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World Affairs Journal: Delinquents vs. democrats in Ukraine

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Sept. 16, 2012, 7:11 p.m. | Op-ed — by Alexander J. Motyl

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan toast after signing documents as part of their meeting in Kyiv on Sept. 13. Erdogan was making a a three-day official visit to Ukraine. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY
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Alexander J. Motyl

Alexander J. Motyl is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark, as well as a writer and painter. He served as associate director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University from 1992 to 1998. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the USSR, and on nationalism, revolutions, empires, and theory, he is the author of Pidsumky imperii; Puti imperii; Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires; Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities; Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism; Sovietology, Rationality, Nationality: Coming to Grips with Nationalism in the USSR; Will the Non‑Russians Rebel? State, Ethnicity, and Stability in the USSR; The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929; and the editor of more than ten volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Nationalism. Motyl’s novels include Whiskey Priest; Who Killed Andrei Warhol; Flippancy; The Jew Who Was Ukrainian; and a work in progress, My Orchidia. His poems have appeared in Counterexample Poetics, Istanbul Literary Review, and New York Quarterly (forthcoming). He has done performances of his fiction at the Cornelia Street Café, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Ukrainian Museum in New York. Motyl’s artwork has been shown in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto; his art is represented by The Tori Collection.

Word’s out in Ukraine that there is “no difference” between the Regionnaires and the opposition. The implication is obvious: it doesn’t matter whom you vote for in the October 28th parliamentary elections and it doesn’t even matter whether you vote. After all, whoever wins, whether Regionnaires or the opposition, there’s “no difference.”

This is nonsense.

Let’s consider a few dimensions along which one might measure difference.

 Read more here.

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