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Ukraine: Could EU Referendum have Prevented Bloodshed and Chaos?

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Ukraine and the United Kingdom seem to have one thing in common, a problem deciding if they do or don't want to be in the European Union.

And the mini revolution that has taken place with the loss of 100 plus lives might have been prevented had President Victor Yanukovich, who was against EU membership, offered to hold a referendum on the issue.

Now that he has been removed in what amounts to a lack of confidence by the nation's parliament, that same parliament immediately announced it will seek close ties with the EU and less close ties with its neighbour Russia.

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov said Ukraine's new leaders wanted relations with Russia on a "new, equal and good-neighborly footing that recognizes and takes into account Ukraine's European choice" Yet, this decision has also been made without the mention of holding a referendum on the action.

Why is a referendum important here? Ukraine is a country divided between the western oriented and largely Roman Catholic west and the Russian oriented and Orthodox Church east. The nation can be compared to the north and south in the USA...very different. The two regions are divided by the Dnieper River. If ever there was a case for such a vote, Ukraine's divided nation offers a good one.

Aside from having a civil war on the issue of which block the country will be allied with, the democratic way would be to hold a popular vote on the issue. To simply change direction with a new government could be inviting another uprising in the future.

It should be pointed out that unlike what some newspapers have reported, Yanukovich was not a dictator. He may have acted that way, but so have some UK prime ministers. He was democratically elected and driven out of office through undemocratic means. The parliament stripping him of office happened after he had fled Kiev.

I'm not defending him since it appears the nation is loaded with corrupt politicians and billionaire business people who maintain their wealth by not sinking it back into Ukraine's dying economy.

The desire of many people to join the EU is the fantasy that membership will be the remedy for the country's economy. And you can bet many workers would like the luxury of being able to seek work anywhere in the EU.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will now travel to Ukraine, where she is expected to discuss measures to shore up the ailing economy. The finance ministry said is needs $35 billion in foreign aid over the next two years, with the first tranche needed within two weeks. Yet, this is only a wish not a reality, something Ashton may bring home to the new government.

In what might be compared to a mini Bolshevik Revolution sans communism, the idealistic left that began the protests is being replaced by the far right, even neo Nazis, something which won't help their prospects of EU membership. This also means that the eastern half of the nation, the Russian half, is less radical that the west.

Meanwhile the USA has warned Russia not to intervene in the situation and has expressed a hope the country would remain united.http://news.yahoo.com/u-says-39-grave-mistake-39-russia-send-154700499.html

According to some Ukrainians I have talked to, a big problem is that there are no non-corrupt qualified politicians. They are all in the pocket of some oligarch. The now freed former president Yulia Tymoshenko is such an oligarch with a fortune reputed to be much larger than anything Yanukovich has.

This upheaval, according to what I have heard, is far from over.