The former Ukrainian president was supported by two major conservative pro-Russian parties in the Ukrainian parliament. His own party was the Party of Region's, a conservative party that is popular with ethnic Russians. The Party of Region's supported Yanukovych against the pro-European political parties. But now the conservatives have turned against their president. The party denounced Yanukovych, stating they "strongly condemn the criminal orders that led to human victims, an empty state treasury, huge debts, shame before the eyes of the Ukrainian people and the entire world''. This must been seen as a desperate attempt to separate the party from Yanukovych, who's dictatorial methods have caused the civil unrest.
Ukraine was part of the Soviet-Union until 1990. After the collapse of stalinism, a new ruling class replaced the outdated Stalinist bureaucracy. Both Yanukovych and his main opponent Yulia Tymoshenko made their names in the 1990's. Yulia Tymoshenko became a young capitalist and made big money with Russian gas. Yanukovych became a member of the Stalinist bureaucracy in 1980 when he worked as manager of bus-companies. As regional transport executive he was able to live the good life as did most bureaucrats of the USSR!
The collapse of stalinism led Yanukovych into politics for the conservative pro-Russian movement. He became Vice-Head of Donetsk Oblast Administration in August 1996 and joined the conservative pro-Russian: Party of Region's. He was Ukraine's prime minister between 2002 and 2004 under president Leonid Kuchma. Yanukovych became the candidate for the Party of Region's and faced the pro-European Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko during the 2004 presidential elections. Yanukovych was declared winner, but many Ukrainians opposed the results and claimed they were not fair. After a recounting the election commission declared that Yushchenko was the true winner of the 2004 presidential elections!
Yushchenko and his vice president Yulia Tymoshenko were supporters of the European Union and stood in opposition to Russia. But their economic politics were made to serve big business not ordinary workers. After only four years, the pro-European government was opposed by 60% of all Ukrainians. President Yushchenko's Orange Revolution changed nothing for workers and poor people. Many felt betrayed by pro-European political parties. This allowed the Party of Region's to win both the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections. By 2010, the conservative pro-Russian party was the biggest party in the Ukrainian parliament with 175 seats!
Yanukovych and his Party of Region's faced Yulia Tymoshenko, who campaigned as a pro-European candidate. However because she was prime minister under the hated previous government, the pro-Russian conservatives were able to win 88.7909 more votes. Tymoshenko claimed the elections were not fair, but Yanukovych was elected president of Ukraine. In the parliament they got support from the Stalinist; Communist Party of Ukraine, who joined the conservative pro-Russian government of Yanukovych. Although the communist party claimed to oppose the capitalist ideology of the Party of Region's, they joined the government because it was pro-Russian. Petro Symonenko and his stalinists have a strong base of support in the Russian speaking eastern provinces of Ukraine and hate the pro-European liberal opposition led by Tymoshenko!
Since 2010, Ukraine is deeply divided. The western provinces are politically liberal and pro-European. While the eastern provinces are conservative and pro-Russian. The Stalinist; Communist Party of Ukraine claims that the pro-European opposition are ''puppets'' of the European Union, they also claims that right-wing nationalists are supporting the opposition. There is indeed a growing nationalist tendency in the opposition camp. Right-wing nationalists rally around the All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" ( Freedom ). Founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" is a far-right party that used to be very open neo-nazi until 2004. They renamed themselves ''Svoboda'' in order to appeal to more moderate nationalists under leadership of Oleh Tyahnybok!
Yulia Tymoshenko was arrested in 2011 for her role in a gas conflict with Russia. But many of her liberal supporters claimed that president Yanukovych wanted to silence her. Ukraine has been very chaotic ever since she was arrested. The pro-European opposition with support from EU nations has protested against the pro-Russian government almost every year. When Ukraine refused to make a economic deal with the EU, civil unrest began. The pro-European opposition were furious when Yanukovych made the deal with Russia and not Europe. This started what is now called the ''Ukrainian Revolution''!
At first the demonstrators wanted Ukraine to sign the deal with Europe. But soon their demands became more revolutionary. Angered by 23 years of capitalist barbarism and corruption spread by their governments, the Ukrainians wanted Yanukovych gone. The Russian Federation told Yanukovych to use brutal force to end the protests. In Russia it is common to use police brutality to end civil unrest. But in Ukraine, it made the people more angry. Riots soon broke out and in western provinces the pro-European opposition took power for themselves. The Party of Region's and the Communist Party of Ukraine were banned in Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk, which led to a massive crackdown of demonstrators by the Ukrainian state police. In the end, 88 demonstrators died between 18 February and 23 February 2014, 16 police officers were also killed!
Fearing a massive revolution, the Party of Region's changed sides. They now supported the opposition in removing Yanukovych. With support from the conservatives, the liberal opposition voted to remove the president. When the demonstrators learned of this, they marched to his luxurious villa and occupied it. Like many capitalist leaders, Yanukovych liked luxury. His villa is proof that he enriched himself, while 25% of all Ukrainians live below the poverty line. The former president fled to the eastern provinces were his supporters are still strong. Meanwhile the parliament released Yulia Tymoshenko from her prison. This was seen as the final victory for the ''Ukrainian Revolution'' as it is now called by the western media!
But is it a genuine revolution? We don't think so. The removal of president Yanukovych was done to prevent a massive revolution. In Tunisia and Egypt, the ruling class also removal their dictators after huge protests. But these nations were not changed in a revolutionary way. Capitalism was not abolished, poverty and corruption remained. Ukraine will get a new capitalist president, maybe a pro-European one this time. But it will not change the nature of the Republic of Ukraine, which is a capitalist state since 1990!
Revolutionary socialists call for the formation of a workers party with a socialist program. Workers cannot trust the Stalinist; Communist Party of Ukraine or the social democratic; Socialist Party of Ukraine. Supporting the pro-European liberals of Yulia Tymoshenko will not bring any genuine changes. Tymoshenko was prime minister between 2004 and 2010, her government was hated because she supported the capitalists over the workers. She wants Ukraine to serve European imperialism, which is no alternative to Russian imperialism ( supported by the conservatives and stalinists ).
Workers of Ukraine must unite against nationalism too. Both ethnic Ukrainian and Russian workers must reject nationalism and sectarianism. All workers are needed for a genuine Ukrainian Socialist Workers Republic. Only a united working class can fight against the capitalists, who's politicians rule in Kiev since 1990. New elections will not bring changes, workers need a political party for themselves. This is the task of the Ukrainian left-wing, to build a party on a socialist program for all workers of Ukraine!