The Ukrainian regime is illegitimate –

but the EU backs it to the hilt


The Ukranian regime that came into existence after President Yanukovich was removed from power on 22 February 2014 is illegitimate.


It is illegitimate because the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, did not follow the procedure to impeach and remove a president from power set out in the Ukrainian constitution.



Impeachment procedure


Article 108 of the constitution [1] specifies four circumstances in which a president may cease to exercise power before the end of his term.  Those are:



The procedure for removal from office by impeachment is laid down in Article 111 [1].  It is not unlike that required for the impeachment and removal from power of a US president, which could take months.  This makes sense, since it would be absurd to allow a parliament to remove a popularly elected president on a whim without proper consideration.


Thus, Article 111 obliges the Rada to establish a special investigatory commission to formulate charges against the president, seek evidence to justify the charges and come to conclusions about the president’s guilt for the Rada to consider.  To find the president guilty, at least two-thirds of Rada members must assent.


Prior to a final vote to remove the president from power, the procedure requires



To remove the president from power, at least three-quarters of Rada members must assent.


The Rada didn’t follow this procedure at all.  No investigatory commission was established and the Courts were not involved.  On 22 February, the Rada simply passed a bill removing President Yanukovych from office. 


Furthermore, the bill wasn’t even supported by three-quarters of Rada members as required by Article 111 – it was supported by 328 members, when it required 338 (since the Rada has 450 members).


According to Article 94 of the constitution, laws passed by the Rada require the signature of the President to come into force, so no law passed by the Rada since 22 February has been properly enacted.



Putin on legitimacy of Kiev authorities


President Putin questioned the legitimacy of the authorities in Kiev at his press conference on 4 March:


“Are the current authorities legitimate? The Parliament is partially, but all the others are not. The current Acting President is definitely not legitimate. There is only one legitimate President, from a legal standpoint. Clearly, he has no power. However, as I have already said, and will repeat: Yanukovych is the only undoubtedly legitimate President.


“There are three ways of removing a President under Ukrainian law: one is his death, the other is when he personally steps down, and the third is impeachment. The latter is a well-deliberated constitutional norm. It has to involve the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Rada. This is a complicated and lengthy procedure. It was not carried out.  Therefore, from a legal perspective this is an undisputed fact.” [2]


There is a fourth way – ill health – but, aside from that, Putin is undoubtedly correct.



Acting president not constitutional


The constitution was also breached when it came to the appointment of an Acting President.  Article 112 [1] specifies that “the execution of duties of the President of Ukraine, for the period pending the elections and the assumption of office of the new President of Ukraine, is vested in the Prime Minister of Ukraine”.


On 22 February, there was no prime minister – Mykola Azarov had resigned as prime minister on 28 January 2014 (when efforts were being made by Yanukovych to bring the opposition into government) and he hadn’t been replaced.  Instead, the speaker of the Rada, Olexander Turchynov (a close ally of opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko) was appointed as Acting President on 23 February.  He had become speaker the day before, upon the resignation of Volodymyr Rybak, an ally of Yanukovych, who resigned that morning because of ill health.  The BBC reported that, according to Yanukovych, Rybak “was forced to resign because he had been physically beaten” [3].  Whatever about that, Turchynov became speaker one day and Acting President the next, thereby securing the presidency for the opposition.



Government not representative


The opposition then proceeded to set up a “government” which is not representative of the east and southeast of Ukraine.


What is more, the government contains five ministers, including the deputy prime minister, from the Svoboda (Freedom) party, led by Oleh Tyahnybok, which was described by the European Parliament as holding “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views” that “go against the EU's fundamental values and principles” [4].  It seems to believe that Ukraine would be a better place without Russians and Jews.  According to the BBC, in 2005 its leader signed an open letter to Ukrainian leaders calling for the government to halt the "criminal activities" of "organised Jewry", which, the letter said, … ultimately wanted to commit "genocide" against the Ukrainian people (see Svoboda: The rise of Ukraine's ultra-nationalists, 26 December 2012, [5]).


The EU (and the US) have backed the new regime in Kiev to the hilt, despite its illegitimacy and the ultra-nationalist credentials of some of its ministers – and the fact that it is not representative of the east and south-east of Ukraine.



Sanctions for undermining democratic processes


Ironically, on 6 March 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order that “authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine[6].  By rights, the list of individuals should have included himself, his Secretary of State, John Kerry, and, of course, his Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria (F**k the EU) Nuland.



David Morrison

18 March 2014