Ukraine’s interim government has opened a round of talks on possible decentralization of the country as a way to settle growing grievances among people in the nation’s east, conspicuously refusing to invite the eastern protesters to the talks at all.
That’s in keeping with the interim government’s long-standing position that the protesters are tantamount to terrorists and could never be involved in any talks under any circumstances.
Ironically, the decentralization plan that is suddenly getting so much attention as the “EU-backed” plan is materially the same as Russian proposals that were angrily condemned by the interim government and the West only a month ago.
Exactly how this might end up working remains to be seen, but Ukraine’s political system has clearly struggled with major regional divisions throughout the decades. At the core of all such proposals is the idea that regional minorities, like the ethnic Russians in the eastern oblasts, could ensure more rights at an oblast level than they would ever be allowed by the Western-dominated central government.