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Vasyl Gatsko: The path to victory for EuroMaidan in 2014

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Jan. 8, 2014, 1:28 p.m. | Op-ed — by Vasyl Gatsko

A woman walks past a row of police officers standing guard in central Kyiv on Dec. 20. The Democratic Alliance political party has called on EuroMaidan activists to change the protests from street actions to other forms of pressure on President Viktor Yanukovych.
© AFP

Vasyl Gatsko

 EuroMaidan, the movement that started on Nov. 21 and which seeks to transform Ukraine into a full-fledged democracy, has brought to life new activities. Millions of Ukrainians long for changes. To demand respect, they gather on the streets, self-organize into dynamic initiatives and defend each other.

The forms of the protest need to be changed. Our protest must be persistent and focused. It will be persistent due to highly frequent and massive participation and it will be focused if protest activities are concentrated on the pressure points of the existing regime.

The power of President Viktor Yanukovych is based on the following three pillars:

·         the regime gets money from corruption and loyal businesses;

·         it is able to tightly control law enforcement agencies; and

·         it is backed by some voters in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

        

We have to address these three primary issues.

Part 1: Money

Goal: Disrupt the financial stability of the regime.

Tasks include:

1.    Stop the theft

First of all, it requires comprehensive control over budget expenditures. Public procurement must be constantly inspected and verified. Requests for purchase-related documents and, if necessary, complaints to the law-enforcement agencies should become a large-scale phenomena. Participants and sponsors of corruption schemes should feel public pressure.

2.    Block stolen assets

Yanukovych, his sons and their close allies (known as “the Family”) use corrupt schemes to acquire huge billions of dollars of economic assets and then legalize the assets through international financial institutions. Their cash is transferred to European and American banks. International standards of Financial Action Task Force constitute a legal framework for blocking such financial assets. Thus, information about corruption schemes accumulated at website http://yanukovich.info/ should be disseminated among European politicians, journalists and the general public. International communities of Ukrainians should organize pickets at the bank headquarters.

3.    Cut profits

The campaign is targeted at businesses, which are close to the existing regime and participate in the execution of shady budget transactions. The list of activities includes boycotts; protests at the headquarters and offices in Ukraine and abroad; information campaigns to inflict reputational and financial losses.

Part 2: Law enforcement agencies

Goal: Shake their loyalty to Yanukovych

Tasks:

1.    Fill the information gap

Police officers should get to know unbiased information about work and welfare standards of their colleagues in the European Uion. This campaign should be spread all over Ukraine. The information has to be delivered to each officer. Activists should cite the text of the officer’s oath near the police offices and remind patrolling officers of their rights and duties.

2.    Personalize responsibility

We need to identify all police officers who attacked peaceful protests, conducted illegal arrests, organized attacks and violence, and framed cases. Their neighbours, friends, and relatives should know about their involvement in crime. The probability of becoming a social outcast must be an important element of officers’ personal choice. The project “Don’t be brute” www.skoty.info and other similar initiatives will help us with this issue.

3.    Punish the guilty

The campaign should aim at punishing all of those who committed a crime. It will be successful due to large-scale legal activities, public pressure, and appeals to embassies of the EU countries and the US. The guilty will be put to the lustration list.

Part 3: Eastern and southern Ukraine

Goal: Reduce the approval rate for Yanukovych

Tasks:

1.    Tell the truth

A large number of people in the Eastern and Southern Ukraine are badly informed about the real situation in the country. They are not aware of the scale of the theft and the corresponding role of “the Family”. They do not know that, amid the deep economic crisis in the country, assets of the President’s son rose several thousand percent. Campaign “Tell the truth” will disseminate unbiased facts to the general public and ask people to share the information. People from the East and the South need to understand that there are no rational arguments to vote for Yanukovych again.

2.    Create demand for changes

The changes are much more than to create disapproval of Yanukovych. People should demand clear goals, transparent mechanisms to reach them, and opportunities to join the change. Open universities, visits of Euromaidan activists to other regions, communication with various community groups, and support for viable initiatives will help do the work.

Democratic Alliance will carry on all the described activities. If you share our goals and have your own ideas, please let us know. We can do more together! We are looking for like-minded persons!

Detailed plans for the campaigns will be created by the end of January. We invite all interested people to the meetings – community leaders, opinion leaders and activists – who will not only create the plan, but also execute it. The events are open to the public. The discussion focus on Jan. 8 will be on money; on Jan. 9, law enforcement agencies; and on Jan. 10, eastern and southern Ukraine. The meetings will be held from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, contact the Democratic Alliance via email at komanDA@dem-alliance.org or go to the FaceBook official page.

Vasyl Gatsko is the executive director of Democratic Alliance, a political party formed in 2010 based on Christian democratic values. The party regards corruption as the main enemy of Ukraine.

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