25
Nov 04

Ukraine

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Ukraine

The Ukrainian election coverage by the BBC surprised me. Lead item for the last two nights and highly detailed in terms of context.

Why is this? Other elections in former Soviet Republics this year received far less BBC coverage. Georgia (where an old plutocrat was ousted) and Belarus (where one wasn’t) barely raised a murmur, but Ukraine dominates our headlines.

At first it seemed to be a nostalgic Russia vs the Imperial West contest. Putin wasn’t slow to congratulate the pro-Russian candidate, then about-faced after two nights of popular protest. The ‘western’ candidate seems confused about how to proceed. Exit polls suggested he would win, official polls didn’t, the people are braving the snow in protest and he isn’t lacking advice from the rest of the world. To aid confusion, both candidates have long names beginning with Y! Even allegations of drugs have surfaced. The Americans have derided the election process and somehow managed to keep straight faces as they said this.

And civil war is being mentioned, which is a shame as (from purely selfish reasons), I quite fancied a trip to Kiev next year.

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