Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Amended election law and hysteria – am I missing something?

February 5, 2010

Cats are out of bags, living with dogs and raining down but – for the life of me – I can’t see what all the fuss is about.

OK – changing an election law this close to the election itself is goofy, but it is Ukraine we’re talking about, where political goofiness is the order of the day.

Still, what is the problem?  As I understand it, as long as BYuT delegates to local election commissions actually show up, they’ll take part in the process.  Is there, perhaps, some truth to the PoR allegation that BYuT had planned to withold its delegates, in order to close down the voting process in the east of the country.  Believe me, I’m always willing to be proven wrong, so let me know if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick here.

I suppose one could argue that delegates could be prevented from entering the polling stations, but these are guarded by the MVD, under Lutsenko, a trusted (who on earth knows why) ally of Yulia’s.

No, I just don’t get it.  Seems like a tempest in a teacup to me.

Wait, that’s not a cat metaphor!

Serious political punch-up in Georgia

September 27, 2007

One thing you have to say for Irakli Okruashvili: he doesn’t mince words.

In the past, he’s been known for making rather…erm…”forceful” statements, with regard to Ossetian and Abkhazian separatism (“We’ll see the New Year in in Tsinkhvali,” for example,) or on the tolerance of Russian wine consumers for fecal matter. In fact, many speculated that his inability to moderate his statements in public had a lot to do with his removal from the post of Minister of Defense.

Others, however, saw it as a preliminary move by President Saakashvili to pre-empt Okruashvili’s emergence as a credible challenger to his own unrivalled power.

Adherents of both sides of this argument are going to gain sustenance from recent events in Georgia.

The first blow (not counting Okruashvili’s removal from the Ministry of Defense) was struck when Mikheil Kareli, former governor of Shidi Kartli, was arrested for bribery September 23rd. It may or may not surpise you that he is viewed as a friend of Irakli’s.

Next, Dimitri Kitoshvili, Saakashvili’s press secretary and parliamentary secretary, was arrested on charges of extortion. “But that’s Saakashvili’s man,” I hear you say, “and surely his arrest goes against Saakashvili’s interests and is, therefore, likely legitimate, as it would have had to have been carried out with his knowledge?” But, – aha! – it turns out that Mr. Kitoshvili was formerly a partner in a legal practice with Okruashvili, and is felt to have been a sympathiser. “So what?” you say. So this: IF it is true that Saakashvili wants to make sure that Okruashvili will not be a threat to him, he’s not only going to want to see to it that there are no “Okruashvili spies” within his own perimetre; he’s going to want to kill two birds with one stone, removing Kitoshvili AND pre-emptively nailing Okruashvili with a corruption-by-association charge.

Outlandish? I think not, particularly as – on the same day that Okrauashvili made a savage speech, condemning Saakashvili(see below) – the tax authorities opened an investigation into the latter’s acquisition of his office space in Tbilisi.

The speech itself – wow. In the space of 10 minutes, Okruashvili accused Saakashvili of murder, corruption, weakness, incompetance, fascism and hatred of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In short, something to un-appeal to everyone. Perhaps his time ran out before he could claim that Saakashvili eats babies, kicks kittens and framed the Grinch over that whole Christmas thing.

Now, I’m no fan of either of them. I don’t go for this “good guy Misha” act of Saakashvili’s, or for his demagoguery (though I guess it works, if he gets 96% in elections, and arrests swathes of oppositionists on charges of treason, without anyone in the West batting an eye.) Nor am I particularly fond of Okruashvili’s boorishness and visible tendency to believe his own hype as a military genius (a weakness of many purely civilian defense officials.)

These two are obviously shaping up for a cataclysmic battle in the Georgian political space and it promises to be highly entertaining, in a horrifying way. If this is the beginning, what can we expect to see by the end?

I’m still in shock from the savagery of Okruashvili’s speech. I imagine that his supporters will say that the tone and the accusations are entirely justified by the acute horror into which Saakashvili has plunged Georgia (which even I don’t believe he’s done.) My only question would be: “Why has Mr. O taken such an irredeemable step?” With the things he’s said, there’s no going back, no wiggle room, no way of saying he “misspoke” (a word for which Larry Speakes should burn in hell forever.)

It would seem to come down to two very stark choices: either Saakashvili, in some way, resembles the wholly unflattering painted by Okruashvili, or it is the latter who is a lying scumbag.

Conspiracy theorists take note: I have discarded the idea that it all may be intended to fool Russians.

Will the Rada be disbanded?

March 29, 2007

Contradictory signs, so far. Baloga says he’s ready to draw up the presidential decree; Tymoshenko comes whipping back to Kiev; the Party of Regions appears to be preparing a contingency plan; but Yushchenko looks to be dithering, as usual, but may well be leaning towards dissolution.

Ukrainian politics are absolutely fascinating.

Three Tymoshenko-related items

March 29, 2007

I’ll go out on a limb to say that I’ve never really liked Yulia Tymoshenko. I just don’t trust her. So, take these items with a grain of salt, if you must.

Any of you with an abiding interest in Ukraine have probably come to appreciate Украинская правда as a source of information (and entertainment) on full-contact Ukrainian politics. It’s a great source and I recommend it highly.

Here, the paper prints an interesting story about how a Lviv-based Tymoshenko party paper allegedly “edited” a plagiarised interview, in order to remove bits critical of Tymoshenko, as well as falsified a part, in order to praise her. UP claims that, when asked for an explanation, the editor of the paper in question admitted excising the criticism, saying (paraphrase) “after all, we’re a party paper.”

Украинская правда also reports that Tymoshenko’s aunt has filed a lawsuit against Viktor Yuschenko, for violating her rights by not dissolving the Verkhovna Rada. Eh?

Lastly, Yulia’s latest visit to Paris has been cut short – see here.