Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
In my open letter to our own Paul Rahe the other day, I noted a problem for our side with events in Ukraine: Although Viktor Yanukovych, the now former president, had won his office in a free election, he had been overthrown by what amounted to a mob—a mob that was on our side, but a mob all the same.
I was correct that Yanukovich had been duly elected. But in saying he’d been tossed out by a mob—in suggesting, in short, that he’d been forced from office by a mere convulsion, without regard to constitutional processes or democratic legitimacy—I was thoroughly mistaken. From Timothy Snyder’s overview of events in the New York Review of Books:
Did the current Ukrainian authorities come to power in a fascist coup [as President Putin of Russia claims]? As everyone who has followed these events knows, the mass protests against the Yanukovych regime that began in November involved millions of people, from all walks of life. After the regime tried and failed to put down the protests by shooting protestors from rooftops on February 20, EU negotiators arranged a deal whereby Yanukovych would cede power to parliament. Rather than signing the corresponding legislation, as he had committed to do, Yanukovych fled to Russia.
Parliament declared that he had abandoned his responsibilities, followed the protocols that applied to such a case, and continued the process of constitutional reform by itself. Presidential elections were called for May, and a new government was formed….Although one can certainly debate the constitutional nuances, this process was not a coup. And it certainly was not fascist.
The protesters—not “mob”—displayed as much respect for due procedure as the crisis permitted, and they immediately called elections for this very spring. That grants them a lot more democratic legitimacy than I’d originally supposed—a lot more.
I was, as I say, mistaken.
(With a tip of the hat to Professor K.)