Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Great Editorial About New Ukraine President and Putin

The New York Times has today published an editorial about the election of Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency of Ukraine. It suggests that Yushchenko's win is a victory for democracy and that the new president will have a difficult time of it. The eastern and southern portions of the country, the regions with the greatest economic potential, are also the parts of Ukraine that voted against him and wish to see the country aligned with Russia, rather than with Europe and the West. It's also a place of loose talk about seceding from the rest of Ukraine.

The editorial's comments about Russian president Vladimir Putin are particularly interesting:
For his part, Mr. Putin disgraced himself by meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine - which he clearly considers one of his territories. He even summoned Ukrainian authorities to a Moscow airport to demand that the first compromised election results stand. Now Russia has lost face. Mr. Putin may well have been playing solely to Kremlin hard-liners opposed to the West, but in so doing, he alienated the eventual winner of the Ukrainian balloting.

Initial reports suggest that Mr. Yushchenko is so far proving to be the bigger man. Last week he said that his first trip after the election would be to Moscow. It would certainly now behoove Mr. Putin to paste a smile on his face and put a spring in his step as he welcomes the new Ukrainian president.
Good advice! Now, if Putin could simply be made to learn what it means to be the president of a free country.

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