Sunday, January 04, 2015

When power evaporates

A brilliant bit of retrospective reporting in the New York Times today about the peaceful revolution in Ukraine last February. Having witnessed the Solidarity revolution in Poland, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, we should no longer be surprised that a dictatorship can simply evaporate in a matter of hours or even minutes, but still it is an amazing process to watch unfold, even in the rear-view mirror. When the European delegates entered the presidential building to witness the Ukrainian president sign the deal they had brokered, the area was swarming with riot police in helmets, shields, and rifles. When they left the building, they saw the same policemen boarding busses that took them away, never to be seen again.

(Well, that's not entirely true. The NYT reporters interviewed some of them in eastern Ukraine, where they help hold the country's border provinces hostage to Vladimir  Putin in Moscow.)

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