Sunday, 11 May 2014
Eastern Ukraine Set To Vote Itself Out Of Existence.
Eastern Ukrainians are going to the polls today determined to vote their own country out of existence. To say that the poll is haphazard, with few polling booths and no electoral register all organised by shadowy figures in army fatigues and balaclavas, is putting it mildly. Meanwhile Vladimir Putin, acutely aware that this ad hoc referendum is unlikely to be taken seriously by the rest of us, is urging postponement until it can be organised properly and have at least a shred of credibility. It would seem that the process put in train by the Kremlin is in danger of running out of control and Putin may soon be faced with another embarrassing referendum demanding that he annex the whole of Eastern Ukraine as part of his newly re-created Soviet Union. The problem for Putin is that his scheme to put the clock back twenty years or so is fast becoming obvious to everyone else and that he has, perhaps, been a bit too clever for his own good. Put simply the cat is now well and truly out of the bag and Putin is having no luck whatsoever in trying to stuff it back in again. Following the well-known path trod by Hitler in the 1930's when he "reintegrated" the Rhineland, Austria and the Sudetenland into the Third Reich, Putin would have been better served by heeding Theodore Roosevelt's advice to "Walk softly and carry a big stick." It looks inevitable now that the Ukraine will be divided even as a new Iron Curtain descends across the continent. As that great philosopher of the western world, Woody Allen, once observed; "It's deja vu all over again."