Sunday, November 28, 2004

Late night ultimata 

It's early Monday morning in Ukraine, and here's the links you need overnight. I'll do a more analytical post in the morning when I don't have a head full of my students' senior theses (only five to go, thanks for asking!)

It seems to me that the Kuchma government, with presumably the approval of its candidate Yanukovych, has been moving military forces and buses of supporters towards Kyiv. Sometimes they get stopped; sometimes they show up, display their force, and then back off. I agree with Le Sabot that this isn't just the Yushchenko people blowing smoke. What we cannot be certain of is what kind of force can be deployed at this point.

Yanukovych was in Severodonetsk, hanging with his peeps as it were. The separatist talks have indeed continued, which is what is provoking Yushchenko to ask for charges to be filed. Non Tibi Spiro has a skeptical discussion of the legalities of Yushchenko's demand. I think it's all about getting Yanukovych away from the levers of power that come with being PM.

Someone got me to mention Abkhazia as a parallel in a comment. Like clockwork, here's an article published Sunday expanding on that thought. Things have not gone well where Putin has meddled. The Moscow Times carries a story with the comparisons between Ukraine and Georgia.
...the Ukrainian and Georgian events differ most strikingly in terms of the breadth of support for the protesters. Even the most optimistic exit polls of the Ukrainian opposition revealed that it enjoyed only a slight majority of the voters. The population was deeply divided along regional and ethnic lines, something that correlated with differences over whether the country should cast its lot with the West or with Russia.
Several observers think this means separation is likely. I just don't see, still, what the Russians gain taking in Donetsk and Luhansk, but there's little doubt they still covet Crimea (remember, it was Russian until 1954.) It already has greater autonomy than other areas. So that might be a prize Russia can collect with a Yushchenko victory, but it would be vigorously fought.

See also Reuben Johnson's excellent piece in the Weekly Standard on the Russian role.

So Yushchenko, through his "right hand" Yulia Tymoshenko, has decided to issue a series of demands to be met by the end of Monday. Chiefly, they want Kuchma to fire Yanukovych, the governors in the separatist states, and the Central Election Committee.
If the demands are not met, we will begin blocking with people the movements of Kuchma himself on the territory of Ukraine. We know where he is and how he is moving about. And we are able to ensure that he will not make a single step without complying with our demands.
I swear, she gets the best lines. The most important thing is that the attention is turning from Yanukovych to Kuchma, which is a clear indication of where they believe the obstruction is. Kuchma has tried to stand in the middle and look like a third party to this, which is of course incorrect. So the opposition is going to be sure the two are put on the same side of the line, across from the Orangists, and make each responsible for the acts of the other. Foreign Notes weighs Kuchma's options.

Lastly, a salute for Natalya Dmitruk.

When the anchorwoman for Ukraine's state-owned television station UT-1 reported Thursday morning that Viktor Yanukovych had officially been declared the winner of the presidential election, Natalya Dmitruk staged a silent protest.

Dmitruk, shown in the bottom righthand corner of the screen wearing an orange ribbon indicating her support for opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, told viewers in sign language that she considered the Nov. 21 election a farce.

"I am addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine," Dmitruk signed. "Our president is Yushchenko. Don't believe what they say. They are lying."

Its time for me to learn sign language. The first word to learn will be "courage".

Remember WEAR ORANGE MONDAY! Razom Ukraina!