Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ukrainian gov't still corrupt

Quick history... last year, Viktor Yanukovych won the Ukrainian election and became president.  In the previous election, Viktor Yushchenko supposedly lost to Yanukovych, but as the people knew of the widespread electoral corruption emanating from Yanukovych, the Orange Revolution was born, combining the forces of Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko's parties.  Yushchenko, a dashing, handsome man, was then poisoned, supposedly by operatives from Yanukovych, causing his face to deform.  With mass sit ins and peaceful protests by thousands of Ukrainians in Kiev, a revote occurred, with Yushchenko winning the presidency.

Yushchenko then appointed Tymoshenko as prime minister, but after much infighting, in a bizarre move, he fired her and put Yanukovych in as prime minister.  Then once Yanukovych became president, he put second place Tymoshenko as prime minister.

Last year after the election, Prime Minister Harper's visit to Ukraine and meeting the Ukrainian president was marked with much of his own subtle symbolism.  With all the formalities, the ongoing and underlying issue remains the recognition of Holodymor, the mass starvation of Ukrainians by Stalinist Russia in the 1930's.  No such recognition from Yanukovych, but Harper's visit to a memorial in the Western Ukrainian city of L'viv, certainly showed Canada's memory.

Ukraine is becoming a more divided nation and perhaps it is mere geography between the West and East, but there is no doubt that Russian influence continues to encroach with it being the dominant language in the East, and where the current president gets most of his support from.  Having Yanukovych as president does no wonders for democracy and Ukraine's destiny as a truly independent country, tied to the West and distinguished from Russia.

Ukraine remains Canada's top European aid recipient for judicial and electoral programs.  But the country of 45 million continues to have governmental corruption amongst the ranks.  Ukraine is a key and central democratic country and an affront to the rising power of Russia and Vladimir Putin's influence.  In a way, it is much like Israel in the Middle East and why Canada should continue to have influence.

But what happens to that influence when Yanukovych wins another term, Putin gets back in as Russian president and extends the terms to 6 years, allowing him to rule for 12 years?

What's the saying? 

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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