Following its recent parliamentary elections, Ukraine “seems to be sliding into the Russian mold of a pseudo-democracy, with elections, parties and candidates on the surface, but less and less real competition underneath,” according to a Washington Post assessment:
The campaign was outwardly competitive, with a wide range of parties and candidates. But “harassment, intimidation and misuse of administrative resources” were used to prevent many candidates and parties from getting their message to voters. State-owned newspapers attacked the opposition; public workers such as teachers and nurses were required to attend rallies; events for the opposition were blocked and obstructed; state television “displayed a clear bias in favor of the ruling party.” Fortunately, there are other media channels and unrestricted Internet access in Ukraine, but their reach is limited.
A new analysis of the emerging political generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan “is a must-read not only for students of the former Soviet Union but for all those interested in the dynamics of modern-day anti-authoritarian struggles,” writes a leading observer.
Nadia Diuk’s The Next Generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan aims to discern the future of these post-Soviet republics through a comprehensive sociological portrait of what she calls “the first free generation after decades of Communism.”
The choice of countries is significant, says Vladimir V. Kara-Murza:
Russia is the richest state and the most influential geopolitical player of the former Soviet region; Ukraine is the proverbial “bridge between East and West,” bordering NATO and the European Union on one side and Russia on the other; and Azerbaijan is a strategically located, energy-rich nation, a crossroads not only between Europe and Asia, but also between Christianity and Islam. What happens in these countries matters not only to their own citizens but also to the wider world.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) has announced a briefing on Ukraine’s elections:
The OSCE and United States assessed Ukraine’s October 28 parliamentary elections as representing “a step backward” compared with recent national elections and lacking a level playing field. Voters had a choice between distinct parties and the voting and counting were largely positively assessed, but the counts and tabulation in some closely contested single-mandate districts were problematic. While the ruling party along with Communist allies retains a majority, opposition parties displayed a strong showing, winning the party-list vote in Ukraine’s hybrid system. Experts from three key organizations working on the ground will examine the conduct and results of the election and their implications for Ukraine’s democratic future.
The following panelists are scheduled to participate:
Olha Ajvazovska, Board Chair, Ukrainian citizen network OPORA
Katie Fox, Deputy Director-Eurasia, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Stephen Nix, Regional Director, Eurasia, International Republican Institute (IRI)
Assessing Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections: Friday, November 16, 2012. 10 am – 11:30 am. Room B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries.
Media Contact: Shelly Han 202.225.190