a couple updates

by Nathan Hamm on 11/23/2004

From The Telegraph:

An older security guard, speaking quietly, said: “This is my job. But in my heart I too am for democracy. I too am an activist.”

Former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer is reporting via Blackberry for the Rocky Mountain News. All things considered, Viktor has more and better info.

Over there, you’ll read that some of the police keeping protesters away from the presidential offices are rumored to be Russian. Maidan News mentions this too and further says that some of the security units at the presidential compound have pledged allegiance to Yushchenko. This and this suggest at least cordial relations with the police. Neeka says that riot police are friendly and that Mikheil Saakashvili appeared on Ukrainian TV, speaking in Ukrainian.

President Kuchma has agreed to negotiate with Yushchenko supporters, a move that is giving heart to the opposition. At the same time, Kuchma still has tough words for protesters. I cannot find the link, but there is speculation that Kuchma is looking for a guarantee that he will not be prosecuted for corruption in Yushchenko comes to power.

I am very pleased with the response from the White House (via Instapundit) and the US pressure on Ukraine not to release the election results.

I mentioned earlier that I might have more to say about what this means for the US, Russia, and the region. Well, on reflection, I have nothing new to say that I didn’t say earlier or on other topics. Russia’s interference in the affairs of its neighbors crosses the line from looking out for its interests to showing outright contempt for the will of its neighbors. I am totally fine with Russia playing a large role in the world. It’s an important country that has something to contribute, but there’s no reason to tolerate its resumption of bullying behavior. As in Georgia, the United States needs to make very explicit to Russia that we will help democracy take root wherever it can, regardless of the Kremlin’s feelings on the matter. There is no reason why Russia cannot be a partner to and benefit from having democratic, western-oriented neighbors. And hey, if the worry is that Ukraine will seek to work even more closely with European and US armed forces, well, we don’t necessarily need to be treated with such suspicion either. It’s not as if there’s an enormous gulf between Russian and Western interests. And if having a democratic neighbor implicity sends a message that Russia’s government has a thing to learn from a little brother, well, t.s. (realizing full well that I’ve been an apologist for recent Russian reforms).

P.S. I’m already on trial for earlier posts, so I’m sure the above will get me shot outright.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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