Saturday, November 27, 2004

No funds

There was a caller into a television program this morning who said she had gone yesterday to a certain government agency to get the money she needs to support her children. She was told that there was no money available, that all the money was being used to support the people down at Independence Square. “The people downtown need sandwiches. Where do you think the money is coming from?” She said that she has talked to other people who got the same response. It might be local or it might be widespread, it is hard to tell at this point.

This reason, of course, is untrue. All the support of the people down on the square comes from donations. These guys have one reflex, to support the government regardless of what the truth is. And, being the bureaucratic thugs they are, will have no qualms in the least in doing anything, anything, that will further the government’s position, that is, Yanukovych’s position. So it is entirely possible that there has been a hold placed on any funds meant for the citizenry either to punish them or to score propaganda points. These bureaucrats would have no problem carrying such a thing out. Orders are orders after all and they do have the power to deny them. Using that power is actually what defines their authority.

But this may not end up being the real explanation when all is said and done. Yanukovych has brought tens of thousands of supporters from the east by bus and by train. Some of these supporters have been paid cash. Others have had their expenses defrayed to get them here. These supporters have to eat, to have warm clothes and they need some place to live. All of this requires money. (They were distributing new clothes to the Yanukovych supporters near the train station last night to ward off the cold. “The people in Independence Square are happy with their used clothes. The people from Donetsk [an eastern city] get new clothes.”) The better explanation and the most reprehensible explanation, of two reprehensible explanations, is that any available government funds have been spent paying for the supporters from the east. Yanukovych gets his troops in the field but children go hungry.

Knowing how things work here both of these explanations are real possibilities. These officials have been able to act with impunity because there has never, to this day, been any kind of reckoning. But it looks like that day of reckoning may be coming and these people cannot see it. They have either had the power themselves to avoid it or have had a patron with the power that has allowed them to be insulated from any accounting and from the people. But that reckoning may be a' preparing in the square that commemorates independence, in the downtown of Kiev.

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