It would be hilarious, if not for a certain sense of foreboding, that Viktor Yanukovych, in a certain crunch moment of the history of his country, has called in sick with a respiratory infection. Gosh, it's as if he were playing for time in some way.
As the NYT notes, it is an old trick from Soviet times, to absent oneself when there is an unpopular decision to be made. Such as, perhaps, to mobilise for a crackdown.
Another NYT piece notes how yesterday one of the protest's leaders turned up in a wood, with his face slashed and puncture wounds in his hands.
He said he had been crucified, and not in the sense of a figure of speech. "They spoke with Russian accents", the NYT reported him saying.
I am not sure how many people have joined the dots but, as I wrote here, it might not be very convenient for the Russian administration to have a bloodbath on its doorstep - not to mention one in which it would be clearly implicated - in the middle of its biggest charm offensive towards the international community in many years. That is, the already-controversial Winter Olympics.
This is just a hunch, but...I wouldn't be very surprised if it all kicked off at the end of this month.
Right after Sochi.