What Liberals Must Learn From Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (Huffington Post)
An inspiring article comes from the popular online newspaper the Huffington Post on what the Orange Revolution gave in terms of freedoms to Ukraine, and how the current pro-Russia regime is trying to stamp them all out and return to the days of the Soviet Union:
In 2004, Ukraine experienced the Orange Revolution: protest camps filled the capital, Kyiv; millions peacefully demonstrated in the bitter winter months to overturn a corrupt, Kremlin-pressured election. Five years later, Viktor Yanukovych, a laughable presidential candidate and the Russian-backed foe of the Orange Revolution, is now president of Ukraine, due to the global economic collapse — a tsunami for the country’s already fragile economy — and years of in-fighting that plagued the ruling liberals.
Now Yushchenko, once the great hero of the Orange Revolution, is now seeing his pro-NATO, pro-EU efforts dissolve, along with freedom for the press. Yanukovich, or Mini Putin, Ukraine’s new president, is threatening to rewrite history to make the Soviet years seem less horrifying, so Ukrainians can feel better about going back to being a Russian satellite state. And we all know, from the assassination of journalists, political opponents, and police violence used to break up demonstrations for civil rights, Russia’s leaders are still in a Soviet state of mind.
On September 8, the Security Service in Ukraine arrested Ruslan Zabilyi, a young historian and director of a museum in L’viv, a nationalistic pro-West, pro-democracy city in Ukraine near the border of Poland. Tymothy Snyder in the blog of the New York Review of Books writes:
On September 8, the Security Service (SB), under new leadership appointed by the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, arrested in Kiev a young historian named Ruslan Zabilyi, the director of a museum in Lviv devoted to the occupation of Ukraine by the Nazis and the Soviets. He is charged with intending to pass state secrets to foreigners. On September 13 and 14, SB agents searched the offices of the museum’s research staff, confiscating two laptops containing archival documents for a planned exhibition on Ukrainian resistance to Soviet rule; authority over the museum has been transferred to the Institute of National Memory, which is now directed by a communist.
According to the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Zabilyi was seized on the street by six plainclothes SB operatives, held without a warrant or an arrest order, interrogated for fourteen hours, and forced to surrender his computer and external hard drives. Though Ukrainian law is confusing on these issues, the basic case against Zabilyi seems to be that he was intending to transmit documents from archives to foreigners.
But that could never happen here. Right? Well, it depends on how much you pay them.
Who helped Mini Putin come to power and smooth out his messaging? Why a GOP lobbyist, of course
In 1932-33, Stalin raised money to modernize the new state by having his military seal the borders of Ukraine and export the country’s grain abroad, to get the capital he needed. The result? An estimated 14 million of his own citizens, the majority Ukrainian, starved to death in an artificial famine. My grandfather survived Stalin’s man-made famine as a child and many decades later, before his death, wrote about it in his memoir. Now Ukraine’s new president is trying to downplay one of the largest mass murders in human history.
Not only did Stalin get to raise money, he could torture the nationalistic Ukrainians into submission. His legacy can continue in the form of Orwellian denials by the latest sworn in boot stomping on a human face. Ukraine’s Kremlin and GOP-backed president dismisses the famine as old history, nothing to do with the Soviet legacy that’s still squashing human rights in Russia, under Putin’s KGB-like rule, and now threatens to undue democratic progress in Ukraine.
Meanwhlie freedom of speech is quickly eroding in Ukraine as the Prime Minister Mykola Azarov begins an initiative to ban criticizing politicians on TV. It’s a real shame too, as who doesn’t love these?