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November 25, 2004 by AK

More Ukraine-related musings

1. It’s bad that Putin’s team let Russia’s involvement be interpreted as Russia’s trying to stifle democracy in Ukraine. It’s not true — it would be if only 20% supported Yanukovich — Putin is mostly promoting Russia’s economic interests there, which is OK with me though ugly at times. Why Putin’s political consultants couldn’t find a better deal than Yanukovich is anybody’s guess. C’est dommage, and the damage to Russia’s image might be enormous.

2. It’s bad that we’re not going to see anything like Kyev-2004 in Moscow in 2008. I wish we could: it’d be fun to watch although an Anti-Putin would not necessarily be the lesser evil. Much as I personally like Yeltsin, his reign bordered on disaster. But just for the fun of it…

3. Yuschenko-friendly regional authorities in Western Ukraine undoubtedly did their share of falsifying, although, having many fewer votes at their disposal, they couldn’t make as much difference as Yanukovich’s folks in the East. It is therefore not perfectly clear that Yuschenko won, and very doubtful that if he did, his margin of victory was significant. A recount would hardly be conclusive; I would expect a replay of the vote. But if Ukraine remains geographically divided, the new president’s mandate would still be dubious unless he presides over a federation of regions with considerable self-government authority. In Ukraine, democracy — “power to the people” means power to the states… that is, regions.


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