Friday, September 21, 2007

This may sound like a non sequitur, but I don't want to postpone saying it:

In the upcoming parliamentary election, I'm voting against them all.

I wanted to do it in 2004, but Yanukovych was just way too much. I wanted to do it a year and a half ago, but Pora seemed like such a logical choice then. Now, I see no obstacles whatsoever to voting the way I really want.


From the archives:

- Another reason why I didn't vote against them all in 2006;

- Part of the reason why I voted for Pora;

- The breakdown of our extended family's 2006 vote - I hope to do a similar one this time as well.


All this said, I'll be rooting for Yulia. Because following politics here is like watching a football game: there has to be some emotional involvement.


There are a few politicians here I have great respect for: Volodymyr Ohryzko, Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov are the first ones who come to mind.

Ohryzko isn't running, Jemilev and Chubarov are with Our Ukraine/Lutsenko's thing. If I voted for them, I'd also vote for Kyiv's former mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko, for former culture minister Oksana Bilozir, for Petro Yushchenko and his son, for Roman Zvarych. And God knows who else.

The way things are, I'd rather volunteer in some way for these guys I respect than vote for the whole bunch.


  1. Why bother to vote at all, Neeka?

    What's the effect of an "against them all" vote?

    Do you really want the mafia thugs from PoR to stay in power?

    The only chance Ukraine has is to vote for Tymoshenko or Lutsenko.

    I don't understand your kind of mentality at all - do you think someone's going to come along and hand you everything you want on a silver platter?

    As long as you say "a pox on all their houses," you're going to get a pox on YOUR house.

    I'll put it to you differently - Levko Lukyanenko sat in prison for 27 years - for no reason at all, other than he voiced his opinion.

    Why? Because PEOPLE allowed that.

    Because PEOPLE did not demand freedom of thought, freedom of speech, just plain freedom.

    And now you are just going to pout like a little kid, and hold your breath till you get what you want.

    Not a good choice, Neeka. Not a good choice at all.

    And if the PoR mafia continue to rob the country blind, you deserve what you get - and I will have no sympathy for you at all.

  2. That's what I call "tough love" there Elmer!

    I believe Taras K makes an elegant pitch against PoR and somewhat for BYuT in the Kyiv Post.

    I'd want to encourage people to try and get a higher turnout. It's been shown that visits to people's houses days before an election can improve their likelihood of voting dramatically.

    I also think that Ukrainians shd be able to stand up against blatant attempts to corrupt election like they did in 2004. Nothing has changed, the many acts of heroism then can still happen today and the stability of your political future and the potential for change are still at risk.

    There's no way the windfalls from after the OR will trickle-down adequately without some serious political changes and BYuT seems to be the more tested and tried candidate for that happening...


  3. Hey, at least you still have the option of voting "against all." Not the case anymore in Russia...

  4. Elmer,

    The message I'm sending by voting against them all is this: I still care.

    But I don't believe that holding an election every year and a half is what Ukraine needs. I don't believe the new Rada would be any better - any more efficient and any less corrupt - than the previous ones.

    I do agree that it's all about "PEOPLE" - but it goes deeper than casting yet another vote for God knows who.

    Right or wrong, this is my opinion and my choice. If yours is different, that's fine with me: I'm not forcing my skepticism onto anyone.

    I can easily manage without your sympathy - please don't worry and save it for someone else.

    As for your "tough love" - and since you've mentioned Levko Lukyanenko - try applying some of it to Taras Chornovol. Should be fun, I'm sure.

  5. Neeka:

    What you are telling me is that Tymoshenko and Lutsenko, both of whom have been strong and forceful anti-corruption advocates, are somehow no better than PoR, which doesn't care about corruption, blatantly acts on it with crooked privatization deals, and is running on a stalinist-like "stabilnost" platform.

    What country are you living in?

    By voting against them all, you're showing that 'you care"? Excuse me, but the logic escapes me there, Neeka.

    One of the absolutely stupidest things I have ever seen is a ballot entry in Ukraine which allows an "against them all vote."

    So, I ask you again, what happens to any person's vote that votes that way? Does that vote then get randomly assigned to a bloc? Does that vote count in the total vote tally? Mechanically, what happens to that vote?

    Neeka, how does it get any deeper in a democracy than the vote?

    And how would anyone know that Neeka voted "against them all"? Do you really expect Yanuk and Akhmetov to look at that and say:

    "Oh, gee, Neeka still cares, we better stop raping and pillaging Ukraine and stealing money via privatizations, because Neeka voted against them all."

    They're going to continue laughing at you all the way to the BANK - the overseas banks, where they hide their money.

    You think that all of a sudden they're going to say, "oh, gee, let's kick 'saldat Kalashnikav' out of our party, because Neeka still cares, and 'saldat Kalashnikav' is pretty much of a thug"?

    As for Chornovil - well, the son clearly is not the father. I'm not sure what you're trying to show by mentioning Taras Chornovil, but the PoR is pretty much a worthless, vicious bunch of thugs - and his membership in it proves my point.

    I don't get the reasoning behind what you're saying, Neeka, it makes no sense at all.

    I, for one, strongly urge you to reconsider and to vote either for Tymoshenko or Lutsenko.

    Otherwise, I say again - you deserve what you get.

  6. Oh boy...

    What planet are you from, Elmer?

  7. Neeka:

    I'm not trying to get your goat - I'm trying to understand a mentality that is totally befuddled.

    Abba Eban used to say about the Palestinians that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    I'm beginnning to think that Ukrainians are the same way.

    Ukrainians have a very clear choice - pro-democracy with Tymoshenko or Lustenko, or more left-over stalinist sovok thugs from the PoR.

    But they're going to sit on their hands and do - nothing.

    So how can things change for the better, Neeka?

    I've never seen such tortured, muddled thinking as from the populace in Ukraine - and I'm not referring to you, Neeka.

    It's like deer caught in the headlights.

    Don't start using ad hominem attacks against me, Neeka. I'e like to have a discussion, and I'm trying to address the reasoning and the arguments.

    Explain to me how sitting on your hands is going to get rid of corruption, is going to make government responsive and responsible, is going to foster an improved economic condition for people other than just oligarchs.

    I've got a stake in this, Neeka, because my family is in Ukraine.

    Sitting and moaning and groaning about it ain't gonna cut it, Neeka.

    You've got to vote.

    And right now you're stuck with a party list system, which is also absurd.

    But at least there's a way out of it, and you've got to start somewhere - and that's with either Tymoshenko or Lutsenko.

    I really want to understand this, Neeka, so I hope that you can give me the courtesy of an explanation.

  8. I couldn't agree more with Elmer. There's never a perfect list or a candidate you agree with 100 per cent and if there is they are the one who have no chance to make it past the barrier. You always have to choose the least worst option. A non-vote doesn't count for anything. No one takes any notice of it. Except if less than 50 per cent vote and then what? More chaos. If there are even just two politicians on a list you respect then that seems to me good enough even if most of it is corrupt and nepotistic

  9. No, guys, as much as I agree with you, it really isn't all that black and white. Even Lutsenko and Tymoshenko need to step up to the plate, and if Neeka doesn't want to vote for them until they do, that's an honorable choice.

  10. Tymoshenko and Lutsenko have stepped up to the plate - big time, and for several years now.

    PoR and Yanuk have not, and it is blatantly evident.

    The choice is to go on the path of a truly democratic, truly responsive government - or to continue with the shenanigans of the sovoks from PoR.

    Do you want a fat pig of a Tsushko carrying out Gestapo raids on Lutsenko and the citizens of Ukraine, and Firtash's stepson getting away with murder by BMW - or do you want non-corrupt judges and officials?

    Pretending that Tymoshenko and Lutsenko have not "stepped up to the plate" is hogwash.

  11. hey, you know, Veronica is a public figure and it may be best for her not to publicly commit and to point out that there are problems with all the options.

    I don't know, either way, her endorsement of Tymo and Luts is not critical to carry the day...

    I told IIU at OU that it'd be a good idea to let others know in other blogs about some of the shenanigans going on.

    It also is important to encourage people to stand up against corruption like they did in 2004.

    I think also it can be good to do turn-out-the-votes drives in one's area. If you visit someone in person shortly before an election this can make a difference in their likelihood of voting.

    But maybe we shd let Neeka be! I don't know this, but she is a public person in blogging and that is not an easy thing in the former soviet union.

  12. I'm not attacking you, Elmer. I just feel that you're being naive. It really isn't all black and white here.

    And it's really hard to think of this election as a possible beginning of the brighter future or whatever. It's been going on forever, promises being made and not kept. Yanukovych, Kivalov - why have they not been charged for their role in the 2004 election? Yushchenko, Yulia, Lutsenko and the rest of them had plenty of time back then to do something about it.

    I'm tired of their noise. I guess I'm just taking a break this time around. When Yulia runs for president, I'll probably vote for her.

    There's too much going on outside their big politics. And they are too high up to notice it, regardless of whether I vote for them or not.

    A cab driver told me yesterday he'd vote for Vitrenko. I'm a Ukrainian, right, not a Palestinian, so I managed to endure the ride peacefully, even though I thought he was a complete idiot. I told him about Vitrenko's close friend, whose daughter, a friend of mine, emigrated to the States in the 1990s: this woman - a wonderful woman, unlike Vitrenko - had applied for a U.S. visa eight or nine times before she was granted one. At first, she just wanted to visit her daughter and come back, but this visa ordeal made her change her mind. Vitrenko was at her farewell party - because she's a hypocrite and personal isn't political for her. The cab driver liked the story, but I don't think it made him change his mind. Maybe it's those fucking traffic jams that do it to people. And all the booze we consume.

  13. David,

    So far, blogging has been easy for me. No editors, so much freedom. So many new friends.

    And if I can write about, say, my father's horrible death, why would I bother to keep my political views secret?

  14. Neeka:

    It's only confused if you make it confused.

    Tymoshenko and Lutsenko have laid it out very clearly.

    And there is a very clear record on the part of Yanuk and the PoR - of corruption.

    What happens to your vote if you vote "against all"?

    Does it get re-assigned?

    There is noise in any political election. If you just stop and sit back, then you are begging for people to come in and to steal from you.

    Everyone in the former sovok union was taught that foreigners were just "тупой" - naive and stupid.

    OK, Neeka, one of the experts in the televised debates said that the people in Ukraine aren't stupid.

    If that's the case, then how did Chernovetsky get elected mayor of Kyiv?

    Due to the brilliant intelligence of the people?

    And how did the PoR get elected into their positions?

    And why is corruption continuing?

    This is no different from sitting back and letting Levko Lukyanenko sit in jail for 27 years - "not my problem, too inconvenient, too much noise."

    So, Neeka, if people sit back and say "I'm tired of all the noise" - then corruption will continue.

    And 5 years down the road, you'll still be complaining about how come Yanuk and Kivalov have not been charged.

    The way to show the politicians you care is to vote for the ones who will do the job. The key here is to VOTE. Another key here is to vote FOR the people who will do the job - Tymoshenko or Lutsenko.

    And certainly, absolutely not for Vitrenko.

  15. Dear "in support of elmer":

    There was time when Kuchma was the lesser evil, and then, when we helped him win, he got upgraded to be the greater evil, the master of the chaos.

    Last year, if I remember it correctly, it was - surprise, surprise - Moroz who contributed to some of the chaos.

    So you never know.


    Dear Elmer,

    Go tell Taras Chornovol about Levko Lukyanenko. And find someone who's voting for Yanukovych and Vitrenko - and preach to them. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and energy repeating yourself here. I'm not "the people of Ukraine" - I'm one person. And I have a chance to cast my vote, and there is this "against all" option, and I happen to like it. It's that simple. I've already explained why I like it, and if you don't get it, that's okay, because it's me who's going to vote this way, not you. Verka Serdyuchka could've been an option, too - how about that?

  16. Well, Neeka, you really disappoint.

    Kuchma was the lesser evil than Symonenko?

    Come on, Neeka, in every former sovok republic, the insider commies took over, and said "hey, you know, this "democracy" is a pretty good deal, we can steal all we want, and all the dumb shits that we beat over the head don't know enough to say anything about it."

    Lazarenko showed Kuchma how it's done, and Symonenko would have done the same thing.

    Neeka, you haven't explained a damn thing - you just stick your head in the sand.

    So it's one of several things:

    1) it's a woman thing

    2) it's a Ukrainian thing, like looking a gift horse in the mouth - you give a Ukrainian a gold-plated Mercedes, and she'll complain about the color

    3) it's a натиск thing - the PoR will come after you if you say anything different

    4) well, Neeka, it's a Moscow thing. I read the interview with your husband.

    Verka Sedyuchka an option? You are full of shit. And don't go complaining about Mercedes parking in flower beds again, Neeka. You want to throw away your vote and your freedom, you get what you deserve. You made your bed - now lie in it, honey.

  17. I guess I missed a major shitstorm!:)

    Calm down, folks. Try to understand each other. I, too, have a strong urge to nuke ‘em all, that is, to enter a vote of no confidence with regard to all contenders. (Kalynovsky’s escape makes “One law for all” sound like total NUNSense.)

    I will vote BYuT, though, despite the lack of "beauty" in some of the BYuTies that Tymo has surrounded herself with.

    That’s my decision. I’m fine with a “no to all” position as long as the person comes to the polls, and will come back next time when there’s a better choice of candidates.

  18. Neeka

    (Just a disclaimer - this actually has nothing to do with me personally - I'm just interested in the argument).

    Supposing nobody goes to the polls then what happens? Who is left with any sort of authority to say what is going to happen? The President? And what if he not enough people accept his authority. After all he does not have much public support. The non-voter is then "the beautiful soul" who either claims that there's no one good enough for her to vote for or that she can't have any sure way of deciding and might make a mistake. But in fact she is simply relying on enough other people to go the polls to keep the democracy somehow however imperfectly functioning.

  19. I had this long and beautiful post that got lost because my internet explorer shut down...

    Elmer, save your preaching for those who seem more likely to be swayed. Politics is a lot like religion in that often folks just make up their mind on stuff that doesn't make any sense to us, but that we need the sense to accept. This is because at the end of the day our relationship with the person is more import than trying to make them see sense.

    Even if you were right "above", you've accomplished nothing to help BYuT by it. You and Taras have already made your point.

    He did it wittily and cordially. You come across way too extreme.


  20. I'm an American of Ukrainian decent, going to Ukraine as an election observer. I'm being sent to Kremenchuk as an observer.
    Man, this is gonna be a tight and "interesting" election...

  21. What is the outcome if a majority or significant fraction votes "against them all"?

    I hate to sound ignorant, but I'm not sure how such a scenario would work.

  22. No matter how many people vote "against all" it changes nothing. These ballots are counted as "cast" adding to the number necessary to validate the whole election, but only the votes cast for parties will matter. After all of the votes are counted, those cast for parties will be proportionally turned into parliament seats. But I'm not quite sure what happens if 5% vote for PoR, 4 for Yulia and 2 for NUNS--how many seats will they end up having? It never happened that a significant number of people voted "against all."

  23. If the 3% barrier means 3% of ballots "cast' than in that scenario NUNS don't get in at all and POR are the governmentand Yulia the opposition. Or how about another scenario where everybody votes like Veronica except all the communists voters, lets say 4%, who vote for their party. The election is then valid and the communists take all. In other words voters "against all" are counting on someone else to pull their chestnuts out of the fire and vote for the least worst option.

  24. Oh, that evil Veronica.

    But, how about this "scenario": you vote for Klichko - and then get Chernovetsky as a mayor?

    Don't we all depend on "someone else" to some extent?

  25. Privet Veronica,

    I agree with guys that in that case to vote “against them all” is a bad choice. In current Ukrainian situation to vote “against them all” is “to vote with your heart”. To vote with your head means analyzing the potential outcome of your vote and vote for “less harm”.
    I do not agree that ‘bad politicians’ is a unique Ukrainian problem. Look on last two American presidential elections. Exactly the same picture. Many thinking people did not vote for ‘not ideal’ Democrats (and I believe they have fairly strong reasons to do so) – as a result we have George Bush presidency. Most of these guy’s voters never think at all. My Mother in Law will definitely go and vote for Yanukovich, as well as my aunt Vera. And I do not know what should happen so that they would change their minds. And your vote "against than all" means that you are delegating these not very educated pro-soviet oriented people the right to pick the future for Ukraine.


  26. So each of the winning forces gets a little bit of my "against all" vote in the end.

    With Yanukovych, it sucks, but let's hope he'll choke on it. With Yulia and Yushchenko, I don't mind, I'm not that greedy.

    But here's something I do mind, but have not been able to prevent: my vote for Yushchenko was wasted when Yanukovych got reinstalled as the premier in 2005.

    If someone had told me about the possibility of such a "redistribution" of my vote in late 2004, I would've laughed it off: what an unlikely "scenario." And yet, and yet...

  27. Marinushka, privet!

    My heart isn't really into voting. My heart would rather travel, read, write and take pictures, all day long.

    As for my head, I've already said what I think about "the lesser evil": like Kuchma, it tends to turn into a disaster.

    And the previous Rada was a disaster, I agree. But what makes you believe that the new one is going to be better? What makes you believe that they are going to make a genuine attempt to sort out the mess and start working this time? It's the same people running - and it's the same people voting. What if they continue to bite and bark - and then we'll be sent to the polls again next year?

    Another thing I don't understand is why everyone blames those who didn't vote for the Democrats - instead of blaming those who voted for Bush?

    Or - why couldn't the Democrats do a little bit better, try a little bit harder and get those crucial votes?

    This applies to Ukraine, too. Why couldn't they try harder? Maidan gave them such a nice opportunity - and they fucked it up.

    I've never thought about the selfish element of my rooting - but not voting - for Yulia. The anonymous reader has made me aware of this. But somehow, I do not feel guilty. Maybe this is because I really find it hard to think of Ukrainian politics as something other than show business. Or football. I used to think so before the Maidan - and I'm back to this view now.

    And those people who vote for Yanukovych - sometimes you have to share an apartment with them. That's wild. I'm sorry. We have one person like this in our extended family - but I've never met her. Her spouse votes for Yushchenko, I guess. Even Nestor Shufrych has a brother in UNA-UNSO, can you believe it? :)

  28. Veronika

    Wasted vote for Yushchenko in 2004??? What about the scenario where Yanuk becomes President in 2004? Elections March 2006. POR/Communist/Socialist government. Full five year term. Media still censored, state enterprises sold off at quarter price etc Ok Orange didn't deliver too much but there's still a difference.

  29. Oh, okay, it wasn't wasted. I admit it was too emotional of me to put it that way.

    And, yes, sure, there is a difference. Should we perhaps call it "the lesser good"? :)

  30. My Public Administration professor, not only smart but also wise men says about American politics that both parties a pretty bad, but one guys just a little bit better then others and for this "a little bit" it is worse to vote.


  31. "And the previous Rada was a disaster, I agree. But what makes you believe that the new one is going to be better? What makes you believe that they are going to make a genuine attempt to sort out the mess and start working this time? It's the same people running - and it's the same people voting. What if they continue to bite and bark - and then we'll be sent to the polls again next year?"

    If you vote "against all," then you will indeed get the same old stuff.

    The PoR has a DEMONSTRATED record of what they want - they bought up deputies, they conducted rigged privatizations for their friends, as well as their buddies in Russia.

    Their members beat up journalists, and they don't care. They've done absolutely nothing for the people. Mines explode, workers get killed. Trains with phosphorus derail, spilling poisonous chemicals, and Yanuk tells workers not to wear masks, so as not to "alarm" the population. They are for the oligarchs - demonstrably so.

    Their slogan is stabilnist - meaning the SAME OLD SHIT.

    Including pulling out the language card, for some reason. Yeah, young girls will stop leaving Ukraine with 60-year old men from the US and Western Europe - if Russian is made an "official" language. Yep, that will put everything "right," won't it, and contribute to "stabilnost." Stalin would be proud.

    On the other hand, Tymoshenko, and Lutsenko, have a DEMONSTRATED record, and a platform in this campaign of working towards democracy, towards responsible government and against corruption.

    You vote "against all," and you are giving up your right to determine the course of the country.

    It's PoR that had their chance - and they blew it.

    Anyone who votes for PoR ought to adopt the slogan "hurt me better, beat me better."

    Anyone who votes "against all" ought to adopt the slogan "I love having things shoved up my ass by sovok morons."

    I can't say it any more clearly than that.

  32. Elmer,

    In real life, our paths would have never crossed and we would have never had any conversations. This blog isn't real life, but it's my blog, so I would like to ask you to either ignore what I write, or, if you decide to repeat yourself for the hundredth time, please leave your comments in this thread only, because otherwise I'll be forced to create a special post for you - we'd call it Elmer's Psycho Corner - and transfer all your comments there. Thank you.

  33. Something just doesn't add up, here, Neeka.

    Ukraine is a developing - key word here is developing - democracy, trying to shake off old sovok institutions and mentality.

    The old sovok institutions and mentality postulated that government was a leviathan which could do whatever the heck it wanted, and nobody had the right to say boo about it - all in the name of stabilnist.

    That meant that the government had the right to squelch free speech, limit travel, prohibit the right of assembly, and even to kill people in massive numbers - through Siberian camps or gulags.

    That meant that the KGB could approach you on the street and accuse you of "шпекулація" (which happened to me) or worse, whenever they felt like it.

    That meant that the KGB could knock on your door day or night and ask you who the local priests or ministers were, and who was attending services (maybe you could bribe your way out of it, maybe not.)

    I look at Chechetov, from PoR, on the televised debates, and he is using the same heavy sovok style of rhetoric that they used since the 1950's - spout your propaganda, spout your fantasy, whatever he says, no matter how untrue, is "fact," don't give anyone else a chance to talk.

    He sits in STARK contrast to Yatseniuk and Teryochin, and other representatives of the PoR, who seek to get out of the sovok mess.

    In other countries, in order to get from A to B, one gets up and goes from A to B. Simple and direct.

    Apparently, not so in Ukraine.

    In Ukraine, in order to get from A to B, one first ponders for a long time about going from A to B.

    Then one goes to H for a while,the to Z to drop off some flowers for Lenin, then to R to drink for a while, then to D to eat and party for a while, then to L for no reason at all, then everywhere else except point B.

    Or to put it differently:

    The Titanic is sinking. A Ukrainian is in the water. They throw him a lifesaving vest, and invite him into the lifeboat.

    The Ukrainian refuses everything - because he's going to show everyone that he doesn't like the songs the orchestra was playing, and because the Irish passengers offended the German passengers.

    With the utmost respect to you, I urge you to re-consider what you are about to do.

  34. Oh, great.

    Now I'm not just a Moscow-influenced woman full of shit, but, according to Averko, I've sinned by having "promoted a blog post" on GV that's "overly one sided and doesn’t reflect the views of many of Ukraine’s citizenry, be they Russian or Ukrainian." I think he meant Taras' post on the language issue.

    Wouldn't it be great if Elmer and Averko did a blog together?

    But I can't really be trusted, or taken too seriously, that's true. In one of the comments here, I wrote that Yanukovych was reinstalled as premier in 2005, while, of course, it happened in 2006. The thing is, when I was writing that, I completely forgot about Yekhanurov's existence. Amazing. Must be the woman thing again - I was pregnant part of his PM term, and then Marta appeared and I was very busy discovering the joys of motherhood. And symbolically, of course, Yanukovych had his great victory when Yushchenko dumped Yulia in 2005, revealing that instead of working, he'd been babysitting the warring adult kids for seven months - but I'm not trying to justify the mistake I've made by this.

  35. According to Vakhtang Kipiana (Korrespondent, September 22,) a recent poll of Ukrainian users of Live Journal showed that 25% plan to exercise the "against all" vote option.

    You've got your work cut out for you, Elmer.

  36. Thanks for pointing this out, Blair. I haven't been to Kipiani's blog in a long time. Here's the link to where he mentions this LJ/'against all' info:

  37. blair, sadly, very sadly, that is the case.

    Especially for someone who started out voting for PORA.

    Especially in view of all the concrete information about the criminal activities of PoR.

    And, for example, in view of the link posted on the Foreign Notes blog of the release of a film about the Donetsk Mafia.

    One would think not only that people would run away from Mafia, from the sovok thugs who constitute the Party of Regions,AND run towards the people who are actively working, and have been actively working for democracy, specifically Tymoshenko and Lutsenko.

    Not so in Ukraine - it is fashionable to complain, to moan and groan, to weep about how bad things are, to talk about how bad things are for the people - and then do nothing.

    The easy, common sense choice is to vote.

    Not so in Ukriane - much more fun to "мамляти" and sulk in one's misery. Lots of Russian influence here. Centuries of it.

    As Robin Williams said in "Moscow on the Hudson" - "In Russia, I loved my misery. It made me happy. I could hold it, and caress it, and look at it. Here (in the US) I have freedom. I hate it - I don't know what to do. Freedom makes me miserable."

  38. Neeka, sorry, i confess: didn't bother to read aLL comments, but i do believe that "against aLL" is not an option--you'd better spend that time with Marta

  39. Ukrainian politics used to be an infectious disease. We were all infected by it -- look at some of the posts from 2004, 2006.

    I'm glad to say that I'm recovered.

    Using the same logic of a vote 'Against all' is a wasted vote, What if all undecided voters marked 'against all'? Let's say 15% of the electorate said to the politicians ' you all have failed. No jobs for you bastards. you suck.'

    What a message it'd sent to those crooks! in America, Ukraine, etc.

    Do what you need to do.

  40. Veronica, you don't need me to tell you this, but just ignore all the cranks out there and exercise your right to vote against all if that's what your conscience tells you to do.

    Elmer, your total lack of civility and repetitiveness make you seem like Mike Averko's evil orange twin and don't do anything to advance your argument. I understand your passion, but do you have to be so rude about it?

    In 2000, I voted for a third-party candidate in the US - I didn't like Bush or Gore very much, and I was voting in Massachusetts, which always goes for the Democrats anyway. If I knew then what I know now, I definitely would have voted for Gore, but that still would have been just a vote against Bush. It's your vote, and you can do what you want with it - the system still works, as long as you consider the options and go to the polls.

    Oh, and regarding Averko, I've now seen him introduce a few posts he didn't happen to like as "Global Voices promoted" - it's hardly worth your attention, although his exchanges in the comments section of the recent AFOE piece on Transdniester are fairly classic. Too bad he can't be bothered to set up a blog of his own so that you could (at least hypothetically) link to his posts.

  41. leopolis

    If 15% of the people voted against all, that's exactly what the stalinist mafia thugs from the Party of Regions wants.

    Because that means that those voters are giving away their votes and defaulting to the PoR.

    It doesn't mean that the "bastard", as you call them, don't get jobs.

    It means that they do.

    What if undecided voters marked "against all"?

    It's the same logic as this --

    If frogs had wings, they wouldn't womp their ass each time they jumped.

    "Against all" is a waste of time, a wasted vote, and a sure vote for retention of jobs by the stalinist mafia thugs from the PoR.

    As for you, lyndon -

    I hope you realize what the politics in Ukraine has been like, and what it still is. I use the term "stalinist mafia thugs" advisedly.

    There is a reason that all of the politicians and businessmen drive armor-plated Rolls Royces, Mercedes and Bentleys and Porsches, with bulletproof glass, in Ukraine.

    Can you guess why, lyndon? Because the stalinist, sovok thugs don't play - they kill, lyndon. Car accidents, bombs, hunting accidents, poison, "suicides" with stab wounds to the back and gunshots from the back.

    That is why these elections are so important.

    And that's why a vote "against all" is absolutely MORONIC, lyndon.

    Ukraine is not the US - neither is it Russia.

    The people finally need to break free of the vicious sovok legacy.

  42. I want to put in a word of sympathy for the passion of Elmer.

    He is not a psycho, just someone who loves his country and believes that voting the PoR out of its position of dominance is the only way forward for Ukraine.

    Now having said that, Elmer please do recall my point made above about how Taras made the same point in a better way. Put your passion into some other venue besides Neeka's backlog. It'll do more good for Ukraine.


  43. dlw, I want you and lyndon to go over to this site:

    Scroll down to where it says the stuff about Chernovetsky and Yanukovych sing KGB songs.

    Watch the videos.



    Can you get it through your head how these people operate? They are not there to represent the people.

    Their stalinist political party is there to support their business clan and Donbass - period.

    Have you seen the pictures of the multi-million dollar dachas and houses of these people?

    Do you understand that the rest of the people live in poverty, at the expense of these thugs?

    Do you understand that when they personally deliver ballots to people in hospitals, which is permitted in Ukraine, that if you don't vote the right way, they kick you out of the hospital?


    This is not a Bible class, and it's not some suburb in Massachusetts.

    The North End in Boston may be heavily composed of Mafia, and Southie has its own Irish Mafia.

    But they don't compare to these folks.

    Not even when Boston was being run by a mayor sitting in jail.

    In Boston, roads were built to nowhere, to support graft and corruption.

    The only roads that these people build is to their own private multi-million dollar mansions.

    Go over to Ukrainian Pravda, you'll see the pictures.

    You want to soft-peddle this stuff?

    People in Ukraine were afraid to even whisper about it until just recently, because they got beat up, or worse, if they said anything.

    And the reason nothing was done is because people got beat up - including journalists.

    You want to be oh-so-polite?

    You are bringing a twig to a gun fight.

    You want to be like Woody Allen - "I'm sorry that my nose got in the way of your fist."

    The only thing that beats these guys is the light of day exposing all of their thuggery and corruption - and people knowing about it, understanding the effects on them, and the significance of it.

    And some clear thinking.


  44. I take one of my comments back, Elmer. Your last two comments remind me more of La Russophobe's style of discourse than of Averko's. It's quite kind of dlw to insist that you're "not a psycho," but since I only know you from what you've written at this thread, I hope I can be forgiven for concluding otherwise.

    If you want to fight the power and bring something other than a twig to a gunfight, why not do it somewhere other than in the comments section of a blog?

    You seem to have mistaken my call for civility for some kind of American naivete - sorry, but I've spent plenty of time in the USSR and in Russia, I understand perfectly well "what kind of people these are" (the same kind of people who are in charge of most post-Soviet countries, actually, although I appreciate that you want better for Ukraine, as well you should), and I agree with what you're saying about the level of corruption in the system.

    I just don't understand why you're in full freak-out mode here, with the all-caps and everything. Go and vote however you see fit, but do you really think you will change anything if you harangue and browbeat someone who doesn't plan to vote your way?

  45. Veronica, I’m sure you can live with Michael Averko’s two cents of “independent” foreign policy analysis and media criticism. It was a pleasure to put in my two Ukrainian kopiykas, too:)!

    Elmer, keep up the passion, but change the pitch. You’ll feel the difference:)

  46. Here's a problem that exists in Ukraine: there's no such thing as "politicians will get the message people are sending them." Even if 90% vote against all, 6% for PoR, 2% for NUNS and 2% for Yulia there's going to be no "message" PoR gets from this. All it will get--the total control of the country.

  47. Here's something for you, lyndon.

    It's an article from Ukrainian Pravda about the Party of Regions minimizing Yanukovych's picture on their promotional materials.

    Instead, they have been using a picture of a little girl, nominally in Ukrainian colors.

    Imagine the astonishment of reporters and others when they found the image of the same little girl at the Corbis web site.


  48. Elmer,
    I'm not saying soft-pedal in exposing the PoR. I'm say soft-pedal in your rhetoric with those who, for whatever reason, do not accept your pitch that the only way forward is to support BYuT/Lutsenko in the imminent election with all their heart, mind and soul...

    Elmer is not a psycho. He is someone who loves his country very deeply and who has become very much committed to the need to continue the Orange Revolution in order to make more changes possible.

  49. Elmer, thanks, that's interesting of course, but hardly a capital crime - and hardly surprising, given that Yanukovich employs American campaign advisors. Perhaps you should be attacking them.

  50. You are right, lyndon, it's not a capital crime, and it was not offered as such.

    Yanukovich employs, oops, employed Manafort and others. The fact that some Americans will do absolutely anything for money is not Yanukovych's fault. And neither Manafort nor the other American campaign advisors are running for office.

    Attacking American campaign advisors has been a device frequently employed in Ukraine - by Russian, and other campaign advisors, in the vein of trying to make the "orange" candidates look like lackeys of the US.

    Of course, now that the PoR itself has employed Manafort and others, that no longer seems to carry much weight.

    Andrew Wilson, in his excellent book "Ukraine: Unexpected Nation" pointed out that the silent majority in Ukraine tends to stay silent.

    That occurred for many, many, many reasons, including years of intimidation, and including fear of even speaking up for one's rights.

    2004 was a very notable exception.

    I fervently hope and pray that September 30, 2007 will be another very notable exception, so that Ukraine can finally shake off all of the devastating sovok legacy and dust.

  51. One can not be silent and also not come across as if one were yelling at or calling sovoks all those who disagree with us.


  52. Elmer,

    May I interrupt your obsessive campaigning with these questions:

    Who are you voting for? Tymoshenko or Lutsenko?

    And - are you voting at all? Are you eligible to?

    Thank you.

  53. Now, this is an article that impresses me with the extent that Yulia is going to try and get folks to support her.

    It's like Paul Wellstone a Jewish poli-sci prof at a liberal arts school in MN who managed to beat the Republican Incumbent by travelling around MN in a bus. He would have won a third term if his plane had not gone down, which was determined to be by accident.

    When I read articles like this, I understand the intensity of Elmer better and remember my own experience of volunteering to help organize a graduate employee union while I was in graduate school. There was a point where if we were going to be successful was in the balance and I ended up harming and losing some friendships because of my personal intensity on the issue...


  54. Now I'm not just a Moscow-influenced woman full of shit, but, according to Averko, I've sinned by having "promoted a blog post" on GV that's "overly one sided and doesn’t reflect the views of many of Ukraine’s citizenry, be they Russian or Ukrainian." I think he meant Taras' post on the language issue.

    Wouldn't it be great if Elmer and Averko did a blog together?


    Not quite Khokhlova. A previous correspondence of mine on that matter wasn't reflective of that claim. Feel free to email me a request for the actual fact based points I made on the subject.

    The mentioned post on the language issue was fair as per the reasoned enough discussion which followed it.

    As for Lyndon Allin's comments about me here (and elsewhere), it's typical of his apparent inability to deal directly with some of the issues.