When the protests started on Nov. 21, Yanukovych’s formerly faithful clans of oligarchs distanced themselves from him by having their TV stations report the pro-European protests with a degree of objectivity. In the last days of 2013, however, censorship has returned. The first victim was the prominent TV talk host Savik Shuster, whose popular Friday evening show was axed after he attempted to discuss the Dec. 25 violent attack on the political journalist Tetyana Chornovol.
Yanukovych hopes to ride out the waves of protests calling for his resignation, and survive until the presidential elections in 2015. If he does so, he will almost certainly win, as he and his immediate circle are past masters at rigging elections. Moreover, thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s $15 billion loan — the main reason he signed an agreement with Russia rather than the EU — he has additional resources with which to buy votes.
The question remains whether the diverse opposition, which ranges across the political spectrum, will be able to hold together to push him out of office before the elections.