Friday, January 28, 2005

Orange revolution

More commentary from a Ukrainian friend here.

"I was at a New Year party in Kyiv hosted by a woman-entrepreneur, who co-owns an Italian furniture store in central Kyiv. She told us about her partners from Donetsk (Eastern Ukraine, camp of Yanukovich) who were very surprised that she operates without any "cover" from racketeering gangs. They literally asked her: "So you are living like in Europe?" One should understand -- this is a great shift in views on the world, in perception of the reality and social order. Democracy vs Autocracy. Rule of Law vs Rule of Will."

"Traditional special thanks to CERN physicists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau who invented World Wide Web in 1990. Besides commercial and academic benefits for the mankind, WWW elevated freedom of speech to the highest level, unreachable for any government to muzzle the flow of information.

It happened so that Internet editions became the source of information about Yushcneko and Orange revolution for readers in Ukraine and the world as Kuchma's government controlled all but one TV channels. For example, one of them,, served like a newswire from various volunteers all over Kyiv to warm about government moves.

Moreoever, at the peak of tensions, Yanukovich put pressure on Ukrainian Internet providers to block the traffic to opposition websites. One could only regret that the US Congress never found time to consider special proposition of developing the Triangle Boy Web developed at SafeWeb. This would allow democracy idea to beat censorship even further..."


Anonymous said...

The peaceful resolution of the voting and government shifts in Ukraine is decidedly hopeful.


Anonymous said...

January 17, 2005

How Top Spies in Ukraine Changed the Nation's Path
By C. J. CHIVERS - New York Times

KIEV, Ukraine - As protests here against a rigged presidential election overwhelmed the capital last fall, an alarm sounded at Interior Ministry bases outside the city. It was just after 10 p.m. on Nov. 28.

More than 10,000 troops scrambled toward trucks. Most had helmets, shields and clubs. Three thousand carried guns. Many wore black masks. Within 45 minutes, according to their commander, Lt. Gen. Sergei Popkov, they had distributed ammunition and tear gas and were rushing out the gates.

Kiev was tilting toward a terrible clash, a Soviet-style crackdown that could have brought civil war. And then, inside Ukraine's clandestine security apparatus, strange events began to unfold.

While wet snow fell on the rally in Independence Square, an undercover colonel from the Security Service of Ukraine, or S.B.U., moved among the protesters' tents. He represented the successor agency to the K.G.B., but his mission, he said, was not against the protesters. It was to thwart the mobilizing troops. He warned opposition leaders that a crackdown was afoot.

Simultaneously, senior intelligence officials were madly working their secure telephones, in one instance cooperating with an army general to persuade the Interior Ministry to turn back.

The officials issued warnings, saying that using force against peaceful rallies was illegal and could lead to prosecution and that if ministry troops came to Kiev, the army and security services would defend civilians, said an opposition leader who witnessed some of the exchanges and Oleksander Galaka, head of the military's intelligence service, the G.U.R., who made some of the calls....


Anonymous said...

In reply to the previous commentary quoting NY Times article about SBU envolvement in the events.

It seems that SBU, police and the army were carefully weighing the balance of power. Of course the cheif command knew that it would be abhorrent for many officers to serve under teh command of the former convict. As one journalists noted, Ukrainian laws do not allow former convicts to serve in the military or take any position in police, but they allow them to run for a president...

At the same time, chiefs had to lose a lot if openly supporting Yuschenko...

Anonymous said...

The resolution of conflict in the Ukraine can only be taken as fully resolved when Ukrainian Russians feel actively drawn to opposition political participation. I am hopeful the President understands and will encourage such opposition.


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