A Plea To Yushchenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Orange Revolution officially comes to a close on Sunday. Save a miracle, President Viktor Yushchenko, who five years ago lead massive demonstrations that toppled an authoritarian regime, will be soundly defeated.

Viktor Yushchenko does not stand a chance in Sunday's presidential election.

The euphoria has long ago worn away from those days in November 2004 when throngs of Ukrainians began to don all things orange and fill up the country’s squares to protest a fraudulent election.

All the bickering between members of the Orange coalition, dozens of scandals, pervasive corruption and an imploding economy did away with the optimism that Ukraine could quickly become a modern, European democracy.

But the disappointment today for many Ukrainians runs even deeper because of the fall of one of the heroes of the Orange Revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, who rallied the crowds that jubilant winter and survived an apparent poisoning.

Yushchenko has by now lost many of the credentials that once made him a poster child for the potential of ‘people power’ to overthrow corrupt regimes in the former Soviet Union and install western-oriented democracies.

Under Yushchenko’s leadership, remarkably little has been done in terms of instituting long-needed reforms (to ensure the independence of the judiciary, for example, or to fight corruption in a systematic way).

Though admittedly hamstrung by devolution of some of his powers to parliament, Yushchenko repeatedly sullied himself through unabashed power grabs, often in competition with his former ‘Orange’ ally Yulia Tymoshenko.

The past few months of campaigning have only besmirched Yushchenko’s reputation further, as he has lashed out at his rivals in vulgar and nationalistic language and faced accusations of misusing government funds (so-called administrative resources) for his campaign.

He also seems to be operating in his own little world, absurdly self-confident, almost messianic, despite poll ratings under 5 percent. (“Today an alternative to President Yushchenko doesn’t exist,” he told The Wall Street Journal).

The net impact of all the infighting and lack of reform on the general population is disheartening, to say the least.

According to a poll conducted late last year by the Pew Research Center, a mere 30 percent of those surveyed voiced approval for the shift to democracy, placing Ukraine last among the other ex-communist countries analyzed.

And, as reported by RFE/RL, another poll conducted by the Kiev-based Razumkov polling agency found only 7 percent of Ukrainians confident that their country was moving in the right direction.

There is still time, however, for the president to preserve part of his legacy. And, in the midst of the disgust and disappointment with how things turned out, that legacy should not be forgotten.

Chaos and corruption may still abound, but without Yushchenko bravely contesting those fixed elections, it’s hard to imagine today’s political plurality, freedom of the media and vibrant civil society.

Once the results inevitably come in that he has been soundly defeated, Yushchenko would be well-advised to stand aside and face reality. Unless he really does have proof of fraud once again, it won’t be time for protests, but simply a peaceful transfer of power.

Source: ISN

Comments

wesley rodgers said…
ON THE EVE OF THE UKRAINE ELECTION WHICH IN REAL TIME ESSENCE WILL SUPERCEDE THE ORANGE REVOLUTION ELECTION IN MANY WAYS
I BELIEVE IT IS TIME FOR US ALL TO REFLECT AND COPE WITH DES REALITES
DU JOUR.
THERE WAS SOMEONE OR GROUP REPRESENTING AN OPPOSITION FORCE TO NOT JUST KILL YUSCHENKO BUT THE MOVEMENT OF FREEDOM AND TRIED TO KILL FORWARD PROGRESS OF A FREE
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE MAKING.

....WITH THE ORANGE REVOLUTION THE PEOPLE FINALLY REALIZED THAT THEY A S A UNIFIED BODY COULD GRANT THEMSELVES,FREEDOM--OF THOUGHT-RELIGION AND IN THE MEDIA AND OTHER PURSUITS IN THE
FREE COMMERCIAL WORLD FOR UKRAINE.

...SOMEONE OR SOME ORGANIZATION OR COUNTRY DID NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN AND THE ASSASINATION WAS NOT JUST AGAINST YUSCHENKO BUT AGAINST THE MOVEMENT OF FREEDOM.!!

..AS MENTIONED IN EARLIER COMMENT IF YUSCHENKO FAILED ANYWHERE HE REALLY DID NOT SEIZE THE MOMENT AND ACT PROACTIVELY, AND DISPLAY THE DYNAMIC TOUGHNESS AND ENTHUSIASM THAT WE THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE CHARGE AND MAINTAIN THIS MOMENTUS MOVEMENT.


HE HAD OPPORTUNITIES AND DID NOT GRAB BACK THE EMOTIONS OF THE PEOPLE.
. COMBINED WITH VARIOUS OLD LINE BOLSHEVIKS AND SOME OF PUTINS
SPECIAL PEOPLE IN PARLIAMENT,THE
PRESIDENTS DESIRE TO JOIN NATO GOT NO WHERE AND DEFINITELY NEITHER DID MEMBERSHIP IN THE E.U. WHICH NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT COULD NOT HAVE HURT.
,,,ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN DONE AND THE UKRAINE COULD STILL WORK WITH RUSSIA AFTER ALL IT IS A FREE ECONOMY IS IT NOT??

..WELL THEREIN LIES YOUR ANSWER, WHO IS THE UKRAINE SUPPOSSED TO DEAL WITH DIPLOMATICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY AND IN SOME CASES MILITARILY.!!
..LOGISTICS GIVE US A COUPLE ANSWERS AND RUSSIAIS NOW THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION BUT IT IS RAN BY THE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, WELL FOCUSED, AND UNRELENTING VLADIMIR PUTIN...THIS MAN IS AS FOCUSED AS THEY WILL EVER GET--PERIOD.!!
..THEN YOU HAVE SERGEI IVANOV, WHOM I HAD THE PLEASURE OF INTERVIEWING WHEN DEFENSE MINISTER, BUT AS FIRST DEPUTY PRTIME MINISTER HE IS THE MAIN
GOETWEEN MAIN GO BETWEEN THE
PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER
AND HE IS WELL LIKED IN THE WEST AND QUITE INTELLIGENT.!
..OK, SO THERE ARE ONLY CERTAIN AREAS WHERE THIS ATTEMPTED ASSASINATION CAME FROM AND IT WILL GET OUT IN THE NEAR FUTURE BECAUSE SOURCES ARE INTENSELY WORKING ON IT AS IT HAD GREAT IMPACT ON A FREE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT.!
...AND, ALTHOUGH NATIVE RUSSIANS CANNOT BE EXTREADICTED THERE ARE DIPLOMATIC WAYS AND OTHER WAYS TO GET THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT.
..NOW THE ELECTION THIS MONTH..YANAUKOVICH OBVIOUSLY HAS
MUCH CREDIDBILIOTY WITH MANY UKRAINE PEOPLE BUT DEFINITELY NOT ALL..
..THE UKRAINE HAS BEEN ON ITS OWN SINCE 1991 AND HAVING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TELL THE NATIVE BORN CITIZENS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SPEAK UKRAINE IS LIKE TELLING A RUSSIAN HE CANNOT OR WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO DRINK VODKA OR COGNAC...IT IS ABSURD AND IT IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG....BUT WITH THE WAY THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CLCIMATE IS NOW PEOPLE JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY AND HAVE PEACE,....WITH TYMOSHENO
DESPITE HER EGOTSTICAL DRAWBACKS, YOU DO GET A POPULIOST AND NO MATTER HOW BAD, AT THE END OF THE DAY SHE IS VERY MUCH UKRANIAN, EVEN IF SHE DOES NOT ALWAYS MAKE DECISIONS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE UKRAINE.
...THE WRITER OF THIS STORY IS CORRECT HOWEVER, IN THAT THE UKRAINE CAN CONTINUE TO DO MORE BUSINESS WITH RUSSIA BUT WITHOUT ABRORBING RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC POLICIES.!!
..I AM AN AMERICAN JOURNALIST WHO HAS LIVED IN THE UKRAINE BEFORE AND AM COMING BACK AND I HAVE TOLDD PEOPLE IN THE U..S. THAT THE U.S. SHOULD BE TALKING AND DEALING MORE WITH RUSSIS..LET'S GET REAL RUSSIA IS STRONGER AGAIN AND PUTIN DOES NOT GIVE HIS SPEACHES FROM CAVES AND WHEN PUTIN TALKS PEOPLE LISTEN ..SINCERELY AND THE BEST TO THE UKRAINE PEOPLE IN THIS HIGHLY CONTESTED ELECTION..WES RODGERS patriotstv.com--newsman007