It’s strange to think that it’s only a week since Ukraine exploded into the world’s attention. It’s also pretty incredible to think that for most of that week temperatures in Ukraine have been around and (mostly) below freezing, yet so much of this has been made on the streets.
One thing that’s been true thtorughout the crisis is that we’ve had a lot of false climaxes – times when we thought everything was building up to a resolution of some sort – either good or bad – yet someone, somewhere, stepped back from the line and everything continued. Today could be yet another of those, with everyone waiting for the Supreme Court to decide on Yuschenko’s appeal, yet news reports over the weekend indicated that this isn’t simply one case, but a lot of little cases grouped together, each relating to a different charge of electoral fraud with the potential of there being a ruling due on each separate case. We could be here for the long haul waiting for them.
Another new news source for you – Obozrevatel has begun an English language site (via Neeka, who has a few updates of her own) while the Guardian pulls its head out of its own backside and prints a good comment piece from Nick Paton Walsh, who’s actually in Kiev.
There’s a comment I saw when I was looking through blogs – and I now can’t remember where I read it – that said the media outside Ukraine are being a lot more sceptical and pessimistic than comments from within the country, both from professional media and bloggers. It is certainly something I’ve noticed and seems to be heightened today with the secessionist threats of the east (and Yuschenko’s response) getting more attention outside than inside. As I’ve said before (and as Jon Edelstein noted in the comments on Scott’s post below) I think this is as much a negotiating ploy as a threat, using the ‘we’ll take our ball home if we can’t play with it’ argument. The problem for the secessionists is that they’re trying to push the issue too far, too fast (such as Donetsk’s threat to hold a referendum on the issue on this coming Sunday) to even pretend to be having a proper, democratic debate on the subject and thus losing the chance of there being any international recognition of their actions – outside parts of the CIS, anyway.
And the quick runround of the latest – there’s far too much new stuff on Le Sabot to link to it all, but his views on anti-semitism and the opposition are worth reading if you don’t have the time to look at everything, Foreign Notes looks at possible outcomes, the Kyiv Post remains as one of the best news sites for the crisis at present, there’s a roundup from the SCSU Scholars, and more reports from Orange Ukraine, Obdymok is at a slightly new location, Registan looks at the effect the events in Ukraine may have in the Central Asian republics and I have to link to this Dan Drezner post just for its description of John Laughland’s British Helsinki Human Rights Group:
Basically, BHHRG is what would exist if a cartoon version of Edmund Burke were divined into existence and asked to monitor elections in regions outside Western Christendom.
More later, when we should have heard something from the Supreme Court.
Just a quick Update: An interesting article from the Chicago Sun-Times about a Chicago judge’s experience of acting as an election observer: “I’ve seen Chicago elections, but that was shocking.”
The Yorkshire Ranter also looks at the emergence of the protest movements, and points out that they’re not an ‘American creation’ as some have alleged, but can trace their lineage back to Solidarity and others.