Thursday, December 02, 2004

So did anything good happen?  

Seroda pivnich (Weds. midnight my time)

I think more realism is coming to people about the events in Ukraine. Nick at Fistful of Euros wonders what exactly was gotten in this agreement -- his post has ten questions that are all good ones you'd think there were answers to. The Kyiv Post shows that they are unanswered. Le Sabot gives a sobering view:
You also have to remember that Yushchenko isn't the democracy movement, and the movement isn't Yushchenko. The protesters have been docile so far, but Yushchenko doesn't have carte blanche in negotiating. They could choose to take unilateral action. PLEASE NOTE for the record that I am in no way threatening or advocating any sort of specific direct action.
Noted, but also noted is that without Yushchenko there isn't a vehicle available to transport the movement anywhere. You have to be realistic here -- there is not another person to carry forward the Orangists at this time. They could develop one perhaps, but presuming the new elections are snap ones, they've got no time. Dance with who brung ya.

And usually cheerful Veronica is more morose.
Yushchenko's handshake with Yanukovych might have been part of a real victor's behavior (as opposed to the meanest way in which those fake victors acted during the meeting at the Central Election Commission, forcing the opposition to huddle in the corner of the room) - but it was still a handshake someone worthy of respect offered to someone who deserves nothing but contempt. And, just like last Friday, Yulia Tymoshenko did not stand next to Yushchenko when he was addressing the crowd - she wasn't there at all. Maybe it's part of some bigger plan that would eventually bring Yushchenko to presidency and all those people back into their warm homes. But the way it's being presented to us doesn't seem completely adequate. I hope I'm wrong.
I've not called it a rollercoaster for nothing!

I was out most of the evening singing with my church's band, and the music was good and I was happy, and I wondered why (I won't bore you with details but the workday today was a , well, rollercoaster.) I thought about tonight's post and was not with furrowed brow. Why? I think two things happened today that could be really really good for Ukraine if I'm right.

First, Yushchenko has a working majority in the Parliament, thought as of yet fragile. We learned that when they voted to give Yanukovych the sack. We do not know how big a majority it is since probably some of those who did not attend the session today will eventually join a Yushchenko coalition, and we had last Saturday's vote when over three hundred voted to declare the second round invalid -- that would be the upper limit on the size of his coalition. Fifty five of them were Communists, so figure they're out. That gives you a range between 229 and 245. But it's there. The speaker of the Rada, Lytvyn, is the catch in this game; he's currently in line to define the caretaker government until the re-voting, and figures to play a prominent role here. This is significant -- since the PM is the president's appointee, there is no reason for the parliament to accept the PM's program, which would damage the chance of any Yushchenko reforms should he prevail. If the majority held through the approval of a reform program, the one-year abeyance on votes of no-confidence would give Yushchenko some breathing room. (I realize this sounds like I'm getting ahead of myself, but there isn't much point in having a reformist president who can't do anything, is there?)

Second, though we must wait for the Supreme Court's decision, we now may have the first signs that an independent judiciary is taking hold. Both sides agreed to wait for the court's decision, and we'd expect they will abide by the results. I suppose I could take Neeka's pessimism and think the court will screw the opposition, or that the decision goes for Yushchenko and then the bad guys use force. But given the choice between cutting a deal with Kuchma, who looks more and more like a guy with a foot out the door (with rumors swirling of Yeltsinesque drinking) , and creating a real judiciary with power to enforce a constitution, which would they choose? For tonight, I choose to be optimistic about that. (Thurs. AM update: Scott Clark, a lawyer in Kyiv, agrees while and the Court continues to reject Yanukovych appeals.

The other Thurs. AM news I see -- Kuchma appears to have gone to visit Putin according to UNIAN news service. Hmmm.)