blogenlust
11.24.2004

What's going down in Ukraine?


Viktor Yushchenko v. Victor Yanukovych? It's no wonder the situation in Ukraine is unclear at the moment! A Fistful of Euros has been my main source of information in the blogosphere about what is going on in Ukraine. As far as the major media is concerned, I don't think you will find anything better than the BBC. Not only are they reporting about what's going on, but they also provide a lot of very good background material and context (what's that!?) surrounding the events as they unfold. You know, everything you would expect a major news outfit to provide. For instance, the domestic political situation in the Ukraine sounds strikingly similar to that of the United States. Paging David Brooks!
Political culture and the popular mentality differ significantly across Ukraine. In the western cities of Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk, it is easy to think you are somewhere in Central Europe. But the eastern regions bordering Russia often feel - and look - like part of industrial Russia. There, Ukrainian nationalism is seen as the biggest threat coming from the West. And the enforced need to learn Ukrainian over recent years has caused serious, lingering resentment. Mr Yanukovych's supporters have set up a rival protest near Kiev's Dynamo Kiev football stadium. One of their banners reads "Don't sell Ukraine to America!" Anti-American, anti-western slogans were a key part of Mr Yanukovych's campaign.
I think it is also important to point out the international implications of the Ukranian situation. Ukraine is a point of contention between the European Union and Russia. The former would like it to eventually join, while such a move would be a major blow, both politically and culturally, for the latter. In this sense, then, the situation can be understood in terms of which direction Ukraine will move in the next few years. Finally, be sure to check out these pictures (via Grammar.Police) of Victor Yushchenko, the opposition candidate who claims the difference in his appearance is due to a ricin attack! it is rumored suffered a ricin attack causing his change in appearance.