For the limited blogging, but it's tough to stay on top of things while fighting off a cold and trying to work my regular job. Anyway, reading this
article this morning didn't exactly give me a warm and fuzzy. People forcing their way into parliament and negotiations being called off aren't a good thing.

If there is good news to report, I spoke with my tutor earlier in this morning. Shes currently fighting cancer and seriously sounded like she was in the best mood I've heard her in in weeks. She's even gone down to join the protestors a couple of times.


Friday Update

So, in the past 24 hours we've had the following occur:

1) The Ukrainian Supreme Court has ruled that the Central Elections Commission can not validate the election results until they have had the opportunity to review the "allegations" of voting irregularities. This is undoubtedly a good thing for the opposition, but by no means a guaruntee of victory. While the Supreme Court did rule earlier that the Government would not be ale to set up hundreds of polling stations in Russia (if THAT had happened, the ballot stuffing would have been even worse than it actually was) they also ruled (questionably) that Kuchma would have been able to run for relection if he had wanted to.

2) A General Strike has been called. It's been heavly enforced by the opposition in some quarters, not enforced at all in others.

3) State run and state affiliated television journalists are coming out, on air, in support of the opposition. This is huge, as the coverage they had previously been providing was either non-existant (the only way I was able to hear about the beginning of the protests through media outlets on Monday was through BBC world service on shortwave) or heavily biased in favor of the government and their candidate.

4) In a laughable attempt to either provide a counter demonstration or (more likely) to bring in provacateurs to incite violence, the Government has been busing in Miners from the Donbas region to Kiev.

5) World leaders are continually arriving in Kiev to try to help broker a solution, including European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. They are meeting with boths sides and attempting to act as honest brokers.

6) Internal Police, are apparently coming on stage in Indepence Square and asserting their support for the protesters and their unwillingness to engage against protesters. I saw footage of this on TV yesterday. While its certainly a good thing for the opposition, I wouldn't read too much into it. Being a bit of an insignia, patches, and militaria geek by proxy from my Uncle (who is a serious militaria geek) I was able to tell that all the police that were showing support both were a) not officers (in fact some of them were cadets) and b) not members of any of the special security forces that would be actually busting heads were that order to come down.

7) I read the following in today's Post. At first glance it has a bit of a "so what?" feel to it, but there's subtexts here that can't be ignored:

On Friday, Moldova said it does not recognize the results of the election in Ukraine, putting the former Soviet republic at odds with Putin.

"Moldova expresses concern about the non-transparency of the voting process," Moldova's Foreign Ministry said. It said the "fundamental principles of democracy are distorted in Ukraine."

Moldova, which sits right next to Ukraine, has been involved in a low-level civil war for the better part of a decade as the mainly Russian Trans-Dniester region has all but broken off from historically Romanian Moldova in an attempt to establish their own government. The only way that they've been able to pull this off is by having a large detachment of the Russian military on its soil. The last thing Russia wants is more of these former Soviet states mouthing off and drawing attention to Moscow's crushing of their sovreignity.

I'll be keeping an eye on things throughout the day and probably posting an evening update later.


Couple Quick Things

1) Had a Warden Message in my inbox this morning from the US Embassy in Kiev. They've been pretty good about getting htem out and keeping people informed, even if the information is pretty basic stuff like "even peaceful demonstrations have the potential to turn violent." No kidding. Anyway, they reported today that they have received reports that inter-city travel within Ukraine is being restricted and that bus and train service to the city has been cancelled.

2) The Post had a great editorial this morning on the Ukraine situation. I call it great in light of the US Main Stream Media coverage I've been seeing that is tending to focus the election in terms of US interests vs. Russian interests. The Post (rightfully) refutes this and tries to remind people that at the heart of the matter is a populace that's not trying to cut ties with Moscow or align themselves with NATO, etc...etc...etc...at the heart of the matter are a people that are simply struggling to live in a free, open, and honest society.

3) Anne Appelbaum (again) has a worth reading column from yesterday that really puts events in Kiev in a good historical context.

4) Also worth reading is this piece from the Weekly Standard. The author is an ex-pat Kiev resident that I know who does a good job of explaining exactly how the election was stolen.

Don't Shoot

Writing about the Euronews dubbed "Carnation Revolution" and seeing the video of Timoshenko made me think of the above flier. On Monday night this was being pasted to just about any surface that would take it (including people). It says, in Ukrainian, "Don't Shoot!" If stories like this one are to be believed, maybe it's having an effect. I hope it is.

In any case, it's making me realize that coordination between opposition leadership and the people on the ground is quite coordinated. Some of this is obviously happening spontainiously, a lot of it (see the row of identical tents and the above flier) obviously isn't. Posted by Hello

Back in the US

Just got back in country and I'm trying to catch up on what happened while I was over the North Atlantic. When I had left, Yushenko was on his way to meet with Kuchma. Driving back from Dulles, I heard on NPR that the Central Election Commission officially named Yanukovich the winner.

Guess the meeting didn't go too well.

But then NPR reported that Yanukovich said that he didn't want to be president if it meant that he would be viewed as "illegitimate." I have NO idea what that means.

My thinking that my coming home for the next week and a half would mean that I would completely miss out on all the protesting fun also seems to be a bit misguided. On the front page of the Post was a link to video of a demonstration going on in front of the Ukrainian Embassy on M and 33rd NW in the District. I hope they do it again so I can go check it out. I should have brought my Yushenko flag home with me.

Other things I've found are a bunch of other blogs that are covering the events in Kiev as they unfold. I could list them all here (and I probably will at least link to the ones that have been kind enough to point to me as an information souce...but that will probably have to wait until when I wake up jet lagged around 5 AM), but in the meantime I highly suggest just going to International Support for Ukrainian Democracy. At a cursory glance it looks like a good clearing house for Ukrainian information and has a handy list of "Orange Revolution" Blogs. BTW, can we please get together and come up with a name for this? Orange Revolution is fine, but I've also heard Chestnut Revolution and EuroNews was inexplicably calling it the Carnation Revolution...I guess based on the footage of Tymoshenko placing a carnation in a Riot Police shield.



Never thought I`d be typing this, but welcome Instapundit readers. Feel free to look around and check some of my archives. I`ve also got a lot of pictures and info from the first round of the election, which was as questionable as the second round, without the throngs of people in the street. Having visted polling places during both rounds I can safely say that process and substance wise, things were conducted in a near identical manner in both rounds.

Anyway, I can´t provide first hand reporting anymore, as I´m currently avoiding hookers near the Frankfurt hauptbanhoff as I wait to catch a plane home tomorrow (side note: the kabobs I`ve had here are the best I´ve ever had, hands down). According to reports I´ve seen, things I´ve read, and talking to people that are still in Kiev, things seem to be escalating in my absence. At that special parliamentary session a no-confidence vote in the Central Election commission could not be obtained as a quorum was unable to be established. However, at the end of the session, Yushenko apparently was "sworn in" as President in a move that has absolutely no legal standing. The protestors are apparently also growing in number and large crowds can now be found in Indepence Square and in front of the Parliament building. It also looks to be really freaking cold there and snow is coming down. Not going to be fun to camp out in.

Another thing that just occured to me is that there is a Champions League game in Kiev this evening between Dynamo and FC Roma. That means there`s going to be another gathering of about 80 thousand people in the middle of the city. No idea what might happen there, if anything. But it´s certainly got potential and, based on the massive secruity presence that was at the last game I attended, it´s definitely going to stretch police forces in the city pretty thin.


Getting a Good View of Things

The above is a statue of the founders of Kiev on independence square. Opposition supporters have perched themselves on it. Nothing special about the picture, I just liked it.

UPDATE: The NYTimes has a pretty good write up of the current situation and the events of the past 24 hours. Registration may be required.

UPDATE II: I have also been remiss in pointing out that a good round up of Ukraine election links can be found at einsodernull.de

UPDATE III: I'm heading home today for Thanksgiving. Have to overnight in Frankfurt on the way back. Expect updates to be pretty light. Posted by Hello


If this is the best they can do for a barricade, I'm afraid that these guys might be in trouble. Rumor (spread by Yushenko himself during the rally) had police coming to bust heads between 2 and 3 AM. Sorry, but I'm not going to stick around to see if that actually happens. After seeinghow these average people (it's not just students in those tents) are putting themselves on the line to support democracy in their country and their personal freedom, I sincerely hope that it doesn't happen. All those people and this country definitely deserve better. Posted by Hello

Keeping Mouths Fed

This table was set up at one end. Well stocked with food and hot drinks and that was handed out to everyone in the tent city. Posted by Hello

Tent Line

A line of the tents that have been set up on Kreshatik. I'm thinking one of the opposition groups got a volume discount. Posted by Hello

Stage Fright (Part II)

The stage earlier this evening. I have no idea what was being said and an idea of only who some of the speakers were, but the crowd was eating up everything. Posted by Hello

Big(er) Crowd

The crowd at about 9PM. A lot more people than were there at 9AM. Posted by Hello

Evening Demonstrations

Went to the demonstration again tonight. Crowd was bigger, seemingly more defiant, in good spirits, and dug in. Series of pictures to follow above. Posted by Hello

Uh Oh (Part II)...

It's statements like these that really get me worried. So far everything I've seen in person and in live coverage has been peaceful, thank god. But I really don't know what to expect. Given that the central elections committee here has 15 days to officially announce the results, I would think that they'll just use those 15 days and try to wait the crowd out. Given that the temperature is constantly at or below freezing at this point, that could be an effective strategy. But once official results are announced I would think that that would be the time bedlam would ensue, if it were to at all.

I'm not familiar with the Ukrainian constitution at all, so I have no idea what effect this special session of parliament could possibly have on matters. But if the Parliament and the Courts team up against the president, it's safe to say that would lead to an unquestionable crisis. I think the opposition knows this too, as during a march today they made sure (according to an acquaintance of mine that followed the march) to march past the Supreme Court and to leave the already well fortified Central Election Comission alone.

Did I mention I'm happy to be going back to the States tomorrow?


There's a good roundup of what's going on here in the WaPo. Supposedly tents are being set up in the square and people aren't leaving. Now that I think about it, I noticed a few of them being set up when I was there earlier. I have yet to see any response or announcement from the government here.

Stage Fright

A view of the rally opposite the previous picture. Another thing that amazed me was the fact that the stage was there. I saw it being built on Saturday. If the government was worried about this kind of stuff happening, why on earth would they allow this stage to be built? Posted by Hello

Panic on the streets of Kiev

This is what was going on on Independence Square about an hour ago. Lots of speakers, lots of shouting. I didn't understand a lot, well, most of it. But I did hear lots of disparaging comments about the current president and lots of calls of "Long Live Ukraine, Long Live Freedom, Long Live Yushenko!" What I also found interesting was the choice of flags in the crowd. In addition to the Yushenko flags (the orange ones) and the Ukrainian flags (the blue and yellow ones) there were also a fair number of new Georgian Flags (white and red with 5 St. George crosses) and a few old Belarussian flags (white with a red horizontal stripe). Georgia, of course, is where they recently had a "rose revolution" after a crooked election and then promptly adopted this flag as their new national one. Belarus, of course, is where crooked elections are routinely held to help keep their proto-communist president in power. The flag that was in the crowd was the Belarussian flag before their President came to power and promptly banned it. I suppose Georgia is being used as inspiration for many in the crowd and solidarity with Belarus is looking to be expressed.

Once the crowd left Independence Square and started marching down Kreshatik to God-knows-where I decided that it was a good time to hot-foot it out of there. No need to provoke the riot police. Hopefully I'll be able to fly out of here tomorrow as scheduled... Posted by Hello

Uh Oh...

Needless to say, this isn't goood.

I don't like reading sentences like "The coup d'etat in Ukraine has already begun."

While I'm here anyway.


File Under "Least Surprising"

I'm completely shocked by this, according to this AP story Ukrainians consider themselves to be the most miserable people in Eruope. Considering I can count the number of people on the street I've seen smiling since I've been here on one hand, this news doesn't exactly come as a surprise to me.

Fever pitch

Must admit to being quite impressed to see a reference to Dynamo Kyiv in this espn.com story about the brawl in Detroit on Friday.

Thank god for the internet. It took less than a day for fine folks to post video of the brawl on line. I really didn't miss a thing...and the best part is I won't have to be subjected to endless discussions about the matter on sports radio or espn unless I choose too.

Off now to go check out how things are in the city on election day.


Gotta Love This

According to the front page of today's WaPo the only group of international observers in the first round of Ukraine's elections that declared it to be free and fair just happened to be funded by the Prime Minister running for president that everyone with a shred of integrity says is crooked. Oh right, did I mention that the group was comprised of former Democratic congressmen?

What doesn't this article mention? Oh, that the American political consulting firm that crooked Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich hired for campaign assistance was Shrum, Devine, and Donilon. Shrum...Shrum...why do I know that name?

It's so heartening to see that the Democratic Party seems to be as concerned with fairness, honesty, and transparency in important international elections as it is in American ones.

Plus I now can look forward to chaos in the streets if the opposition loses in a crooked election. Hopefully, any silliness can wait until after Tuesday when I go home for Thanksgiving. It took the Central Elections Commission 10 days to officially announce the results from Round 1.


No, I Wasn't Arrested...

...Ukrainian utilities are just teh suck. But my cable is back up now. Yay. Let's see if that's still the case after Sunday.

Remember the Icon painter that I visited before? Above is the fruit of her labor (students of Mediaeval art should appreciate the absurdity of it). Obviously, Orthodoxy would revere a sainted British king...actually it's a gift for an American guy named Al that I get to mule back to the States as a favor for a Russian friend of mine. While it kind of looks like an Icon, it is NOT blessed by church figures. They wouldn't do it.

What was especially fun about this non-icon icon was the exercise in paperwork I had to go through today to get this thing out of the country. Apparently any piece of Ukrainian art has enormous cultural value, and it can only leave the country with special permission (even if it's something that you buy on the street, doesn't matter) so I got to make a 2 hour trip to some Ukrainian government ministry of some sort or another in order to get THREE documents signed and stamped saying that it was ok to bring the non-icon icon out of the country. I also got to bribe one official that printed out one page of these documents to do it in a timely fashion. Always fun when I get to do that. Posted by Hello


In the Post Again

Forgot to mention that I was in the Post again this Sunday. This time in the "Talkback" Section of the Sunday sports page whining about the D.C. City Council doing everything they can do muck up our getting a baseball team. Once again, my quote was somewhat mangled and taken out of context, but that's ok. I stand by the sentiment.


For a two hour debate, nothing noteworthy seemed to have transpired. From an aesthetic standpoint I can offer two observations. First, the set of the debate resemebled a TV gameshow more than a presidential debate. The candidates seemed to be directly facing each other, there were clocks in the background showing reponse time, and there was absolutely nothing that grabbed me as looking either Ukrainian or Presidential. Secondly, Yushenkos face, already ravaged by whatever happened to him (see previous post on that) did not look good on TV.

BBC has a write up here.

NYTimes has a write up from the AP here.


Nothing Interesting

My freaking internet connection keeps crapping out on me for the fourth day in a row and I don't have anything to write about anyway so above is a quick picture of some of the Kiev cityscape. The statue is of Hetman Boghdan Khmelnitskiy and the golden spires in the background are from St. Michael's.

Yushenko and Yanukovich are on TV debating right now, in Ukrainian. I'll scour the wire services afterwards to see if they said anything as interesting as "global test" or "need some wood?" Posted by Hello


Before and After

I had mentioned before that Yushenko claimed that he was poisoned by the government. This picture shows the effects of this "alleged" poisoning. On the left is what he looked like earlier this year. On the right is what he looks like currently. You can judge for yourself whether or not any funny business is going on. (hat tip to windowglass for the picture) Posted by Hello

More WaPo on Ukraine Elections

The Post has a good editorial on the second round of the Ukrainian elections today. They note that Yushenko was declared the winner of the first round, Putin is back in town blatantly trying to influence the election by supporting Yanukovich, and that Dick Lugar is going to be here as an American representative for the second round.


Bob's Family Circus

I've been having some internect connectivity issues the past couple of days. So, in the meantime you can amuse yourself with the antics of Bob's Family Circus. Put together by old skool Oakton alumn Bob H and hosted by another old skool Oakton alumn, Marty Z. Those easily offended may want to pass this link up.


Whither JoPa?

As a Penn Stater,Wilbon's column today in the Post just hurt to read. I really hope this doesn't turn into Eddie Robinson redux...from the looks of things it may have already.



I'm starting to see the above spraypainted in Kiev with growing frequency. "Tak" is Ukrainian for "Yes" and is also the campaign slogan for Yushenko. Orange is his campaign color, which is also growing ubiquitous. It's better than seeing red "V"s spraypainted everywhere. No alien invasions are here, humans won't be used as food, and the water supply is safe ( except in Lviv).

This week we're 15 years away from the Berlin Wall coming down. Anne Appelbaum has a column up on that subject today that is a must-read (as usual with her...have you read "Gulag" yet? If not go out now and buy a copy...but I digress), both in the perspective of the current events in Iraq and in the election difficulties here. Posted by Hello


Rally Write-Up

Two decent write ups of the Rally I didn't go to on Saturday. First one here. Second one here.

What I find interesting is the assertion that the city authorities were not permitting the rallys to take place. This may or may not be true. But I can say with certainty that on Friday night I saw a large stage for what I have to assume was this rally being set up on Independce Square. I suppose it's possible that something was set up for the ACTUAL marking of the liberation of Kiev from the facists, but I don't know for sure. Looking at pictures from the event it seems unlikely that something else jus tgot overrun. Especially when I take into consideration all the Yushenko stuff that was on Kreshatik during the day on Saturday.



Kreshatik before a Yushenko Rally yesterday. The orange tents you see in the picture lined the street and everyone was carrying orange flags (I got two of them, to complement my Yanukovich Neckerchief) and ribbons. 50,000 people supposedly attended the rally and a concert afterwards. I was not one of them. Nothing new was really said and I was finally able to find Harold and Kumar go to White Castle bootleg on DVD. Priorities! Posted by Hello

Ground Zero?

Finally found it. The Central Elections Commission building, near the Pechersk metro. Note the barrier in front of it, and the fence behind that. If there is any nonsense at the polls and consequently on the street after the second round of elections on the 21st, I suspect much of it will be centered here.

The results from the first round seem to keep getting tweaked, but it's now looking like Yushenko won it, by margins ranging from .9% to 6.8%. Seeing maps of how the country voted are a bit remarkable. The West and Center-North all went for Yushenko, while the East and South went for Yanukovich. The #3 vote getter in the Socialist Party has endorsed Yushenko in the run-off. The #4 party, the Communists, have elected to not endorse either candidate. Momentum seems to be on Yushenko's side. In spite of all the irregularities in voting, the doubling of pensions, and the unfairness in candidate coverage during the campaign, Yanukovich was unable to garner a majority of votes and he doesn't seem to have anywhere else to go to obtain additional ones.

I don't think this is wrapped up by any means though. It was amusing to watch the news the other night and see allegations that all the voting fraud and irregularities just happened to occur in Oblasts in the West and Center that went for Yanukovich. I have not heard any reports that the soldiers and militia that were brought to town before the first round of elections have left yet.

And while other Connards in England are bitching that their dollar isn't going far, the Ukrainian government is struggling to keep the dollar from going too far. They've been selling off their hard currency reserves in order to try to keep exchange rates stable, and there have been reports that dollars are becoming increasingly difficult to come by at currency exchanges and high inflation is being forecasted. Of course, this all has nothing to do with Yanukovich doubling people's pensions prior to the election. Posted by Hello

Forget the Episode III Trailer...

It's all about the Elvistrooper!


Sell Outs!

Sub-Pop darlings the Postal Service come to an amusing agreement when faced with a desist order.

More Ukrainian news tomorrow, I swear.


Morning After the Morning After

I don't have any overarching thoughts or a big essay prepared in regards to Tuesday's election. I will instead toss some thoughts out in the manner made famous by Larrk King and Hank Kingsley.
  • While I didn't vote with "votenfruede" as my main motivation, I'd be lying if I didn't say it brought me enourmous pleasure to think about how down-trodden irrational Bush-haters must be right now (Yes, I'm looking at you writers at Salon, George Soros, any living person portrayed in Team America, "Old Europe," Ted Rall, and International A.N.S.W.E.R...to name a few)
  • It's for the best for that Kerry conceded, but I'm mildly bummed out about it for selfish reasons. I was looking forward to 4-5 weeks of hearing Slavic language speakers trying to say "Ohio." Said in Russian, it comes out more as "O-Guy-O" which had me laughing all day Wednesday.
  • If Bush "wasn't your president" on November 1st, is he your president today?
  • Before I left, Howard Stern would mention on his show at least 5 times a day that his listeners were going to swing the election for Kerry. Whoops, guess that didn't happen. Can someone tell me what he had to say on Wednesday and Thursday about this obvious non-factor in the election? Or was this mentioned at all?
  • Since fewer than 1 in 10 18-24 year olds voted in this election, does this mean P-Diddy is going to start shooting people (again)?
  • Can we give it at least a week before people on both sides of the political spectrum start talking about the Clintons (specifically Hillary in 2008)? It isn't all about them.
  • I don't think there could have been a clearer indication than this election that people don't care what rock stars have to say about politics. So please...whether I listen to your music or not, whether you're Eminem or Bruce Springsteen, from now on, can you make a promise for less talk and more rock?
That's it for now. This list might be updated as more thoughts occur to me.

UPDATE: My Stern question hasn't been answered yet, but some revealing numbers on his effect can be found here.

Center passes to forward, forward back to center, center to fullback...

The final result. A tie in soccer? Color me shocked. Here's the BBC write up on the match:

Real Madrid fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Dynamo Kiev, leaving Group B wide open.

Nigerian Atanda Yussuf and Latvia striker Maris Verpakovskis gave the Ukrainian champions a 2-0 lead halfway through a frantic first half.

But 15 minutes later Raul put Real back into the game with his 48th Champions League goal - one behind former Real striker Alfredo Di Stefano's all-time European scoring record - after a great pass from by Luis Figo.

Figo then levelled the score at 2-2 with a 44th-minute penalty after Ronaldo was tripped.

Posted by Hello


The stadium after an early Dynamo goal. The atmosphere was kind of reminiscent of a game at State. Big crowds, lots of Blue and White (and, er...yellow), drunks everywhere, throwing shit after a score, and loud expressions of displeasure with results on the field not to your liking. Posted by Hello


After spending the past week closely following two different elections of importance, I needed a freaking break last night. So, I went to a Champions League soccer game with a local that works in my office and some of his friends. Dynamo Kiev vs. Real Madrid. Judging from the scarcity of available seats, this was the hotest ticket in town. Real Madrid is, I'm told, pretty good. We got into the stadium by bribing cops and event officials. Game was pretty fun and learned lots of new, colorful words. Posted by Hello


Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom...Uganda?

Yes, Uganda. In an eerie trend more people I know are becoming affiliated with countries starting with the letter "U." PSU & 515 alumnus and all-around good-gal Joanna Breitstein is shortly leaving for Uganda for a couple of weeks. There she will be researching AIDS and AIDS policy (I think). Lucky for us, she will be blogging about the experience and has thus been honored with a perma-link to your right (She has excellent taste in Blogger templates). Be sure to give her a read and wish her safe travels.



BBC monitoring service posted a great round up of local media reaction to the Ukrainian elections. This is especially helpful to me since I can't read local media (except for the local expat rag and that only comes out on Fridays).

According to this story, there was quite a row today in Parliament as opposition deputies officially accused Yanukovich and his supports of fraud. Opposition member Julia Tymoshenko seemed to have been especially feisty, saying "Cheating didn't work. The Ukrainian people proved too wise." Pledging "a civil mobilisation, a composed battle against the bandits." And declaring "Yanukovich will never be president of Ukraine because Yushchenko became president in the first round!" She has been claiming since election night that Yuschenko actually received 50% of the vote in the first ballot. She has reason to be bitter though, her husband is currently in jail on (supposedly) bogus tax charges.

And lastly, OSCE and other international observers are expanding on their claims from yesterday that the first round was crooked. They are saying that elections "fell short of democratic standards" and are hoping that the second round is conducted more fairly. Interestingly, the above article is claiming that the Socialist candidate who placed third will be bringing his 6% of the vote to Yushenko but no one knows what the Communists are going to do.

UPDATE: The U.S. is apparently officially displeased as well. The following is from yesterdays Department of State Press Briefing:

we share the OSCE's assessment that this election "constitutes a step backward" from Ukraine's 2002 elections.

In particular, we would note that the campaign was marked by serious violations, and that there were significant irregularities on election day, although high participation levels of the electorate and civil society were encouraging.

Looking ahead, we see the second round of the election on November 21st as an opportunity for Ukraine to affirm its commitments to democratic principles, and we urge the Ukrainian authorities to allow the people of Ukraine to choose freely and to adhere -- and for the government to adhere scrupulously to international accepted standards for tabulating and registering results."

"... The specific irregularities that we saw on election day were flawed voter lists and arbitrary expulsion of electoral commissioners in violation of Ukrainian law less than 24 hours before the vote."

That Other Election

What's a Chinese girl's favorite day of the...oh never mind.

So there's another election going on today back home that a lot more people are paying attention to then the one I just wittnessed on Sunday. The last time I was overseas for an election was November 6th, 1984 and I wasn't close to being able to vote. The only recollection I have of the event is looking up from whatever I was doing to see a BBC report about the American elections that were occuring that day. I asked my parents who they voted for, they gave me some non-commital answer, and I went back to whatever it was I was doing. I suppose in retrospect I can guess who they voted for, but I can' t be too sure. I specifically recall my Dad being a big Greenpeace supporter at the time. Now, if Greenpeace knew what he does and has done for a living, they'd probably keel-haul him behind the Rainbow Warrior, but I digress. Anyway, outside of remembering seeing that one report on British TV I remember nothing. I don't even recall specifically seeing, hearing about, or even caring who won.

Twenty years later things are obviously a bit different. I can (and did) vote this time around. I'm currently living in a country that didn't exist twenty years ago. This time around I'm quite interested in the results and I'm able to follow the course of the election itself minute to minute if I really want to. What's really funny though, is what isn't different from the last time I was abroad for an election. I'll still be watching reports about it on the Beeb, America is again engaged in an ideological conflict, and the European and American left still think that the President running for re-election is a simplistic dolt that is completely mismanaging said conflict.

There's really nothing new about the election that I can say here. People that know me know where I stand. People that don't know me can probably figure it out based on things I've written here and links I've posted to what others have written. There's a heck of a lot that I disagree with the incumbent on in this race, but I agree with him on the issue that's most important. And that's the ideological conflict we're currently involved in. If you ask me, every other issue becomes moot once nutjobs looking to establish a new Caliphate start popping off nukes, dirty bombs, bio-agents, chemicals, and passenger aircraft on our turf. Even more important than agreeing with the incumbent on his willingness to take the fight to these guys is that I believe that in his gut he knows what he is doing, what we as a country are doing, is necessary and right and it doesn't matter if some Galoises smoking twit in a sky-blue beret approves. I'm not convinced the other guy understands that. And if I had the time or the inclination, I'd post numerous things the other guy has done and said that leaf me to believe that.

The guy running for re-election twenty years ago surmised his Cold War policy as "We win, they lose." This drove people nuts, but he was right and history proved this. The current guy running for re-election said "You're either with us or you're against us." This too drove people nuts, but he's right and history will prove him so. My hope is that the American people will today let W see through the work he was forced to start on September 11th after a decade of negligence by his predecessors (and yes, I mean predecessors). I believe history will prove him right, just has history proved the Gipper right, just as history proved Churchill right, just as history proved Lincoln right, and just as history proves right any world leader who has the courage of conviction to take a stand for what is right no matter what the polls say, no matter what the "international community" says, and no matter what the establishment press says.

If not, I'm leaving the country.



Things remained relatively quiet today in Kiev. I heard some representatives from the opposition claiming they would have recieved more than 50% of the vote had there not been fraud. But no one seems to have taken that as a call to take to the streets. Here anyway. Students are supposedly setting up barricades in Lviv, but I can't imagine them staying behind them for the next three weeks. Although,I suppose anything is possible if you give a college student enough Rolling Rock...errrrr...Obolon.

International Observers from OSCE are saying that the vote was riddled with irregularities. In other news, the Pope is catholic, a bear does shit in the woods, the sky is blue, and cliches are lame no matter who is using them. I did see on state-run news this evening (channel 1+1) that the CIS monitors (including the representative from Belarus, and no, I'm not kidding) said that everything with the election was hunky-dory and whatever problems there might have been were known about well in advance.