Thursday, September 27, 2007

The bastards have occupied Mariinsky Park again.

My friend, the one with the 8-month-old daughter, has called me to complain about it. First, there was the spring invasion, then she spent the whole summer in Kyiv, and now they are back, and she's got no place to walk with her daughter again.

Call me undemocratic, but this permanent election is such a pain in the ass.

She didn't see any banners, but I suspect it's the Party of the Regions. Preparing to stage those fake protests again.

I really don't understand why they need the park when they can't even fill Maidan properly.

And isn't the park some sort of a historical heritage object, where it should be prohibited to campaign? I think there's something about it in the Election Law, but I may be wrong.

And when we were there two days ago, there was lots of construction going on, too, at and around Mariinsky Palace. I said then that this could be a good way to keep the invaders away, by fencing off the park completely, for safety reasons - but they probably haven't thought about it.


  1. Whether it'll be a perm election depends on how many folks vote for none of the above...


  2. It already is a permanent election, David.

    And it's not fair to blame the people for that.

  3. I misunderstood, maybe.

    My point is that to ensure both stability and change, one wd need to get a significant no. of people supporting the biggest advocates of change so that the election would not be so close.

    Then, elections will not reoccur often or be permanent.

  4. I would have to agree with you on that 1000%, dlw.

  5. Elmer,

    You've spilled out of that long thread, and suddenly I realize that Elmer's Psycho Corner was a bad idea: would be too time-consuming to try to contain you there...

    So, since you're here now, please do bother answering two questions that I asked you by the end of that thread:

    Are you going to vote in this election? (Are you eligible to vote?)

    And if you are, who are you voting for: Tymoshenko or Lutsenko? (Or Oleh Tyahnybok, perhaps?)

    These questions are, more or less, what I've been asking those cab drivers in Kyiv - and if they can answer me, I don't see why you can't.

  6. Yes, David, I, too, agree with you completely: people should vote for "the biggest advocates of change" - here and anywhere else in the world. That's a textbook truth.

    But the reality here in Ukraine is different: "the biggest advocates for change" often live by the "anything goes" principle - just like their opponents, the self-proclaimed "advocates for stability."

  7. Part of an article (it's a pretty good article) from this link:

    Ukrainian voters cannot find a political force that ideally meets their needs, and its becaming a a norm. This situation forces them to choose between the real, however exhausting, and the fresh, yet unrealizable.

    Kyiv Weekly tried to figure out what decisions of the government Ukrainians regretted the most following the elections of previous years and how to avoid this in the upcoming elections.

    Rake No. 1: To spite everybody

    By European standards, the average Ukrainian voter is hyperactive. While the phenomenon of absenteeism has become widespread in many countries of Western Europe, the turnout of elections in Ukraine remains comparatively stable and high.

    The hyperactivity of the Ukrainian electorate can be explained as follows. For most voters this is the only way to express their (naturally negative) attitude towards the political system as such, without dividing it into the government and the opposition, the left wing or the right wing.

    In this case, the fact that a person did not come out to vote will go unnoticed. This is precisely why giving voters the option of coming to the polling station and put a checkmark in the box labeled “Against all” has become a highly effective political trick. Actually, this was so popular that a political party bloc named itself “Against all” in the 2002 elections. The flaw in this approach is that the votes “Against All” are basically divvied up among the most skillful players of that very same political spectrum that the opposition voter despises.

  8. "anything goes" is a broad and serious statement. There probably aren't as many diffs as they spin it, but I believe you are overstating the matter.

    Now, as a foreigner, I guess I shd defer to your viewpoint, but I find it hard to believe that you see things as they are and Elmer and IIU are blinded ideologically...

    It's similar to Pascal's wager, in my opinion. If one believes in God and is wrong then what comes of it? If one doesn't believe in God and is wrong then the outcome is very serious. This is why I choose to believe that Elmer et al are right and that there are quite significant diffs between the sides and I ought to try to persuade those on the fence to make a commitment.


  9. Once Regions gets firmly in the driver's seat and brings about a Putinesque regime in Ukraine, there will no longer be all these troublesome elections and the park will be available for use!

  10. Dear Anonymous,

    The park was occupied by the Party of the Regions in summer 2005, too, when all was well and Yulia was still the premier. They were posing as the opposition then. Sending them all off somewhere to Siberia might save the park - but that'll be a bit too Stalinesque, don't you think? :)

  11. When it comes to driving, the Regionalist track record appears rather Paris Hiltonesque:)

  12. it's a matter of beating them badly enough so that they accede and work with the system...

    If BYuT(with NUNs help) wins by a 2-3 percentage point advantage and take an aggressive stance that will help them consolidate and improve upon their success then the writing will be on the wall, until the PoR truly reforms...

    In 2005, it was too soon to tell, but a significant portion of "against all" voters "seeing the light" wd effectively end the permanent election problem...


  13. David,

    "Anything goes" is a generalization rather than an overstatement. I hate to generalize, but I tried to be concise.

    I don't think that you should "defer to my viewpoint" because you're a "foreigner" - but I do hope that what I'm saying here will add something to your perspective.

    "Blinded ideologically"... This, perhaps, is part of the problem. Part of the reason why we are having these endless pseudo-arguments here.

    Ideologically, we are on the same page. (At least, when it comes to Ukraine, though if we, for some reason, decided to veer off into a U.S. politics discussion, we might disagree on certain points. Or not.)

    But try visiting a few hospitals here in Kyiv and you'll forget about ideology. Try imagining having these hospitals as the only option for yourself and your loved ones. No Austria to escape to.

    Then turn on the TV and watch one of Yushchenko/Lutsenko's campaign ads, the one featuring a beautiful pregnant girl - too neat to be a villager, but we are expected to believe that she is. She suddenly goes into labor, but there's no ambulance around - it's a village, right? She makes it to the highway, holding her belly, in pain, tries to flag a car, but no driver's willing to be a midwife - or to have his backseat covered in blood. And then, out of nowhere, appears this really hi-tech ambulance vehicle, and the woman is rescued, and a sweet-looking doctor is stroking her belly, and she's all smiles. And a voice in the background promises to make sure there's an ambulance in every village once we vote for Our Ukraine/People's Self-Defense.

    There's no ideology in this.

    And I wouldn't be too harsh on anyone who believes that this ad and those who produced it are full of shit.

    Things like this may determine the way one votes. There are lots of other factors, including history and ideology - as well as free plastic bags being distributed by every major party out there, a real hit with us Ukrainians.

    Me, I've decided to vote for Yulia. Made up my mind yesterday. Because of my father. I do have a number of rational reasons for turning around and going into a slightly opposite direction, and I'll try to write about them later, but the main reason is completely irrational:

    I'll let my father vote through me. I'm sure he'll love it. He was Yulia's faithful fan.

    Crazy, huh? :)

  14. No more nightmares on Elmer Street for Veronica;)!

    True, there are no perfect picks in this election. But you you've made the right call. And I'm sure your father would be proud of your decision:)

  15. thanks for the response.

    I agree that the commercial is way over the top, but "marketing", you know...

    And thanks for sharing. I can respect that decision and reason. I remember in 1997, I voted for Dole, not because I preferred him over Clinton but because I did not want Clinton to have a majority mandate. Now, the chances of my vote making a diff like that was slim to none, but that was thinking...

    so yeah.


  16. "the one featuring a beautiful pregnant girl ..."

    Totally agree. That ad freaks me out as the top prize winner for the worst ever ad. And for me is "another nail in the coffin" that OU-PSD just don't get it. The person/s who rubberstamped this ad must have been ... (words fail me.) Just as they did when in a public debate an OU deputy put forward the concept that the winning party would be the one which had the least amount of political ads (this was in the start of the campaign when OU-PSD had almost no ads on tv.) Perhaps they should have stuck with that concept rather than miss-steping so badly.

    dlw -
    I am not sure why I am being brought into this (referring to me in ur "blinded ideologically" comment) as I am fully committed to believe that everyone has the right to vote or not to vote, and can exercise their right to choose any option to vote for, etc.

    My emphasis that every vote is important is a reflection of the current state of affairs. (This is not the vote in Belarus where individual votes really did not matter - Lukashenko was going to win. period.)

  17. There's an article in Ukrainska Pravda (in Russian) about the U.S. folks who allegedly run Yushchenko/Lutsenko's campaign and are responsible for such "ideological" inventions as "zakon odyn dlya vsih":

    An interesting read, though with stuff like this, you never know how much of it you can trust - and what to do with this new knowledge... :)

  18. I think that was IIU posting anonymously.

    My point was I was trusting your and Elmer's and (TAras R and K)'s judgments on the diffs between the parties. This was in disagreement with Neeka's statement and my own attempt (somewhat diff from Elmer's) to persuade those on the fence to vote for political change with BYuT.

    It's water under the bridge now.


  19. dlw - yep, but I was never part of that back and forth discussion so ...

    If it would be up to me, I would go with OU-PSD but would also be happy to avail myself of 20 minutes in a dark alley ... hmmm, at least 20 mins. :)

    And I am not even sure that it would do it. One of the great advantages w/in PoR is that there is a quick learning curve while with OU or Rukh, I don't know what the problem is as exemplified by the infamous preganant woman ad though I do like the "One law for all" slogan but not the way it was implemented. (Wonder if there are saboteurs within the party/sytem or are they really that 'dumb'? Hmmmm.) Thanks for the article reference did see it and read it.