As I’ve said in the introduction to the excellent guest posts fromTom Oates and Tarik AmarI know very little about the Ukraine. But I’ve seen enough cases of rigged elections to make the judgement that the Viktor Yanukovych has lost, in the sense that he can’t resist the demand for a fresh election that he will almost certainly lose. In cases of this kind, it’s necessary for the incumbent to maintain a united front, keeping the courts, military and so on in line. Yanukovych has lost on almost every front, with the courts, parliament, official media and sections of the police turning against him. Crucially, he has hardly any support in or near the capital, and attempts to bus in large numbers of supporters have gone nowhere. Yanukovych’s only international backer of any note is Vladimir Putin, who is not a man given to sentiment. I expect that he will very shortly see the wisdom of salvaging some credit from the EU by persuading Yanukovych to do the decent thing.
As this NYT report indicates, Yanukovych’s main support base has effectively conceded defeat, by making pre-emptive demands for more autonomy in the event that their man loses. Bearing in mind my general ignorance of the situation, I’ll argue from first principles support for federalism that a deal which conceded a fair bit of regional autonomy in return for a democratic national outcome would be a good one all round.