Snipers Coming Back in Policy

Snipers Coming Back in Policy

By Tatyana Stanovaya

The version about involvement of the opposition into assassinations can be used by a moderate opposition against the radicals.


An audio-record of a phone conversation of the EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton and the Head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Estonia Urmas Paet. Authenticity of the record has already been verified by Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The conversation, which was most likely recorded by Russian intelligence services, has become one of the trump cards of the Kremlin within the information war around Ukraine. However, it is more meaningful for Ukraine itself.


The phone conversation has given to Russian Mass Media (and pro-Kremlin Mass Media has made a real information bomb) the ground to say that snipers, operating during the revolution in the downtown of Kyiv, has been hired by “someone” from the opposition and were not controlled by the President Viktor Yanukovych. Urmas Paet reports to Catherine Ashton (“and this is really unpleasant”, he notes) that “according to the evidences”, the members of the both conflict parties – policemen as w ell as protesters. “The same snipers killed people of the both parties”. Paet refers to a famous Ukrainian doctor Ol’ga Bogomolets, who was one of the Maidan activists,  and to her opinion on similarity of “signs” of murders of law enforcement agents, as well as protesters.


This information has called significant response, however, it was interpreted differently by Russia and the West. Let’s try separating interpretations from facts and finding out the actual value of the confidential information obtained with dishonest means. So, Paet says about existence of some evidences, which specify probable involvement of some opposition leaders in hiring of snipers. This gives the grounds to suggest the version which however is absolutely not a proven fact. Ashton on the one hand being concerned about the problem calls to have an investigation: “I think this information should be processed… It’s interesting”. Paet also acknowledges that the new coalition has no wish to investigate the exact circumstances of the events happened.


Only one conclusion can be drawn: the case is about one of the versions (which do not at all refute also the version about possible use of snipers by Yanukovych), which may have political consequences and which is not at all of just a historic value. The interest of Europe in this case has practical meaning, but simultaneously, it is controversial. On the one hand, it is important for Europe to assist legitimization of the new power, which shall undertake responsibility for an extremely hard period of getting the country out of the crisis.


It is cynically however, that the information (even as of a version) about involvement of the opposition in murdering of people is destructive considering these objectives. As in such case we are talking not about non-accomplished right of the people for uprising, but about bloody coup.


On the other hand, the West reacts negatively to the radicals, and even simple suspicion of some protesters in possible use of snipers, naturally, forces to think about the mechanism of dividing radicals and moderate forces, moreover the latter ones has managed to shape the power. The radicals, who are suspected in alleged use of snipers, as well as nationalism, find themselves in political “buffer”. They are not integrated into the number of winners of the “revolution” and by this they can’t fully rely on wide majority of people, pushed away by their rhetoric. But the last factor can be dynamic: trust to the new power can devaluate rapidly, the Maidan treats the new Government cautiously. This is well demonstrated by the conversation of Ashton with Paet. “There is absolutely no trust [of the civil society]”, - says Paet, trying to find the mechanisms of more effective interaction of the Government with Maidan. And this means that the radicals shall be tempted to develop protest activity of the “masses” already against the new power. In such situation the version about involvement of the opposition in killing can be used by a moderate opposition against the radicals to prevent new uprising.


There is also another side of this story: Russia, naturally, use the situation to attack the new Ukrainian power within the frameworks of the information war. But in such situation a constructive compromise is being accumulated: why the new power not to investigate the murders of people by snipers with the support of Europe and Russia? Of course yet it is utopia and Moscow shall hardly support (at least yet) the new Government of Ukraine.


But for sure Russia shall welcome this investigation.


The Government of Ukraine in its turn shall get an opportunity to capture the initiatives, before someone else does, obtaining the option to interpret facts and evidences without division of the revolutionists for moderate and radicals and laying the probable blame (we are again talking only about interpretations) on the new Ukrainian power.


It is important to talk individually about the Maidan, which has turned into the source of legitimacy of the revolution and which remains to the most sensitive subject of the new Ukrainian political situation to the issue of murders of protesters by snipers. At the moment Maidan is the most interested party in the investigation of deaths of people, whether those were Yanukovych’s agents or snipers, hired by anyone else. It would have been better for those dividing the power in Ukraine at the moment not to ignore this fact.  Otherwise the new revolution wave can cover the winners, who may appear to be defeated tomorrow.



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