esmaspäev, oktoober 01, 2007

Tymoshenko

According to various reports, Yulia Tymoshenko's party, the well-named Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc is leading as the votes are counted in Ukraine's most recent parliamentary election.

Tymoshenko is described as "pro-West" in many articles. I find this an intriguing concept. In the post-Soviet space, there appear to be two models of development, pro-Moscow and pro-West. Pro-Kremlin countries, like Belarus and Kazakhstan, are wholly undemocratic entities. They are, as my friend would put it, "loyal stooges" of Vladimir Putin. One guy gets in power and stays in power. Lukashenko came to power in Belarus when I was in ninth grade. I am now nearly 28 years old. That's the kind of nonsense I am talking about.

"Pro-West" on the other hand seems to mean western integration, ie. integration into western economic structures like the European Union, and western defense structures, like NATO. My interpretation of Russia's dislike of these institutions, particularly NATO, is not that it bears the hand of the United States, but because it makes it more difficult to meddle unilaterally in adjacent countries.

NATO membership for Georgia, for example, would be a headache for Moscow because it would no longer be able to tinker in Georgian domestic politics in the middle of the night, for example, by dropping unexploded missiles in fields near the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It would internationalize politics near Russia, bringing in unsavory actors such as Dutchmen, Brits, or Americans to figure things out.

But beyond these superficial structures of western integration, I think there might be a more personal basis for Tymoshenko's western leanings -- the reality that without Ukrainian democracy she would not have the status that she has today. Perhaps Leonid Kuchma would have handed the state over the Viktor Yanukovich. In any case, females don't seem to dominate in the pro-Kremlin post-Soviet space.

Tymoshenko's beauty appeal has certainly helped her. If I had to vote in Ukraine, I would probably vote for her because certain biological twitches would make it less possible for me to examine the issues. A Ukrainian cab driver told me once that she is a corrupt oligarch, like the rest. But ... just look at her. Does she look like the kind of woman that would steal your money?

[Pausing for the sake of irony]

One has to wonder, is this how women voters feel when presented with a male candidate? In my country I have heard some rather vulgar remarks about John Edwards and Barack Obama -- women's locker room talk about two men that want to be our president. Unfortunately, when I was actually in the men's locker room back in the '90s, we never talked about Hillary Clinton.

One more reason I like Tymoshenko is that she has managed to irritate Sergei Lavrov, foreign minister of a joke country called the Russian Federation. I have some genuine unhappy feelings about Russia these days, not least because Andrei Piontkovsky, a famous Russian analyst, is on trial there for writing a book.

What does this all mean for Estonia? Estonia has played an active role as a mentor to Ukraine through a concentrated effort from the ministry of foreign affairs, particularly under the auspices of NATO. Indeed, I sometimes feel that Estonia's head is more often in Tbilisi, Chisinau, and Kiev than it is closer to home in Hell-stinky, Stockholm, and Riga, not to mention Haapsalu, Pärnu, Häädemeeste -- you get the picture.

Ukraine's continued adherence to democracy shows that maybe that presence has paid off, or that Tallinn's efforts have not been in vain. Maybe one day Ed Lucas at The Economist can add Yulia Tymoshenko to his list of eastern European leaders that matter, right next to Vladimir Putin and Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Or maybe not. Your thoughts?

30 kommentaari:

Jim Hass ütles ...

I don't know whether to be attracted or repulsed by yulia t.. She is the most energetic and revolutionary politician in the East today. Will the Ukrainian democrats and liberals ever form a stable government that gets the bills paid and the roads repaired? There is always reason to hope. Coverage here in the US is sparse and confusing.

Kenn ütles ...

Giustino said: "If I had to vote in Ukraine, I would probably vote for her because certain biological twitches would make it less possible for me to examine the issues."

Funny that Ukraine's current PM said something very similar: that his opinion of her as a woman is that of a normal man (or something like this). I don't think he's a normal man, though, -- he's got a serious criminal record (some say he was a rapist).

Another strange thing is that this stupid statement by their current PM was shown in every Estonian news channel some days ago; why should the hormones of a PM be valued so highly?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Ukranian politics: millionaires vs. billionaires. Everybody loves the underdog. Piontkovsky is the Russian LaRouche.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I think that now is fairly safe to say that the democracy has won in Ukraine (the two boys and the girl are no friends, but neither are Savisaar, Laar and Ansip) and lost in Kyrgyzstan. Sadly, Georgia also is falling to the dark side.

Evil Purc ütles ...

A cab driver told you...sounds like valid factual information. =]

Giustino ütles ...

A cab driver told you...sounds like valid factual information. =]

Where else does one meet informed Ukrainians in San Francisco?

Sadly, Georgia also is falling to the dark side.

I know two people that have visited Georgia in the past year. Both came back to inform others that there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia than anyone is reporting about.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I know one:
link to his article
link to his blog post

Andres Sehr ütles ...

You may have posted too soon. Looks like there is some debate about who actually won the elections.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/world/europe/01cnd-ukraine.html?hp

Giustino ütles ...

You are right, Andres. The numbers are very close.

Juan Manuel ütles ...

I think that in reality even those that are usually branded as pro-Russians are no Kremlin puppets, as we tend to think. Not even Lukashenko is. Yanukovich draws support from the Russian speaking part of Ucraine. But beside that, he is not loyal to the Kremlin.

Mait ütles ...

Yanuk's government looked viable a few hours back, but since then socialists dropped below 3% (i.e. no seats) which boosted oranges quite a bit. Of course there's another 7%ish to count, but their % has fallen by about 0.06 during past 20%, and the areas still to be processed are rather similar in their setup to those 20%.

And, ofc, Yulia is a babe.

Giustino ütles ...

I think that in reality even those that are usually branded as pro-Russians are no Kremlin puppets, as we tend to think. Not even Lukashenko is. Yanukovich draws support from the Russian speaking part of Ucraine. But beside that, he is not loyal to the Kremlin.

They have autonomy, that's true. But I wouldn't expect them to differ on any major Russian foreign policy points.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Yanukovych’s relatively poor showing could be explained by his failure to deliver on his promises of giving official status to the Russian language and forging closer economic ties with Russia.

“When the coalition of national unity [headed by Yanukovych] controlled the Rada, there were at least two dozen draft laws that suggested improvements in the situation of the Russian language in Ukraine,” said Vladimir Kornilov, the head of the Ukrainian affiliate of the Moscow based-Institute of CIS Countries. “Right now, Russian is considered a foreign language in a country where many millions of people consider it their native language. Attempts were made to give it the status of not a state, but some kind of an 'official; language, but the Constitutional Court ruled that there is only one language in Ukraine, which is both the state and the official one – Ukrainian. As a result, under Yanukovych, the number of schools teaching in Russian continued to shrink.”

The other issues high on Yanukovych’s agenda during the 2006 parliamentary elections,including the federalization of Ukraine and the country’s cooperation with NATO, remained unresolved with no progress expected in the near future.

“Even the Orange Defense Minister [Anatoly] Gritsenko agreed that no prime minister has done more for Ukraine’s integration into NATO than Yanukovych,” said Kost Bondarenko, the director of the Kiev-based Gorshenin Institute of Management Problems. “No matter which party wins election, the pro-Western policy continues. This makes a lot of people depressed and discourages them from voting for the Party of Regions. People vote for smaller parties or do not vote at all.”


http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=International&articleid=a1191259875

plasma-jack ütles ...

...and when Russians write "no progress expected in the near future", they mean "the bastards are still looking at NATO"

Giustino ütles ...

If I were the Russians I might see Ukrainian NATO membership as a positive because it would further weigh down the alliance and devolve its decision making structures.

The same thing with expanded French membership. The more different actors in NATO, the less coherent policy can be achieved.

Russia's anti-NATO policy is rooted in the Cold War interpretation but it need not be. They see it as 'anti-Russian' and yeah, if your interest is meddling in other countries' affairs and creating weak, neutral states along your borders, then it isn't in your interests.

But the actual NATO agreement of 1949 isn't explicitly anti-Russian. It simply calls for a military alliance, which is quite handy rather than having different armies building up in European states, you have an integrated command structure.

Is the treaty really so hard to digest?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

But the actual NATO agreement of 1949 isn't explicitly anti-Russian. It simply calls for a military alliance, which is quite handy rather than having different armies building up in European states, you have an integrated command structure.

Is the treaty really so hard to digest?


The stupid self-centered russkies are still hung up about the humanitarian bombing of Serbia in 99. Keep telling them that was a unique one-off thing and they should feel free to disarm, but no, paranoia reigns in russkieland.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Poor Serbs, indeed. All they did was plucking some Albanian eyes out with spoons. Nobody understands the mysterious Slavonic mindset these days.

plasma-jack ütles ...

It makes you think what the evil West is going to do next. Maybe some finger-waving at peaceful Burmese generals who are strictly minding their own business? Killing couple hundreds of extremists is considered a crime, yet moving a bronze statue from one location to another is considered perfectly normal. Nobody seems to mind the double standards. Those Western butchers haven't learned from Hitler's mistakes.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

plasma-jack:

Good point, but then they start prattling on about georgians eating abhazian babies, and how the Serbs were slandered, as if that has anything to do with anything.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Who gives a shit about Burma?

plasma-jack ütles ...

Who gives a shit about Georgia?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Where is Burma anyway? I keep finding stuff about Myanmar.. Is that were siamese cats come from?

Nothing is Free ütles ...

georgians, I guess.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I think I've fed the troll long enough, go ask mr Yakimenko some cash for buying dessert.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

I got nothing to do with that russkie rapist puppet. I support Yulia.

plasma-jack ütles ...

My pardon, I came back to office to get my mp3-player, so I can give NIF a little history lesson.
The invasion, which you erraticaly call "humanitarian", had, in fact, pragmatic aims:
* destablizing a relatively stable region;
* antogonizing Serbians and Albanians;
* getting hands on Serbian oil;
* relocating US troops stationed in Europe so that their war crimes statistics would fall before German elections;
* and last, but not least, marginalizing Russia. As we know, that last aim wasn't achieved, thanks to Russians' daunting landing at Priština airport. If it wasn't for Yeltsin back then, the Serbian nation might as well not exist.

Nothing is Free ütles ...

Haha, very funny, Serv, just don't quit your day job.

My pardon, I came back to office to get my mp3-player, so I can give NIF a little history lesson.

Oh my, so the Serf has an mp3 player and a job! You must be a big man in Belgrade, I take it. What line of work are you in? Elbonian body organs? Opiates? I bet you have the finest euro-bomb-crater a dinar can buy.

The invasion, which you erraticaly call "humanitarian", had, in fact, pragmatic aims:

No, the reason we invaded you stinkpit was to stop you from using Albonian eyeballs as o'douvres and sacrificing their children in your satanic orthodox church rituals.

* and last, but not least, marginalizing Russia.

One small step at a time. We've already consigned your prison of nations of a country to the dustbin of history. Your big brother is next.

plasma-jack ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
plasma-jack ütles ...

Strange, I always thought that the people living in authoritarian states would be better masters of irony than others. I was born in Soviet Union myself, though, not in Serbia.

gaborien ütles ...

Tere everybody, I just wanted to add this article from BBC

"The queen of Ukraine's image machine"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7025980.stm