Yanukovych has fast run out of friends to back his stance
FOR successive Ukrainian governments, it has long been a standard strategy to prosecute, jail and occasionally poison political opponents. Human rights groups will complain, the European Union will tut, but the chances of getting hit with sanctions are unlikely, and besides, Uncle Vladimir in Moscow is always there for back-up.
As President Viktor Yanukovych may be about to find out, though, there is just one problem with treating one's rivals this way: it means they are not there just when you really need them most.
With huge anti-government demonstrations in the capital, Kiev, now escalating into open street warfare, the best option for Mr Yanukovych to restore calm now has been to reach out to the leaders of the mainstream opposition.