Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchinov has issued a statement today expressing “openness” to the idea of national referendum on reorganizing Ukraine as a federal system with more regional autonomy.
The idea had been pushed hard by Russia in recent weeks, and could potentially tamp down the growing unrest in the east, as many of the protesters are angling for autonomy rather than outright secession.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged Ukraine to give the eastern protesters some measure of involvement in the drafting of the language of the referendum.
Since the protester-imposed regime change in Kiev, however, many of the western provinces have rejected the idea of granting local rights, arguing instead from a nationalist stance that the protesters should be crushed. It is likely many voters there will thus reject such a referendum, even if it happens.
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