The good guys have a real chance in Ukraine

The last two months have taught Yanukovich that Kiev is not Moscow. Whereas the Moscow demonstrators stood little chance, the Kiev uprising and demonstrations in the regions now stand a good chance of winning for the following reasons:

First, Ukraine’s capital and largest city, Kiev, lies in the Ukrainian speaking pro-western heart of Ukrainian nationalism. Whereas, in Moscow, the demonstrators represented a small portion of an otherwise apathetic population, large majorities of Kievans want Yanukovich and his government gone. Kiev provides a powerful base for anti-government protests. Moscow did not.

Second, the Moscow demonstrations lacked a clear and prominent leader, the closest being anti-corruption blogger, Alexei Navalny. Putin has made sure that Navalny cannot form his own political party. In Ukraine, former world heavyweight boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, is a national legend enjoying widespread popularity in Germany, where he and his brother are featured in yogurt commercials. Klitschko is a wealthy man, whom the people realize would be immune from corruption. Although not a spellbinding orator, he gets his point across and is known for his charitable contributions, intelligence, decency, common sense, and persistence. He has successfully formed his own political party, aptly named Udar (the blow). Klitschko and his two fellow protest leaders are not tainted by the abject failures of the leaders of the Orange Revolution — Timoshenko and Yuschenko — who squandered their chance with internecine political battles. The “old” didn’t work. Klitschko gives the Ukraine a new political face and new hope.

Third, Yanukovich cannot count on the support of Ukraine’s oligarchs, many of whom control delegates to the Ukrainian parliament.