by Ariel Cohen
The Heritage Foundation
January 24, 2014
Violent clashes between police and demonstrators erupted in Kyiv, Ukraine, last weekend in the wake of new legislation effectively banning public protest. The legislation, passed by President Victor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions deputies in the face of opposition boycott, appears invalid. Deputies did not count the votes and have not used electronic voting cards—a clear violation of the law. The ruling party aimed the draconian legislation at demonstrators who have been protesting Yanukovich’s decision not to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) last November. Russia has used its massive political and economic influence over Ukraine to prevent the Association Agreement. The new law violates basic human rights. It is inconceivable that the United States and countries of Europe, who repeatedly warned President Yanukovich to avoid this path, would stand by and watch Ukrainian democracy be replaced by an authoritarian regime.

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