You were elected president of Ukraine in 2010. After several years of ineffective rule by your predecessor, you had a golden opportunity. You could have become president of all the people. You could have committed yourself to promoting the well-being and dignity of the people who elected you. You could have dedicated yourself to setting Ukraine on the path of political and economic reform and European and global integration. You could have promoted democracy, freedom, tolerance, and human rights. You could have served the people selflessly.
Instead, you chose to use your office for your own ends.
Instead of becoming president of all the people, you turned Eastern Ukraine against Western Ukraine and promoted linguistic divisions.
Instead of promoting the well-being and dignity of the people who elected you, you chose to impoverish them, deny their identity, and treat them as chattel.
Instead of dedicating yourself to setting Ukraine on the path of political and economic reform and European and global integration, you created a backward gangster state that fears Europe and the world and everything they stand for.
Instead of promoting democracy, freedom, tolerance, and human rights, you centralized power in your hands, transformed the Parliament into a rubber-stamp institution, jailed your critics, squeezed media and civil society freedoms, inflamed inter-ethnic, inter-confessional, and inter-cultural tensions, promoted extremism, chauvinism, and supremacism, and tried to transform Ukrainians from citizens to subjects dependent on your power and whim.
Instead of serving the people selflessly, you and your family amassed fabulous wealth and, as people’s living standards dropped precipitously, flaunted it shamelessly.
You betrayed the people’s trust. You violated their confidence. You dashed their hopes and expectations. You transformed yourself from a defender of the people to a predator on the people. You once had legitimacy. Now you have none.
In losing all legitimacy, you transformed yourself from a president who promotes the people’s interests with the authority vested in his office by the Constitution to a power-holder who serves his own interests with the knout.
Rule by the knout is ineffective, inefficient, and unstable. It never lasts—especially when the citizens you degrade refuse to be treated as chattel.
You should not be surprised that they have risen up against you, the system you built, and everything you represent.
All Ukrainians, regardless of their linguistic preferences, want dignity, freedom, democracy, and human rights. They desire to live normal lives in a normal country free from the predations of venal power-holders who know only how to swing the knout.
In marching in the streets of Kyiv, Lviv, and other cities, Ukrainians have demonstrated that, after three years of your predations, they have not lost their spirit, dignity, and desire for freedom. They have shown that you have lost and that your attempt to build a gangster state has failed.
Permit me to inform you that they have demoted you from president of Ukraine to the provisional occupant of the presidency of Ukraine.
You should act accordingly and resign.
The fact of the matter is that you have maneuvered yourself into a hopeless position. You have no allies in the world. You have minimal support in Ukraine. The economy is on the verge of collapse. The government is ineffective. Your regime is cracking. Your rule is evaporating.
You know better than anyone that violence is not an option. The army and militia are unreliable, the internal troops are untested, and the special forces are too few. Do you really want to risk provoking a civil war that could destroy the country and that you will not be able to win?
Reform is still an option, and it just could restore some of your legitimacy, but your personal stubbornness and unwillingness to countenance concessions close off that route.
Even if, by some miracle, you succeed in dispersing the demonstrators demanding your resignation, Ukraine will become ungovernable, you will be reviled, and your rule will be doomed.
The choice before you is simple: resign now with dignity and guarantees of security or resign later without dignity and without guarantees of security.
Ukrainians have made their choice: they want you to go.
Now make yours.
Photo Credit: DixonD