BRAMA, September 18, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
Yes, Yulia Tymoshenko Makes a Difference and She Can Win
(If the 3% Super-Patriots Don't Mess It Up)
By Boris Danik
This relates to my recent Brama op-ed commentary (Prime Minister Tymoshenko is denounced by the Ukrainian National Association Press in the USA, August 3, 2009).
The editor of The Ukrainian Weekly, in her response published in that
newspaper on August 23, p.6
characterized my opinion as very high about Ms. Tymoshenko and very low about the diaspora. The word "very" is misleading.
There is part of the diaspora with an outlook like in The Ukrainian Weekly
or Svoboda. The stated mission of these newspapers is about topics "of
concern to the Ukrainian-American Community," but that concern does not
seem to include the issues at the center of home foreclosures, pink slips,
and loss of healthcare insurance on a large scale except when it
happens on the other side of the Atlantic.
These newspapers rightly berate the monied elite in Ukraine, but don't
dare to blast the outrageous behavior of America's oligarchies.
Characteristically, The Weekly prints a right-wing column.
The diaspora's connection with Ukraine appears to be a mix of exultation
(the independence anniversary) and upbraiding (the oligarchs, fuzzy law
enforcement, political paralysis).
But in Ukraine, making the ends meet and putting the food on the table is
the top priority for the average family in the very though economic
recession with severe unemployment.
It is this priority that engulfs the public mood in Ukraine and shreds the
highfalutin agendas the kind that excites the diaspora.
In parts of the diaspora, the prospect of NATO membership has been seen as
if it were a salvation for Ukraine, long after it had dissolved into a
fantasy and still is for some, as in Svoboda's editorials.
It is no secret that the big problem for Ukraine is the deep identity
fissure a 50-50 split that undermines its statehood (and makes Mr.
Putin's appraisal of its viability not quite as wild as some would have
it). NATO cannot solve it for us. The Europeans have a historic memory of
the disastrous French military intervention in the south of Ukraine in the
civil war in 1919.
More significant than NATO fiction is the connection between Ukraine and
the USA as long as the latter is willing to continue to factor Ukraine
into the now existing chain of containment of Russia as potential rival to
America's interests (oil and gas) on Russia's periphery.
This connection can exist if Ukraine continues to embrace the same
pro-democracy orientation it showed at Maidan in 2004. Its impage and the
Orange glow are the essential defining symbols if the change demanded by
protesters during that winter is to move forward now. That change had been
stopped by President Viktor Yushchenko when he settled for much less
(called "stability" in the wake of a brief gasoline panic) and fired Prime
Minister Tymoshenko and her entire cabinet in September 2005. (The
Ukrainian Weekly applauded the move in its September 18, 2005 editorial:
"The president did the right thing, albeit reluctantly." It was neither
right nor reluctantly.)
And now, five years after the memorable events at Maidan, Yulia Tymoshenko
can be again who she was then, still capable of insisting with some
credibility that the dream of a better Ukraine will not fade.
Credibility is a scarce commodity in Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovych need not
even bother about being believable. He will get pro-Russian vote and the
anti-government swing vote. As Dr. Taras Kuzio pointed out ("Ukraine Tightens the Screw in Sevastopol"),
his win in the upcoming elections for president would be disasterous for
Concerning the role of Yulia Tymoshenko, who has a record to stand on in
this very difficult time, Dr. Kuzio puts it succinctly: "Of the candidates
who have emerged from the former Orange camp, only Ms. Tymoshenko has the
ability, charisma, determination, and experience to defeat Mr.
On the other hand, an outlook offered by the venerable Svoboda seems to
rely on some back-door magic. Its editorial
(August 7, p.6) says: "The 15% to 20% of voters, who are ready to vote for each
of the two candidates (Ms. Tymoshenko and Mr. Yanukovych), will not be
able to change the present direction of Ukraine toward integration into
European economic structures and NATO." This is what may be called
confidence second to none, if indeed the core of the Tymoshenko base were
anti-Western (this is one of the more reckless flap-doodles).
Incidentally, I did not miss the apparent inference that it matters not
which of the current two frontrunners prevails.
Remarkably, among Viktor Yushchenko's 3% supporters, there seems to be an
indifference as to which of the two leading candidates wins the
presidency. The Ukrainian-American community should be alarmed when a
newspaper published by the UNA takes a very wobbly position (to say the
least) concerning the choice between the two current poll leaders.
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
September 12, 2009
Copyright © 1997-2011 BRAMA, Inc. All rights reserved.|
The images and information contained in BRAMA News and BRAMA Press reports may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of BRAMA and/or author/photographer.
The views and opinions of authors expressed on Brama.com do not necessarily state or reflect the views of Brama - Gateway Ukraine or its officers, directors or associates.