Respected journalist Vitaliy Portnikov, interviewed by the BBC Ukrainian service today, is asked about the lessons Ukraine can draw from recent events in Georgia:
"I agree with Davyd Zhvaniya, who said that it was not right to compare events in Georgia and in Ukraine, because after the events in Kyiv in 2004 the Ukrainian nomenklatura failed to put into place the kind of total control over society and state that the Georgian nomenklatura managed to do. This was because the camps personified by Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, and Yanukovych all have different interests. And in this sense Ukraine is a much more democratic country than Georgia; and in this sense in Ukraine there exists, even in a limited form, freedom in the informational mass media. It is really the differences in interests that rescues Ukrainian society, and this is an important lesson not only for Georgia, by for other countries of the post-Soviet space.
In the Ukrainian variant, there are two routes. There is the direct route to Poland, with its normal democratic system and its participation of society in matters of state. And there is a direct route to Russia, were the nomenklatura finally sits around a round table, comes to an agreement amongst itself and establishes a regime akin to the regimes of Putin and Saakashvili. Today in Ukraine there are the possibilities to go either in one, or in the other direction. And, observing at what is happening in Tbilisi and on what is happening in Moscow, the Ukrainian citizen should simply make his choice between them."
Portnikov is right: it is the seemingly endless knife-edge political struggle between the three main protagonists of Ukrainian politics, of which everyone complains, that is actually the best guarantee for Ukraine's democratic well-being in the future.
In the last presidential elections in Georgia in January 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili received 96% of all votes cast..