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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, March 10, 2010, 9:00 AM ET

    Op-ed

    Disrobing of the European Union
    By Boris Danik

    Some observers have looked with skepticism at President Yushchenkos swing to proclaim Stepan Bandera, nationalist leader in the 1940s and 50s, her of Ukraine – in the last days of his presidency.

    They saw it as a ploy to mobilize additional vote for Viktor Yanukovych in the East and South, to derail Ms. Tymoshenko in the presidential runoff last February 7.

    This version, if true, had a minimal effect. (Tymoshenko lost the race by losing the voters who stayed at home because of the bad economy.)

    But, remarkably, this etude would be consistent with the cynical collusion between Mr. Yushchenkos Our Ukraine [political party] remnants and the Party of Regions to oust Ms. Tymoshenko as prime minister in the parliaments vote on March 3.

    On that occasion, Yulia Tymoshenko referred to the "Nashisty" as traitors of the Orange Revolution.

    Even more politically disrobing than Viktor Yushchenkos color switching is the condemnation of his Bandera proclamation by the parliament of the European Union on February 25.

    Stepan Bandera was and is the symbol of Ukrainian national anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance. The European Union alleges that he collaborated with the Nazi occupation regime.

    The Kyiv Post, Ukraines leading English-language newspaper, responded with an editorial (March 4): "The continent that spawned Hitler has no business telling Ukraine who should and shouldnt be its heroes."

    The Kyiv Post is right on target. It tells it like it was, and still is, about Stepan Bandera, with the Poles, Moscow, and now the European Union smearing his legacy.

    With Viktor Yanukovych as the president of Ukraine, the European Union is better able to make use of the anti-Ukrainian canards when it facilitates its deal-making with Moscow.

    The EUs chamelionic posturing is nothing new. President Yushchenkos bids for the EU and NATO membership for Ukraine (sometimes with an excessive apple-polishing) were met in Brussels as something they can do without — at first diplomatically and later less ceremonially pushed off the table.

    Part of the problem in trying "to align Ukraine with the West" (a favorite Diaspora cliché) was the collapse of Yushchenkos own image and credibility at home and abroad.

    As Yushchenko was burying the Orange Revolution during his five years as president, and as he partnered with the oligarchic structures that are fronted by the Party of Regions, Ukraine slid back into its historic setting of economic subservience, owned an operated by a mostly non-Ukrainian assortment of magnates.

    When the economic inequality becomes as glaring as it already is, the elite may be facing very unpleasant consequences. "Now I know why the French guillotined their aristocracy", a man in Iceland remarked last winter, when the Icelandic banks collapsed and the bankers absconded.

    The "old Europe", for one, seems to have enough of Ukraine fatigue during the Orange years, and is now welcoming Viktor Yanukovych with a red carpet. Their feeling seems to be that all sides will be better off if Ukraine stays in the Russian zone.

    The EUs Bandera outburst probably was duly rehearsed.

    With respect to the elections, Western oligarchs ("the real money") had a preference for Yanukovych and not Tymoshenko from day one. She has been called "an adventurous populist" whose fiery oratory brought crowds out on the streets, and she has pushed for wide renationalization and reprivatization.

    Yulia Tymoshenko will be back. She may be down, but not out.

    Dr. Boris Danik
    North Caldwell, NJ
    March 9, 2010

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