Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Counter-Revolution Proceeds

You could see it coming. And now the Ukrainians are on the verge of accepting the embrace of Russia:

Polls showed Yanukovich with a clear lead going into Sunday's elections, albeit without the majority required to avoid a second round run-off against his main challenger, the glamorous Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Orange Revolution protests of late 2004 swept Ukraine's old order from power and created hopes of a new era of prosperity and European integration for the country of 46 million people bridging the EU and Russia.

But amid grave public disillusionment after five years of botched reform and political stalemate, the Revolution's hero, pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, is set to be bundled out in the first round.

With Tymoshenko making much of her warm ties with Russia's strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the outcome of the February 7 run-off is already being seen as good news for the Kremlin, which cut off all business with Yushchenko.

Ukrainians can fool themselves that they can have warm relations with Russia and also move toward the West without antagonizing Moscow.
I have to ask, have Ukrainians learned nothing from their long, sad experience with Russia? Russia sees only absolute submission to Moscow as acceptable, and will push for that no matter how cooperative Ukrainians believe they are with Russia.
Ukraine gained true independence after centuries of Russian rule. I guess a couple decades of that was enough for Ukrainians.

UPDATE: It will be Russia's stooge versus the leader no longer willing to stand up to Russia in the runoff election:

The surveys predicted that pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych will finish first in the hard-fought campaign. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will finish second, clearing the path for a runoff between the pair next month, polls showed.

Russia will be happy either way:

Today, both say they will abandon efforts to join NATO and pledge to repair ties to Russia, the region's dominant power.

Both democracy and independence are at risk in Ukraine. What have Ukrainians done?