26 November 2004

Ukrainian crisis

Fifteen years after the opening of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in the old eastern Europe, is Ukraine experiencing its own velvet revolution? One hopes that the current crisis over sunday's presidential runoff election will not degenerate into civil war. Ukraine is a divided country, with the east largely russified and lacking a strong sense of distinctively Ukrainian identity, but with the west more evidently Ukrainian and leaning towards Europe. More worrisome are the international ramifications, which pit Russia's Vladimir "Stalin Lite" Putin against the European Union and the US. Could Ukraine eventually split down the middle with the east casting its lot with Russia and the west with, well, the West? Stranger things have happened.

Later: It may be happening already: Deputies in Ukraine's east suggest autonomy.

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