BRAMA, February 3, 2010, 9:00 AM ET|
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
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."
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
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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