07 May 2008

Politics...anywhere to hide from it?

I have been very comfortable with keeping politics out of this blog for a while since writing politics in Russia is like describing the way to the machinist of the train on a one way track. The miserable country had gone through so much from the wrath of the tsars, the eversharp blades of bolshevik bayonets, communist repression and the clout of the capitalism so they cling on to what they have for rescue at all costs (even the freedom of speech) . They love Putin and everything he has brought to the country that they have been longing for generations: stability and respect (and also something to put on the dinner table with vodka) and this eventually have brought a political standstill and a lax environment to Russia.

I was very surprised to see that people have almost forgot about what is going on in Kremlin in a way that things were going all right (as if their uncle was running the country...no wonder why they call him Uncle Putin) but in Ukraine, I felt like home again. Everybody from cradle to grave was deeply involved in politics and predicting the next day in Verkohna Rada (National Assembly) was as hard as guessing the result of a soccer game in Tadjik 2nd Football League. The nation seemed to be encamped between two parties, which one represented closer ties with and an eventual accession to EU and NATO and the other one is strongly opposing the other and dreaming of the good old days when they were in the same bed with Russia.

Timoshenko...Grace Kelly of Post-Soviet Politics

The Pro-EU party leader and the prime minister (and also the most beautiful politician to grace the arena) is Yulia Timoshenko. There is no need to say more about the 47 year old Ukrainian business-woman (and an alleged oligarch from gas industry) who co-led the Orange Revolution that shook the country to its very foundations and opened the way for Ukraine to ride on the highway to EU and USA. As the country was suffering from the series of artificial crisis that left the once best industrialized, educated and richest soviet republic into ruins, the citizens were helplessly watching the once-soviet-but-now-democratic old leaders sipping riches of the country out to their swiss bank accounts and The Orange Coalition of Victor Yushchenko (now president) and Yulia Timoschenko (now prime minister) was a sign of relief and an imminent turn from the ultimate economic and political destruction of the country. People believed in them but like with every american-backed color revolution (see Georgia and Kyrgizstan) which replaces a russian-led old soviet politician with an american-led young soviet politician, nothing has changed bu the people sipping the riches. It took almost 2 years for the public to realize that and turned their lonely eyes to the battle hardened Yanukovich (whose endless political conspiracies fired the match for the orange explosion) and the country came to a standstill with his "Party of Regions" and Yulia Timoshenko's "Yulia Bloc" (very modestly named) having almost similar results in latest elections in 2007 and Timoshenko being inaugurated as the Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Timoshenko with her soviet hairstyle

Ukraine is a very interesting country in which there is visible demarcation lines for language, culture and money. As you may have guessed, the line divides the east and the west where east has all the legacy of the soviet industrial might, aeronautics & space technologies, collective massive farmlands and Russian immigration...etc and the east with its mainly newly sovieticized population in deep hatred with USSR had nothing better from the east but more KGB torture chambers, russification and cheap tickets for a freezing ride to Siberia. That is why the east, the homeground of Party of Regions, advocates Russian as a second language, opposes ukrainization and even dares to speak up about the secession of Crimea and the East Ukraine to Russia, which would ultimately make Uncle Putin the happiest uncle in the world.

Yanukovich describes how big the vodka bottles in the Eastern Ukraine are to the audience in the West during his political campaign

As of Industrialisation, one mustn't think about the happy old industrial towns of Scotland but of the grey, gigantic and smoking cities which are actually based around big industrial complexes founded near the Donbass (Donetsk Coal Basin) area. These industrial complexes are also famous for their schooling of communist party bosses (the Dnepropetrovsk Clan) and even putting one of their own (Brezhnev) in the throne of USSR so the tradition of the industrial managers being the party bosses hasn't changed even decades after the dissolution and even now the citizens (the workers) in the industrial east have no sensible option to elect their bosses to the parliament (just like the Kurdish population who elect their own tribal chiefs as their representatives to the Turkish Assembly) since they virtually depend on their goodwill for their contracts or their basic survival.

There is also the case of Yushchenko, a literally iron man who have managed to stay alive after various poisoning events that transformed him from a charming man to a soviet prisoner of war in a german camp. He as the President of Ukraine keeps a conflicting political profile. Before comparing it to Turkey, let me describe the government system in Ukraine. It is a semi-presidential system with both the President and the Prime Minister have a say on the things. This is almost resolved in France where president leaves all domestic actions to the prime minister and takes the international tasks and his beautiful wife on hand; but in Ukraine these power lines have not been clearly drawn and the previous parliament with two rival faction leaders in power (Yuschenko as President and Yanukovich as the Prime Minister) ended up in a political turmoil in less than a year. Now that two old comrades-in-orange are in office (just like in Turkey; but Turkish President is just a figurehead or so he thinks) things seemed to have calmed down gradually.

Yuschenko...before he challenged the might of Russia

Yushchenko..."From Russia with Poison"

And we have always complained about the politicians we have voted for and questioned the political system in Turkey; it is almost the same case back in Ukraine. If a deep down analysis of the background of the politicians could be done, the result would be a bunch of power-hungry rich business people with questionable background of communist party lines and even criminal records. So why do people elect them? Is this answer has any relation to the question of life itself?

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