Friday, December 10, 2004


Sobering reflection

*sigh* I am really glad that I took a good look at the articles that the Guardian has been posting about Ukraine. After the Steele and Laughland articles that have been widely circulated at this point, it was refreshing to see that their coverage really is quite balanced. They've allowed people with very different assessments of what's been driving this "revolution" to air their views.

A really great piece by James Meek gives a balanced and thoughtful perspective on the views of interviewees in L'viv, Kyiv and Donetsk.,15569,1370514,00.html

Right now I am not sure what to think about all this. I've spent the last two hours reading sobering comments and articles about the "orange revolution" on leftist weblogs. Last night's post was an immediate and emotional reaction driven by my inability to understand their doubts regarding the massive fraud that I in part witnessed in this country.

But it's also important to underscore that they were right in pointing out that the informational blockade in the east, e.g. rumored to have no access of "opposition" or "independent" media outlets, is really two-sided. What the Eastern Ukrainian protestors articulate is not the position of a majority of people in those regions. Moreover, their arguments that western funding of the NGO sector and independent/oppositional media outlets has been a visible intrusion, do have factual grounding. (All one has to do is look at George Soros' Ukrainian Renaissance Foundation website to get the ball rolling. I do think that their overemphasis on this point remains problematic.

PORA, the most visible activist movement, started off being funded by a Canadian foundation (according to a press conference they gave during the Mukachevo elections in April), but now claims to be funded primarily by private and anonymous donors. One friend has a theory that this is a project of Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian oligarch, orchestrated just to get back at Putin.

Today, I feel like if this was happening in any country other than Ukraine, that I would not be so inclined to contend with the left. Today, I am, on the one hand, convinced that what spawned these protests was the ubiquitous pressure and coercion on voters, journalists, territorial and polling station commissioners, students, professors, parents, factory workers, doctors, patients, etc. On the other hand, I am also fighting the sinking feeling that Ukraine remains a geopolitial playground for the US, the EU and Russia.
All of it must be pieced together to get the full picture of what's been happening here, especially given the "pacted" solution found by the parliamentarians a few days ago. At this point, all that I can say, is that everything has happened so quickly that all of us are still in the process of piecing all of it together. Hopefully the lively dialogue that has emerged will provide the opportunity for clarification.

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