BRAMA, March 10, 2010, 9:00 AM ET|
Disrobing of the European Union
By Boris Danik
Some observers have looked with skepticism at President Yushchenko’s swing
to proclaim Stepan Bandera, nationalist leader in the 1940’s and 50’s, 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. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine [political party] remnants and the Party of Regions to
oust Ms. Tymoshenko as prime minister in the parliament’s 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 Yushchenko’s 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, Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper, responded with an
editorial (March 4): "The continent that spawned Hitler has no business
telling Ukraine who should and shouldn’t 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 EU’s chamelionic posturing is nothing new. President Yushchenko’s 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 Yushchenko’s 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 EU’s 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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