Well, That Wasn’t Close

The Ukrainian Parliament voted 380 to 0 to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and hold a new presidential election on May 25.

Yanukovych has fled to Kharkov, near the border with Russia, and says he will not resign.  His rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2011, has been released from prison, and went to Kiev to address the protestors in Independence Square.

About 88 are believed to have died in the protests since Tuesday.

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4 comments on “Well, That Wasn’t Close

  1. momshieb says:

    How will Putin react, do you think? He scares me.

    • He wants Ukraine in his orbit, obviously, and not with Europe. I don’t think he wants Ukraine partitioned, so that he basically gets just the eastern third, he wants the whole thing. I think he may play a long game here and not do anything immediately. Tymoshenko messed up before and was defeated at the ballot box, so there’s no guarantee the opposition to Yanukovych will do a bang-up job. Europe can’t offer Ukraine as much trade as Russia can. So many issues here — the underlying ethnic tensions between Russians and Ukrainians (but a lot of Russians living there), the horrific corruption, the disastrous economy, the tendency toward authoritarianism. Europe has enough other problems and can’t really devote that much attention or that many resources to Ukraine.

      • momshieb says:

        You’re right on all counts, as far as I can tell. As a former Russian major and Russian interpreter, I am incredibly nervous about just what Russia will do: Putin seems to be living in a world of denial, believing that the Cold War is still on and that the Soviet Union is in some ways intact. There are just so many angry elements in that part of the world: I fear terrorism from there more than from Yemen.

      • When Americans think of Ukraine tilting toward Europe, that means that “Europe” is on the Russian border. But to Putin — and much of the Russian people — it means “Germany,” not “Europe.” They still hate and fear Germany. He wants as big a buffer between Germany and Moscow as possible.

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