Waiting, waiting

After such a busy week in Ukraine, it seems to have become almost quiet over the last day or so, but that’s mainly because the focus of the action has moved away from the streets (though the protestors – from both sides – remain, and show no sign of leaving) to the Supreme Court and, today, the Parliament as well, which will be debating (and if Saturday’s vote is anything to go on, approving) a vote of no confidence in Yanukovich as Prime Minister.

There are various explanations for Kuchma’s offer of new elections last night. For instance, one could think that it means he feels the Court is about to rule in such a way as to make Yuschenko President and he sees it at as the least worst option, another is that it’s for him to be seen being magnanimous and can then claim that the opposition refused his ‘generous offer’ when clamping down on the protests or there’s also the idea that he’s done it to make sure he’s got another six months in office. There is already speculation that a new election might feature a different government candidate than Yanukovich – Neeka has a translation of an article talking about Tyhipko in this regard.

Another Parliament is set to discuss Ukraine – alongside the biometric passports issue Tobias discusses below, the European Parliament will be discussing the issue at its session tomorrow. Maidan has details of a rally to take place outside during the session.

Elsewhere in the media, Salon has an interview (subscription or ad viewing required) with the editor of Ukrayinskya Pravda and David Aaronovitch continues the Guardian civil war with an expose of John Laughland and the British Helsinki Human Rights Group. Update: See Doug’s comment below for an interesting analysis of the BHHRG’s position.

And on the blogs, there are lots of new posts on Foreign Notes, Le Sabot has a picture of a result sheet from the election which seemingly shows vote-rigging, as well as other updates there are more photos from Neeka – and send some good thoughts her way as her camera now seems to be broken – and Crroked Timber’s Henry Farrell has a post on the OSCE’s role in spreading democracy.

7 thoughts on “Waiting, waiting

  1. Well, this is a district of just 2500 voters not a whole country or even an oblast, or even a city. This could be a concrete high-rise housing complex with entirely scared-of-the-Baltic-script Russian inhabitants.

    With the strong regional differences (see above 90% vote for both Yushchenko in the West and Yanukovych in the East) and unfair media, I am not at all convinced that this is evidence for fraud – unlike the bussed-around absentee-balloters, the jump in the number of names on voter rolls, and such things.

  2. …I am talking about the linked Le Sabot post.

    On other issues – will someone at AFOE write about the Hungarian plebiscite this weekend?

  3. About the privatisation of hospitals, and (this is the dangerous issue) double citizenship for ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary.

    For more details, read the post I just put up on my own blog, or a bit shorter version I put into the Comments to Tobias’s “In Other Important News” post below.

  4. British Helsinki Human Rights Group: The _Guardian_ piece is interesting, but IMO it misses a key point about that curious organization:

    The British Helsinki Human Rights Group looks, sounds, and acts like it’s being supported by Russian money. Russian nationalist money.

    (N.B., I’m not saying it /is/. Just that it acts exactly like it is.)

    Yes, it’s an apologist for nasty regimes. But only for Russophile nasty regimes. Governments that are hostile to Russia get criticized, nasty or not; ones that are Russia-friendly get a bye from BHHRG, whatever else they may be doing.

    Pick any issue in the former USSR or Eastern Europe. Now model the Russian nationalist point of view. Voila: you know exactly where the BHHRG will stand.

    The Baltic States? Crypto-fascists and porn-addicted degenerates who grotesquely oppress their Russian minorities.

    NATO? Malevolent, imperialist, expansionist, inherently warlike.

    Transnistria? Sweet and innocent backwater inhabited by kindly-faced peasants, “many of whom still grow their own food”.

    Chechnya? Land full of evil, evil people who inexplicably hate Russians.

    Kaliningrad? Neglected tourist paradise.

    Putin? Misunderstood and maligned, almost Christ-like in his humility and patience. (I am not exaggerating. Sort through some of the recent BHHRG “reports”, if you have the stomach for it.)

    Abkhazia? Sturdy free people who have escaped from Georgian oppression.

    Bulgaria? They could have been great, but instead they chose to join NATO and the EU. Now they’re all heroin addicts and gangsters who read hardcore porn when they’re not shooting at each other across the garbage-strewn landscape.

    Pause for a moment and imagine a Russian nationalist’s take on Albanians, OSCE, China, Turkey, Serbia, or the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Well, there’s a BHHRG report saying…

    It’s really striking.

    (Even more striking is what they ignore. If there’s no Russian interest, they’re probably not interested either. And if it reflects badly on Russia, forget about it. Minority issues in Putin’s Russia? Just fine, thanks.)

    They’re also fond of quoting anonymous but ubiquitous “observers”, who seem a lot like Thomas Friedman’s taxi drivers.

    Laughland is yoked in harness there with a guy named Mark Almond, who was once an OK pop historian (he wrote a decent biography of Ceausescu) but who seems to have been taken by the Brain Eater sometime in the early ’90s.

    Anyhow, it’s no surprise that BHHRG is going completely nuts over Ukraine. Short of a western-supported street revolution in Moscow itself, I can’t imagine anything that would rile them more.

    Doug M.

  5. Doug – interesting points. I was just looking at the BHHRG’s site and noticed something interesting – they still use the old Georgian flag rather than the new ‘five crosses’ one (which has been the flag since January). It could be just an oversight, but it’s interesting to note that the flag was associated with the Rose Revolution (and has been seen recently on the streets of Kiev, of course).

  6. BHHRG indeed looks like a Russian psy-ops front.

    On the other hand, that 96.0% vote for Shaakashvili with the 82.8% participation was just too reminiscent of the numbers of Heydar Aliyev’s 1993 election.

Comments are closed.