sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

October 29, 2014

How Did Ukraine Do at The Polls Last Sunday?

Ukraine held emergency Parliamentary elections last Sunday.  How did Ukrainians do?

1. Nazis parties defeated, annihilated each other or outlived their usefulness?

I recently posted about Ukrainian Nazizoid Iryna Farion quoting Hitler and calling for war with Russia.  Neither Farion nor her party, Svoboda, did well at the polls.  They were a fixture of Ukrainian politics for over a decade, with Svoboda as a dominant party in the historic Galicia region two years ago, but this time  they didn’t make the 5% mark to be represented in Rada, or the Ukrainian parliament.

The case of Farion is particularly instructive — in her electoral district she lost to both Lvov mayor’s Self-Help Party and the Radical Party.  Self-Help advocates, among other things, NATO membership, and so do the Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the president Poroshenko.  So, for those interested in being in opposition to Russia, there are politicians who can stand for it, and do so without the baggage of all these disparaging things said about American actresses.  Besides, Ukrainians can hardly handle the war in Donbass, so the talk about them turning Russia into dust can be a bit overwhelming.  Let the US figure it out.

World War 2 revisionism, the staples of Svoboda ideology, are perfectly mainstream politics in this country of 45 million. Take for instance, the proclamation issued by president Poroshenko a few days ago on the occasion of liberation of Ukraine from Nazis:

The destiny of the world was decided here, on our soil.  Nearly half of strategic defensive and offensive operations were conducted at the hight of global confrontation were conducted on Ukrainian territory.  Over 60% of Wehrmacht land forces were defeated here.  More than 9 million Ukrainian-born soldiers stood up to fight the enemy in the ranks of the Red Army.  Millions more fought the Nazis and their allies in the ranks of UPA, the ranks of Soviet partisan formations, Polish Army, American, Australian, British, Canadian armies and as French, Yugoslavian and Slovenian resistance. (Emphasis mine, — EoTS)

One problem: UPA and its parent Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, OUN, *were* Nazi allies.  OUN stages pogroms in Lviv and surrounding areas on the eve of the Nazi advent.  True, OUN and Hitler had a little falling out when their leader Stepan Bandera declared himself Ukraine’s dictator, but Germany wanted to rule the country without his help.  The Germans had Bandera arrested and confined in a VIP concentration camp, releasing the Ukrainian fascist only at the end of the war, to fight the advancing Red Army.

In the meantime the members of Bandera’s organization joined the ranks of the SS, served in the Nazis’ deadly police forces, served as concentration camp guards, murdered at Babiy Yar, etc.  After German defeat in Stalingrad they went underground and declared themselves to be against Hitler.  This was a part of their reasonably successful effort to sell themselves to the Allies as a national-liberation movement.  During their UPA underground period, Ukrainian Nazis continued haunting down surviving Jews and used Jewish slaver labor in their own concentration camps.  UPA also slaughtered hundreds of thousands ethnic Poles in Volynya and Galicia. A few dozen Germans were killed by friendly fire.

Post-USSR, Ukrainians try to find something both positive and non-Soviet around which to imagine their country.  Some think of Hitler as a liberator, but that’s a hard sell outside the extreme west.  So the fairytale about Ukrainians fighting both Hitler and Stalin had to be invented.  Trouble is, in WW2 Ukrainians fought for either the Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, and any attempt to imagine their nation based on transparent lies will backfire — I hope.

The new session of Rada will likely be opened by Yuri Shukhevich, the son of UPA commander Roman Shukhevich.  This is not going to go well in Poland, for instance.  Shuhkevich, who was elected on the ticket of Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party, already opined that Ukraine has to stretch into the Caucuses.  Lyashko commanded over 8% of the vote in this spring’s Presidential election, and Radical Party commanded 7.4% a half a year later.  At the same time Svoboda gathered 4.7% of the vote, and Pravy Sektor, which is not much of a political party — 1.8%.  All three parties add up to more than 10%.

2. The dormant South-East.

This map of the turn out in the last week’s election corresponds perfectly with the ethno-linguistic maps of Ukraine and the maps of the previous elections results. And that’s after #euromaidan, Crimea annexation, the Lenin downs and considering that Ukraine is a country of joiners — but that’s a different topic

The overall turnout in the election was 52%, meeting the 50% benchmark necessary for the election to be valid.  However, across the South-East it was more than 1o points lower than average and sometimes half of the vote in the western regions.  Even then, Opposition Party, the renamed and embattled Party of Regions, earned nearly 10% of popular vote, remaining the dominant party in the east.  In Kharkov, where Opposition won every party ticket, an elderly lady was seen kissing the hand of the city’s Party of Regions mayor.  One can see how by slightly depressing the overall turn out or encouraging the South-East to turn out en mass, very different election results (or non-results) can be achieved.

Tzar, the little farther, who, for some inexplicable reason is Jewish

3. On the nepotism front, Poroshenko’s 29-year-old son was elected to Rada.

In other words, Ukraine is still Ukraine… minus Crimea… minus gas… and plus the coming default.

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