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    Kiev Politicians Resort to Schoolboy Antics as New Crisis Threatens Ukraine

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    The political games and PR campaigns of Ukrainian politicians may eventually lead to a full-fledged crisis in their country, experts say.

    Ukrainian politicians have taken a great interest in political games and PR, which may ultimately result in a full-scale political crisis in the country, RIA Novosti quoted several experts as saying.

    Last week, a session of the Ukrainian parliament turned violent after Poroshenko Bloc MP Oleh Barna grabbed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and struggled to remove him from the podium during his speech, literally picking him and trying to carry him off the stage while holding a bouquet of flowers.

    The spectacle quickly degenerated into a full-scale fistfight, and, as expected, was derided online in a number of internet memes.

    Then, on Monday, Odessa Govenor Mikheil Saakashvili got a glass of water thrown in his face by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as the two men shouted recriminations at each other over corruption allegations. On Wednesday, Avakov published a video of the spat on his Facebook page.

    Alexei Martynov, head of the Moscow-based International Institute of the Newly Established States, has meanwhile warned that the internal situation in Ukraine is getting closer to a full-blown political crisis, which could take place as soon as early 2016.

    "I'm not sure that it will occur this month, but early next year we will see mass [government] resignations in Ukraine, which may be followed by a political crisis and early elections," Martynov said.

    According to him, Ukrainian politicians started to lose their nerves after US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Ukraine in early December, which Martynov said prompted many Ukrainian politicians to remain downbeat about the future of their country.

    "It's like crabs in a barrel because it's clear that the [political] situation in Ukraine is rapidly moving to its end", Martynov concluded.

    Commenting on a showdown between Avakov and Saakashvili, Bogdan Bezpalko, deputy director of the Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies at Moscow State University, said, in turn, that by posting the video of the incident on his Facebook page, Arsen Avakov had tried to win the sympathy of the Ukrainians.

    "Why was it published? I think it was a PR move aimed to show oneself as a representative of the new political elite, who will act in a transparent manner and for the greater public good," Bezpalko said.

    He mentioned a whole array of Ukrainian politicians who have tried to make images for themselves as corruption-fighters and champions of Ukraine's national interests.

    Referring to a skirmish between Avakov and Saakashvili, Bezpalko described similar actions as "political games" that he said may ultimately lead to the "degradation of the political system and plummeting living standards" in Ukraine.

    Many have viewed the prospect of war-torn Ukraine entering a 'crisis' with skepticism; since the 2014 revolt that ousted former president Yanukovych, living standards have plummeted along with the country's currency. According to a 2015 Credit Suisse report, Ukrainians are the least wealthy people in Europe, in terms of personal assets.


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    elections, resignations, crisis, situation, politicians, Ukraine
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