Some of the best reporting on Russia and Eastern Europe is coming from Voice of America's James Brooke. Thanks to the Internet, even we inside the US of A can read these reports, such as today's news that early returns from the Ukrainian elections indicate a broad spread of party support for the new parliament. This will complicate the current president, Viktor Yanukovych's hope for a governing majority. It also will hamper further the plans of Russia's Vladimir Putin to draw Ukraine and other former Soviet states back into a Russian-led confederation.
Writes Brooke, "Many Ukrainians say the election results will shape the future of democracy in their country - the second largest nation after Russia to emerge from the former Soviet Union. About 3,500 international observers monitored the balloting. Opposition politicians charge that there was widespread fraud, including the false registering of several hundred thousand voters as sick, so that voting could take place without being monitored."
Among the dirty tricks alleged were listing of virtually unknown people on the ballot who happened to have the same last names as more popular candidates. There also were three Green Parties listed.
Nonetheless, President Yanukovych will not have a strong majority, if it has a majority at all.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, a recently elected new prime minister has indicated that his expected tilt to Moscow may not amount to as much as the Kremlin hoped.
Mr. Putin may aspire to lead a "Soviet Union Lite", writes Brooke. "In Tbilisi, however, Prime Minister-apparent Ivanishvili, met with NATO's top official for the South Caucasus and pledged his government will go forward with Georgia's application to join the NATO alliance."
Whether that happens or not, it doesn't seem likely that Georgia will be joining a new Russian federation soon. Funny thing: democratically elected leaders like to maintain their idedependence if they can.
The justification--a parole violation--seems contrived and tendentious. Suppression of unpopular opinion is always given as a legal excuse in authoritarian regimes; why in America is such a flimsy excuse allowed? Everyone knows now that the Libya killings were a terror attack, not a protest against a video.
Nakoula, may have had his First Amendment rights violated and his arrest without bail may be a terrible precedent to set before the world, suggesting that America's government and courts can be manipulated by foreign protests. He is hardly an admirable person. He apparently has been convicted in the past for online financial fraud and was forbidden to use computers or the Internet without permission. This film, of course, seems (again, we have no corroboration) to have nothing to do with financial matters. At worst, parole-breakers in such a case would be arrested and released pending further legal action. But in this case the man is in jail without bond.