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Ukraine: Divided By Politics, United By Desire For Stability

Camp supporting the government in Kyiv (RFE/RL) April 4, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets around the country in scenes reminiscent of the Orange Revolution of 2004.

But now, most of those participating are supporting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych -- not his political rival, President Viktor Yushchenko -- in the parliamentary standoff.

Igor Zvonkovskiy, a supporter of Yanukovych, protesting in Kyiv, says he is there to defend the parliament.

MORE: Coverage in Ukrainian from RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

IMAGES: A gallery of photographs from Kyiv.

"We are here to express our support, to show that the people -- almost 70 percent of the entire Ukrainian population -- are together with our government and our parliament," Zvonkovskiy says.

Divided Country

There is much dividing the Ukrainian people: East versus west, old versus young, Russia versus the European Union and the United States.

Accusations fly around on the streets, in the bars, in Internet chat rooms: some say Yanukovych is a Russian puppet; others that Yushchenko is in the pay of the West.

Other discussions are more sober, debating whether Yushchenko's dissolution of the parliament was constitutional, or whether Yanukovych violated the constitution by encouraging individual lawmakers to change sides.

"Yes, I think it was correct [to dissolve the parliament]. Because I think that the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada and new elections will change the situation and the arrangement of political forces in the country," a woman says in Kyiv. "Other people will come to power, and this political changeover will lead to improving life in the country."

There is also a good degree of apathy, or resignation. Some people couldn't care less, seeing both sides as self-interested, corrupt politicians with little regard for their people.

"I think that nothing will change [even] if the Verkhovna Rada is reelected. The core of the [Yanukovych's] Party of Regions will come to power once again. That is, nothing will change for the better," a man in Kyiv said.


The people of Ukraine won't find any immediate answers in the parliament or in the Constitutional Court.

Yanukovych supporters in Kyiv (RFE/RL)

The deadlock remains. President Yushchenko has said his decree to dissolve parliament is irreversible.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said today that the ruling coalition and the government will not prepare for early elections until the Constitutional Court rules on the issue.

More than anything, most Ukrainians are tired of the political unrest and just want to see stability in their country.

Raisa Rositskaya is protesting in Kyiv and a supporter of Yanukovych.

"I'm here because I want stability in the country and I don't want instability," she says. "The government should be allowed to work and it should be given a chance to bring stability to the country. We have children here and have nowhere to go, we can't leave and go abroad."

(with material from agency reports)

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

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