quinta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2004

How Did the Blogosphere Get Fooled on Ukraine?

"Ukraine is a multi-party parliamentary democracy which has held several both presidential and parliamentary elections in the presence of international observers since 1994.(...)Viktor Yanukovich has never, to my knowledge, officially expressed hostility to parliamentary democracy as such.(...)The present democratic constitution of Ukraine was adopted under the leadership of Yanukovich's presumed mentor Leonid Kuchma and it is precisely Yanukovich and Kuchma - not Yushchenko and Timoshenko - who were pushing for the recently adopted raft of constitutional reforms that transfer powers to parliament.

(...)As for the description of Yanukovich as a “nationalist”, for all I know he may well be one – but being a native Russian-speaker who has his most solid base of support among the Russophone minority of the Eastern Ukraine and whose political party is named the “Party of Regions”, he is most certainly not a Ukrainian nationalist.

On the other hand...

as has been discussed here (see, in particular, the “update”), openly Ukrainian nationalist forces – more precisely, Ukrainian ethnic-nationalist forces – including political formations that have direct historical links to movements that well deserve the designation “fascist” or, to be more precise, Nazi, do indeed form part of the “orange” coalition. As has likewise been seen here, moreover, representatives of these formations and press organs openly supporting the "Orange" have traded in overtly anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing.

In any case, by falling back upon Cold War schemas, some of the, let’s say, anti-anti-American sectors of the blogosphere have inadvertently provided ammunition to their enemies. As I have repeatedly noted here, there is much evidence that Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovich did indeed have significant popular support in Ukraine: notably in its Russophone east. Hence, the possibility of a Yanukovich victory in the November elections was hardly implausible.

The actual division of Ukraine between the pro-Yushchenko "Orange" and the pro-Yanukovich "Blue" has, however, been effaced by the fable of the Ukrainian people, seemingly as one solid mass, rising up against Kremlinite tyranny.

Nicholas Kristof did not even wait for the results of the Ukrainian election re-run to make use of this simplification against the current American administration and its Iraq policy. Thus, he notes in his NYTimes column of 8 December that “These days, Ukraine’s pro-democracy leader, Viktor Yushchenko, is promising to pull Ukraine’s troops out of Iraq. A Ukraine that is responsive to public opinion, it seems, will not be a member of our coalition.” Nice work, guys...."

Transatlantic Intelligencer

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