In Ukraine, Homegrown Freedom

By Diuk, Nadia | The Christian Science Monitor, December 8, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

In Ukraine, Homegrown Freedom


Diuk, Nadia, The Christian Science Monitor


There was something familiar about the atmosphere in Kiev last week. I had the same feeling as a student in Warsaw in 1980, when massive street demonstrations and the emergence of the Solidarity trade union threw Poland's Communist government into confusion. At that time, just one gesture, or the display of a symbol - the red- and-white logo of Solidarity - conveyed a whole set of aspirations, attitudes, and emotions. Now the color orange is the symbol throughout Kiev. Everyone understands what's at stake, and everyone stands united. The Czechs jingled keys, the Serbs showed a fist, the Georgians adopted the rose, and now the Ukrainians wear orange.

Some have sought to portray the events in Ukraine as orchestrated by the West, a model executed with the support of Western pro- democracy foundations. Such views have been pushed by Kremlin spin doctors. But there's no real mystery about how these kinds of revolutions happen.

In all the "breakthrough" elections in the past five years, the pattern has been much the same: An authoritarian regime tries to falsify elections through a variety of means. This is common in Central Asia and in other dictatorships, but what made the elections in Slovakia in 1998, Serbia in 2000, and Georgia in 2003 different was the combined pressure on the authorities of a highly motivated and unified civil society, the credible exposure of fraud, and expressions of concern from the West.

In each of these situations there was a massive effort by nongovernmental organizations to monitor the vote with parallel vote tabulations, exit polls, or reports from domestic observers. These strategies were supported by reports of Western election observers. In Ukraine the same independent polling group that almost precisely predicted the March 2002 parliamentary election results has done exit polling for parliamentary and presidential elections since 1995. Ukraine also has a seasoned civic group, the Committee of Voters, that has trained and fielded tens of thousands of domestic election observers since the mid-1990s.

None of these efforts would have any resonance without some free media to spread news of voter fraud. Limited free media were vital in Georgian elections. In Ukraine, although the electronic media were obliged to report the news under instruction from the president's administration, some notable and heroic holdouts ran round-the-clock reports and interviews with protest leaders and officials; they also provided air time for the steady cascade of journalists defecting from state-controlled TV, diplomats who signed a statement of protest against the fraudulent elections, and a motley array of others, including pop stars.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

In Ukraine, Homegrown Freedom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?