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Georgian scandal in Ukraine: to be continued18.01.2010 | 17:27
Presidential election has just been completed in Ukraine. Though the Central Election Commission denied access to 2,000 Georgian monitors a large delegation from Tbilisi came to independent Ukraine nonetheless. Media space was full of reports on incidents involving Georgian representatives at voting stations.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the role of Georgia's numerous delegation in electoral process in Ukraine with representatives of Russian political parties and experts highlighting three key issues:
1. Can the large presence of Georgian monitors be considered a factor of pressure on election process?
2. Were actions of the Ukrainian CEC legal toward the monitors from Georgia?
3. What was Georgia's aim submitting so many monitors to Ukraine?
Sergey Markov of United Russia faction, Director of Institute of Political Studies.
1. No doubt, this is pressure on the election process. Moreover, these are ruder things. This is an attempt to intervene in expression of will of Ukrainian citizens in the east of the country and attempted falsification of the monitoring process. Use of monitoring force aimed at election breakdown was an echo of the technologies that can also be applied at the second round when the losing candidate refers to denunciations by monitors to frustrate voting. However, now it was done in a glaring manner arousing common discontent and even laughter. Another question sounds appropriate here: who has paid for that? We know that Yulia Timoshenko is getting political dividends out of it, though friendship between Viktor Yushenko and Mikheil Saakashvili can't be forgotten either.
2. It's clear that all cases connected with Georgian monitors will be considered in courts. I believe certain political forces have found a loophole in Ukrainian laws with an eye to breaking down the election.
3. In this case this is not Georgia as a country, this is Saakashvili. We know that recently Georgia and its current president have been set against each other. Now Saakashvili is doing his best to have Yulia Timoshenko, a friend of his, elected as president of Ukraine (to continue supplies of Ukrainian arms to Georgia). Timoshenko's cupboards are full of skeletons like friendship with Berezovsky and ban on the Russian language at schools. Now she is in a position reminding of the Caucasian Captive movie: she either gets married or goes to the prosecutor's office. However Moscow doesn't mind her in case she wins the second round.
Alexander Kobrinsky, member of the expert board with CEC chairman of Russia
1. Sure, it was an attempt to put pressure on electoral process. International observers are professionals, not power lifters. As for the so-called monitors from Georgia: they were just the pick of the bunch. Anyone could see they were poor election specialists or experts. Curiously enough, the large delegation of the CEC went to pro-Russian Donetsk town - not to Western Ukraine. This is a preplanned action.
2. Brotherly Ukrainians are real smart: they got it all right and blocked their evil actions. I started respecting them for that. Speaking about Georgia's access to the second round - there are mechanisms that would allow that.
3. To help the forces that are interested in it. This is help to Viktor Yushenko and indirect assistance to Yulia Timoshenko and her bloc.
Andrey Klychkov, deputy head of legal service with Central Committee of Russian Communist Party
1. It's not a 100% attempt to break down the elections. There are several points of view on the issue. For instance, that it was an attempt to boost tension during elections and create a negative background - not to monitor them. Our monitors confirm that firstly the qualification of Georgian monitors is not clear, secondly, yesterday they were rambling about voting stations acting not exactly in compliance with the Ukrainian laws. Though no doubt Georgia's application can be examined as Georgia's simple desire to take part in voting process.
2. As far as I know, Georgia submitted papers the next day and the CEC of Ukraine tried to pick out well-prepared documents, but it was decided to reject on legal grounds. I can't say whether it was lawful or not, but this number of Georgian monitors arouses a lot of questions.
3. There are no grounds to report on flagrant acts on the part of Georgian representatives and their attempt to commit something really serious so far. However this is a vivid attempt to take part in the voting process.
Boris Nemtsov, a leader of Solidarity, opposition United democratic movement
1. Elections in Ukraine are legitimate and have been carried out without significant violations. That is why the presence of so many monitors means nothing - it has neither positive nor negative role. Certainly they bring about a bit of nervousness, not more. Presence or absence of a Georgian crowd doesn't influence elections in any way. Besides Russian and European monitors haven't registered gross violations.
2. Decisions of the Ukrainian CEC have not affected the electoral process no matter how lawful or not they were. Monitors play no part here as well as any decisions in their respect.
3. I know nothing of Tbilisi's motives. In my opinion this is pure waste of money.