À l'issue du premier tour - favorable à l'opposition - il semble que toutes les règles d'une consultation démocratique n'y soient pas pleinement respectées, c le moins que l'on puisse dire... Depuis Paris, j'ai en tout cas constaté que les mails contenant des informations "sensibles" ne parviennent bizarrement pas (les autres, si) à mes confrères et amis ukrainiens. À leur intention, je copie-colle donc ici un condensé des dernières informations qui me sont parvenues sur le sujet (en anglais, désolé) : on y parle notamment de troublantes tentatives d'empoisonnement dont aurait été victime le principal candidat de l'opposition. Voilà qui n'est pas sans rappeler ce qui est arrivé récemment à un certain nombre de journalistes russes spécialistes de la Tchétchénie...
Qu'en pensez-vous ?
I’m writing you to increase awareness about the current situation in Ukraine since our headlines are occupied with the elections in the US and the Palestine conflict and we might not be aware of the seriousness of the situation. As the European Commission states in its very neutral press release " The 2004 presidential election represents one of the most important events
in Ukraine since independence. " Analyzing the course of events with information from eyewitnesses, I can conclude that it seems to have have very precarious consequences for the future of Ukrainians (emphasizing the PEOPLE).I only want to quickly go over recent developments, which doesnt appear to make democratic elections possible (since everyone of us in the West feels obliged to defend democracy, we should not limit our moral responsibility for Iraqis, but also for Ukrainians -though there is no oil in Ukraine) and the fascist rhetoric and action that dominates: Four weeks ago, the candidate of the opposition Yushchenko suddenly suffered under a mysterious disease, just after a dinner with the head of the security service, which made him appear 20 years older after one night. (see for pictures http://www.yuschenko.com.ua/ ) The director of the hospital in Vienna commented that the causes couldn’t be found and that an expert for biological weapons is needed. The media is not anymore allowed to portray the candidate of the opposition and according to a friend of my family, who works for a state television channel, every employee was instructed that he’ll lose his job if he says anything opposing the streamline (Kuchma and his successor Yanukovych). One TV-channel who started to report something critical of the situation had its bank account frozen afterwards. Everywhere in the country 95% of the election posters are portraying Yanukovych and the other 5% a " puppet-candidate ", who is used to get more votes from the opposition, as Yushchenko is already disabled in a western-style media-oriented election campaign due to his appalling appearance after the poisening. The public sphere (trains, stations...) is invaded with propaganda pamphlets with headlines like " Secret-operation Yushchenko ", saying that Yushchenko is an CIA-agent aiming to destroy Ukraine’s economy, reminding me very much of a Goebbels. The state is giving a vast amount of presents and money (eg an extraordinary increase in pensions) that it actually doesn’t have, leading to inflation and a probable devaluation of the Hrvna after election. For a week private people can’t get " hard " foreign currencies anymore. It was also reported that some very strange figures are travelling through villages and telling the people that if the village doesn’t vote for the " right " candidate there won’t be any supply with gas and electricity. Also, people were obliged to go to very Soviet-style " election campaign meetings ", in which some pensioners and teachers praised Kutchma and his successor Yanukovych, receiving further gifts. There is other very informative information that I have attached: an account of a Ukrainian writer and journalist and of a columnist of the Washington Post and also the press release of the European Commission. I didn’t give anymore background on Putin’s involvement and promotion of Kuchma’s successor, as this is an already debated topic in western news. As a German learning from German history, it is important to resist any tendencies of fascism as early as possible. I hope for my Ukrainian friends that there is no repetition of Munich 1938. I urge you to distribute this email, so that Ukrainians know that they are heard and the Ukrainian government feels pressurized. Those of you who are Ukrainians: I heard that it is possible to be an election-superviser (a member of my family is doing so). Call Yushchenko’s election office or an election office of your living district. This might at least give you personally the feeling that you’ve done something. The international community in Ukraine has also taken various measurements (see the press release of the European Business Association). Here I want to emphasize that as a foreigner living in Ukraine you also have a responsibility, which my father has urged among the international community especially in the last days and weeks. This is an emergency email, which I had to write quickly to send it as early as possible. So if there are any clarifications necessary or questions raised please email me. Thank you for your attention Evita R.
EC Delegation Kyiv, Press Release
Declaration by the Heads of Mission of the European Union in Kyiv on the presidential election process in Ukraine The European Union has underlined to the Ukrainian authorities on a regular basis the importance of holding free and fair presidential elections. On the occasion of the last interim report before the elections of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Heads of Mission of the European Union in Kyiv want to reiterate the EU position and to express their concerns.
The 2004 presidential election represents one of the most important events in Ukraine since independence. Whether Ukrainians are allowed to exercise their right to a free and fair vote and have their free expression of political will respected will significantly influence Ukraine’s strategic course for the next decade.
The conduct of this election offers Ukraine the opportunity to accelerate its development as a stable, independent, democratic, and prosperous country that is ready to move from cooperation to closer integration with the European Union. An independent Ukraine which respects human rights and the rule of law, while maintaining mutually beneficial relations with its neighbours is in the interest of the European Union.
We regret that the campaign to date has given cause for serious concerns as to Ukraine’s compliance with all relevant international standards as documented by all ODIHR interim reports. The disruption of opposition rallies, problems for independent media, harassment of grass roots organizations, misuse of an administrative resources ? and other serious violations cast doubt on the Ukrainian governments commitment to its democratic obligations towards the European Union.
The European Union has urged the Ukrainian authorities on a regular basis to end the ongoing violations of democratic norms, and allow Ukrainians to choose freely. We repeat that call today.
Let there be no doubt that we remain committed to support Ukraine’s future progress towards closer integration with the EU. We are prepared to work closely with any candidate who wins in a free and fair contest.
We call on all Ukrainian citizens to exercise their right to vote in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect and seize the opportunity presented by the election to strengthen their nation’s rightful place in the community of democratic nations. You deserve to be allowed to choose freely and have your choice respected.
Copyright 1995-2001, European Commission, 200 rue de la Loi, B-1049 Brussels - Belgium
" A LETTER FROM KIEV AFTER THE NIGHT OF THE LONG
From Oksana Zabuzhko a well-known Ukrainian writer and journalist.
Open Letter from Oksana Zabuzhko Ukrainian Writer and Journalist Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, October 24 2004 Dear friends, I’m writing you this from the country, now haunted with the gory prospect of being forcefully turned, in a week, into one of the most terrible thugocratic dictatorships that Europe has witnessed since Hitler and Stalin. You may find this an exaggeration, yet it’s not. It’s usually so human, to refuse to believe the worst - until it’s too late.
Besides, from my recent conversations with my friends and journalists from EU, I know how little information can be found in the European media on the situation in Ukraine - and, as a result, how little understanding there is of what is really at stake here this fall. Last night the first blood was spilled on the Kiev pavement.
The autocratic post-Soviet regime, which since the late 1990s has been smothering the budding Ukrainian democracy, and is by now wholeheartedly hated by the vast majority of population (from 67% to 85%, according to the polls!), has given us its final proof, that there’ll be NO - however heavily falsified - " free elections " on October, 31. There’ll be a WAR - an open war, launched against the people of Ukraine by the handful of gangsters now at power, whose only goal is to stay at power after the 31st - at ANY price.
Until last night they’ve been using the " cold-war " methods (to skip the case of an attempted poisoning of the oppositional candidate, Victor Yushchenko, whose chances to win the elections in an honest game are undeniable).
There’s been a disgusting and overwhelming campaign of lies in the media (most of them, with very few exceptions, controlled by the power), there’ve been all the dirty, illegal tricks used (payments, threats, repressions etc.), as well as cheating with the voting lists (with, say, tens of thousands of the dead included on them, etc).
Nothing of these, though, proved efficient enough to guarantee next Sunday the smooth and peaceful victory to the " candidate of the power " - the present-day Prime Minister (appointed by the president), a former (?) criminal, back in his youth twice convicted for robbery (no kidding!). Yesterday, the grand " orange " manifestation (orange being the colour of the oppositional candidate) of some 150,000-200,000 people filled the square in front of the Central Election Committee, under the slogan " For honest and transparent elections ". It’s been a warm, tranquil sunny day (do you know how beautiful is Kiev in the fall?), and the 3-million city was all celebration - of joy, and hope, and solidarity. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many happy, smiling faces in the streets - in fact, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet then, in 1991, as the past 13 years have proved, our celebration was definitely premature. With no change of the political elite, with just very small burgeons of civil society, with - well, why don’t I put it plainly - no REAL revolution, Ukraine, after a while, started sliding back into the dark shadow of Sovietization.
It’s only now, that the dragon of Soviet totalitarianism - in the meantime considerably shrunken, losing one part of his body after another (Eastern Europe - the Baltics - then, last fall, Georgia...), all rotten up to the marrow of his bones (its true - criminal - skeleton now fully exposed!) - is REALLY agonizing. And the convulsions of the dragon could be terrible - isn’t the case of Russia conspicuous enough?
Vladimir Putin, who has so quickly turned his country back into a concentration camp, fully browbeaten with the fear of terrorism, now serves as the major support for the Ukrainian thugs. Small wonder, as criminals and the KGB officers used to belong together since good old Gulag times. The whole presidential campaign of our " candidate of the power ", Victor Yanukovich, is a brainchild of Moscow professionals. Politically and intellectually, Kiev now more and more looks like the city under Russian occupation. And what exactly have they plotted to ensure " the succession of power " in Ukraine, has become visible last night. About 23.00, after the singing " orange " crowd in front of the Central Election Committee dispersed, and only some 150 people - among them women, and senior citizens - stayed to wait for the results of the session (which was held inside) to be announced (on the agenda was an attempt to falsify some 2 million voices, due to the machinations with the voting lists!) - the dragon has bared his teeth for the first time.
Some 50 black-leathered men appeared out of the darkness, and attacked people, who were waiting on the park benches, with clubs and knives. There was no police around (!), but three of the attackers - when the parliamentarians and the bodyguards ran out of the building - were caught and handcuffed. According to their IDs, they all appeared to be disguised policemen - of the specially trained " killers’ detachments ".
Yes, there’ve been rumours circulating before - of some " special detachments " arriving from all over the country and concentrating around the city. Of some strange, and highly suspicious maneuvers noted by the city-dwellers in some areas. Now, next morning after the " night of the long knives " (as a result of which, 11 peaceful demonstrators were taken to the hospital, some of them seriously wounded), there’s no doubt left: the war has been announced. The gangsters at power aren’t going to leave in any case. They are going to fight - most probably, after the voting-booths will be closed.
Could any, however " specially trained ", groups of murderers REALLY work against hundreds of thousands of people? (For people ARE going to go into the streets on the election night, and Ukrainian internet is now boiling with the discussions on how and where to meet, how to protect oneself against the attacks, etc.). Well, maybe they couldn’t. And Ukrainian army will hardly agree to turn its guns against its own people, either. But on October, 28 - three days before the elections - there’ll be a military parade (!) in Kiev (nothing like this was ever held before on this date!). And Russian president Vladimir Putin is coming to Kiev - allegedly, to take part in the parade (?). And to stay in Kiev for 5 (?) days more. Again, there’re rumours - oh, these rumours! - that he’ll be bodyguarded by some bayonets. More precisely - with two divisions being particularly famous of their operations in the Caucuses...
Maybe Ukraine has only one week left. One last week of the electrifying autumn of free political discussions in the cafes and clubs, of gatherings, manifestations, and - well, of hope. For, despite everything, there’s an extremely strong, and growing hope, I even daresay, an upsurging belief, that the Ukrainian part of the dragon will be killed next Sunday with the free will of the people.
Today the anchorman on the last Ukrainian free TV channel yet unclosed (Channel 5) was smiling the same way people were yesterday in the streets. (For quite a while persecuted, now sued, Channel 5 is under the threat of being closed tomorrow night - but the anchorman was smiling like a winner.)
Now covering no more than 30% of the country’s territory, Channel 5 was the only one which gave a full report on the events of the last night.
Characteristically, none of the beaten witnesses sounded " victimized " - they all talked indignantly, but righteously: that is, like people aware of their rights, and ready to protect them.
It’s a totally irrational, yet overwhelming feeling: that " we ", the people, are stronger than " them ", the corrupted power. And that it’s " them ", not " us ", who is scared.
On the night of the elections I’ll be in the streets, too. I don’t know what is going to happen there. That is, what forces will be turned against us, and what will be the final result. Yet, even if the worst happens, and the Putin’s bayonets help to turn my country, for God-knows-how-long, into a criminal-presided reservation of the degraded Stalinist type, we’ll be in the streets - if only to be able to say, that THIS IS NOT OUR CHOICE.
Knowing how easily (and, more than once, eagerly!) does Western press buy the " made-in-Russia " political myths on the current Ukrainian situation (on Ukraine being allegedly " split " into East and West, " pro-Russian " and " pro-Western ", Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking parts, each of them allegedly delegating its own candidate for the presidency), I just wanted to let you know how the things look and feel here in the reality.
By spreading the truth further, you’ll make your own contribution into killing the dragon. For, as we all know from this old guy Orwell (WHO on earth has ever been so careless to have claimed him outdated?) - what the dragon needs most badly for its survival, is precisely the fake, artificially constructed mental picture. And - needless to say that - the agony of the dragon should by no means be lightheartedly taken as a local process only...
It’s not a farewell letter - it’s a letter of hope.
Please keep your fingers for us this week!
With warmest regards,
An opinion for background:
" PUTIN’S UNCHALLENGED
Imperial-minded president intervenes in the strategic country of Ukraine
OP-ED: by Columnist Jackson Diehl The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Monday, October 25, 2004; Page A19
Imagine that an imperial-minded president resolved to aggressively intervene in a strategic country with a fragile democracy to ensure the election of a favored client. To do so, he summoned his nominee and publicly embraced him; channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to his campaign; arranged for television stations broadcasting in the target country to openly boost the favorite and slander his opponent; opened hundreds of polling stations in his
own country so that " expatriates " could vote; and, to top it off, scheduled a trip to the foreign capital three days before the election to stump in person.
Even Hamid Karzai or Ayad Allawi would be shamed by such a campaign, if it were launched by President Bush. What’s more, the rest of the world would loudly condemn American interventionism. Yet Viktor Yanukovych, prime minister and presidential candidate of Ukraine, has humbly welcomed all this and more from Russian President Vladimir Putin—and Western governments have responded with a studied silence.
What’s strange about this is that Ukraine’s outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, was probably right when he recently boasted that the election of his replacement on Oct. 31 would rank second only to Iraq’s upcoming vote in geopolitical importance. The contest between Yanukovych and challenger Viktor Yushchenko will likely determine whether a European country the size of France, with 50 million citizens, remains an imperfect democracy or slides toward authoritarian rule. And it may well resolve whether 2004, like 1947-48, is remembered as a year when a Moscow-orchestrated mix of rigged elections and dirty tricks turned several Eastern European countries into satellites.
Sound exaggerated? Consider what has been happening in Belarus and Ukraine, which lie between Russia and the expanded European Union and NATO. Last week Belarus held a referendum on making strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who already has agreed to reunite his country with Russia, the equivalent of president-for-life. An exit poll conducted by the Gallup Organization showed that the proposition failed. But when Belarusan authorities announced it had passed with 77 percent of the vote, Russia quickly pronounced the vote free and fair.
In Kiev, meanwhile, Yanukovych was pronouncing himself touched by the news that Putin would travel to Kiev this week to appear with him at a parade celebrating the city’s capture by Soviet troops 60 years ago. " I will forever be grateful, " said the burly prime minister, who was publicly kissed by Putin at his home in Moscow this month.
He should be. According to opposition sources, Russia has supplied half of the $600 million that Yanukovych is spending on his campaign—including a $200 million payment from the Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom. Russian state television, which is seen by most Ukrainians, has campaigned unrelentingly for Yanukovych. Pro-Yanukovych billboards have appeared across Moscow, and expatriate Ukrainians will have the chance to vote at some 400 polling places in Russia. Russian political advisers have arrived in Kiev to conduct on-the-spot spin. Russian pop singers are touring the country and boosting Yanukovych at concerts. In return, Yanukovych promised Putin at their last meeting that he would end Ukraine’s policy of seeking membership in NATO, promote an open border and dual citizenship for Russians and Ukrainians, make Russian the country’s second official language, and subordinate Ukraine’s bid for membership in the World Trade Organization to the requirements of forming the " single economic space, " the Putin initiative to create a new union with Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Yanukovych would also entrench Putin’s brand of authoritarian politics in his country. Already Ukrainian media, like their Russian counterparts, are delivering orchestrated and one-side support to Yanukovych, while many opposition media outlets have been closed down. Yushchenko’s rallies have frequently been disrupted by thugs, and the candidate himself fell mysteriously and gravely ill last month—the result, he says, of a poisoning meant to eliminate him.
In spite of all this, Yushchenko continues to hold a single-digit lead in the polls. That’s because the former banker and prime minister is responsible for many of the free-market reforms that have allowed the Ukrainian economy to flourish, and because he promises that he will continue to lead an independent and democratic country toward partnership with the West. The Bush administration and other Western governments hope for his success, but privately expect that Yanukovych will win or steal the election in a mid-November runoff. Putin, they know, will aid and abet that fraud—and then set about integrating Ukraine into his authoritarian bloc.
No one has challenged the Russian president on his aggressive imperialism— which probably means that it will grow. rupted by thugs, and the candidate himself fell mysteriously and gravely ill last month—the result, he says, of a poisoning meant to eliminate him.