Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Getting uglier 

In Ukraine this PM, President Kuchma is telling both sides to sit down and negotiate after his prime minister's disputed electoral victory was certified (in record time, but by 11 of its 15 members according to a radio report) by the Central Election Committee. The U.S. is rejecting the announcement. Captain Ed says good for them:
Kudos to the Bush Administration for standing on principle, rather than allowing themselves to get massaged by Vladimir Putin.
Ed is less correct, I fear, about the delegitimation of Yanukovych if the troops are used (whether the troops are Russian or Ukrainian). The country has a history of tension between its east and west. In Kyiv one could speak Russian without difficulty, but in the western half, in places like Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk, Russian was frowned upon. Likewise, an attempt to align a Yanukovych-led Ukraine with Russia would potentially lead to civil war between the two states, returning Ukraine to its post-World War I past. It's noteworthy that along with Kyiv, the four major cities of western Ukraine have pledged allegiance to Yushchenko; the troops stationed there are likely to act on his behalf rather than of the Kuchma government if it comes to war.

And Kuchma knows this, so reports have come forward that Russian troops are landing in western Ukraine right now.

It appears both Yanukovych and Kuchma now want Yushchenko to come in and talk. So far there is no agreement to this, but Yushchenko has already indicated that annulment of the Sunday results is the way to end this. My read is, he won't settle for less. With Yanukovych saying he will not accept a "fictitious victory", perhaps the way out is at hand. Perhaps.

Much stuff to read -- more tonight.

UPDATE: Couldn't resist postings from Maidan: Nationwide strike called for tomorrow.
"The struggle is just starting!" proclaimed Victor Yuschenko commenting on the decision made by the Central Elections Committee.Oleksandr Moroz who followed him on the stage called for country-wide political strike.
Like I said before, he isn't taking anything less than an annulment of the election. They are also creating a Committee of National Salvation. More troops are throwing in with Yushchenko. How many Russians will Putin send?

Kuchma, as usual, is leaning hard on the independent stations to stop reporting news.

UPDATE: (4pm) Text of Yuschenko's speech. Money quote:
The state authorities did what we expected of them. It is wriggling like a grass-snake on a pitchfork. It will not pause before any illegal activities to carry out its grand scheme, to complete the coup d'�tat. I would like to say firmly: this news, this information has led me onto another thought. I would like to swear to you today that my fight against this regime would now only become stronger and more consistent.
Classic Viktor Andreaovich, holds back the strike announcement until the next-to-last sentence. Kuchma has to know now this is a fight. The question now is whether Ukraine goes like Azerbaijan and Armenia, where stolen elections were met with despair, or like Georgia, who threw out the corrupt Shevrednadze.

Now we wait. It's up to the people.