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Poroshenko Losing Ground, Ukraine Turning Hostage to Radicals

© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he speaks to lawmakers during a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures as he speaks to lawmakers during a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine - Sputnik International
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is becoming increasingly isolated as his political base diminishes due to his reluctance to cater to nationalists, experts told Sputnik on Tuesday.

MOSCOW, (Sputnik) — Violence returned to the streets of Kiev on Monday when an angry mob clashed with riot police in the capital after lawmakers backed a bill that would reportedly give greater autonomy to self-proclaimed people's republics in the country’s southeast.

Two police officers have died from their wounds, while more are said to be in critical condition. The government pointed the finger at radicals from far-right political groups like ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom).

"Never would such a demonstration turn into such a tragedy but for the large disenchantment about the Government and Maidan’s legacy," Jacques Sapir, the head of France's Center of Industrialization Research, told Sputnik.

DISENCHANMTMENT INSIDE UKRAINE

According to Sapir, opinion polls indicate that popularity of Poroshenko’s government has plummeted in last months.

"Ukrainian people are becoming to understand that… the only true legacy of Poroshenko tenure as a President is to be a huge crisis combined with a civil war in Eastern Ukraine. That people are turning angry and violent in such a context was to be expected," the pundit said.

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Sapir predicted that the Ukrainian president would become more and more isolated as the row around Ukraine’s decentralization progressed.

Ukraine is to pass constitutional changes by the end of 2015 that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as part of its peace deal with rebels. But ultra-nationalist parties, which were the driving force behind the 2014 Maidan protest that toppled the previous regime, are strongly against any concessions to what they regard as separatist forces in the southeast.

Gordon Hahn, a member of the board of the Chicago-based Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, told Sputnik on Tuesday that nationalists might attempt to use the vote on constitutional amendments as justification for resetting the government.

"It appears that the vote on the constitutional amendments served as another excuse to mass large numbers of radical nationalists in the center of Kiev in the hope that clashes with the police could be parlayed into a larger crisis and nationalist revolution," Hahn said. "A confrontation is brewing."

GROWING AWARENESS IN EUROPE

The harsh reality of Monday’s deadly violence outside of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev is a wake-up call for Europe that has shut its eyes to the threat of growing neo-nationalism in Ukraine.

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"The very violent incidents of Monday August 31st in Kiev seem to mark a turning point both in Ukraine but also in European countries where a growing number of people are becoming aware of the far-right threat in Ukraine," Sapir told Sputnik.

He said the involvement of movements like Svoboda in the lethal clashes "is certainly to fuel a much sober appreciation of what is taking place in Ukraine."

Monday’s violence was harshly criticized by European leaders late Monday, with the French Foreign Ministry voicing concern about the participation of political party members in clashes with riot police.

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