The old axioms are true: firmness can pay; resolution can see you through. We who are struggling to maintain our democracy in Ukraine believe this. Now, more than ever, we must believe this, for Russian troops wearing Ukrainian uniforms have entered our country, because Ukrainian soldiers are refusing to carry out orders to crush those who are demonstrating to defend our democracy. We will need the solidarity of our neighbors, and of freedom-loving peoples around the world, to assure that our democratic dreams are realized in peace.
The struggle to secure the victory of Viktor Yushchenko, the true winner in last Sunday’s presidential election, as Ukraine’s new president is not one that we sought. But, that battle for our freedom having been imposed upon us, we will not be found wanting in either courage or resolve.
The days and nights ahead will be difficult, and the secret presence of Russian troops will make them all the more dangerous. The forces of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych foolishly stuffed ballots and intimidated the country’s electoral commission to an absurd degree. They then tried to force the Ukrainian people to swallow this sham – threatening to ban public gatherings, close our borders to new visa seekers, and silence any word of our protests on television.
More and more members of a governmental machine that thought it could impose a fraudulent election on Ukraine’s people are shying away from imposing that choice by force. Members of the army, the security services, and government officials are all balking at doing the bidding of the Yanukovych clique. Such a volatile ruling elite cannot be counted on to be consistent from now on.