Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ukraine

Were I a citizen of Ukraine, I would vote for Yuschenko, that's for sure -- like most educated young and young-ish Ukrainians. As I see it from up North, Yusch's problem is that Western Ukraine supports him all too ardently. The West is the most economically backward, the most rabidly chauvinistic and anti-Russian bit of Ukraine that almost managed to hijack the Ukrainian nationalist cause without a slightest right to represent all of the country.

That scares moderate and/or Russophone and/or bilingual Ukrainians. (Not to mention the West is Uniate while most of Ukraine is nominally Orthodox.) If Western Ukraine belonged to Poland now as it did before 1939 and Molotov--Ribbentrop, Yuschenko would have two or three million votes less there but easily five more in the center and East of the country.

Putin apparently supports Yuschenko's opponent, Victor Yanukovich, but I'm sure Moscow is talking secretly to Yusch as well. The Kremlin must be trying to hedge its bets.

Unlike Russia, Ukraine has not gone through its Yeltsin period, with bouts of rapid liberalization and lightening-speed, corruption-driven privatization. There must still be plenty of room still left for future disappointment in the hearts of Ukrainian voters.

1 comment:

Veronica Khokhlova said...

I apologize for quoting from myself in a reply to you, but I've just posted a pretty long entry on my own blog on the language issue and how it affects Ukrainian politics. Here's part of it:

"I have mixed feelings about [this] post. On the one hand, I'm grateful to [you] for one of [your] perceptions of Yushchenko's electorate: "most educated young and young-ish Ukrainians." I consider myself one of those. But I think it's a contradiction to follow it up with a disclaimer: "Western Ukraine supports [Yushchenko] all too ardently." This other perception of half the country as "the most rabidly chauvinistic and anti-Russian bit of Ukraine" is, at best, a generalization. It's like saying that the majority of Russians who voted for Putin in March this year and for his party last year are rabid chauvinists because they didn't want to see the non-Russian opposition leaders ruling their country: after all, Irina Khakamada is half-Japanese, Boris Nemtsov is a Jew and Grigoriy Yavlinsky is a Jew originally from Lviv, Western Ukraine. Maybe this is indeed part of the reason Putin, a Russian, is so popular in [Russia], but it's still not as simple as that. Nor is it as simple in Ukraine."

Again, sorry for not replying to you first - I had too much to say and didn't want to address it all to you. I love your blog.

Thanks,
Veronica