This morning, I woke up with one thought in my head: The fate of democracy in my country may be decided by a vote over which I have no control. The Ukrainian president and parliament have just joined to pass legislation that could mark the beginning of the end of the democratic institutions for which so many have fought and died.
The unprecedented declaration of martial law in Ukraine, the first since World War II, came just hours after Russian warships attacked Ukrainian naval vessels in the Sea of Azov, opening a dangerous new front in the continuing Russian-Ukrainian war.
The bill that President Petro Poroshenko sent to parliament, and which lawmakers passed on Monday, gives the president wide-ranging powers, but Poroshenko assured the public that he wouldn’t use those powers to suppress civic freedoms.… Seguir leyendo »
The right-wing Polish government is continuously breaking new ground in its attacks on democracy and the rule of law. But now it has set a truly astonishing precedent. Warsaw has just used its European Union powers to deport a government critic and banned her from entering any country within the European free movement zone. The implications are ominous – and not only for Poland.
Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a young Ukrainian human rights defender, is a fervent promoter of democratic Poland. Since she left her home country for Poland a decade ago, she has put considerable effort into promoting the model of Polish democracy to emerging countries through the Open Dialog Foundation, her Warsaw-based think tank.… Seguir leyendo »
Ukraine’s complex political intrigues can be hard to figure out. But this week we’ve arrived at a rare moment of clarity.
The most important domestic issue in our country is corruption. And for the first time in our modern history, we have the people and the institutions in place to fight it.
But at the very moment when anti-corruption officials have really started to tackle the problem, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is moving to undermine them. His followers in parliament have dismissed the head of a crucial anti-corruption committee, and now they’re preparing to neutralize the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), its only independent anti-graft body, which has made a name for itself with aggressive prosecutions of high-ranking politicians.… Seguir leyendo »
The citizens of Ukraine have never had any illusions about the international community’s willingness to take their side in their bloody conflict with Russia. Ukrainians collectively roll their eyes whenever one of their well-meaning friends abroad expresses “grave concern” about Moscow’s aggression, because those fine-sounding words are so rarely followed by concrete actions.
But at least they knew they could count on the Americans. Ukraine and the United States have enjoyed friendly relations for a good 25 years now. And over for the past two years — ever since Moscow seized and occupied the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, and then launched its invasion of the country’s eastern territories shortly thereafter — Ukrainians always saw Washington as their most important diplomatic ally.… Seguir leyendo »
The battle for east Ukraine is getting nastier by the day. Pro-Russian rebels, believed to be reinforced by Russian troops, are successfully pushing back against the Ukrainian army in an attempt to take over strategic transport and energy hubs, like Debaltseve and Mariupol, for the sake of making their self-proclaimed state more sustainable.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians along the eastern Ukraine frontline have been affected by the brutal fighting. The death toll is rising rapidly: over 5,000 people have died in Ukraine since the fighting started in Spring 2014. Ukraine says 9,000 Russian troops are inside the country, 50,000 more are on the border and ready to enter anytime.… Seguir leyendo »