It Grows

by Nathan Hamm on 11/23/2004 · 4 comments

more photos below

My goodness, I’d much rather be blogging about post-election turmoil in a former Soviet state than writing grant proposals about a literacy program, but I have to pay the bills somehow.

All the following are from A Fistful of Euros, who have a superb and growing update that I linked earlier. Go there for good stories from the BBC and the Financial Times.

The Periscope has translations of radio broadcasts. A taste:

23 November 2004, 18:00 Kiev time –

The Ukrainian authorities has sent hundreds of miners and semi-criminals to Kiev to start provocations. These people are also wearing orange and start breaking doors into shops in the streets.

Visit the main page for much more excellent coverage.

Tulip Girl is updating frequently, as is her man, who is on the streets reporting in from the barricades. He says that there are probably about 400,000 protesters throughout Kiev today.

The Kyiv Post has dropped its subscription requirement.

P.S. I hope to have something to say related to this later on.

UPDATE: Andy has a couple thoughts, and I agree with both. It’s the first that I hope to be able to comment on more extensively. But, on the chance I don’t find time, there is a lot at stake here for Russia. If Yushchenko does come out on top, Russia’s interference leaves it likely facing not just a Western-oriented Ukrainian government, but one that may be as belligerent as Saakashvili’s in Georgia. If Yushchenko fails though, Russia has essentially “shored up” its western borders and suddenly has a lot more time to focus on twisting the arms of the Caucasus and Central Asian republics to get them in line.

I’m not particularly interested in hostility towards Russia. I’ve said often that I think it has all the potential to be a fantastic ally. But, in some ways, the Cold War blossoms anew, and this is not a fight that the West should shy away from fighting for one second. As has been mentioned elsewhere, even if Yushchenko loses, we will have shown that we are committed to supporting those who poured into the streets to demand the right to choose their leaders.

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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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Andy November 23, 2004 at 6:28 pm

Actually, I’m in two minds at the moment about whether a Yanukovych victory would necessarily mean Ukraine moves closer to Russia.

I think the odds are that if Russia is Yanukovych’s only major supporter he will be compelled to forge close ties with Putin.

But I also think there is a chance that the need to find some sort of reconciliation with Western Ukraine, not to mention bring in some Western (EU/US) investment will force him to gradually edge away from Russia.

Venichka November 29, 2004 at 12:38 pm

I’m not sure I agree that A Yushchenko-led govt would be anywhere near as belligerent towards Russia as Saakashivili’s in Georgia. There are many reasons for this, but the character of Yushchenko (as demonstrated by his tenure as PM), and the much closer economic and social ties between Ukraine and Russia, and between Ukrainians and Russians, both within Ukraine and across the border, mitigate against that.

Nathan November 29, 2004 at 12:47 pm

I certainly agree.

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