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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Ukraine--Caught in the middle, again

Until recently, I knew very little about the Ukraine. I knew that it was one of the R's making up the USSR; that it was heavily fought over in WWII, with Nazis overrunning Soviets who then ran back over the Nazis, causing thousands of Ukrainians to be executed as either resistance or collaborators by one side or the other; that it was where thousands and thousands, maybe millions, were killed during Stalin's purges of the late 1930's; and that it was the unlucky home of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

In other words, I knew way more than probably 99% of Americans. The blogger Xymphora, however, is in the one percent. He points out that Ukranians may have been the victims of the largest genocide in the 20th century, when Stalin drastically increased the grain quota from Ukrainian farmers, which he required that they meet before they could eat--some seven to ten million people are reported to have died. (Eclipsing the Holocost's 6 million, the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 which killed one to two million, Pol Pot's brutal Cambodian genocide which also killed some two million, and unfortunately many others like East Timor, Rwanda, Guatemala, and more--although probably not eclipsing the American genocide of Native Americans in the 19th century, estimated at 10 million dead. Actually, I think I've heard numbers of some 20 million having been killed in China's cultural revolution, so maybe Xymphora isn't right about the 1932-33 Ukrainian genocide being the largest of the 20th century.)

Xymphora also suggests that the "western-backed" Ukrainian candidate Viktor Yuschenko would be more appropriately called the "pro-globalization" candidate. Xymphora suggests that there's no way that Ukrainians are going to win here--if the Russian-backed candidate wins, the Ukraine gets screwed over by the Russians for the umpteenth time. If Yuschenko wins, they'll get screwed by the multinational corporations (backed by the US military) like so many countries before them. Xymphora's conclusion:
Democracy was the worst possible tragedy for the right-wingers, until they discovered that the way to deal with it is to create a series of alternatives all of whom support the same right-wing 'consensus' of stripping the assets of the people and turning them over to big corporations. The recent American election is another example of how the two alternatives supported the same policies of the corporadoes. The mass media is typically used to brand one as the populist, the 'man of the people', who then goes on to win, probably, like Bush, with the aid of massive vote fraud. If you are a Ukrainian voter, where is your real choice? The next step in rendering democracy completely unthreatening is to attack those countries which are still lucky enough to have a first-past-the-post electoral system, a system detested by elites of all persuasions as it is too difficult to control, and replace it with various fancy new systems of voting most of which involve back-room supplied lists of those candidates acceptable to the oligarchy. Eventually, we might as well do away with human politicans entirely, and just vote for the corporations we'd prefer to be raped by.
By the way, isn't it just totally reassuring to know that major genocides have been perpetrated by right-wing totalitarian regimes (the Nazis), left-wing totalitarian regimes (the Soviets and Red Chinese), Islamic regimes (the Ottoman Empire killed the Armenians), more-or-less Christian democratic regimes (us), and other (Rwanda)?