Friday, March 31, 2006

Belarusian vs. Ukrainian elections

Elsewhere (Tom Palmer's blog) some posters were arguing that there's no fundamental difference among Eastern European politicians, and that Lukashenka is no worse than anyone else. I regret I didn't direct these reality-challenged people to Neeka's Backlog.

This English language blog from Ukraine has plenty of critical discussion of the recent elections in Ukraine and Belarus. The problems of Ukraine's election: too much campaign spending, annoying politicians who disappoint, disgruntled and disaffected voters...sounds a lot like the U.S. The problems of Belarus' election: spetznaz beating bloody members of the opposition, opposition candidates and supporters imprisoned, ballot boxes stuffed, fraudulent vote counts, more people beaten and imprisoned... it's two different worlds.

Belarus has the problems of dictatorship, and Ukraine the problems of democracy. No difference? Only to armchair "experts" a continent away who have never experienced secret police intimidation first hand.

For more on both elections, visit Neeka's Backlog. There are photos from Minsk, plus discussion and additional links.

And Neeka's Backlog is in general interesting reading, and regularly includes quite beautiful photography from my favorite city, Kyiv.

I disagree a little bit with you saying that Ukraine has problems with democracy. I would rather say that we, Ukrainians, have problems with "organizing" it (if you can say so) in efficient way. I mean that we have a lot of mess with our elections, President, parliament etc., democractically elected by the way, but that's all due to lack of good legislation and high respect of law by all citizens. We have to learn how to enjoy fully all benefits of democracy.
Dyakuyu for commenting.

I agree with what you've said. Ukraine clearly has a great deal of work to do to improve its system.

BTW, a subtlety of the English language -- my point is that Ukraine has the problems of, not that it has problems with democracy. In other words, democracy always has inherent problems, and Ukraine now has inherited these.

It is much better to have these problems than the problems of dictatorship.
Difficult to disagree ;)
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