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Serbian scenario unfolding in Ukraine?

Published time: January 25, 2014 04:07

January 25, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

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As riots resumed in central Kiev, Ukrainian affairs analyst Nebojsa Malic told RT that protesters are using extortion tactics to get the government to undemocratically hand power over to them.

RT: President Yanukovich said he will reshuffle the government and make other concessions. Why have the protesters started hurling Molotov cocktails again, and not waited for these concessions to take place?

Nebojsa Malic: What has been going on in Ukraine since November reminds me of nothing more than a Serbian scenario, which started out in September and October of 2000 with the early presidential elections for then Yugoslavia. The goal of the protesters who were trained and financed by the US government was to overthrow the government of president Milosevic. And they succeeded because police and the military and the government were already so taken over by these subversive groups that they refused to put up any resistance. I don’t know if that is exactly what is happening in Kiev, but it is the same playbook. The protesters camp out in the square and demand completely unreasonable, undemocratic demands, such as the immediate resignation of the government and turning over the power to the so-called popular opposition that hasn’t even been tested in elections and has a very small minority of support of the parties that have. And all of a sudden they are the democrats and the government is anti-democratic because John McCain says so.

RT: We are seeing some extreme measures from the protesters. They are throwing Molotov cocktails, throwing stones in an attempt to show force. Why are they doing this now, without waiting for the concessions to take effect?

NM: [Protesters] are trying to force the issue. This is a typical extortion tactic. The whole point is to force the government to react, to force Berkut and other police forces to confront the protesters and then scream “bloody murder, oh my god, they are killing us, they are oppressing us, please help, foreign intervention” and so on. It is a very basic tactic from the rebellion playbook, as was articulated in Serbia 15 years ago and is being implemented throughout the world in Georgia and elsewhere and in Ukraine in 2004 of all things. The protesters are trying to make a point that they are the ones that decide what gets done and who initiates the violence.

RT: We have seen government buildings taken over in different parts of the country. How much further do you think these riots will spread, and what would it take to end them?

NM: This could turn into another Syrian scenario. Syria also started as allegedly spontaneous protests against the government and ended up being a full-scale civil war. There are definitely forces in the western part of Ukraine that have always been hostile to the majority of the population in the country, even allied with the Germans during WWII. And it is not an accident that these opposition movements have the most support in that part of the country. The Crimeans already said they will not stand idly by and look at their future being stolen by these Westerners.

Then eastern Ukraine, where all the economic and industrial activity is located, is staunchly pro-Russian and intolerant of this sort of thing. So this could get very ugly, very quickly if the opposition and their Western backers push this.