The Complex State of Democracy in Ukraine

g7 kiev

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

The narrative that the United States must protect Ukraine's democracy at any cost is prevalent throughout the mainstream media, particularly notable in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  That said, there have been some developments over the past year which show that pro-Western Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not necessarily as democratic as what our leaders would have us believe.  

Let's look at some examples:

1.) Shutting down and sanctioning of television stations in February 2021 as reported here:

Democracy in Ukraine

…and here:

Democracy in Ukraine

….and here by the pro-NATO Atlantic Council:

Democracy in Ukraine

Here are comments on the issue from President Zerenskyy's website, keeping in mind that he is pro-West/anti-Russia:

"I would like to note the work of the Security Service of Ukraine in the fight against the danger of Russian aggression in the information space. Sanctions against the media are always a difficult decision for any government except for the authoritarian one. This decision is not emotional, it has been maturing, it has been prepared for a long time on the basis of information from many Ukrainian government agencies. This is by no means an attack on freedom of speech, this is a well-founded decision to protect national security."

At the time, even the European Union questioned the move and advised a cautious approach to banning Russian "disinformation) as reported by Radio Free Europe, a United States government-based propaganda disseminator:

Democracy in Ukraine

2.) Shutting down of television stations in February 2022:

Democracy in Ukraine

3.) Arrest of Ukraine's opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk, putting him under house arrest, charged with high treason as shown here:

Democracy in Ukraine

…and here:

Democracy in Ukraine

ii) Ukrainian court authorizes the arrest of Viktor Medvedchuk, pro-Russian head of the Opposition Platform – For Life opposition party as shown here:

Democracy in Ukraine

…extends his house arrest for the first time:

Democracy in Ukraine

…and extends his house arrest again and adds a charge of financing terrorism for his alleged role in organizing a scheme to smuggle coals from non-government controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk with pro-Russian "terrorists" receiving more than UAH 200 million as shown here:

Democracy in Ukraine

…and here:

Democracy in Ukraine

Interestingly, the Eastern Partnership Summit meeting which included various EU leaders raised the issue of reprisals against opposition media and leadership in Ukraine at a meeting in December 2021 and demanded that Zelensky remove the sanctions against the shuttered television stations and release Viktor Medvedchuk from house arrest shown here:

Democracy in Ukraine 

In closing, let's look at one final graphic which shows that a majority of Ukrainians do not approve of President Zelenskyy's activities:

Democracy in Ukraine

If Washington or any other nation is using the reasoning that the West must protect Ukrainian democracy through the use of both military action and economic sanctions, as you can see, it is a democracy of a very different sort than what most of us would consider to be a true democracy (at least as those of us in the West define it today).  It is, however, quite clear that the geopolitical situation on the ground in Ukraine is far more complex than our ruling class would have us believe or understand.


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