Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lytyvn alleges Ternopil vote rigged

Check out Friday's 'Svoboda na Interi' TV broadcast.

In an assured performance, VR speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn alleges that the recent oblast rada election results in Ternopil were 'manufactured' [zrobleni]. [About 17 minutes into the clip.] He calls the machinations 'a fact'. Furthermore, he is disturbed that the appropriate authorities have not uttered a word of protest or 'raised the alarm', but, all of a sudden, many are now keen on early presidential elections, having gotten away with their election fraud in Ternopil.

He points out the the dilemma faced by PoR, who organised not entirely successful anti-government demonstrations on Friday: "We have people, who rule over almost half of the country, who are striking. Against whom are they striking?" In his words, it is those same owners of the large enterprises who cannot organise work for their employees and cannot provide for the sociological needs of their workers.

He makes a powerfully expressed appeal to PoR not to block the working of VR next week, and suggests they propose a parliamentary motion in favour of early parliamentary and presidential elections. If this was the start of his presidential campaign, it was pretty impressive.


elmer said...

Every time I watch one of these programs, I feel like a fool - because it takes hours for them to say what could and should be said in minutes. Every "question" has a long harangue and prologue preface to it, despite the best efforts of the very capable host to finally get the assorted politicos to ask their question.

However, I must say that this was a very impressive program, not from the standpoint of Lytvyn, but from the standpoint of the topics that were discussed.

1) Lytvyn's accusations about vote fraud (ballot-stuffing) in Ternopil are - maddening. He has the Ukrainian habit of accusing by innuendo.

The basis of his accusation is that the polls "predicted" results as to the parties that lost - but he does not specifically say what went wrong, or who committed the wrongs ("everyone knows it without my saying it.") Posh - if you've got the info, spill it.

2) Lytvyn did indeed bring up an excellent point - the hypocrisy of PoR. The created a "100 day" waiting period, claiming that they were waiting for a "plan" from the government to deal with the crisis. Now, they threaten to simply blockade Parliament (for the umpteenth thime) as some sort of a "protest" against the government.

Lytvyn was not the only one to lambaste them for this barbaric threat and this barbaric behavior, but also to point out that the very people who control everything - the businesses in Donbass, and the government - are the very ones who have failed to do anything about the economic crisis. They may call themselves the opposition, but they are firmly entrenched oligarchs, staging paid-for demonstrations that did, indeed, not quite work out as planned.

Although the PoR guy tried to bluster his way through it, with usual sovok-style shouting, about "tens of thousands" of people showing up (they didn't).

3) It appears that there really are some young Turks who seek to overturn the oligarch system, not only with voting, but also with respect to parliamentary immunity and the enormous perks and privileges that the parliament members give to themselves.

Yatseniuk is one of them. And here is where Lytvyn sorely disappointed - he sort of threw up his hands, acnkowledged that such bills were sabotaged by over 500 amendments, but "that's the system - what can you do."

A lady from the audience justifiably raked BYuT over the coals with her question.

She asked why BYuT had failed to live up to its election promise to a) remove parliamentary immunity and b) to cancel all of the perks and privileges.

Unfortunately, neither Tymoshenko nor Yanukovych showed up.

There was tons of discussion about the distrust of the people towards government.

And it is clear that there are quite a few people, other than Yatseniuk, who are sick of the oligarchs controlling government.

There was even a question put to the audience - would they give their money to the government, like people did in Korea, to help fix the Ukrainian economy (instead of hiding it in mattresses or the underground economy)? Overwhelming answer - NO!!

4) It is clear that Yushchenko is politically a dead duck, for failing to live up to his promises from 2004, although the amendments to the Constitution came up at that time (Lytvyn claims that the amendments were the only way to keep people in the street from getting shot by government militia, and to prevent a civil war).

5) Crisis and form of democracy took up a lot of time. "Look at Russia - they have no plan to deal with the financial crisis. And if you look at the US, with over $1 trillion spent - well, Ukraine doesn't have that kind of money."

Lots of references to Washington, Jefferon, Hamilton, etc., including a reference to national poet Taras Shevchenko, who wrote, a very long time ago "will Ukraine ever see its own Washington, its own form of democracy"?

The general agreement was yes, and that Ukraine will someday celebrate its own bicentennial of democracy, just as the US did not too long ago.

6) Very interesting question at the end to Ambassador Hryshchenko about why Ukraine doesn't look to Iran to develop an alternative gas supply, especially given the problems with Russia and the gas cut-offs, and the recent emotional reaction of outrage at the EU-Ukraine agreement to upgrade the Ukrainian pipeline.

Short answer - the EU and the US have problems with Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons, and there are sanctions involved, and even though Ukraine is not in the middle of that, it would affect any efforts by Ukraine to secure Iranian gas.

7) The Ambassador was not the only one to point out that Ukraine ought to have a united stance on foreign affairs, and that obsequious posturing in foreign capitals by assorted Ukrainian leaders is not effective or respected (he stated that some Ukrainian leaders have said one thing in one foreign capital, and the exact opposite elsewhere - not good.)

8) Every time I hear Yatseniuk speak, I am impressed.

Along the lines of saying different things in different places - Yatseniuk alluded to politicians in Ukraine who say one thing in one city, and something different in another city.

There was also lots of discussion about how damaging it is that Ukraine can't find someone to unite the whole country, and to garner more than 50% of the vote.

There was some discussion about eliminating the multiple rounds of presidential elections, but then North Korea came up, where Fearless Leader Dictator (my words) was elected in the first round with an almost 100% vote.

9) I have to give credit to the host and to all the participants of the program, who were operating on the premise that there were potential candidates for president who were appearing, and that no campaigning was permitted. There were some steps over the line, but not too bad.

To their credit, they allot a lot of time to discussing the issues, unlike the sound-bite, infonews instapundit 2-minute shows in the US.

To their discredit, there is way, way too much repetition, and way, way too much of stating the obvious and repeating platitudes.

Still - a fairly impressive program, for a change.

Anonymous said...

If you can't win the elections, try and cancel them. If that fails, cry falsification. What a joke.

elmer said...

There was an interesting comment by Lytvyn about the veryl first election in Ukraine

- Kravchuk, as a commie party boss, was elected because people were still afraid.

And, as Andrew Wilson points out in his book, "Ukraine: An Unexpected Nation", Kuchma showed that an incumbent could be defeated.

Leading, of course, to Kuchmism, and the stranglehold of oligarchs on government.

Early elections, cancelled elections, snap elections, accusations - it's all part of the hysterical milieu of oligarch-controlled politics in Ukraine.

I hope it changes soon.

I hope the people finally decide that they can't simply ignore government, that they have to have a good government.

I hope that Taras Shevchenko's wish that Ukraine finally get its own George Washington (meaning true democracy) finally comes true.

Anonymous said...

The case of the boy who cried wolf.

There is much that is amiss about the Terinopl elections that defies teh norms. First it needs to be stated that this is a Regional ballot. But even then the shift to the right does smell of corruption.

Rather then just make aspirations Lytvn and others need to produce some hard facts backed up by exist polls and polling return statistics.

LEvko said...

Thanks very much Elmer for your detailed comments on the program. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

Lytvyn did mention a suspicious, untypical pattern of voting in the Ternopil local election. In western Ukraine there is normally a peak in voting after morning church services. His allegations would have had more credence had they been backed up with with concrete figures.

I thought both Lytvyn and Yatsenyuk's appeal against the blocking of the VR struck a cord. PoR now have a dilemma on how to behave in the next few days in parliament, particularly after the luke-warm support for their day of action last Friday.

elmer said...

Yep, you're right on both counts.

And, as Lytvyn likes to say, "one more moment."

At a couple of points, both Lytvyn and Yatseniuk growled at the Russian-speaking reps.

Lytvyn did it when the question of official language came up, and he growled, in Ukrainian, something to the effect of "and what language am I going to speak" - meaning that he was damn well going to speak Ukrainian in Ukraine. The Russian speaker backed down.

Yatseniuk then snapped back, as the question of "official language" came up as an artificial issue calculated deliberately by PoR to divide the country.

Yatseniuk speaks both Ukrainian and Russian and snapped back to the effect that Russian is not prohibited in Ukraine, but that he supports Ukrainian books, Ukrainian movies, Ukrainian art, Ukrainian language, so that Ukrainian culture can be re-built in Ukraine.

He did this so as to make it clear that Russian speakers are not threatened.

Yeah, by the time Lytvyn and Yatseniuk got through with their points - and appeals - about letting the Parliament work, rather than blocking it yet again - I think it was very, very effective.

Taras said...

Elmer, Yatseniuk cannot be against oligarchs if he is funded by them, can he? He has acknowledged funding from Viktor Pinchuk and Vitaliy Haydyuk. Strong rumours suggest funding from Firtash (RosUkrEnergo) as well (I received an email from a Kyiv employee of a presidential think tank saying some of his colleagues had been hired and he knew about Firtash from them). I am sorry to say I think that Yatseniuk will be more of Yushchenko.

elmer said...

Taras, you caught me.

I should have said that Yatseniuk seems to want to reform the oligarch system, instead of getting rid of the oligarch system.

On the TV show, he refrained, under the "ground rules" of the show, from setting forth his govt/political program.

He has promised to set those forth in the upcoming presidential campaign.