Monday, November 29, 2004

A Uke here and an American there agree 

I got a note this evening from Lileks' friend Andriy, known in the Bleat as "the crazy Uke" (not Ute, Hugh*) with comments about the events there.
So far, my only complaint is the two main MSM meme's about "disputed results" and "divided country". The results are not in dispute, everyone knows they're more crooked than Billy's willy. ... The "divided country" b.s. is a convenient, albeit irresponsibly lazy play on the blue state/red state formula reflective of the American election. In Ukraine the division is not so much between the "Ukrainian nationalist" west and "industrial Russian-speaking" east as it is between freedom seeking and downtrodden masses and the criminally corrupt mafia (i.e. communist) based oligarchs.

The question that begs to be asked in this context is how does a nation that was a founding member of the U.N. find itself bifurcated on the basis of language? The answer of course is simple and direct. After 70 years of genocide, terror, privation, deportation, war and Russification what language would you be speaking? The notion that Ukraine cannot survive intact is purely a construct of Putin and the Ukrainophobes in Moscow that will, at any cost, endeavor to maintain control over Ukraine's people, economy and resources.

He's echoed by this post at Le Sabot Post-Moderne (quoted in full)

One of the tragic things I see developing is that the Western media narrative seems to be falling into a US vs. Russia play. And I'm seeing more and more commentary in that vein on the web. So few seem to grasp that this is about an entire system, not about an election. Yes, the people are rallying for Yushchenko, but it goes so, so much deeper than that.

The events in Ukraine are about a people fighting free of the grayness, corruption, abuse and fatalism of the post-Soviet era. All of you, Right or Left, need to see them as people. Yes, there are geopolitical ramifications. But they should be so incredibly secondary to the humanity of the Ukrainian people -- these are flesh and blood human beings who are fighting to be free of a vicious, grinding system.

People are proud to be Ukrainian, proud that their country is now known for something other than mafia, dead journalists, and corruption. People who a week ago were convinced of their own powerlessness are now standing fearlessly, singing together, "We are many, we are one, we can't be stopped!"

Can anyone be so dead of heart not to find this beautiful?

As I suggested in this post a week ago, the question is whether Ukraine would take the Georgian or Armenian model of reaction to a stolen election? Georgia (without Abkhazia) and Armenia have far fewer ethnic Russians as a share of their population, and the deciding factors in those countries had nothing to do with split or unsplit ethnolingustics. It had everything to do with people who had decided they had had enough. It makes me think we Armenians might be the Cub fans of the post-Soviet world, we seem to put up with so much crap from our own leadership; Ukraine getting real democracy will be a bigger surprise than the Red Sox were.

*--word is Hugh will soon retire to the Utah.