Checked out WAPO today and it looks like Ukraine has taken another turn for the worse in the post-Soviet democracy department. Everytime I see Yulia Tymoshenko she reminds me of my undergrad experience — an unhealthy chunk of it was spent watching her cultivate a Putinesque cult personality status. She had it all: her very own matryoshka dolls, anime fan art, and the signature braids. This woman was groomed for greatness. With nowhere to go but the presidential office, she hit the most reinforced glass ceiling in Ukraine’s sordid history. She lost the election, somehow, and because Ukraine is not the country it made itself out to be in its bid for EU and NATO membership, Yulia ended up in jail on trumped up charges of being a prototypical corrupt politician. Yanukovych straight up Aung San Kyi’d her*rain of boos*, and as badly as I wanted to use that as a verb, I already feel like it wasn’t worth it. San Kyi is an amazing woman, Yulia, I’m skeptical of.
What’s striking about recent developments is that they would be as bold as taking her out and socking her in the gut like an uppity third grader. To exacerbate president Yanukovych’s problem, she will be drawing prolonged international attention to herself through hunger strike. This is sure to bring condemnation from the west, but unfortunately for her, this is happening around the same time as things are heating up in France’s elections. Her rumbling tummy is second page material at best, considering she’s not actually a vestage of the unipolar moment. If I remember correctly, she may have been closer to the Kremlin than Washington. Since Yanukovych is almost totally under Putin’s wing, I’m not sure who would be willing to fight for her. Another issue is gauging just how serious Tymoshenko is about this hunger strike. Is she really willing to die? Lets assume there is some western medical practice involved in the handling of the hunger strike, and the physician comes in daily to ask, “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”, “Should you become incoherent, can we begin feeding you?”, will she have the desire to take it anywhere near the realm of coma and/or death? Personally, I say, no way. Life has been good to her, for the most part, and she isn’t fighting for some ideology bigger than her. She was a politician that took a tremendous L. It’s been nice, Yulia. I owed you this blog post.