But it looked the same during the Orange Revolution, a peaceful uprising in 2004 that reversed a flawed election. Mediators were found, accepted by both sides, and a compromise was reached by setting up a new vote in which Viktor Yushchenko beat the cheater, Viktor Yanukovych, to lead the country for five years.
History will have to repeat again. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski have been named as potential mediators. We urge top European officials to take up this challenge.
It won’t be easy to bridge the huge divides. The opposition wants the president and government to resign. The government has refused, however, especially after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his Cabinet survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Dec. 3.
But time is against them. Every day that the protests persist, political risks increase, and the economy, already in recession, suffers more and more. The government’s debts, such as wage and pension arrears, which already amount to some $10 billion, are increasing, diminishing the government’s chances for survival.