Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Not Deserving of the Worst Pun in History

For some people a several centuries of brutal repression and discrimination apparently make democracy important enough to fight for, rather than say the "United States of Might as well be Singapore" where we remain too oddly afraid and lazy to collectively demand much of anything.

But such is not the case in the Ukraine. Where for three straight days crowds in the tens of thousands or more braving awful weather to protest a region with no small history of brutal repression.

Opposition supporters began a third day of protests in Ukraine amid hopes that negotiations could defuse a tense standoff over a weekend vote that their leader and much of the West claim was stolen by the government.

Thousands of supporters of opposition chief Viktor Yushchenko set up tents outside Kiev's presidential administration building awaiting a potential showdown with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his handpicked pro-Russia successor.

The Moscow-leaning Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has remained largely out of sight since pulling ahead by three percent in the disputed Sunday vote and even his main international backer Russian President Vladimir Putin backtracked Tuesday evening from his initial recognition of his win.

The Ukrainian crisis has put Russia at loggerheads with Europe and the United States as Moscow tries to keep control over the largest republic to have splintered off from Russia during the Soviet Union's collapse.

But the opposition sees this as perhaps their best chance in a generation to pull Ukraine out of Russia's grasp and into European Union and NATO alliances.

Controversy over Ukraine is set to dominate a potentially prickly Russia-European summit in The Hague on Thursday whose air had already been poisoned by Moscow allegations that the bloc was meddling too much in eastern European affairs.

Meanwhile in Washington the State Department took the unusual move of calling in the Russian ambassador for an interview to express US concerns over the Ukrainian vote.

If the right-thing happens in the Ukraine, it will not be because of the Bush Administration's great moral authority on any matter, let alone knowing vote fraud.

Oh, worst pun in history avoided in the title?

"They're not Chicken, Kiev"

No comments: