Monday, January 18, 2010

From a small corner

My father-in-law reported yesterday that four large men blocked the way to the place where the voting was held in their village. The reason was ostensibly that there was something wrong with the voting list. They didn’t allow anyone in until after twelve.
It’s an older village and many went early. They would have been turned away by these goons and with the cold and the fact that snow and ice haven’t been cleared all that well meant that they likely didn’t come back.
He thought these goons were Yanukovych people which says a lot I think even though I don’t know how he could know. The significant thing might be that that village was highly pro-Tymoshenko.
It’s a small village and you would wonder why bother with it. But I try never to underestimate the ability of the Ukrainian elite to do stupid things or to allow them to be done (nor the Ukrainian people to accept them, unfortunately.)
We live in a village just outside of Kiev and there were problems with the voting list here too according to the head of the village council. But no one blocked the door and prevented people from coming in. Ours is a much, much large village, though.
I have no idea how it was in other places. I guess it will come out if there were any-- what do they call them here?—political technologies-- that’s it-- used.
I don’t think there were any observers from the EU present though someone else might know. The EU has lost patience with Ukraine and that because of gas. It is understandable, I guess, because of European interests—cold is cold whether its in Europe or Ukraine—and my people being cold is worse than yours being cold, naturally. But you would wish that they might take a more enlightened view of it-- at least I do.
Some analysts that the indefatigable Levko has posted about—thank you—say that there is going to be a lurch toward authoritarianism whether Yanukovych or Tymoshenko is elected. That is unfortunate. In the last part of the election, Yanukovych said that Ukraine needed “the rule of law.” Well, about “the rule of law,” he doesn’t mean what everybody else means. What he means is what Vladimir Putin means by it; order. Yanukovych said recently that Ukraine has paid a high price for free speech. Oh, really? (He also said that he was tired of speaking the rubbish that was Ukrainian, and his Crimean audience laughed in gales.)
I do think it will be more difficult to do what he did earlier though. There are more power centers around than there were before. But again, the ability of the elite in Ukraine to do something stupid should not be underestimated, nor the tendency of the people to accept them, unfortunately. (Though the Orange Revolution was a bright exception to this and creates some hope for the future.)
This all means that Tymoshenko would be better for the country even though it will mean some authoritarianism as well. It will be a softer kind-- a gloved fist with the smell of lilacs?-- perhaps less damaging to the country though that may be naive. This makes her preferable even though she is completely tone death when it comes to economics and to foreign investment.
Why not someone else? You’d think that someone else would show up in Ukrainian politics who would be better. It’s always, always, always the same people.
We thought maybe Yetsinuk would be that candidate, but he’s been a bust. Apparently, he was saddled with the political technologists of the pre-Orange Revolution Yanukovych. They have tried to triangulate between Russia and Europe which has succeeded magnificently in making Yetsinuk look like the old guard; like everybody else. (Though I must say his later commercials were pretty personable. Too late.) His candidacy and campaign have been a spectacular failure. A pity because he was one who spoke with a lot of candor. But Yuschenko spoke that way during the Orange Revolution and then ended up governing like the old guard—except, that is, when it came to elections for which people ought to thank him. I am afraid though that things like that won’t stick.
But, as with anything else, I guess we’ll see.

1 comment:

elmer said...

Go to Ukrainian Pravda, to the election maps.

There, you can pick individual candidates, and see where their votes were concentrated.

Very, very interesting.

The turnout appears to have been about 60%. BBC was reporting that early on it was barely 50%.

Ukraine still has a huge sovok hangover, and it is definitely reflected in the voting patterns.

And, unfortunately, people in Ukraine still:

1) vote for the same old people, expecting different results from those same people, which is, of course, insanity

2) hope for a "messiah" of some sort - but that takes actual, real, fundamental grass roots political work, which is growing in Ukraine, but not fast enough.

Soooo - you have the same old oligarch political machines, Yanukovych-Kuchma-Party of Regions being the biggest.

And the oligarchs won't leave until they are blown out of there one way or another.

On the bright side, this was a far, far different election than in 2004.

I'm wondering what will happen with the Georgian delegation of election observers, who were mysteriously rejected, for some unknown reason.

Poroshenko says this will be investigated and examined.

The Georgian ambassador to Ukraine speaks better Ukrainian than Yanukovych!

(At least Yanuk is trying to speak Ukrainian - unlike in 2004, when he and his wife were hurling "narcomaniac" and other sovok-style insults at the people)