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If the elections passed the smell test, then how is that a setback for the idea that the world is becoming more democratic? Not that democracy is the end-all and be-all of a healthy state or healthy relations between states, just that it is a huge mistake to think that greater national self-determination (kinda what I think of when I hear the word ‘democracy’) will result in more pro-Western governments. Probably quite the opposite.
(here via the Larison link in the trackback just above).
The outcome is not as bad as it seems because Yanukovich has become a very different politician from the one he was in 2004–he has tried to distance himself from Moscow, supports EU membership, and by all accounts is a fairly competent administrator. There’s no reason why an incompetent Orange Coalition should have been rewarded with victory.
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If Russia starts acting up, I don’t think it will be to the West. Nordstream, thank you Schroeder, will circumvent the Baltics, Ukraine and Poland and provide a less vulnerable method of gas delivery to central Europe. Outside of pique, Russia has little to gain from interfering in the western near abroad. The oblast of Koenigbsburg and sizeable minorities in Estonia and Latvia already provide Russia with a pretext for interference, if needed.
If Russia reinvents itself again, I would look for a militant form of Christian Orthodoxy and a renewed interest in the Caucus and perhaps Turkey. Russia has rehabilitated Uncle Joe alongside the Orthodoxy Church. The RFR has been increasing funding for seminaries and monastaries since Putin took power and Christain militancy is one quite cheap and two less threatening to Europe than a reemergence of unadorned autocracy.
Putin has recognized publicly the demographic problems; he even taxed beer, for Goodness’ sake. He needs a national movement to galvinize his moribund society and a national crusade to the South might do it. Russia is the heir of Byzantium and would include Constantinople currently if not for the West’s meddling. The war in Chechnia and the Bulgarian’s expulsion of the Turks in the 1980s have shown that the international community does not care overly about extreme human rights’ abuses perpetrated by Russia.
Hello, from Ukraine !
This the very interesting Blog and topic about my nation !
Our new President was democratically elected, as much as someone can be here in Ukraine anyway !
Our people, mostly in our Eastern region strongly support our new man, our previous leaders spent much time in the squabble, so, we will see what happens !