Saturday, February 05, 2005

Projecting Powerlessness

Projecting Powerlessness: Eviscerating Ukraine's Democracy

In clinical psychology, “projection” refers to the act of attributing to others o­ne’s own faults.

Our less than diligent fourth estate seems content to fiddle the Ukraine story into a simpleminded passion play, ignoring its authors, their aims, and the implications of its possible outcomes.

Projecting Powerlessness
Nov. 30th, 2004

The unmitigated outrage of the American media is finding focus in the Ukrainian election stand-off. Whether saccharine homilies to the inviolate virtue of Democracy, or cartoonish attacks against the Snidely Whiplash’s that would dare sully that beloved Icon’s shroud of purity, headlines in the U.S.( and lesser Canada) are preaching in unison for a single side of the issue. Absent however from the sermons of the self-anointed media arbiters of democracy are both the context and facts underlying Ukraine’s “Crisis of Democracy.”

Who’s the Viktor?

Both Viktor Yanukovych and “wronged party,” Victor Yushcenko have served as Prime Minister to outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma. Both are deeply embedded with the corporate globalizers whom Kuchma, as the Ukraine’s successor to the break-up of the former Soviet Union, used along with his contacts in the communist security bureaucracy, to position himself to profit immensely from the myriad post-Soviet privatization schemes that swept eastern Europe in the 1990’s.

As protégés of Kuchma, Viktor/Victor were in the thick of the purge of state-owned business monopolies in agriculture, industry, and natural resources. This divestment splurge is no case of people power; no working-class hero saga. What’s really unfolding here is a full-on power grab, right in the heart of Russia. Standing a little further back from television’s narrowscope presentation of the struggle, it’s still possible to gain a wider perspective.

The C.B.C. would have us believe this is simply a case of a corrupt government jigging the poll. Their indignation rings hollow, considering the deafening silence regarding America’s recent election experience, but perhaps it's merely their opportunity to file those U.S. stolen vote stories they meant to write, but just couldn’t get around to.

A Pox o­n Both Your Houses

The election was “plagued,” according to foreign observers, by irregularities, (no word if these are less “irregular” in the foreigner’s own countries), but the gerrymandering and dirty tricks in the Ukraine seem to have been very much a two-way street. Unlike in the U.S., where unopposed Republican agents combined the powers of office and incumbent appointees with a loyalist media to have their way with the democratic process, the Ukrainian opposition had the money, organization, and a game-proven plan to fight back. More importantly, they also had some heavyweight coaching in their corner.

Manchester’s Guardian newspaper has been breaking stories o­n the shadowy players behind the “spontaneous” democracy eruption in Kiev. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Republican sponsored International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Democrat’s own National Democratic Institute (NDI), all now appear to have played a large role both in preparing the ground for, and stage-managing the whole election fiasco. Even globe-trotting billionaire for justice, George Soros, so vital to the liberalization of the Russian economy, got in o­n the act. But where are these revelations to be found o­n North American screens?

True to form, the media is playing along, obscuring entirely the massive counter-demonstrations for the Yanukovych side, and continuing to do their best to convince the home viewers that there’s nothing more to the story than a Black Hat-Orange Hat morality play. But, as it is with the spiked ‘Second Bush Usurpation’ story, there are some very dark clouds buried within the Ukraine election.

The Russians, and Vladimir Putin, have been worried about their ever-diminishing realm. The reaction to the attempted defection of the relatively minor republic of Chechnya bears testament to this concern. But, Ukraine is no Chechnya. Ukraine is considered in Russia as heartland, a core component of greater Russia. Think of Quebec; separate but integral to Canadian identity; or consider what Kosovo meant to the Serbs.

All it takes is a quick look at an atlas to see; proliferating U.S. military bases in the near east, nearly all encompassing former Soviet republics and satellites, appear as a cordon separating Russia from resources, trade, and pipeline routes crucial to their survival. And Bush’s America seems intent o­n tightening the noose, further putting the squeeze o­n Putin.

Meanwhile, the story that could prove kindling to re-ignite the Cold War smoulders unattended, while our less than diligent fourth estate seems content to fiddle the Ukraine story into a simpleminded passion play, ignoring its authors, their aims, and the implications of its possible outcomes.

Key Supporters Driving Yuschenko’s Bandwagon
Nick Paton, The Guardian
Nov. 30, 2004

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