Friday, April 13, 2007

Where is Ukraine?

And how did it get here? Here is a decent analysis of the current situation in Ukraine, tracing back through the squandered opportunities to move the country into a positive direction. The only complaint I have it the title of the piece "Did West Pull Up Stakes Too Soon?" The title implies that the west is responsible but that really doesn't reflect the conclusion reached.

Yushenko ultimately bears the blame for the fiasco since he clearly failed to exploit the massive outpouring of support, failed to use his political capital to push through needed legislation, failed to effectively build working coalitions and failed to maintain the appearance of a level of incorruptability that a person in his position has to have. He failed so completely that the comically corrupt Prime Minister Yanakovich has a piece in the Financial Times about the importance of the Rule of Law!

I don't see how Yanukovich, attempted thief of the 2004 election, was able to pound out the words without destroying his keyboard from convulsions of laughter. Actually, from every impression I've ever gotten of Yanukovich, I don't understand how he was able to actually find the keyboard or the power switch to the computer. Maybe he consulted with his coalition. That's what coalitions are for!

And of course, Yanukovich is demanding the President abide by the law in order that Yanukovich can continue his process of literally buying members of the Rada to create a super majority coalition.

If I sound cynical, see if you can read this passage about protesters in Kiev without a twinge of it yourself:

They pay 40 hryvna a day and 100 hryvna a night, - confesses an elder man
from Zhytomyr camping in the Mariinsky Park next to the Parliament. - I can
make my monthly salary here within a week".

But a group of young people who observe the political show in the Maydan are
divided in their opinion. "I wouldn't have ever accepted any money from
these guys", - says Yurko, a student of Mohyla Academy. But his friend
Alexander, who lives in a student dormitory, says: "Why not? They return
back to the people the money they stole from them.

Their recruiters offer 40 hryvna for just two hours to stay here with
blue-and-white flag. I don't support Yanukovych but my stipend is 350 hryvna
and I get no extra allowance from my parents. I feel it would be actually
better if we take these money ourselves and pay them lip-service. Otherwise,
they would bring their real supporters from Donbas who may make a lot of
harm here".

Unfortunately, this comes from an op-ed by Mykola Rjabtschuk in a German publication (Berliner Zeitung, No.86) that I don't have a link to. The English translation is available at the Action Ukraine Report, a nationalist oriented newsletter maintained by the ex-pat (or diaspora) community in the US. The opinion piece is very slanted in favor of Yushenko but I have known people that took payment for protesting. It is commonly known. If you are interested in receiving the newsletters, you can sign up at the link above.

I've always enjoyed the Action Ukraine Report and actually had the opportunity to meet Morgan Williams, the publisher, who is a very nice man. I don't share his partisanship but I think his heart is in the right place. It just takes a careful reader to understand what is news and what is political opinion.

Finally, no day is complete without visiting the always interesting Neeka's Backlog where Veronica mentions yet more talk of a potential split of Ukraine. I've always thought that kind of talk was silly and hope it still is...silly rather than frightening. Veronica seems to travel a lot and I think she is currently in Russia but she brings a passion and real anger to her posts that captures the heart of somebody who truly cares.

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