November 26, 2004

UKRAINE UPDATE: Timothy Garton Ash writes: “If we, comfortably ensconced in the institutionalised Europe to which these peaceful demonstrators look with hope and yearning, do not immediately support them with every appropriate means at our disposal, we will betray the very ideals we claim to represent.”

Well, New Europe has done pretty well on this front, with active and vigorous support from Poland, Lithuania, and the Czechs. Old Europe, not so much.

UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s some premium Old Europe thinking on the subject. If this guy’s not on Putin’s payroll, he ought to be. (Via Clive Davis).

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmm. Jonathan Steele, author of the second piece, may not be on Putin’s payroll — though to borrow a trope from his article, we haven’t seen conclusive evidence that he’s not — but he appears to be on Putin’s travel budget. This pre-election article by Steele contains the following disclaimer:

Jonathan Steele was a guest of the Russian Club in Ukraine at an expenses-paid conference in Kiev last weekend.

And this article from the Washington Post notes that:

The Russian Club was opened in August by Viktor Yanukovych, Russia’s favored candidate for the presidency, and Dmitry Medvedev, chief of staff to Russian President Vladimir Putin. At first, officials said the club’s opening had nothing to do with the election, but lately it has been involved in little else.

Interesting. Thanks to reader Paul Horbal for the pointers.

MORE: I’m not the only one to notice the curious lack of attention from Old Europe — note this observation from Timothy Garton Ash’s piece in The Guardian:

Who says Europe is boring? Yet until Tuesday, many west Europeans probably did not even know that there was a presidential election going on in Ukraine. We were all focused on that other crucial presidential election, in the US. And, shamingly, Americans probably have done more to support the democratic opposition in Ukraine, and to shine a spotlight on electoral malpractices, than west Europeans have. Poles, Czechs and Slovaks have been more actively engaged, understanding how much is at stake.

That’s how it looks to me, too, though not everyone agrees.