Tuesday, April 3, 2007
The Blue Revolution?
It looked like it for a while this morning anyway. A few thousand people, waving the blue flags of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's Party of Regions, plus a few thousand more waving red Communist and Socialist banners, showed up on Kiev's Independence Square - the very site of the Orange Revolution in 2004. They're protesting President Viktor Yushchenko's controversial decision to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections in the face of alleged efforts by Yanukovich to bribe opposition lawmakers to join his coalition. They're pitching tents and promising to stay indefinitely.
For a while it looked like something remarkable was happening, but so far it's a lifeless demo. Try asking people why they're there, and the answers lack conviction. Maybe that's because they really don't believe in the cause they're protesting for. One woman told me she was there because she'd been paid 50 hrivnya (about $10 US) to stand on the square and wave a blue flag.
But the news services are reporting that thousands more Yanukovich supporters are headed for the capital from his power base in the Russified east of the country. Meanwhile, the pro-Western Yushchenko and his fiery ally Yulia Tymoshenko are said to be planning protests of their own. Could it be 2004 all over again?
We'll see. More later.