Monday, December 20, 2004

Ukraine TV debate

So, Yuschenko and Yanukovych are going to slug it out on TV, are they?

I'm desperately trying to work out the point, as the whole rhetoric of the last few weeks seems to be made up almost exclusively of personal attacks, threats and accusations. Are these two bitterly opposed candidates really going to debate policy issues in the midst of ongoing mass protests, while desperate efforts are still going on to ready the country for the unprecedented re-run elections on Boxing Day?

I can't see it myself. If they stick to policy it'll only looked forced - unless the entire debate is about foreign policy, but then each candidate risks looking like a tool of either Moscow or Washington/Brussels. I can't see any way that Yushchenko's poisoning or the threats of certain regions in the east to split off from the rest of the country - let alone the on-going protests and the scenes of the tent city - could not be raised in a properly free discussion, so I can't see that it's in either candidate's interest to have a completely free debate. The events and accusations of the last few weeks are bound to dominate, not the things that should truly matter.

Especially at this late stage, what is the point of dialogue? The country is so polarised I really can't see there being any swing voters left. The thing to do is simply get the elections out the way as quickly and cleanly as possible and then set about rebuilding stability, not start more slanging matches.

A good summary of recent Ukrainian developments is here.

(Note: Blogging on Europhobia may be intermittent over the next couple of weeks - as I imagine is the same with many bloggers, what with this whole Christmas business and all. We'll try to get something up every day, but it may be tricky...)

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