Ukrainians make Democracy look Bad

Yulia Latynina, hero journalist, writing in the Moscow Times:

Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election — not unlike the victories of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler — once again raises doubt about the basic premise of democracy: that the people are capable of choosing their own leader. Unfortunately, only wealthy people are truly capable of electing their leaders in a responsible manner. Poor people elect politicians like Yanukovych or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

When the Orange Revolution hit Ukraine five years ago, the people arose in a united wave and did not allow themselves to be deceived by the corrupt elite. That elite had reached an agreement with the criminals and oligarchs of Donetsk to make a minor criminal, who could not string two sentences together, the successor to former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Five years ago, the Ukrainian people gave President Viktor Yushchenko a mandate for reform, but he failed. The country remains highly corrupt. One example: Yushchenko himself allowed the murky scheme in which all Russian gas came into the country through the intermediary firm RosUkrEnergo.

Whenever a weak leader is incapable of managing the state, he starts looking for enemies and begins stoking nationalist passions. Yushchenko singled out Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as his enemy and engaged her in a heated polemic over the Holodomor.

Another strategy used by a weak leader boils down to: “If I can’t achieve a certain goal, then I’ll do everything possible so that my opponent doesn’t achieve it.” Yushchenko adopted this policy, calculating his every move to make life as difficult as possible for his successor — and, as a result, for the Ukrainian people as well.

A key step in Yushchenko’s deliberate campaign of destruction was his decision to sign a law raising salaries and pensions by 20 percent, thus increasing the budget deficit by $9 billion in a single stroke. Right now, Ukraine is bankrupt and survives only with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund. Although the IMF warned that it would cut off its support if Yushchenko signed the law, he signed it anyway at the end of his term, knowing that his successor would have to deal with the severe consequences.

Yushchenko’s term in office proves that the weaker the leader, the more the leader praises the “greatness” of the country. But Yushchenko’s failures do not compromise the idea of democracy; they only compromised his own reputation.

It’s a different story with Yanukovych. Can you imagine U.S. voters putting a leader in the White House who is a puppet of the ruling elite and criminal clans?

Ukraine’s recent election witnessed the convergence of democracy’s two greatest weaknesses — the tendency to fear strong individuals (Tymoshenko) and the tendency to vote for simple-minded people (Yanukovych).

Poor people are capable of feats of bravery and revolution. They can storm the Bastille, overthrow the tsar or stage an Orange Revolution. But impoverished people are incapable of making sober decisions and voting responsibly in a popular election. And this, unfortunately, applies to Russia as well. In the unfair presidential election of 2000, Vladimir Putin emerged the winner.

Who would have won in an honest election? Mayor Yury Luzhkov?

23 responses to “Ukrainians make Democracy look Bad

  1. I expect Yanukovich to come under a great deal of pressure from Moscow, they see him as their man given the fact his power base is in the east of the country where most of the population are ethnic Russians; he will be tested on some fundamental issues.

    Moscow is very keen to bring Ukraine into their customs union alongside Kazakhstan and Belarus claiming (wildly) that this could boost Ukraine’s economy by $90 billion, the problem is none of the custom union members are WTO members, so Ukraine would either have to renegotiate its WTO membership which would be unprecedented and likely to fail, or Ukraine would have to leave the WTO. This would be a devastating backward step locking Ukraine into Russia’s much sort after “sphere of influence.”

    Another big test for Yanukovich will be pressure from Moscow to join the CSTO which consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan this is Moscow’s impotent answer to NATO, I say impotent for good reason did you know that Kyrgyzstan has it written into its constitution a clause that prevents its military acting outside its own boarders, so much for the “sham” CSTO rapid response unit. Ukraine has been given the opportunity to join NATO’s rapid response unit, so Yanukovich has a choice between the two competing forces or neutrality. It will be interesting to see how Yanukovich handles these key issues.

  2. I like the article very much, thanks. Plz see below:
    12 Fundamental Failures of Democracy:
    of
    How Democracy Works in Real Life

    Failure 1. the opinion and desire of the minority is lost
    Failure 2. Parliament increases costs, creates deficits and debts
    Failure 3. Parliament invents new functions (regulations, registrations etc)
    Failure 4. Parliament bargains with resources and power
    Failure 5. Resources are not allocated effectively – who cares about others’ resources?
    Failure 6. Long run discussions and debates making decision-making very slow
    Failure 7. Corruption
    Failure 8. Lobbying and interest groups
    Failure 9. Abuse of power manipulation with legislation
    Failure 10. State interests against private interests
    Failure 11. Elimination and substitution of private responsibility
    Failure 12. Administrative resources used during the elections

    http://www.nesg.net/page.php?id=75
    http://www.nesg.net/page.php?id=74

    • You can find more ‘failures” if you wish. Democracy certainly is not perfect and not a panacea by any stretch. But there is nothing better, is it? Dictatorships and absolutist regimes are definitely more efficient, but who wants this efficiency?

      By the way, the American electoral college system (so much despised by Russians, their sole mates on the European left, and other assorted enemies of the United States) really takes care of your problem No. 1. Many people even say that the desire of the majority is lost.

      • Russians are enemies of the United States???
        Not really.
        Personally i like USA and it’s people very much. Have a lot to thank them for.
        What’s that bad that Russia does to US? I’m seriously asking and would do what i can to stop it.

        • Of course not all 100 million + Russians are the enemies; there are exceptions no doubt. If you are like that, you are such an exception.

          Just go read some of the Russian comments on this board if you don’t know what I mean. But I think you do. Rampant Russian anti-Americanism is clear and next time something pops up, I’ll let you know.

          • [Of course not all 100 million + Russians are the enemies]

            But you can find at least one who is the enemy.
            I’ve heard of few sitting now in the Guantanamo, but those are definitely exception and not quite Russians.

            [Just go read some of the Russian comments on this board if you don’t know what I mean.]

            Judging Russians by comments on the ‘La RUSSOPHOBE’. Are you joking? What if i start judging Americans by their comments here?
            Anyway i don’t remember any comments from an ‘enemy of America’. Some maybe don’t like USA, but do you consider anyone disliking USA as an enemy?

            [Rampant Russian anti-Americanism is clear]
            Who told you that? Kim Zigfeld i guess.

            • You asked if consider anyone disliking the USA as an enemy. No, I don’t, but the Russian comments (including many emanating from the government) go far beyond “dislike.” And your astute observation that “some maybe don’t like USA” has to get some kind of an award for the best understatement of the month!

              As I said, I will point it to you next time a piece of anti-American (and anti-Western) hatred appears. I promise, you are not going to wait too long

            • @I’ve heard of few sitting now in the Guantanamo,

              They were extradited (against their wishes).

              The Story of Seven Men Betrayed by Russia’s Diplomatic Assurances to the United States

              http://www.hrw.org/en/node/10989/section/1

              For seven citizens of Russia, being released from GuantanamoBay in 2004 was far from the end of their troubles. Despite promises to the US government to treat the men humanely upon their return, the Russian authorities have variously harassed, detained, mistreated, and beaten the former Guantanamo detainees since they returned.At this writing, two of them have been tortured and are in prison after investigations and trials that did not meet international fair trial standards; one has been tortured and is in prison awaiting trial; the other four are either abroad or in hiding.Taken together, their stories amount to a powerful indictment of the inept and abusive practices of the Russian criminal justice system.

              • (Since this report, one of those in hiding was also shot dead by the Russian “security” forces.)

                From summary, continued:

                But their stories amount to something more: they also expose the harmful consequences of transferring terrorist suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture.

                Previous Human Rights Watch reports, as well as the work of many other human rights and international organizations, have extensively documented the cruelty of Russian criminal justice.Torture and the denial of the right to a fair trial are endemic in Russian police investigations and trials, and in many ways the treatment of the seven former Guantanamo detainees does not differ significantly from that of many other Russian Muslims who are caught up in the wide dragnet of Russia’s counterterrorism campaign-or indeed, the treatment of anyone unlucky enough to be suspected of a crime in Russia. The experience of these seven men should be viewed in light of Russia’s problematic conduct of the so-called “war on terror,” and its highly abusive criminal justice system. But as seven men marked by the “stamp of Guantanamo” (in the words of one of them), they have endured a particularly harrowing odyssey at the hands of Russian law enforcement.

  3. The Ukraine is rated very high on a possibility of default.

  4. From the Kyiv Post (I can provide a link if necessary):

    The late British writer Douglas Adams once wrote an anecdote on politics that went something like this: There is a country ruled by monkeys. The people hate being ruled by monkeys, and the monkeys hate the people, and they are all rotten at the business of government anyway. Nevertheless, every five years, the people dutifully go to the polls and vote for another monkey to be their leader. When asked “Why don’t you just stop voting for monkeys, if they’re all so awful?” the people reply, “But if we didn’t vote, the wrong monkey might get in.”
    —————————-
    And, indeed, the only choice that Ukraine has had is to vote for monkeys.

    Except that, especially in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Eastern Ukraine, people vote for them robotically.

    Sort of like the Southern “Yellow Dog Democrats” used to do – if a yellow dog ran as a Democrat, they would vote for him.

    Latynina has it almost right.

    Tymoshenko gave as good as she got, and she attacked Yushchenko and his “team” as much as he attacked her.

    It was Yanukovych and the Party of Regions that proposed increasing wages and pensions as a pre-election ploy, not Yushchenko. But, indeed, Yushchenko did sign it into law, because he was cooperating more with the Party of Regions – possibly to find a “soft landing” for himself.

    Tymoshenko hired the Blackstone Group (you can Google them – a group of Harvard types) at about $16 million to “advise” Ukraine on its dealings with the IMF.

    That appears to have been a waste of money.

    What Latynina fails to note is that overlaying the presidential election is still a hugely debilitating oligarchic system of government.

    The people appear to be demanding that it go away, but the oligarchs won’t let go.

    And the oligarchs are not limited to the Party of Regions, but that’s where most of them are.

    Now, the effort is for the Party of Regions to round up votes in Parliament to get rid of Tymoshenko through so-called “перебіжчики” – “runners over to the other side.”

    For oligarchs, and their minions, it’s common to switch sides many times, just to stay in power. It’s sick.

    The presidential election was very, very close, and Tymoshenko is now challenging the voting results in 1200 voting districts – by legal means.

    “Home voting” is one problem – there was a huge percentage of “home voting” in the eastern regions, where the Party of Regions has a political machine “worthy” of Chicago’s Richard Daley or the Kennedy’s – only more so.

    Busing of assorted people, and ballot stuffing and disappearing ink appear to be other problems.

    Crimea was a trouble spot.

    In some areas, there was as much as an 8% “against all” vote – a very puzzling sovok leftover. Nevertheless, it shows that distrust and disgust that people have with the oligarch system of government.

    Ukraine made a very poor choice for president.

    But the West is praising Ukraine for making the choice with “free and fair elections.”

    It’s almost like saying “the operation was a success, but the patient died.”

    Ukraine does not yet have a fully developed democracy – but they’re still headed that way.

    Unlike Putler and roosha.

  5. Just to clarify:

    “the operation was a success, but the patient died”

    For the most part, the voting in Ukraine was free and fair, but we will find out whether Tymoshenko’s challenges – in accordance with legal norms – will be upheld. So far, there seems to be a valid basis for many of the challenges.

    “but the patient died”

    Too bad that Ukrainians elected an illiterate criminal (неграмотний) as president – one who was involved in falsifying the vote in 2004.

    1887 criminal cases opened as a result of the vote fraud in 2004 – and none of them prosecuted.

    The whole system in Ukraine is set up to support and protect about 30 oligarchs and their henchmen. It needs to be changed.

    See “From Prison to President” in the Kyiv Post:

    http://blog.kievukraine.info/2010/02/from-prison-to-president.html

  6. I thought it would be fun to trot out the “Bushenko” posters from the 2004 election, as well as the “Top Secret CIA – Yushchenko” materials.

    http://orangeukraine.squarespace.com/pics/pre-election-smear/

    You can click on each picture to enlarge:

    http://orangeukraine.squarespace.com/pics/pre-election-smear/

    Of course, Kuchma/Yanukovych/Party of Regions were behind all of that – with the help of the Kremlin.

    • How interesting. Looks like Yanukovych people behave like the Republicans in USA who portray Barak Obama as Hitler:

      • If you were an American, you would know that this is not coming from mainstream Republicans or conservatives. I am saying this a as a lifelong card-carrying Democrat who does not buy Republican message or ideas.

        This is coming from some fringe groups like an extreme element in the “tea party” movement and such. Well, this is democracy, and the President just has to swallow this criticism, patently unfair that it is. Your preferred Russian method of arrest is not of use to us.

  7. There was not a single instance of McCain or the Republicans portraying Obama as Hitler, and you are LYING, arthur.

    Obama is, however, portrayed as a socialist, and even his own apologists admit he is a “European socialist” – as if that makes everything OK. It doesn’t.

    Latynina got one other thing wrong.

    Yushchenko did not “engage Tymoshenko in a heated polemic over the Holodomor.”

    In fact, they both ended up going to the Holodomor memorial together in commemorative ceremonies.

    The “heated polemic” about the Holodomor, stalin’s mass murder of Ukrainians by forced starvation, came from the Kremlin and from roosha and from all the brainwashed sovok idiots who still believe the stalinist-sovok propaganda.

    • [There was not a single instance of McCain]

      Why do you brinmg up McCain? I never said anything about him, did I?

      [ or the Republicans portraying Obama as Hitler, and you are LYING, arthur.]

      No, it is you who is LYING as usual:

      http://www.americablog.com/2008/11/congressman-compares-obama-to-hitler.html

      A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

      “It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force,” Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. ”

      “That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did,” Broun said.

      http://firedoglake.com/2009/07/09/jim-demint-is-latest-republican-to-compare-obama-to-hitler/

      Jim DeMint is Latest Republican to Compare Obama to Hitler

      DeMint joins Paul Broun, the Jacksonville GOP and the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County who’ve done the Obama’s-just-like-Hitler thing.

      James Warren DeMint (born September 2, 1951) has been a United States Senator from South Carolina since 2005.

  8. You are a lying snake.

    You pasted in the headline – but DeMint did not make any comparison to Hitler – he referred to Germany BEFORE hitler.

    Second, the Jacksonville GOP withdrew their support of a proposed rally where comparisons of Obama to hitler were to be staged.

    Third, the Maryland women’s group apparently did make the Obama-hitler comparison, specifically the blitzkrieg technique, referring to the attempt of the Democrats to shove through a health care bill in a very short period of time, relying on their then majority in both houses of Congress.

    None of that relates to the election in Ukraine.

    You are a LYING moron.

  9. The same Jews who did the anti-democratic “Orange Revolution” are now complaining about a lack of “Ukrainian democracy”. That’s rich… And predictable.

    Chutzpah as per usual.

  10. “But the West is praising Ukraine for making the choice with “free and fair elections.”

    Another Jewish “Orange Revolution” coup is what you prescribe, right?

  11. [This is coming from some fringe groups like an extreme element in the “tea party” movement and such.]

    Tea Party is extreme only by European, Canadian and other civilised standards. In USA, Tea Party is the second most popular party:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/poll-tea-party-outpolls-republicans-on-generic-ballot.php

    A new Rasmussen poll suggests that the Tea Party movement is far and away more popular than the Republican Party it seeks to influence

    The results: Democratic 36%, Tea Party 23%, Republican 18%. Another 22% are undecided.
    ……………….

    However, don’t worry: no party, not even Tea Party, can succeed in USA because of the anti-democratic laws that give the two ruling elite parties – Democrats and Republican – monopolistic strangle on power in USA:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/poll-tea-party-outpolls-republicans-on-generic-ballot.php

    “In practical terms, it is unlikely that a true third-party option would perform as well as the polling data indicates,” the analysis says. “The rules of the election process — written by Republicans and Democrats — provide substantial advantages for the two established major parties.”

  12. It is easy for the West to sit in judgement now on Ukraine and enumerate
    the many deficiencies of Ukraine’s democracy and it’s leadership .
    Where was the West when Ukraine applied for NATO membership ?
    Why , in spite of president Bush’s ardent support to admit Ukraine ,
    countries like Germany , France , Italy , Hungary and a few others ,
    were cowed by the Kremlin Krowd into voting against Ukraine and
    Georgia . Especially telling is the excuse Germany offered ; ” Ukraine
    is not ready ” . Yet Germany , that was admited into the Alliance in
    1955 , was ” ready ” ? This a scant decade AFTER Germany STARTED
    the greatest disaster in human history , which in terms of human
    sacrifice and property loss is still uncalculable , that Germany was ” ready ” . The Germany that invented all sorts of creative ways to
    exterminate human beings by the millions , that Germany was
    ” ready ” . The Germany that excelled in imprisoning millions in
    concentration camps , second only to those of their past and present
    partners , the russians , that Germany , was ” ready ” . This same Germany , whose acting premier let’s himself be bought , like a cheap whore , by the thugs in the Kremlin , that Germany is ” ready ” . The
    Germany which is trying to blame an 91 year old INNOCENT victom
    of the crimes GERMANY perpetrated , that Germany was ready !
    If this is what the West stands for , if these are the ” democratic
    values ” that Europe espouses , than Ukraine is better of without
    such ” role models ” . Sooner or later , perhaps in another generation ,
    or the next , Ukraine will achieve true and lasting democracy , it
    will become a respected and valued member of the European family .
    Neither the thugs in the Kremlin nor their lackeys like Germany , France , etc., will be able to prevent it from happening .

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