The Ukrainian government is in the midst of a major political shake-up, but Kiev is not the only actor involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine that is undergoing change. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic recently fired several top officials, possibly at Moscow’s bidding. Meanwhile, a growing number of ultranationalist groups are becoming more politically active, adding to an already complex array of political entities in the country. Both the separatists and the volunteer battalions have posed a challenge to Kiev, and their evolution could complicate negotiations between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Politically, Ukraine has been particularly volatile in recent weeks. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk narrowly survived a vote of confidence in parliament Feb. 16, and the ruling coalition was left without a majority after the departure of the Self Reliance and Fatherland parties following the vote. Yatsenyuk has held on to his position and has begun negotiations with the Radical party, which itself left the ruling coalition several months earlier, to rejoin the coalition. While this is likely to buy Yatsenyuk some breathing room, his party’s grip on power remains tenuous, and a major overhaul of the Cabinet is all but inevitable.