Thursday, November 25, 2004

Some irony somewhere?

There was a ceremony of sorts yesterday where Yanukovych accepted the presidency. The swearing in is supposed to take place today so it was not his investment ceremony. It was a kind of acceptance ceremony that took place in some room somewhere in Kiev. He was surrounded by people who looked pleased with these events, but there seemed to be less than fifty. They stood and clapped and he had the look of the humble ruler reluctantly assuming power after the people have spoken.

But there was something pitiful in this in a way. It was a small gathering indoors. He speaks to fifty inside. Yuschenko speaks to hundreds of thousands outside. And on that outside, Yanukovych has to ship in his supporters from other cities to Kiev to counter the crowds in the downtown square and he can’t get anywhere near the numbers Yuschenko gets who pays no one. With no pay, with no one defraying their expenses in any way to come here, these people make their way to Kiev under their own power to take part in the demonstrations. The give their loyalty freely to Yuschenko and to their country. Inside with Yanukovych, though, it is hard not to believe that those who stood and clapped for him are people who are in that position because they owe him something.

In the worst case, Ukraine could descend into a civil war. (I hope not.) Kuchma is a clever man. He has maintained power for a long time with his popular support in the teens. But Yanukovych is not a clever man nor is he an intelligent man. And I don’t think that kind of man keeps intelligent men as counselors, so there may be no hope of intelligence in his inner circle. This means that Yanukovych may not be in an enviable position anyway. He assumes power but is incapable of governing the country he is president of. But that is of his own making.

In the end, this might just finish up as good source material for some sort of ironic, there-is-some-justice-somewhere kind of story like those of the old Twilight Zone. Someone covets a thing his whole life and claws his way up to it letting nothing get in his way. But when he possesses it, he finds that it has hold of him rather than he of it. Maybe it has already been done.

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