Hey, Ukraine, How'd Tamping Down Free Speech Work Out For You?

from the we-already-know-the-answer dept

As you may remember, we’ve taken a bit of an interest in Ukraine lately. Frankly, it’s not all that common that you get to see a popular revolution take place right there on your television/computer screen. So, as you’re probably somewhat aware, the Ukrainian people have dismissed the creepy Orwellian threats of the former government, discarded the false promises they made, and have taken the first step to establishing a new government.

The Parliament voted to oust Yanukovych, a key demand of protesters. It appointed seasoned lawmaker Oleksandr Turchinov as a new speaker who will take on Yanukovych’s duties until new elections in May. Turchinov, a longtime ally of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, has promised a new interim government by Tuesday.

“We have a legitimate source of authority in Kiev, which is the democratically elected Parliament and a democratically, constitutionally elected speaker of parliament, who is acting president,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who helped broker a peace deal between the government and the opposition, said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.

Now, it should be noted that this might not be completely over yet. First, Viktor Yanukovych, the now-ousted President of Ukraine, still claims he is the rightful leader of the country, though he does so from hiding. In addition, essentially the entire nation of Ukraine is casting Russia a wary eye, waiting for Vladimir Putin to gallop in shirtless on his steed and sweep all of this change away. Those fears will eventually be cast aside as well, however, just as were those of the old Ukraine government.

This is how we concluded our last post on the false concessions made by the government to protestors after absolutely violating their freedom of speech.

This, I fear, won’t be enough to send the protesters back to their homes. A new government with the same President is only “new” as a method for parody and derision. An attempt to turn on the free speech of a people isn’t going to be forgiven in exchange for lesser resignations.

That probably goes for Russia at this point as well. This entire fight has been over trading with the West or remaining beholden to Russia’s promise of foreign cash injections: the way Ukraine has been pulled for decades. Fortunately, in this time, the people of Ukraine not only had the will to change their government, they had the ability to organize and export their story to the world via the internet, ubiquitous camera phones, and a citizen press. In other words, twenty years ago, this might not have been possible. Now it’s eminently so.

Other nations looking to tamp down on free speech and a free internet may want to take note of the consequences.

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Comments on “Hey, Ukraine, How'd Tamping Down Free Speech Work Out For You?”

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ethorad (profile) says:

what consequences?

Fortunately, in this time, the people of Ukraine not only had the will to change their government, they had the ability to organize and export their story to the world via the internet, ubiquitous camera phones, and a citizen press. In other words, twenty years ago, this might not have been possible. Now it’s eminently so.

Other nations looking to tamp down on free speech and a free internet may want to take note of the consequences.

That reads like their ability to revolt depended on having free speech and the ability to spread the news. Therefore taking that away from them would make any revolt much more contained.

Of course it would also make revolt much more likely …

Guess that’s the tradeoff in running a dictatorship though – lots of containable revolts (hoping they don’t link up) or a few uncontainable revolts?

I’m off to play Civ to check …

Lawrence D?Oliveiro says:

Russia May Yet Find An Excuse To Intervene

Crimea is an ethnic-Russian-majority region. It used to be part of Russia, and in some ways still acts as though it is. If the new Ukraine regime were to be seen to be clamping down on the autonomy of that region, it could provide Putin with all the excuse he needs to send the troops in.

After all, remember Abkhazia?

zip says:

Techdirt and US-financed revolutions

One of the main reasons I like reading Techdirt is because of writers like Mike Masnick, Tim Cushing, and now, Karl Bode, who display not only a keen interest, but much in-depth knowledge of the subjects they cover. And perhaps most importantly, a perspective that’s often woefully lacking in the corporate mass-market news industry.

That said, I’ve always believed that opinion writers should try to avoid topics that they know little about.

Ukrainian politics is far more complicated than the dumbed-down, one-sided, highly-propagandized version shown on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. The same goes for most wars and revolutions, particularly US-sponsored ones (as this one most definitely is).

If Techdirt is going to cover the Ukrainian “revolution” — how about starting with how the US mainstream media is ‘getting it wrong’ – and the key facts and perspectives these news corporations (almost meticulously) fail to mention?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Techdirt and US-financed revolutions

How about seeing that not everything is balanced.

US-sponsored ones (as this one most definitely is).

Sorry, but in the Ukraine this “people’s struggle” against the rich and corrupt oligarch has been going on for years.

The oligarch has been strongly aligned with and supported by Russia. It was acting on Russia’s behalf.

Remember the Orange Revolution? How this current wave of discontent started.

Sorry, but you’re wrong if you think that you can equate the U.S.A’s involvement with the Ukraine with that of Russia’s involvement. Completely different scale. Not even close to equal.

Also… Did you see the Russian propaganda/disinformation trolls (like the Syrian issue trolls)

Almost instantly after the sniper incident were police snipers shot at protesters, there were lot’s of videos uploaded to youtube with titles like “”Ukraine: Snipers target police“”

You are right about the US media in general. But in this instance even their really shallow and basic coverage of this issue is mainly accurate. The persecution was of the people not the oligarchy as some portray. It wasn’t equal. The people were getting railroaded by a corrupt oligarchy. They rose up and fought it for the last 10 years or so.

zip says:

Re: Re: Techdirt and US-financed revolutions

There was a time when the Russians were secretly working behind the scenes formenting “people’s revolutions” all across the globe. Call it payback, perhaps, but in recent years the United States has been taking on a similar role.

The Ukrainian so-called “revolution” was in any case more of a coup d?etat than a true revolution. Peeling back the layers of propaganda, Ukraine is stuck between two choices: a US-backed corrupt oligarchy and a Russian-backed corrupt oligarchy.

If Ukraine eventually casts off all ties to Russia, it will in all likelihood be because American taxpayers will essentially have outbid Russian taxpayers in the cost of subsidizing the country’s economy and buying its leaders’ loyalty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Techdirt and US-financed revolutions

yes,. the evil oligarchs are at fault. But only if they are not US aligned. remember Timoschenko? nasty little oligarch, but it was “our” oligarch, so that was fine.

It is never about the poeple. It is only ever about geostrategic interests. This whole conflict is not about freedom, it is not about people it is about putting missile bases right under russias nose, including the “missile defence system” that allows the US to get brake the MAD stalemate so they can actually consider a nuclear war without fear of retaliation.

Nobody in either EU, USA or russian governments gives a fuck about the people. And I have to say in this group, the most legitimate interests come from russia, because attaching Ukraine to EU/Nato just gets us that much closer to a new World War.

quite frankly, this is just the cuban missile crisis reloaded and considering the people involved, especially on the US side, this time it is much worse.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Techdirt and US-financed revolutions


you might start there…

(and -yes- i agree with the poster, you have taken a complicated situation and reduced it to simplistic good/bad, AND swallowed the ‘official’ amerikan version of the situation hook, line, and sinker…)

the ‘exiled’ leader WAS democratically elected in what were seen as generally fair elections…
further, your condescending noting that he wasn’t there was sheer idiocy: neither was jean baptists aristade ‘there’ after he was kicked out BY UNKA SUGAR and our proxies…

yet, he IS the rightful leader (nevermind that WE pressured the whole world to ignore that in order to install the military thugs WE WANTED), whether exiled or not…

that was a petty comment indicative of prejudice, not a reasoned position…

anon says:

Re: Re:

And like the rest America will use all it’s power to cut the internet and this will only force more people into the streets as they lose the ability to keep themselves occupied in their homes. It is a lose lose situation for the Government as when it happens and everyone knows it will eventually happen in the US, the internet will be an enemy to the government while at the same time a useful tool to keep people off the streets.

The internet is a game changer, it takes the power of the government and big business and as part of the government the super rich out of the equation and they will fall.

Sadly the only thing that will stop this from happening is the gov to start working for the people again or for big business to start doing the right thing, something that i doubt is going to happen any time in the future, they love their money too much to stop gouging the consumers and forcing unfair restrictions on them.

Anonymous Coward says:

as we know, it has totally screwed the government there as it has elsewhere. the problem is, that governments elsewhere are all trying the same thing! dont people realise or already know why the various governments are trying to take control of the Internet, with the USA being top of that list? why do people think all these various ‘Trade Deals’ keep being instigated by the USA and then keep all the proposals and discussions away fro public scrutiny and, to make things worse, actually threaten or begin sanctions against countries that do not want to play the USA games? then add in the secrecy that surrounds all the deals coming out of the USA who then demands to know the ins and the outs of a ducks backside on any negotiations instigated by other countries! what an absolutely selfish , greedy fucking cheek and insult!!

Anonymous Coward says:

‘the people of Ukraine not only had the will to change their government, they had the ability to organize and export their story to the world via the internet’

the main reason that governments everywhere are trying to lock the internet down! making it two tiered as has been proposed in the EU which means governments and businesses can have full speed, the rest of us cant and what we get is not only censored bur surveilled constantly as well!

nonanymous says:

Tim, stay out of politics

” essentially the entire nation of Ukraine is casting Russia a wary eye”

That essentially tells me your toe-deep understanding of what’s going on in Ukraine.

Which part of the “nation of Ukraine” are you talking about? The Ukrainians? The Russians? The Tatars?

“This entire fight has been over trading with the West or remaining beholden to Russia’s promise of foreign cash injections”

Nope. But then you are also believing that there is such thing as unified Ukraine. So when the neo-nazis (of multiple varieties, of course) grow even more in power with the toppling of this president, are you still going to be writing bullshit about how it’s all about trading with the West?

As strange as it seems, the-president-in-hiding was democratically elected. So was the previous, opposing one, and the one before. And they all practice same heavy handed politics.

So this article is… yeah, what the crap is it about? Gotten the politics wrong, gotten the facts wrong and just riding the same horse as any other “it’s east vs west!” propaganda machine. West-centric egomania even here. It’s not about you, get used to it.

Basil says:

The Russians are coming

I don’t think the Ukraine opposition are angels. Maybe no good guys here. I fully expect Putin to intervene given the USA’s low status in the world today.

Does anyone actually think the Russians don’t know how to invade countries? You think they’re afraid? They have more reason to invade than the US in Iraq.

Only question is how I can play this on the stock market?


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