Daily Archives: February 7, 2010

February 10, 2010


(1)  EDITORIAL:  The Election in Ukraine

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Missiles of February

(3)  Yanukovich the Gangster

(4)  Goodbye Karelia!

(5)  Vladimir Putin and his Crimes

EDITORIAL: The Election in Ukraine


The Election in Ukraine

Before voters ever went to the polls in Ukraine last weekend, they had already won.

They had already shown themselves to be far more civilized and advanced than their Russian neighbors, for instance, because they had carried out a real election, ousting the current regime and replacing it with a radically different opposition candidate. They repudiated the sitting president long before the votes were counted, and we can only wonder:  What sort of barbaric crimes would Vladimir Putin have to commit before Russian voters would do the same. Would he have to actually eat babies on TV? Would even that suffice.  Russia, behaving like a nation in the dark ages,  has never once ousted a regime in an election in its entire thousand-year history — not once, not ever.

Similarly, Ukraine is building a real economy, not relying on the accident of natural energy resources, and it is not attacking any of its neighbors in any way, but rather building solid relationships with Western nations that will last for centuries..

What’s more, as we reported in our last issue, Ukrainians have already made it clear that no matter who won, Ukraine would turn its back on Russia and look towards the West for its future prosperity and security.

So there was lots of good news, and Ukrainians have much to be proud of.  With that said, Ukrainian voters sadly made the wrong choice on Sunday when they handed power to the charlatan Victor Yanukovich.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: The Missiles of February


The Missiles of February

Last week yet another nation in Eastern Europe made an emphatic statement of how it feels about Russia:  Romania agreed to host an American ballistic missile defense system starting in 2015.

Russia’s representative to NATO Dmitri Rogozin, a crazed nationalist whose nomination itself speaks volumes about whether Russia wants normal relations with the West, sputtered and fumed and demanded “exhaustive explanations” from the USA.

But what Rogozin didn’t do was ask why Romanians hate Russians so much that they would wish to take an action that would so infuriate the Kremlin.  Nor did he ask why the Obama administration, whose craven cowardice in regard to Russia is well known, suddenly started getting tough.

Continue reading

Yanukovich the Gangster, Tymoshenko the Savior

Nina Khrushcheva, writing in the Moscow Times:

A pox on both your houses” may be an appropriate individual response to frustration with the political candidates on offer in an election. But it is a dangerous sentiment for governments to hold. Choice is the essence of governance and to abstain from it — for whatever reason — is to shirk responsibility.

But that seems to be the stance of the entire West regarding Sunday’s second round of Ukraine’s presidential election. Because the Orange Revolution in 2004 turned out to be a seemingly unending series of disappointments, most Western leaders are acting as if it makes no difference whether Prime MinisterYulia Tymoshenko or her rival, Viktor Yanukovych, wins.

They are wrong — not only about what the election will mean for Ukrainians, who have stoically endured so much, but also about what it will mean for security and stability across Eurasia. If the Orange Revolution demonstrated one thing, it is that Ukraine’s politics are not those of a pendulum, swinging predictably between opposing forces that agree on the fundamental rules of democracy. Indeed, it is patently clear from his own words that Yanukovych does not accept the legitimacy of the Orange Revolution, which means that he does not accept the bedrock principle of democracy that you cannot cheat your way to power.

Yanukovych’s anti-democratic position should come as no surprise. His criminal record is often noted, but the particular crimes that sent him to prison are rarely spelled out. Let me do it.

Continue reading

Goodbye, Karelia! Warm wishes!

Paul Goble reports:

The FSB has opened a criminal case against Karelians who have distributed leaflets calling for their land to be re-attached to Finland, a campaign Russian security services say reflects shortcomings in anti-extremist efforts but one others in that northern region argue is the result of the failure of officials to keep the heat on in local buildings. At the end of last week, German Shtadler, the head of the Karelian procuracy, announced that the FSB had brought the case after some unknown group distributed leaflets in the Sortavalsk district calling on people there to push for a referendum on transferring their district from Russia to Finland.

No one has yet been arrested – although the local media suggested that the Finnish organization Pro Karelia which seeks the return of territory seized by Stalin after the Winter War — but once someone is, Shtadler said, he or she will be charged under Article 280 of the Russian criminal code which sets punishments for those who call for carrying out extremist actions. According to the prosecutor, Karelia “in recent times” has become a favorable breeding ground for “extremist manifestations,” with some of them rooted in ethnic clashes with Gastarbeiters from the North Caucasus as in Kondopoga and Kuitezha and others the reflection of the efforts to union leaders to press for higher wages and better working conditions.

Continue reading

Vladimir Putin and his Crimes

Paul Goble reports:

The nature of the current Russian political system was shown by the response of the central government to the demonstrations in Kaliningrad, a Moscow commentator says. The powers that be at the center responded not when regional officials acted within the law but when they failed to violate it to suppress an anti-government demonstration.

In an article in Yezhednevny Zhurnal, Vladimir Nadein, who explicitly says that he does not like Putin, that the prime minister has done “enormous harm” to Russia, and that he should be removed tried for his crimes, argues that Moscow’s reaction to the events in Kaliningrad is itself an indictment of Putin’s system. “When people in Kaliningrad came out with signs reading ‘Down with Putin!’” he writes, “this was entirely legal. When the police there, unlike in Moscow, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, and Rostov, did not tear the placards out of the hands of the peaceful demonstrators and did not beat them with truncheons, this also corresponded to the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Continue reading