BRAMA, December 21, 2011, 9:00 AM ET|
Lessons from Muscovy
By Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
Vladimir Putin is whining about street protests against his United Russia party. It lost its majority in the Duma. The party went from a 64.3 percent majority to 49.4 percent. It did so despite ballot stuffing, using government resources, interference with election inspectors, keeping opposition parties off the ballot, and directing the media to provide it with favorable coverage.
Protests broke out denouncing the widespread election fraud. Putin’s regime called out 50,000 police and 2,000 troops. Opposition leaders were arrested. He blamed the West for encouraging them. Yet Putin’s subordinate President Dmitry Medvedev called the protests a “reflection of democracy.”
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev called for new elections. According to Gorbachev, “The country’s leaders must admit there were numerous falsifications and rigging and the results do not reflect the people’s will.” Put another way, the United Russia party should have received even fewer votes. The united Muscovites are not so united.
Although Putin isn’t learning the lesson of humility and accepting that he’s not the best thing since beluga caviar served with lightly toasted bread, perhaps there’s a chance that his puppet governor in Ukraine Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych sees an omen for himself.
Today, people are empowered with technology and social media. Never before have authoritarian regimes been so threatened by the direct empowerment of people. Twitter, Facebook, and the use of cell phones circumvent the lies, deceptions, and manipulations of a self-interested ruling class. Street protests against Putin were fueled in large part by the ability of democratic minded citizens communicating through social media.
If the strapping Putin can be humiliated on the world stage despite widespread voter fraud and media manipulation to benefit him and his party, what’s the lesson Viktor Fedorovych should learn for his European country from Eurasia? Don’t confuse your narcissistic insecurities with the will of the people. Don’t confuse social unrest with your paranoid fears that the world is out to get you.
Of course Viktor Fedorovych has consistently failed to seize opportunities to leave a positive mark on Ukrainian history and to have a legacy that historians and future generations will one day cheer.
As a result, democratic forces in Ukraine should start making preparations for the next parliamentary and presidential elections. Now is the time to start planning how likely voter fraud should be handled. Now is the time to start engaging with Western election observers. Now is the time to start thinking about the “what ifs.” What if, as one example, Viktor Fedorovych arrests more opposition leaders? What’s the coordinated strategy? Are future leaders being groomed?
Liberty, freedom, and democracy are not dependent on one person or party. They cannot be if a nation and its people are going to be truly free. Every individual citizen is ultimately responsible for the destiny of his or her country no matter the problems whether they be corruption or economic stagnation. Those with the democratic spirit must educate new generations of voters about their responsibilities in a democracy.
Infrastructures must be developed and sustained. A whole new cultural mindset is needed where it is widely accepted that government serves the people. It needs to be reinforced that public service is an honor. It requires putting the greater good above personal gain.
Viktor Fedorovych still doesn’t get it. Until the next set of elections the democratically minded must optimize all available social media tools. They must continue to build networks of people. Relationships need to be developed, established, and coalitions must be formed with those who would not normally be considered allies. There is usually common ground among different groups wanting change. The future of Ukraine continues to rest in the hands of the people.
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) is a New York lawyer and designated U.S. spokesperson for His Beatitude Metropolitan Myfodii of the UAOC in Ukraine. The views expressed here are personal and in no way reflect the official position of the church. He may be reached at VladykaPaulPeter (a) aol.com.
* * * * *
Apr 22 12 - Op-ed: Aiding and Abetting the Moscow Patriarchate
Mar 23 12 - Friends of Ukraine Take Action
Feb 24 12 - Will Ukraine have Its First Modern Political Martyr?
Jan 23 12 - Holocaust Remembrance Day
Dec 30 11 - Ukrainian World Praise for Major Archbishop Shevchuk
Dec 21 11 - Lessons from Muscovy
Aug 10 11 - Russian Truth
Apr 14 11 - President Yanukovych's Chance to Show Leadership
Mar 14 11 - An Open Letter to Viktor Yanukovych
Aug 27 10 - Independent Ukraine 2010
Jan 31 10 - Remembering Ukraine's Jews
Jan 15 10 - Orange Forever!
Aug 27 09 - UAOC Mourns the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy
Jan 14 08 - UAOC Bishop Condemns United Fatherland and Union of Orthodox Citizens
Oct 25 07 - Bishop calls for Annual Holocaust Memorial Day
May 28 07 - Priests try to end anti-Semitism
Feb 12 07 - Statement on Anti-Semitism
Feb 5 07 - Kyiv Patriarchate Appoints U.S. Director of Public Affairs
Nov 23 05 - Archbishop Husar's Orange Revolution of Faith
Sep 12 05 - Yushchenko showed leadership
Sep 7 05 - Metropolitan Mefodiy of Kyiv to visit America
Sep 2 05 - UAOC issues strong condemnation of anti-semitism
Apr 28 05 - Yushchenko at the Kennedy Library
Apr 1 05 - Diaspora rebirth begins in dialogue
Mar 11 05 - The Politics of Orthodoxy
Feb 11 05 - The Diaspora's Future
Jan 21 05 - Ukraine, Orthodoxy, and the Greek Prelate
Dec 22 04 - Has the Diaspora failed? Can more be done?
Dec 22 04 - Russia will not leave Ukraine alone
Dec 14 04 - God, Faith and the Orange Revolution
Dec 8 04 - Ukraine must run the extra mile
Dec 1 04 - Cage the Russian Circus Bear
Nov 24 04 - Support liberty - Practical things you can do
Nov 22 04 - Ukraine's Election - NOW WHAT?
Oct 11 04 - Catholic Patriarchate in Kyiv
Sep 29 04 - Kuchma and the American presidential election
Aug 13 04 - Op-ed: Foreign churches cannot dictate a unilateral non-Ukrainian spirituality in Ukraine (Patriarch Filaret and Ukrainian Spirituality)
Jul 26 04 - Op-ed: Viktor Yushchenko and Ukraine's future (Ukraine needs a patriot as its next leader)
Mar 18 04 - Ukrainian influence in the 2004 American presidential election
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.