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A Day And A Night Of Viktor Yanukovych

By Expert Author: Nicolas Inge

A week ago, Yanukovych was positioned to make a decision that would have abruptly altered his fate. If on Friday morning he had signed the Association Agreement, he would have been able to return home triumphant, having made a far-reaching decision for his country, and in the process guaranteeing himself a place in the history books.

He would have buried all the negativity that has accumulated around the corrupt dealings of his family. He would have relaunched relations with the West, and would have guaranteed himself a quiet retirement in 2015 or even 2020. He would even have achieved some legitimization in the West regarding his imprisoning of political opponents, since the issue of freeing Yulia Tymoshenko would no longer have stood as an ultimatum.

Yet overnight, Viktor Yanukovych transformed himself from a capricious child, whom for two years the West had been trying to educate through negotiations, into an odious, blood-stained, mad despot.

Now former heads of the U.S. State Department and the most influential Ukrainian diasporas throughout the world are demanding that sanctions be introduced against him, and for five consecutive days European governments have been serving up demonstrative obstruction.

The center of the capital has transformed into a scene from an apocalyptic movie, with barricades and bonfires. Meanwhile, Yanukovych can peacefully reside within the sarcophagus of "Mezhyhirya" only because he has surrounded it with a few hundred pieces of cannon fodder, marked with "Berkut" chevrons on their sleeves.

"Ukrainska Pravda" was able to establish a chronology of events from November 30, the infamous bloody night on the Maidan, and to learn of the plans and scenarios which were developed in government offices during those days.

While there was shouting on the Maidan, Viktor Yanukovych was out hunting boars

Late Friday afternoon, Viktor Yanukovych arrived in Kyiv after the failed Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. He proceeded to Mezhyhirya without stopping at Bankova Street.

Yanukovych spent a few hours at his palace, which is spread over an area the size of the Principality of Monaco. Then he went on a night hunt to Sukholuchchja - a state wildlife preserve which was privatized and brought under the control of offshore companies owned by Yanukovych.

In fact, according to [took out "the"] sources, while the carnage at Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] was taking place, Yanukovych was similarly reveling in the blood of animals just seventy kilometers north of the capital.

EuroMaidan, which was raging in Kyiv at the time, visibly irritated Yanukovych. There were signs of his complexes from 2004. In addition, from his point of view, even more out of control was the creation of a dangerous precedent for the next presidential election, during which Yanukovych was planning on being re-elected for a second term without the accompaniment of an opposition Maidan.

To this day, the extent and nature of Yanukovych's order to clean out the Maidan remains a mystery. Were his orders those demonstrated by the witnessed ostentatious cruelty, when "Berkut" was not only tasked with beating people in their livers, but also beating out of them any desire to meet again? Or did Yanukovych order the removal of people who were irritating him, leaving it to the police to choose from the available means of doing so, and not thinking about the consequences of his anger.

Either way, Yanukovych went hunting and "Berkut" drowned EuroMaidan in blood.

According to information from a variety of independent sources, the management of this operation was assumed by Andrei Kliuev, the National Security Council Secretary, who did not respond to a request from "Ukrainska Pravda" to present his version of events. He already had experience using force to conspicuously disperse a peaceful assembly - it is sufficient to recall the bloodshed next to the Central Electoral Commission a week before the 2004 presidential elections.

Sources say that the preparations for cleaning out the Maidan began at the beginning of last week - Kliuev and his first deputy Volodymyr Sivkovych selected groups of Berkut that would be entrusted with the dirty work.

Ultimately, the decision was made to select out-of-town fighters from the oblasts of Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, and Cherkasy, and from Crimea. While the fighting was happening at Maidan, Volodymyr Sivkovych was based at the office of Kyiv police chief Valery Koryak.

The Kyiv municipal administration also had a hand in the preparations for the bloody dispersal of the Maidan. In order to justify the involvement of Berkut in the beating of peaceful protesters, Alexander Popov's first deputy, Anatoly Holubchenko, signed an order demanding the urgent delivery of construction machinery to the Independence Monument.

A strange circumstance that arose during that night was the inability to reach the head of the presidential administration, Serhij Lovochkin. According to one version, Lovochkin was aware of the intention to disperse the Maidan but did not participate in the discussion of this scenario, and deliberately withdrew, allowing his eternal rival Kliuiev to definitively discredit himself in the eyes of the West.

According to another version, Lovochkin did not pick up the phone because... he wanted to relax after the nerve-wracking summit in Vilnius. His entourage adheres to this version, although the very idea that the head of the presidential administration may be out of reach seems strange.

Thus, whatever the case may have been, Lovochkin's phone was ringing off the hook thanks to Western diplomats and Ukrainian colleagues, but he first picked up the receiver after dawn, when the caller was U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. In fact, according to Lovochkin's entourage, he first learned of the fighting on the Maidan from the American.

Next, Lovochkin tried to contact Yanukovych, who was still hunting, but the latter did not pick up the phone. After this Lovochkin wrote a letter of resignation and handed Yanukovych a disc recounting world news regarding the bloody morning on the Maidan. In addition, the presidential administration prepared for Yanukovych a draft statement announcing the dismissal of Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, but he refused to consider it.

According to his entourage, during the first half of the day after the dispersal of the Maidan, Livochkin contacted Kluiev and warned him about his personal responsibility for the dispersal of the demonstrators. In response, the Security Council secretary said that television news sources will report that municipal workers were setting up a Christmas tree, and "Berkut" was protecting them from attacking protesters. Indeed, the next day Moscow TV news channels began reporting this version of the dispersal of the peaceful assembly in Kyiv.

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