History Haunts Ukraine

Article excerpt

The promise of a truce in Ukraine is shaky and imperfect, but protesters should embrace it in an effort to prevent further bloodshed.

President Viktor Yanukovych says he will establish a new caretaker government, followed by a presidential election in December. The deal leaves him in power for now, but he should resign immediately. The president has too much blood on his hands to carry on, or play any role in an interim government.

The new government, if indeed there is a new one, should immediately lift prosecutions on political opponents, restore press freedoms and issue a general amnesty. A regime that persecutes its critics and tramples on basic rights will not earn the trust of the people and certainly not of the protesters.

The accord was immediately in peril, however, after Russia refused to endorse it, while protesters said they would not go home until the slippery Mr. Yanukovych resigned.

Ukraine should ignore threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who views his neighbour as a vassal state that belongs in his own Eurasian Union, both for economic and strategic reasons. Mr. …