I'll get to the latest talk of electoral fraud in the U.S. soon -- I have a local story that needs telling -- but there's a bigger travesty
afoot in Ukraine after the runoff elections yesterday. The worst possible outcome, as one observer called it: a close win for the current government's successor candidate, Viktor Yanukovych. The opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, has called for peaceful protests. Exit polls indicated that Yuschenko was up 11 points
, but we all know about exit polls. Still, there is ample evidence of fraud. For example, one province known to be favorable to Yanukovych has reported turnout of 96%, with more than 100% in many areas within it. Senator Richard Lugar, representing the U.S. as an observer
, has called out the Kuchma government.
It is now apparent that a concerted and forceful program of election day fraud
and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental
The OSCE is similarly concerned
I have a Ukrainian student in the department and we talked briefly Friday about the election. We were both concerned that this worse possible outcome would happen. I have not seen him today, but I'm sure he's as concerned as I am that a dark period in Ukraine's brief democratic history will occur. I've been expecting it since I wrote my book on Ukraine
-- countries in "kleptocratic traps" seem to find some low-growth equilibrium.
My earlier thoughts on the election are here