To recall the media hype that accompanied Ukraine’s ‘Orange Revolution’ of 2004, which propelled Viktor Yushchenko, a former central banker and alleged liberal democrat, into power, is like remembering a fever-dream in the morning: the memory of the details are blurred, and all that really remains is the sense that something strenuous, and ultimately unreal, has been passed through. The disputed election of 2004 – eventually decided in Yushchenko’s favor on account of mass street protests – ended with the defeat of Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate of the Russian-speaking eastern section of the country – the man whose comeback in Sunday’s election represented a stunning repudiation of the Orange Revolution and the regime that was born in its wake. How that ‘revolution’ came to be, and what it really represented, is about to undergo a major revision, one in striking contrast to the instant narrative provided by the Western media six years ago.
Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace
And now it appears that Yanukovich, the candidate the Western media wanted us all to hate, has won the election. Is it just that I’m getting more cynical as I’m getting older, or is the media hype getting worse?
Ukraine seems to exist as a case-study for Samuel Huntington’s Clash of civilizations thesis, with the fault line between Western and Orthodox civilisations running right through the country. If anything can confirm Huntington’s thesis, the Western media spin does.
Another commentator comments on the spin in this article: News Analysis – For Kremlin, Ukraine Election Cuts Two Ways – NYTimes.com
On Monday, for example, European election monitors praised the election that was held Sunday, calling it an impressive display of democracy. Ukraines election, in other words, did not follow the Kremlin blueprint…
What a bizarre statement. A Russian-favored candidate wins in a fair election, and somehow that is supposed to be evidence that Russia is in favor of unfair elections. In fact, their candidate winning in a fair election is the best possible blueprint for Russia.
Imagine what the NY Times would be saying if the election had been unfair!
In the short term, the Kremlin may have benefited from the election. Relations were tense under the incumbent president, Viktor A. Yushchenko, an Orange leader who wanted to pull Ukraine away from Moscows orbit by joining NATO.
Mr. Yanukovich does not support NATO membership and has indicated that he will abandon some other initiatives opposed by Russia. This is the only real news in the whole NY Times story. This was a major geopolitical / energy-politics victory for Russia. Once again a CIA-engineered Colored Revolution has been turned back. The NY Times does its best to bury this news near the bottom of their story, and even then they downplay it by saying the Kremlin ‘may’ have benefitted, but only in the ‘short term’.
What is lost in all this rhetoric about whether “the West” or “the Kremlin” benefited is what is surely more important: whether the people of Ukraine benefited.