A few conservative pundits are getting Ukraine all wrong.
For example, Ilana Mercer cavalierly classifies the controversy as a geographic formation. The East has been absorbed by Russian culture, you see. The West has been seduced by the EU economy, you see. “What we’re witnessing is a tale of two Ukraines,” she says. “Ukraine is not a dictatorship, it is an anarchy,” she says.
With the same simplistic geographic view, even the titanic (and normally lucid) wordsmith Pat Buchanan gets it wrong this time, claiming the crisis has “deepened the divide.”
With whacko McCain loose on the field, these pundits are understandably concerned about runaway US involvement. Indeed, some of the “democracies” midwifed by Obama appear to have come straight from the movie Alien. But the pundits err when they ignore the real reason so many protesters hit the streets.
Is Europe aiding the protesters? Sure. Is the US? Of course. And Russia is aiding their side. And the protesters are aiding the police they capture with food that is better than what the police ate before they got captured.
Far from deepening the divide, the current crisis is uniting Ukraine. Support for Yanukovich is falling like a rock even in the Russian-speaking East where my wife’s family lives. Support for Yanukovich in Dnepropetrovsk has never been monolithic but even in Yanukovich’s own Donetsk it has been dropping. Support in the East has been weakening since even before the protests. Even legislators and key administrators are now defecting en masse from Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions.
The real reason the Ukrainian people protesteth so much is that they struggle to survive in a kleptocracy that neither listens to them nor represents them because the kleptocracy wants to continue looting the country for personal gain.
Sounds a lot like the situation here in the US, only here the struggle to survive is just beginning.
Compare data from Gallup on the daily struggle in US versus Ukraine:
Those who preach patience to Ukraine really don’t know what they are talking about. Despite a huge improvement in living conditions between my first visit in 2001 and my second in 2003, I noticed in later trips (and most Ukrainians would aver) the economy nosedived because Yanukovich refused to adopt reforms necessary to a healthy economy, including even some basic human freedoms. Why? Ukrainians have decided corruption is to blame.
Watch these Ukrainians speak of deprivation of civil rights under rule of a man widely suspected of voter intimidation and even of poisoning his main opponent:
Watch these Ukrainians getting shot by the same man:
Was she one of them?
The patriots at rest: