The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Stealing the Election the Old Fashioned Way in the Ukraine

The Ukraine is now in the throes of a real election scandal, perpetrated at the highest of levels. The Belmont Club has some excellent analysis on it. The Moscow backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has been declared the "winner" after some serious voter fraud. Vladimir Putin was pushing for Yanukovych to basically cement the Ukraine becoming a vassal state of Russia. Viktor Yushchenko was the opposition candidate, and appears to have had overwhelming support by the people leading up to the election.

So why does this matter? Putin has become much more authoritarian over the last three years, culminating in his decision (which was rubber stamped by the Duma) to no longer allow the Russian provinces to elect their own governors - they are now directly appointed by Putin. The rough correlation to what is going on the Ukraine now is what happened in Eastern Europe after WWII, when Stalin installed Communist governments through fraudulent elections. I guess if you have a winning method, stick with it! There have been charges of widespread ballot box stuffing and other illegal actions. The Ukraine has a large ethnically Russian population (about 40%), and Russia has been pretty invasive in dealing with the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union in their desire to protect the Russian minorities. I find it disturbing that not only are the Ukrainian paramilitary forces out now to "handle" Yushchenko's supporters, but that Russian SPETZNAZ are also in the Ukraine to "help". With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Luckily, both the US and EU have condemned this blatant attempt to steal the election by the Putin-supported candidate. I hope that it is able to be resolved peacefully and that the will of the people is heard in the Ukraine. It is also an interesting contrast to the petty carping here in the US about our election process. The Ukrainians may have to literally fight to make their vote count - we should remember that we are blessed with a fair and democratically elected representative government that actually has checks and balances. It is something that Americans should be proud of.


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