July 18, 2015
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
About 300 activists from civil society organizations held a rally where they demanded autonomy for the Lvov Region.
Bagnet.org reports that Galicia autonomy supporters held signs which read: “Poroshenko betrayed his people,” “Special Status for Galicia–Genuine Autonomy for Lvov Region!”, “Galicia Is Europe!”, “Enough Feeding the Kiev Thieves!”, “Spend Taxes on Lvov Region Needs!”
The protest’s organizer, Danila Povidalchuk, says that the announced constitutional reform raises the possibility Galicia’s citizens will find themselves “2nd class citizens in their own country.”
“The central government’s corruption has not been suppressed, our workers’ and retirees’ money si ending up in the pocket of thieving Kiev officials who haven’t changed one bit since Yanukovych’s time. Therefore we demand genuine autonomy for the Lvov Region to be part of Ukraine’s constitutional reform which President Poroshenko announced,” he added.
Protest participants also demanded Galicia be given the right to conduct its own customs policy, its own foreign trade policy with the EU, and the ability to set tariffs.
Right Sector activists attempted to disrupt the meeting which they compared to the protest actions on the Donbass in 2014, declaring they will fight Western Ukrainian separatism.
J.Hawk’s Comment: 300 people doesn’t sound like much, but it could snowball. Because if you look at the world from the perspective of an inhabitant of Lvov, you have to ask yourself a question: Does Ukraine Have a Future? Galicia, which borders the EU, after all, could make a go at being a reasonably successful sovereign state.
It’s not yet know how Galicia’s premier political party, the Self-Help Party led by…Lvov mayor Sadovyy, views the situation. At the moment Sadovyy is a Rada deputy in Kiev. But his party is very much a regional one. So he could very well be behind all of this, since it would instantly propel him from a backwater political figure to a national leader. Moreover, if your ambition is to assume your rightful place in Brussels one day, what’s the fastest way of getting there? Through Kiev? Doesn’t seem like that anymore. And the Right Sector antics in Lvov probably aren’t creating any good press for the idea of “Unified Ukraine.”
Update: Now apparently the meeting’s organizers are “being sought”... Then again, maybe that was the intended (over)reaction. Galicians know perfectly well just how allergic Kiev is to any suggestion of autonomy which makes its counterproductive reaction totally predictable.