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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, February 3, 2010, 9:00 AM ET

    Op-ed

    Diaspora Politicians Should Not Be Revising Recent History of Ukraine
    By Boris Danik

    Before some editors and politicians quickly revise the recent history of Ukraine, it is worthwhile to restate a baseline of known facts from the year 1990 until the 2010 presidential elections.

    Number one: Ukraine obtained its independence in 1991 largely as a result of Russia's Boris Yeltsin's courageous stand for democracy in Moscow against the attempted hardliner coup. The hardliners were derided by pro-Yeltsin crowds with posters saying "Fascism will not pass." (Times have changed since then.)

    Number two: the only vocal support Boris Yeltsin received from official functionaries in Ukraine (who had no appetite for risk) in those decisive three days came from Vyacheslav Chorovil, in his capacity as the newly elected head (on the Rukh ticket) of the regional government in Lviv.

    Number three: the first country to recognize Ukraine's independence in 1991 was Russia (Canada was second). Russia's government then was also publicly urging the US to recognize Ukraine and all other ex-Soviet republics (as the US was sitting on the fence, with President George Bush the First and his advisers in a state of shock).

    Number four: the vast challenges and opportunities that were opened for Ukraine by the Orange Revolution in 2004 were crying for a leader of an exceptional caliber — if not quite like Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, then at least someone like a proverbial Kozak Mamai.

    Instead, Ukraine got Viktor Yushchenko as president, who turned out to be an incompetent leader — in the judgement of an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians and in the opinion of virtually every reputable political analyst.

    Actually, Yushchenko's shortcomings, seldom noticed in the diaspora in America, continue to be played down or ignored by many Ukrainian-American activists. His thrashing at the poll on January 17th is explained in The Ukrainian Weekly Editorial of January 14, as "precisely the result of the disastrous shape of the economy." p. 6)

    Not so. Yushchenko's poll numbers were in single digits long before the economy has tanked in Ukraine. Also, most voters understand that the economic downturn in Ukraine is part of the worldwide Great Recession, caused by the financial meltdown on Wall Street, USA.

    Yulia Tymoshenko, who as Prime Minister is visibly involved in the economy-related decisions, has received substantial approval numbers.

    Number five: there was a revival of Ukrainian national spirit in the years leading to the Orange Revolution. But according to the above editorial, it was President Yushchenko who "made unprecedented gain in raising ethnic consciousness among Ukrainians." Unfortunately, one result of Yushchenko's "consciousness raising" is now an imminent possibility of a Yanukovych victory in the runoff election.

    Dr. Boris Danik
    North Caldwell, NJ
    January 31, 2010

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