Orange revolution struggles

The World

MPs brawled in parliament last week and since 2005 this country has been in a state of almost constant political crisis and last week wasn’t the first time MPs have resulted to fist fights. This woman first came to Ukraine in 1994 to help Ukraine foster democracy. She says despite the brawls, she isn’t giving up and neither is the U.S. State Department which continues to fund her program, but some frustrations are beginning to show. Opinion polls show Ukrainians are running out of patience with their squabbling politicians, not least between the president and his prime minister. They can’t agree on anything, from how to combat the financial crisis to how to hold fresh elections. If Ukrainians start losing confidence in Western democracy, that’s bad news for countries like the U.S. which has put millions of dollars in Ukraine to foster democracy and gain influence in this strategic Eastern European country. The thinking goes like this the only other game in town besides the U.S. is Russia and they’re also spending money to gain influence. This Russian-made film purports to show Ukrainian and American military involvement on the Georgian side during the war in the Caucuses this summer. The Ukrainian secret services had a showing of the film canceled claiming it was anti-Ukrainian propaganda. This struggle between the U.S. and Russia in Ukraine has had an added urgency since the war in Georgia. This Russian diplomat says Russia is not trying to foster a war, and there are many cultural and historical ties between Russia and Ukraine, a claim which has some truth to it. But this youth leader says the Americans have also lost touch with Ukrainians politically as well. And as the economy turns down, how long will it be until Ukraine looks towards Russia for a more ordered democracy?

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