to avoid split of the country in case of development of confrontation scenario?
-Good afternoon, dear friends! I welcome this opportunity to get in touch with you. I will try answer all your questions. It is the confrontation scenario itself that aims at weakening the government of Ukraine and actually split of the country. It should be noted that such a scenario is advantageous neither for the government, in the person of president Yanukovich, nor moreover the opposition. This is why consultations are carried out during these two days between the president and the leaders of opposition. Without any significant results so far.
Marine Martirosyan, Hetq online newspaper –
1.Can the collisions in Kiev bring about civil war? Do you personally see a danger of such developments?
-I have already answered such a question and I can repeat: the scenario of conflict development and unleashing civil war is written neither in Ukraine nor the EU.
2.Yesterday Sergei Nigoyan was killed in Grushovskaia street. How, in your opinion, this incident may affect the Ukrainian authorities? In which case a compromise is possible?
-The death of Sergei Nigoyan, the great patriot of Ukraine, one of the most active participants of EuroMaidan, came as a shock first of all to the civilians of Ukraine. The international Forum in Davos started with a minute silence in commemoration of the dead in Maidan, but at the briefing carried out yesterday for foreign Ambassadors, our government did not utter a word about the innocent victims which openly exasperated the experienced diplomats.
Gagik Baghdasaryan, News Armenia news agency –
1.Good afternoon! In your opinion, is the presence of open nationalists in opposition field including the management of opposition help or get in the way of Maidan?
-Ignorance of many days’ peaceful protests of Ukrainians by the government has undoubtedly heated the situation, the government openly triggers such a scenario letting the supporters of the ruling party carry out constant meetings beside Verxovnaia Rada and Cabinet of Ministers, obstructing the way of opposition. There hasn’t been noticed anybody carrying nationalistic symbolics among protesters but there is an indication of activation of the so called “right sector” consisting in football ультрас as well. In many countries football  ультрас, as a rule, act from highly nationalistic positions. I would like to emphasize once again that the obstinate unwillingness of the government to respond to the peaceful protests and the unreasonable ruthlessness towards the protesters makes the situation increasingly explosive.
Natig Javadly, Bizim Yol newspaper –
1.Natig Javadly, newspaper Bizim Yol. Could you tell us the role of foreign forces, particularly the role of Russia in the events which started in Kiev on 19 January?
-I have already written about it here, I will repeat myself saying that the most odious representatives of Ukrainian special subdivisions, particularly Crimean Berkut, closely interact, get trained, study together with Russian Alfa. There are numerous representatives of Russian special services in the management of the Ukrainian security forces. Provision of 15 billion to Yanukovich by Putin sharply increased the role and influence of these “comrades.”
2.Former president of Ukraine Kuchma stated that the financial-economic condition of Ukraine is highly complicated and the recent movements aggravate the situation even more. Kuchma thinks that such a hard financial-economic situation will remain for many years even when peace is established in the country. Do you agree with the opinion of the ex-president?
-Obviously, I agree. The economy of Ukraine is deeply integrated with the world economy and is unable to survive without reformation, the support of international financial institutes and improvement of the investment climate in the country itself. This is why it is very important that the coming government of Ukraine should be able not only to sign the Association with EU but also fulfill all the necessary conditions for the reformation of the economy. 
3.Recently the question of the split of Ukraine is being discussed in the Russian press. Is there such a fear?
-Obviously, the scenario of the split is of Russian origin. Many Ukrainian politicians both in the government as well as in opposition understand this which gives a hope of its failure.
Aydin Kerimov, Novoye Vremya newspaper – (Azerbaijan)
1.What is going on with Ukraine?
-Ukraine which formally got its independence in 1991 is actually maintaining it now.
2.Civil war in Ukraine – is this realistic?
-So far these are the secret and cherished daydreaming of Kreml and some of its vassals in Ukraine.
3.As to you, will it be possible to achieve regulation the nearest days?
-The chances of regulation are remaining, the government is unable to frighten the protesters, mobilization is announced throughout the country, the attempts of the government to direct security forces and army subdivisions to Kiev are being blocked, tens of thousands Ukrainians are staying in the centre of Kiev day and night, constructing additional barricades, the events are being transmitted live to the whole world. Annulment of invitation for the prime minister of Ukraine Nikolay Azarov to deliver a speech at the international Forum in Davos, where tens of world leaders are being present, along with proclaimed sanctions against high-ranked governmental officials is a substantial argument for president Yanukovich on the part of the world community.
4.Aydin Kerimov, newspaper Novoe Vremia. Does the European choice of Ukraine presuppose massacres?
-European choice of Ukraine presupposes impossibility of use of arms against peaceful protesters by the government,  impossibility of ignorance of millions of protests for several months,  independence of courts, freedom of speech and press and much more that you, Aydin, are well aware of. Setting people against each other, including representatives of different nationalities, creation of zones of constant conflicts, practice of special services of USSR. Have you heard anything about CNS?


30 January, 2014
Right after the New Year, the citizens of Armenia were shocked by the gas and electricity bills for December.

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