A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe

"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
my photo
  Warsaw, Poland

view profile | e-mail Gustav

*roundtrip ticket

Monday, November 22, 2004

What we know

With most of the vote in, the Ukrainian Elections Commission has declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner of Sunday's runoff presidential election.

The declaration comes amid many accusations, including from Yanukovych's opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, of improper voting practices and downright fraud.

Among the most suspicious reports is one of a 96% turnout in Eastern Ukraine, the Prime Minister's back yard. Another report speaks of eight ballot boxes in one of Yushchenko's strongholds being set afire.

Yushchenko supporters have taken to the streets, and are protesting as I write.

This is NATO's and the EU's back yard.

So, is anybody gonna DO anything about it? Seems doubtful to me. Will Bush have the guts to stand tall with Kwasniewski? Will Kwasniewski have the guts? Is a worsening of already terrible relations all Yanukovych has to fear?

It's not the Middle East or Africa.

It's not even Southeast Asia. Just Eastern Europe-- where extremism can grow just as easily as anywhere, and where corruption and organized crime are already rampant.

Stay tuned to see if anyone steps up to this plate.

Speaking of irregular voting practices, check this out. I wonder what they'll find in Ohio. . .


Blogger Redneck Texan said...

What exactly do you want America to do?

11/23/2004 08:21:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Hell, it's 1:30 here, and now I read your comment.

Actually, getting Putin to back down from his premature "congratulation" of Yanukovich was an excellent start.

"I sent my congratulations to one of the contestants not based on election results but on exit poll projections," he told reporters in Lisbon.

I was wondering how Bush and Putin were going to work out this little difference of opinion. Fortunately, Bush is probably taking the right line:

The U.S. government is "deeply disturbed by extensive and credible indications of fraud," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said in a statement issued from Crawford, Texas, near the ranch of President George W. Bush. The U.S. called on Ukraine not to certify the results until "investigations of organized fraud are resolved."How could he do any less, when:

[Republican]Senator Richard Lugar, who traveled to Kiev to observe the elections with Bush's endorsement, said: "It is now apparent," he said in Kiev, "that a concerted and forceful program of election day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities."But perhaps he's still going a bit easy on Vlad. I've been impressed so far with the EU. Member states have already threatened to remove their ambassadors from the Ukraine if investigations into this sham are not held.-- Something I haven't heard yet from the Bush administration. If those "investigations" they're calling for aren't conducted, and done so transparently, then they need to threaten diplomatic action.

Apparently, there's an EU-Russia summit on Thursday. That one should be interesting.

It seems to me that the Ukrainian people have done a good enough job attracting attention to their cause, that those who perpetrated this fraud are now bending to international pressure, since it seems obvious that violence will fail (some Polish news agencies have reported that parts of the militia are already giving their support to the protesters). The biggest obstacles now are calming mother bear down, and convincing her to let her cubs determine their own destiny.

Lech Wałęsa has been invited by Yushchenko to help facilitate talks, and he's on his way. He's a bit of a bumbler, but a fair man, and an honest broker.

At the moment, cooler heads seem to have prevailed. I commend the Bush administration for using strong rhetoric on the situation, and I hope they'll back up those words with diplomatic or economic action if they have to.

My biggest fear was that nobody would care-- that the protests would be violently broken up early, before they gained momentum, and that the story would slip to the bottom of the news cycle.

But Yushchenko was prepared, and he's done a great job of keeping things peaceful while drumming up international support. So I commend him as well.

11/24/2004 02:23:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Is a worsening of already terrible relations all Yanukovych has to fear?--With the United States I meant. The concerted diplomatic pressure being put on Ukraine's leaders is now substantial. It seems (now)that Russia will not be allowed a free hand in Ukraine's affairs, and the withdrawl of unwavering support from Putin in the face of such pressure is definitely a fear for Yanukovich (or -vych, depending on the news agency you trust to translate your Cyrillic. You might find it interesting that in Polish, the names are spelled Juszczenko and Janukowicz) and co. to contend with.

11/24/2004 02:34:00 AM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

I believe the vote was rigged by the East.

But should the Eastern voters be disenfranchised by the more vocal Westerners.

I think a Checkoslovacian type solution is in order.

They should be able to vote for / against seperation.

11/24/2004 02:52:00 AM  

Post a Comment


Create a Link

< Main

american expat piękna polska michigan, my michigan Pijemy po polsku - Kickin' it Polish style Warsaw Station on Feedburner subscribe to my feed my feed