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You're reading: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Yanukovych relies on Soviet nationalism to stay in power

On May 9, nationalist protestors clashed with police, Russian nationalists, Communists and the Russian Consul, a Soviet-era flag was burnt, and a commemoration wreath was destroyed. An adviser to a local deputy was shot in the leg.

Violence was inevitable after the parliamentary coalition supporting President Yanukovych voted on April 21 to fly Soviet flags on Victory Day (celebrating the end of World War II) for the first time since Ukraine became independent.

During, and since the 2004 presidential elections, the inciting of inter-regional conflict has been a strategy forged by Ukrainian and Russian political consultants (“technologists”) working for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions to ensure they remain in power.

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