Tuesday May 13, 2014
A few months ago we were being told by supporters of the Kiev putsch that President Viktor Yanukovich had “lost the mandate of heaven” by “killing his own people.” This emotive language avoided any discussion of two important facts. The first was that the Kiev mob had contained seriously violent elements, including armed men. The second was that Mr. Yanukovich had not been lawfully removed by the impeachment process provided for under the Constitution of Ukraine, and that his unconstitutional deposition had undone a negotiated agreement which would have allowed him to serve out his lawful term.
I said at the time, and have repeated since, that these facts were awkward for liberal interventionists who sided with the putsch because they a) didn’t like Yanukovich (nor do I, as it happens, and nor does Vladimir Putin), b) believed that Ukraine should move closer to the EU and NATO and c) confused these objectives with various forms of idealism and utopianism among the Kiev crowd which (like most such crowds) believed it had stormed heaven and could somehow overcome corruption and incompetence by sheer force of will and youth.