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Yanukovich’s Amazing Chutzpah

Why on earth did Ukraine’s deposed President Viktor Yanukovich now apologize for calling in the Russians?

April 6, 2014

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. (Credit: Αντώνης Σαμαράς Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας - Wikimedia)

In an interview last week, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich told the Associated Press and NTV that “Crimea is a tragedy, a major tragedy” and that it had been “wrong,” in hindsight, to have requested Russian help.

Why the apology tour now?

1. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s early police record suggests he is basically a small-town thug.

2. While widely considered Putin’s puppet, Yanukovich has nevertheless managed to alienate even Putin.

3. The reasons Putin can’t stand Yanukovich are: First, Yanukovich wasn’t smart enough not to kill the goose while he was pocketing golden eggs, and second, Yanukovich had the effrontery to play off Russia and the EU for two years.

4. Yanukovich’s only hope – and interest – now is to escape with a fraction of his wealth.

5. The only real value he has to Putin now is to support Russia’s claims that Yanukovich is the “legitimate” Ukrainian president – to be put on stage whenever Putin so desires.

6. In this role, Yanukovich has enough leeway to make an implausible half-hearted defense of Ukrainian national integrity and at the same time make a dig at Putin’s sending commandos into Crimea.

The Upshot

Either way, Yanukovich’s sashay has no practical consequences and might, at best, convince 1% of the Ukrainian population to hail him as president.


Viktor Yanukovych's early police record suggests he is basically a small-town thug.

The only real value Yanukovich has to Putin now is as the puppet “legitimate” deposed leader of Ukraine.

In his role as Ukraine’s leader-in-exile, Yanukovich mounted a half-hearted defense of Ukrainian national integrity.