The morning after

Well, it’s been another quiet night in Ukraine, but the demonstrations have continued again today – the live feed shows that Independence Square is full of people again with hundreds of orange flags flying.

There have been a lot of updates on Maidan overnight, mainly of protests and rallies around the world, and still the rumours about Russian troops continue. The main news there, and at the Kyiv Post are of the call for a general strike by Yuschenko.
Louise Ferguson has an email from a Ukrainian academic that’s being forwarded around the world which makes for interesting reading. The key line, when talking about the election fraud is ‘I couldn’t remember such things even during the period of Soviet regime.‘ (the full text is below the fold)
BBC News has a short rundown of the faults with the election process identified by the election observers.
Elsewhere the EU/Russia summit will go on today with Ukraine on the agenda – it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of there, and I suspect much will remain on hold until that is over. However, the EU’s mediators should be in Kiev by now, which means things will be going on behind the scenes that we won’t notice.
On the ground, there are blog updates from Neeka, Obdymok, several from Le Sabot, Foreign Notes and continuing posts from Victor at the Periscope.

I’ll try and update the news as often as I can today, but I’m a lot busier today than I was yesterday, so hopefully some of my Fistful colleagues will take up some of the slack. I think it will be quieter today – though rumours will still fly – mainly because all the action will be taking place behind the scenes either in The Hague or Kiev.

Update: A couple of peope have asked for background information on the ethnic and nationalistic divisions in Ukraine. Well, like many issues of national identity in Europe, the answer is ‘do you want the long story, or the really long story?’ but for an overview there’s good article in today’s Independent and Wikipedia is a good web source – you can start with their Ukraine page and follow links from there.
In my roundup earlier, I also forgot to mention that Harry’s Place has links to articles on attempts by the current Ukrainian administration to get support in Washington. Harry also links to a good Timothy Garton Ash article in The Guardian.

From City of Bits:

The following email was sent to Lance Strate at Fordham University. It comes from a Ukrainian academic. I have removed her surname.

Hi, Lance
please pass my e-mail to all who want to know what is going on in my country now.

Today is the first day after the second tour of our elections. You cannot imagine what is going here right now! I think nobody knows what can happen in the nearest future. Almost all of my friends and relatives didn’t sleep at all last night watching TV.

We have something like information blockade on the real facts. The only independent channel here is The Fifth Channel, its journalists gained their right to tell the truth by going on hunger-strike but the president and premier tried to block it up. Many journalists of other channels quit their jobs because they did not want to be engaged in falsifications and tell lies to their audience..

You cannot imagine what kind of falsification our premier (imprisoned for two times for violent acts and rape!) resorts to. Now we have various military troops round Kyiv and inside it as well as in Lviv. Last weekend the train with BTR and tanks arrived to our city.

But the worst was during the calculation of the voting. The regime forced people to go and vote for their candidate, they would beat people, there were numerous attempts to steal boxes with bulletins. The voters organized by themselves guarding of their election districts. Two policemen were cruelly beaten and one killed when they tried to resist to groups of bands organized by premier who try to become PRESIDENT.

In Donets’k (an Eastern region where Yanukovych’s rating is the highest) more than 100% (!!!) of voters participated in the elections.

There were attempts to steal election boxes, to burn them or to destroy them.

Those who work in public offices were ordered to vote for Yanukovych under the threat of dismissal and some person on high public level were ordered to vote for him under the threat of death.

Many students were kicked out of universities for their participation in the pre-election activities on the side of Yuschenko. Many journalists were beaten and their cameras were broken just because they wanted to be present at the elections districts. Even in Lviv where 93% voted for Yuschenko, some people tried to burn the boxes with bulletins and somebody put acid into the box which also destroyed the bulletins. All these things were organized in the regions where people voted mostly for Yuschenko.

I couldn’t remember such things even during the period of Soviet regime.

Revolution is about to burst out in our country. All over Ukraine people are going on meeting and strikes to protect their choice. The world doesn’t have any moral right to stand aside keeping silent.

This is not a conflict between two personalities, this is a clash of two worldviews, of criminals and honest people, of the Ukrainian nation, which has made its choice and the ruling clique, which doesn’t want to give up the power.

Nearly to the last days we had the lack of information about everything going on in our country in world press. This is the kind of problem that cannot be handled by our country single-handedly, since freedom of speech in Ukraine leaves much to be desired. That is why we really lack truthful, balanced and reliable information about what is going on in our country.

Your President says that your country is against terrorism. And what about crime as a state policy? Does he think it is less dangerous?

I want to ask you to pass my e-mail to all the people in your country who can have influence on the situation in our country.

Hope everything would be not so terrible as it looks now.

Nataliya