Monday, November 22, 2004


Surprising nobody, things are looking ugly in Ukraine. The elections were held yesterday, and independent exit polls showed a decisive opposition victory of about 11 points. Yay for democracy, right?

Not so fast.

As the official tally started to add up, it became clear that it was not going to match the exit polls. And in fact, with 99% of the vote counted, it's Yanukovych - the government candidate - by 3 points.

In Luhansk (where I observed last time) and Donetsk, both considered Yanukovych's power base, there was a 98% turnout! Such civic-minded folks. Truly. I guess the thousands upon thousands of Donetsk and Luhansk residents who are across the border in Russia for work, just hopped back home for the election. Good on them.

Meanwhile, thousands are rallying behind the opposition candidate in Kiev, who for his part, is announcing that the government is attempting a coup d'etat.

Will this be another Georgia? They'll need some high-level defections, some Election Commission resignations, perhaps. Some more senior Ministry or police officials with tales of fraud. Yuschenko is no Saakashvili - he's not a populist firebrand and an organizer. But on the other hand, I saw those kids in Kiev, and they're itching for a fight. Unfortunately, so are the surly miners for Donetsk who were bused in to the capital by the hundreds "for a picnic."

Don't worry. I'll keep my eye on this so you don't have to.
The scene in Kiev:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But on the other hand, I saw those kids in Kiev, and they're itching for a fight."

From my perspective, it's not just "kids itching for a fight." I've seen a lot of young professionals, established married people, families, older people who are all enthusiastic about Yushchenko. It feels like a real "movement"--at least in Kyiv, if not the rest of the country.

Btw, that is an AMAZING photo. Did you take it?


10:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home