Uh oh …

George Clooney sent this video message to the Klichko/Klitschko brothers.

A few tidbits:

[…] that true democracy cannot exist without a free and fair and honest election.

Mr. Clooney, I hope you didn’t have the Florida supreme court decision from 2000 in mind which ultimately vested presidential powers in your namesake George W. Bush?! That certainly was an expression of true democracy? American-style! Yeah-hah! Oh, and shall we discuss the necessity of electoral votes in our modern day times? Because, surely, it takes days or weeks to travel to Washington D.C. in order to elect the president1?!

You certainly cannot have a true democracy, if you take political prisoners like Tymoshenko simply because you disagree with the way they want to govern.

Mr. Clooney, not sure where you got your facts from … and after all the US is known for its – shall we say distinct – flavor of capitalism. But Yulia Tymoshenko is no better than the other Ukrainian oligarchs2 and sold out the resources and property of her countrymen. I think the technical term is embezzlement. If you think she is a political prisoner, as opposed to a common – albeit filthy rich – criminal, change to another news channel3.

Not sure when you visited Ukraine last time – if at all – or where you researched your facts. But know, that no story is just black and white. Ukraine is split into two ethnicities as a result of the Soviet period: Ukrainians (mostly Northern and Western Ukraine) and so-called “ethnic Russians” (South-Eastern Ukraine). When Yanukovych assumed power, it was clear that that the Russian ethnicity had won … for the time being4.

But there is one thing I wholeheartedly agree with — your final words from the video:

[…] we wish you a peaceful and safe mission; we wish you the government that you want; and we wish you the strength to carry on. Good luck!

It’s just that everything you said prior to that gives a bit of an aftertaste to those final words. I strongly suggest you read the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. It may give you some pointers as to why a US-financed revolution isn’t necessarily in the best interest of the country in or the people by which that revolution was started.

The problem in Ukraine isn’t about democracy just yet. By the standards by which the US is considered a democracy you can certainly deem Ukraine a democracy. The problem is the corruption and the way those in power exercise their powers. If Tymoshenko was back in power nothing would change for the better. Not for the simple people anyway. She will certainly make some concessions alone to win the favors of “the West”, but that will be it. She will exercise her powers as ruthlessly as her predecessors, including herself at one point.

In a sense the Ukrainian flavor of democracy shows a bit more openly who really is in power. Not the citizens, not the president or the government, but those with deep, deep, … deeeeeep pockets. Those who know how to do it benefit from the corruption, even if only temporarily. I have – it was the only way to get back my passport during my semester abroad in Ukraine5.

// Oliver

  1. … but hey, Germany is by no means better, just different []
  2. I linked it, so you may read up, but please don’t stop at the slightly biased article at Wikipedia … research the topic []
  3. … and yes, possibly some political opponent had a grudge against her and used her criminal career against her. So one could ask why the same wasn’t done for other oligarchs. Still … []
  4. roughly: -enko == Ukrainian; -yev/-ov/-yeva/-ova or -vych/-vich == Russian []
  5. Although admittedly a good friend did all the “business” for me. []
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