1
   

A wish and a prayer for the Ukrainian democrats, please

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 08:25 am
Last year's Revolution of the Roses in Georgia would be nothing compared to the impact of a kindred revolution in the Ukraine now ...

Hundreds of thousands are in the streets of Kiev now, waving their orange and yellow/blue flags and peacefully demanding that Yushchenko's election victory will be recognized and the fraudulent declaration of Yanushenko as winner annulled ... it was the same combination of massive voter fraud against a backdrop of an escalating history of corruption, clampdown of free media and physical violence against independent journalists and opposition activists, not to mention the impoverishment of commonfolk, that led to the uprisings in both Georgia and earlier in Serbia .. The same actors are pushing forward, the young, the Western-oriented, the exasperated new generation that sees its opportunities systematically wasted by an authoritarian, nepotistic power clan ...

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian democrats also face much larger stumbleblocks. The Ukraine is so big, so much bigger than Georgia or Serbia, rousing even 200,000 in Kiev is not enough ... and the pro-Russian east of the country, where the fraudulent official vote tallies have registered turnouts of up to 96% and even, oops, over 100%, will resist the change ... and there's Putin of course, who has already demonstratively recognized Yanukovich's "victory" and who would very much appreciate a continued Russia-friendly, obedient and none too strong neighbour state (rather than an independent-minded, democratic and pro-Western state) ...

Current President Kuchma, whose protege Yanukovich is, has very skilfully manouvred various tools of repression and cooptation before to dismantle and defuse previous, lengthy mass protest movements when students and others camped outside in Kiev for weeks ... and to unnerve the protest after the mysterious beheading of a journalist researching corruption, whose murder Kuchma was heard ordering on a tape, for example ... but then, Milosevic (and to a lesser extent, Shevardnadze) had also been a supremely skillful operator, it took two failed popular uprisings before Milosevic was turned out as well ... this is independent Ukraine's second mass uprising, could this be the time? Or will Kuchma, the Ukrainian security forces, the ethnic Russians in the East and of course, Putin, prevail and safeguard a continuation of the era of that particular brand of post- or neo-communist corrupt authoritarianism?

If you're religious, spare a prayer for the Ukrainian democrats tonight, and if you're not, just wish them success and safety ... oh, and write your President or Senator or something, to tell him to keep pressuring both Kuchma and Putin, and dont let "strategic interests" override!

http://www.nos.nl/nieuws/Images/ap2311_kiev3_tcm4-115147.jpg

http://www.nos.nl/nieuws/Images/anp2311_kiev5_tcm4-115155.jpg

http://www.nos.nl/nieuws/Images/anp2311_kiev6_tcm4-115158.jpg

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/interactive/world/0411/gallery.ukraine/top.yushchenko.ap.jpg

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/interactive/world/0411/gallery.ukraine/top.ukraine.mary.ap.jpg

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/interactive/world/0411/gallery.ukraine/top.ukraine.crowds.ap.jpg
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 24,174 • Replies: 383
No top replies

 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 08:43 am
I have spared a thought (& more) for them, nimh. It's a disaster for democracy, a sham. (And being of Ukrainian descent myself, I understand this longing for independence & justice.) Good luck to them in their quest, but the situation does look potentially explosive ....
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 08:51 am


Quote:
Moscow Times: Protesters March on President's Office

By Anatoly Medetsky
Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 24, 2004. Page 1.

KIEV -- Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko declared victory and led a march of hundreds of thousands of his supporters to the president's office Tuesday night in an effort to stage a velvet revolution.

Protesters were meters away from the presidential administration building at 11:15 p.m. Moscow time, and opposition leaders assured riot police that they would not storm the building.

Yushchenko earlier in the day announced a campaign of civil disobedience and warned that the country was on the verge of civil conflict.

More than 150 Ukrainian diplomats posted around the world denounced the way the vote was handled and said they stood by the protesters.

The western regions of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsa followed the lead of their regional capitals and swore their allegiance to Yushchenko. The eastern region of Donetsk countered by swearing allegiance to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, its former governor.

The United States and the European Union stepped up pressure on outgoing President Leonid Kuchma to order a recount or risk making the country a pariah in the West. (Story, Page 3.)

President Vladimir Putin -- who put himself on a collision course with the West on Monday by congratulating Yanukovych, his favored candidate, even though no victor has been declared -- effectively retracted his congratulations.

Parliament convened for an emergency session to discuss the unfolding crisis and consider an opposition request to annul the election results.

"Ukraine is on the threshold of a civil conflict," Yushchenko told the lawmakers. "We have two choices: either the answer will be given by the parliament, or the streets will give an answer."

But after two hours of debates, Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn abruptly adjourned the session when Deputy Ihor Yukhnovsky called on Yushchenko to take the presidential oath of office.

Yushchenko read the oath with a hand on a 300-year-old Bible as lawmakers chanted "Bravo, Mr. President!" Under the Ukrainian Constitution, however, the president has to pledge allegiance on a copy of the Constitution.

Official election results give Yanukovych an insurmountable lead of 49.39 percent to Yushchenko's 46.71 percent, with more than 99.48 percent of precincts counted. Exit polls, however, showed Yushchenko with a significant lead.

About 200,000 protesters rallied in the park and streets around the parliament throughout the day, waving yellow-and-blue national flags and orange Yushchenko campaign banners. Many blew plastic horns.

"You are the heroes of Ukraine," Yushchenko told the crowd. "I believe that our deeds will lead us to political success." He called for a campaign of civil disobedience but cautioned that all protests must be peaceful and law-abiding.

A member of his campaign team urged protesters to be friendly. "Smile at Kiev residents, the police and guests because we have won," he said. "The Ukrainian presidential administration and all of Ukraine will be ours."

People marched in a 3-kilometer column through central Kiev, blocking much of the traffic on the main streets. The marchers chanted "Yushchenko!" and "Down with the convict!" -- a reference to Yanukovych's convictions for robbery and battery in the late 1960s.

Shopkeepers and construction workers along the street waved encouragingly at the marchers, and many residents flew orange flags from their balconies. The few cars that managed to get onto the street tooted their horns in support.

The marchers passed by the Central Elections Commission, but pop music from loudspeakers on top of the building muffled their chanting.

Scores of police officers surrounded the building, but the police were a rare sight elsewhere in the city. A traffic police officer near the building said military units had been deployed outside Kiev. His claim could not be verified.

Some protesters blamed Putin for the scandalous vote. "This wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for Putin," said a woman protester, nodding at the huge rally.

The Kremlin made clear its support for Yanukovych ahead of the vote, sending its best spin-doctors to work on his campaign, and Putin paid two visits to Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Portugal, Putin said Russia will not "recognize or reject the Ukrainian election results until they are officially made public," Interfax reported.

Putin also criticized the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which helped monitor the election and said it found extensive indications of voting fraud. He said the OSCE monitors needed to work "more carefully and thoroughly."

Putin called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. "Ukraine is a large European state with a developed legal system. You don't have to teach it, it can teach itself."

The group of 150 Ukrainian diplomats released a statement backing the protesters.

"We cannot remain silent and observe a situation that could call into doubt Ukraine's democratic development and destroy the efforts of many years to return our country to Europe," said the statement issued in the name of diplomatic service officials, Reuters reported.

"A nation should be headed by a leader who enjoys the real trust of the Ukrainian people and whose personal moral authority will be decisive in strengthening Ukraine's authority," it said.

Earlier in the day, about 20 mid-ranking diplomats based in the United States, Israel, Germany, Austria and Malaysia signed a statement saying: "The people of Ukraine, represented by a small portion freezing in Kiev's Independence Square, deserve a different government than the one currently asserting itself."

Although parliament was dismissed early, it would not have been able to pass a no-confidence vote on the election after only 191 lawmakers -- less than the 226 required to have a quorum -- showed up. While such a vote would have carried political significance, it would have been nonbinding because under the law a no-confidence vote must be initiated by the president. Kuchma staunchly supports Yanukovych.

Yanukovych made no public comments Tuesday, but independent Channel 5 television reported that he was preparing to declare himself president.

One television station, Novy Kanal, went off the air, while others allowed broadcasters to wear orange armbands during news programming, Bloomberg reported. It was unclear why Novy Kanal went black. The OSCE said after the first-round presidential vote on Oct. 31 that its programming was pro-Yanukovych.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, about 100,000 people marched through the streets of Lviv, Yushchenko's western stronghold.

In Kiev, many protesters said they had been on the streets since the election Sunday and had no intention of leaving any time soon.

"I have slept for just 10 of the 72 hours, but I am full of energy, enthusiasm and vigor," said Vitaly Rogatyuk, a 23-year-old reporter from Svitlovodsk.

He said he was ready to use force to bring Yushchenko to power.

Others, however, were more reserved as to how far they would go. "I don't feel like going to war," said Serhiy Sokurenko, 23, a radio technology student. "If there is a victory, it should only be peaceful."
Channel 5 and other media are reporting that bloodshed could occur in the city in the near future as the mass of opposition protesters - which Post reporters downtown have estimated at almost a million - meet the militiamen and "tourists" mobilized by the government.

Sources report that Kyiv's Borispyl airport has played host to a continuous stream of air troop convoys from Ukraine's east, in particular Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk. Both city's are part of the core of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's support.

Sources report that a column of about 20 to 30 trucks are moving along Solomenska toward the city center; and that along Krasnozvezdnaya a "huge column of cars full of soldiers" are moving toward the bus terminal.

Hundreds of buses full of unknown people who refused to engage in dialogue with journalists and explain the reason for their coming to Kyiv have appeared in the capital over the last several days.

As the mass media has reported, they are probably supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych whom the government is bussing in from the country's eastern regions. Kyiv is also full of hundreds of militiamen and special forces.

Sources are also reporting that many soldiers from Ukraine's regions are being relocated to Kyiv. Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk denies these charges.

In particular, sources in the city of Alexandry reported to us today that a helicopter regiment has been dispatched to the capital.


Gettin' scary ... with Georgia's recent election woes in mind, these developments, though not entirely unexpected, are troubling indeed. Sorta casts a whole new light on the petty squabbles over The US Elections.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:01 am
'Gas princess' protests Ukraine election result
By Olena Horodetska
Kiev
November 25, 2004

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2004/11/24/moscow_elec_wideweb__430x285.jpg

Yulia Tymoshenko places carnations into the shields of anti-riot police in Kiev. The protesters believe liberal opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko had the election stolen from him.
Photo: Reuters


A firebrand opposition leader once dubbed Ukraine's "gas princess" is rallying hundreds of thousands of demonstrators through Kiev's snowy streets to protest against what they call a rigged presidential election.

A march on Tuesday increased the tension in the former Soviet republic already in turmoil since Sunday's election, which liberal opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko says was stolen from him by Ukraine's pro-Moscow Government.

Yulia Tymoshenko, who got the nickname because of her involvement in the country's gas industry, rallied supporters of the West-leaning Mr Yushchenko with a call for decisive action.

"We are going to go to the presidential administration in a peaceful way, without breaking anything. And either they will give up their power, or we will take it," declared Ms Tymoshenko.

The 43-year-old then led demonstrators in driving snow and freezing temperatures from Kiev's Independence Square to the presidential headquarters.


As the march came to a halt, she picked up a loudspeaker and urged police to join the demonstration. She and another opposition deputy later began talks with senior police officers, urging them to join the protest.

"I am asking you, the police, to be on the side of citizens of Ukraine!" Ms Tymoshenko yelled. All this was typical of the former machine factory manager who rose to become a driving force in the camp of Mr Yushchenko, locked in a crisis over Ukraine's presidency.


Now the head of the opposition parliamentary faction, Ms Tymoshenko has regularly won media beauty polls, while her charisma took her into office as a deputy prime minister in the government under Mr Yushchenko in 2000. But she faced criticism and was fired by outgoing president Leonid Kuchma after formal charges of forgery and smuggling gas were brought against her while head of a private gas trading firm in the mid-1990s.

We are going to go to the presidential administration in a peaceful way . . . either they will give up their power, or we will take it."
Yulia TymoshenkoMr Kuchma accused her several times of exceeding her powers as deputy prime minister. Never one to shy away from publicity, Ms Tymoshenko has denounced the criminal probes as a witch-hunt, saying her efforts to clean up the corrupt energy sector threatened the interests of powerful businessmen.

She spent a month in a detention centre following the investigation, but a court cleared her.

Ms Tymoshenko's rise was swift and she showed her entrepreneurial spirit right out of university during the 1980s in the Soviet period under Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika reforms. She earned money by renting out films to rural cinemas in a venture with her father-in-law.

Ms Tymoshenko also once headed parliament's budget committee and a centrist parliamentary faction.

Always elegantly dressed, she has an economics degree and speaks English. She has a daughter, Evhenia, who studied in Britain.

- Reuters
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:02 am
I dunno Timber, a link can still be construed ... Bush Jr is the President who swore he trusted Putin on his blue eyes, after all ... I'm glad that the Bush administration does seem to be taking a strict stand on this new Ukrainian situation, good on 'em, but I think Kerry would have been tougher on Putin's like ...
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:08 am
I hear ya nimh ... but Kerry, Bush, Chirac, Schroeder, Martin, Howard , whoever in the end all boil down to immaterial. Putin will do as Putin will do, regardless of the wishes and pronouncements of world leaders. As, pretty much, do Chirac, Schroeder, Martin, Howard, et al.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:08 am
What if, God forbid, Kuchma and Yanukovych (and behind the scenes, Putin) win out though ... what will happen then?

Will the Ukrainians become passively resigned again, as they have mostly been in the past ten years of "bolshevik capitalism", so to say? Or will the West of the country refuse to acquiesce this time?

The East/West divide is historic and deeply-rooted ... Fierce, if not violent political polarisation along territorial lines is a tricky mix ...

Msolga, you're Ukrainian, or that is, your parents, grandparents? Ms Olga, of course ...
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:37 am
Quote:
SkyNews:KIEV: HANDOVER OF POWER

A peaceful handover of power has reportedly been agreed in the Ukraine after protesters clashed with anti-riot police outside the president's headquarters.

Tensions in the capital Kiev reached breaking point as tens of thousands of demonstrators surrounded the HQ.


They had been called on to march by opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.

He and his supporters believed the presidential election, which took place at the weekend, was rigged.

According to the poll results, Kremlin-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych won the presidency.

But after calls from outgoing president Leonid Kuchma for talks between the two sides, Mr Yanukovych stepped aside.

Mr Yushchenko will now become president, it has been reported.

The turmoil in the Ukraine followed a day of claims and counter-claims about the disputed presidential election, which has been condemned internationally as not being "free or fair" ...


Anyone think this is the end of it?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 11:08 am
That would be great!

In a way a proper little revolution would have been better because it would have allowed a clean sweep of the blackmailing, corrupt authoritarian clique, like they are doing in Georgia. Knowing Kuchma, a brokered agreement kind of handover (with someone who, let's not forget, once was his own prime minister) allows for much holding on to positions of power.

But still it would be great news. Because revolutions also tend to come with a lot of bloodshed, and considering the east/west divide in the Ukraine, even a civil war wouldn't be wholly unthinkable ... happened before. I'd take any brokered agreement over that.

Its not on CNN yet, or BBC or Reuters, ZDF, or the Dutch news ... but it would be good ...

The BBC does report how Yanukovich finally broke his silence in a statement that seems geared to allow him to still step back:

Quote:
On Wednesday he broke his public silence to say that the final results had to be "legitimate" to ensure there was no violence.

"I will not accept the results of the presidential election until it is proved to me and the Ukrainian people that they are legitimate and credible in accordance with conditions set down by the constitution," he said in a statement.

"I need no fictitious victory, a result which could lead to violence and victims. No position of authority, no matter how important, is worth a single human life."
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 11:18 am
Quote:
Reuters: Signs of Compromise Emerge in Ukraine Conflict
Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:04 PM ET

By Olena Horodetska
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's political crisis appeared to ease on Wednesday when both presidential candidates in a disputed election offered ways out of their bitter feud that has taken the country to the brink of violent conflict.

Liberal contender Viktor Yushchenko, who brought tens of thousands of supporters onto the streets after alleging he had been robbed of victory last Sunday by mass cheating, said he was now ready to take part in a new "honest" poll.

Moscow-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was, as expected, formally declared the winner by electoral authorities.

But earlier, he hinted that he too was open to compromise saying he was not interested in official results that handed him a "fictitious victory."

The signs of a compromise emerged as the United States, the European Union and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance all urged authorities to review the conduct of last Sunday's run-off which most western powers have said was fraudulently conducted.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, who quickly congratulated Yanukovich when it was clear he was winning, looked ready to see an end to the crisis in its ex-Soviet ally.

The Kremlin said that Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder agreed, in a telephone conversation, that Ukraine should solve its crisis through legal means.

Though compromise was in the air, the central electoral commission went ahead with a rowdy session at which it declared that Yanukovich had won 49.46 per cent of the vote to 46.61 percent for Yushchenko.

Yushchenko's comments provided outgoing President Leonid Kuchma with a way to defuse the crisis that has convulsed the state of 47 million since early on Monday.

"We are ready to have a repeat of the second round vote provided we have an honest Central Election Commission," Yushchenko told tens of thousands of supporters massed in Kiev's main square ...


Don't look much like much has ended, but mebbe folks really are lookin' for a peaceful way to end things. Untill the shootin' starts, there's hope.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 11:49 am
Oops, didn't notice this second thread, and posted thus rather lonely on me own since Monday :wink:
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 12:01 pm
Hey, Walter, how 'bout tossin' us a link to your thread?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 12:05 pm
I'm wearing my orange scarf. Will be going to the Ukrainian embassy tonight with colleages who are recent immigrants from Ukraine.

One spoke to family members again this morning. More sightings of Russian troops in Ukrainian uniform arriving at the train station in Kiev. The t.v. station they trust isn't broadcasting. Some are relying on her to get them the news of what's really going on.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 12:13 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Hey, Walter, how 'bout tossin' us a link to your thread?


Sorry, - and it will make eBeth's report better to understand as well - HERE it is :wink:
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 01:21 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Oops, didn't notice this second thread, and posted thus rather lonely on me own since Monday :wink:


Sorry Walter, I expressly looked through the New Posts and International News pages to see if anything had turned up yet, but couldnt find any thread so started this one. Failed to look into the Europe page.

Ebeth, let us know how it goes tonight and what people are saying. The Russian soldiers in Ukrainian uniforms thing is unsurprising, but (all the more) alarming. In case the **** does hit the fan, I guess we know who will be intervening, covertly or openly.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 01:51 pm
Following to learn more.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 02:00 pm
nimh wrote:
Sorry Walter, I expressly looked through the New Posts and International News pages to see if anything had turned up yet, but couldnt find any thread so started this one. Failed to look into the Europe page.


No need for an excuse. :wink:
(Since recently a couple of Europe-related threads were moved by moderator from 'International News' to 'Europe', I voluntarily posted my thread there :wink: )
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 03:24 pm
The Labour Party's Eastern Europe-focused Alfred Mozer Stichting hastily organised an expert meeting on the events in the Ukraine (and parallell brewing stuff in Byelorussia) tonight, with a Ukrainian activist, a Byelarussian activist from the Coalition for Europe and the spouse of one of the journalists that went missing in Byelorussia, as well as a European parliamentarian and someone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...

I'd wanted to go, but they were already fully reserved ... its a hot topic ... otherwise I woulda reported back. So-rry
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 03:27 pm
We've got some people from Byelorusse here. They're coming to the Ukrainian embassy with us tonight - they don't want things in Ukraine to go the Byelorusse direction.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 04:10 pm
I sooo hope that the opposition chooses 1989/1991-style passive resistance, and that it will work again. So far it looks quite promising. Yanukowych said he would "only accept the vote if it is provably correct", Yushchenko suggested to repeat the second round of the election under heavier checks and balances. On the face of it, it seems like both are trying to solve this in a civilized way.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » A wish and a prayer for the Ukrainian democrats, please
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/05/2022 at 09:10:49