Skip to main content

Protesters man their makeshift barricade on Jan. 27, 2014, at the Vinnytsya state regional administration building near Kiev after they took control and set up command.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The best chance for a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine lies in a dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada, the country's parliament, to be followed promptly by new elections for both parliament and the presidency.

The protesters in Kiev, and across the country, have well-founded grievances, especially against the disproportionately pro-Russian policies of President Viktor Yanukovych. But they are not in a position to overthrow the government. The short-lived occupation of the Ministry of Justice on Sunday and Monday is far from being a promising precedent. Anything resembling a civil war is neither desirable nor feasible.

The opposition are right to persist in their demonstrations – including a degree of civil disobedience against the preposterously sweeping law passed last week to suppress them. It is encouraging that the protests are now spreading; they now include parts of the eastern and southern regions of the country, much of which is Russian-speaking and from which Mr. Yanukovych has long drawn support.

Story continues below advertisement

Ukraine is on a fault line between East and West. Ideally, it needs good economic, political and cultural relations with both the European Union and Russia. But at the same time, its best hope for the future lies in a closer alignment with the democratic, rule-of-law West, not the autocrats in Moscow. Mr. Yanukovych's abrupt tilt in the other direction is what sparked the protests. A fresh election would be a good opportunity to settle the debate democratically, giving Ukrainians a chance to discuss and to decide where they want the balance to be struck.

The last election of the Verkhovna Rada was in October, 2012. In the scheme of things, that now seems quite a long time ago.

Back in early December – soon after Mr. Yanukovych's sudden rejection of a trade agreement with the EU – Serhiy Arbuzov, the First Deputy Prime Minister, said that new parliamentary and presidential elections were "absolutely" worth considering. They're an even better idea now.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter