The political crisis in Ukraine is escalating, as for many political fractions autonomy for the eastern regions is anathema since it cuts against their ideology of the centralized country speaking Ukrainian, Alexander Mercouris, legal expert, told RT.
RT: Kiev has seen two consecutive days of violence - led by the ultra-nationalists. What do they want?
Alexander Mercouris: I think what they want is a more centralized Ukraine where everybody basically speaks Ukrainian and where political parties that they disapprove of and political leaders that they disapprove of are not in power. And they basically are because that is the only way ultimately that they can secure their particular vision of Ukraine which is in every other respect is not a united country.
RT: The Right Sector radicals were the driving force of the uprising that eventually brought the current government to power. Are they now unhappy with those they practically put on top?
AM: They clearly are unhappy, as we see it, because they are protesting against it, and they are protesting against it very violently. They are not the only people who are unhappy, of course. There are other political factions within Ukraine. Mr. Yatsenyuk, the prime minister, Mrs. Timoshenko, the former prime minister, Mr. Tyagnibok of the “Svoboda” party who are also unhappy with the various changes that have been announced. And what we are seeing is an escalation within Ukraine of the political crisis, which it is important to say, has never really gone away. For these people any kind of autonomy to the eastern region is anathema because it utterly cuts against their ideology which is of the centralized ethnically united Ukraine speaking Ukrainian.
RT: Should we expect to see more street turmoil in Ukraine’s capital in the future?
AM: Yes, I think we should. We are talking about Right Sector but of course there are other forces as well. The economy of Ukraine is in deep crisis. There are problems with heating. Russian gas is not being supplied now because it is not being paid for. They have lost access to coal from Donbass. So for all these reasons the situation in Ukraine is deteriorating. And given the promises that were made to people which induced many people to support the change of regime back in February, the fact that the situation is deteriorating rather than improving is going to make many people very angry.
RT: Who, in your view, is behind the radicals’ actions? Or are they completely out of control and fighting simply for the sake of fighting?
AM: There has been a lot of speculation about who exactly is behind the Right Sector and where they get their money from and whether there are any puppet masters pulling their strings, so to speak. I think to some extent there are, there has been a well-established link between various Maidan radical groups and oligarchy groups within Ukraine. The name of Mr. Kolomoisky who is the governor of Dnepropetrovsk and is a very-very powerful man in Ukraine often gets mentioned. It is likely that there are these power struggles going on within Ukraine as well. And it is known that some of these people are also unhappy with the orientation of the present government because it causes the kind of stabilization that might happen in Ukraine, that these changes might, if they would be carried through, would bring about is actually one that these are powerful forces would lose from.