Russian Court Heeds Mediators’ Advice
The Court was Right to Heed the Advice of European Mediators
The Ukraine’s Supreme Court made a courageous decision calling for a second runoff election by Dec. 26. Now all parties should let Ukrainians make their choice fairly. That is especially incumbent on President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who, apparently forgetting that he’s no longer in the K.G.B., has been trying to ram last month’s fraudulent election results down the country’s throat. The two-week dispute has raised tensions to a boiling point in the divided country, and any new provocation could lead to violence and irrevocable division.
The Ukrainian government said it would abide by the decision of the 18-member court. But President Leonid Kuchma had hoped that the court would order entirely new elections, enabling him to dump his badly tainted candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, and force the opposition to run someone other than its popular leader, Viktor Yushchenko. The court however heeded the advice of European mediators and scheduled a rerun, and quickly, to keep passions from getting out of control.
One of the most heartening aspects of the court’s decision was that a Ukrainian institution was deciding the future of Ukraine. That was especially notable after a crude attempt by Mr. Putin a day earlier to lean on the court by summoning Mr. Kuchma to a quick but extensively publicized meeting at a Moscow airport. Mr. Putin might have thought that these demeaning theatrics would intimidate or impress the judges. In the end it made his political failure only more obvious. More at the New York Times…