Tymoshenko has gone into hiding
Since Sunday night, when exit polls predicted she would lose the Ukrainian presidency to a man who can’t spell, Yulya Tymoshenko has been in hiding. To be honest, I would have sooner expected her to pick up a tambourine and hop on a tour bus with Lynyrd Skynyrd. She has always loved the cameras, and no one thrives as she does on political combat and confrontation.
But on Monday, she canceled two press conferences. A couple of hours ago, her adviser said that Tuesday’s appearance before the media had also been cancelled. And I just got word that tomorrow, Wednesday, she is skipping a meeting of her own cabinet of ministers (she is still Ukraine’s prime minister, at least for the next couple of days) in order to attend the funeral of a Soviet factory designer in the backwater of Zaporozhye – 550 kilometers from Kiev and its camera sprays and microphones. I really wish I were joking. But it’s true. An 81-year-old factory man who died on Monday.
Her next public appearance, advisers say, will probably be on Thursday, “but we can’t promise anything for certain.” All the while, her lieutenants are claiming that the election was a fraud. Poor Yulya must really be in a panic. Her options are pretty much nil. Almost half the country voted for her because she is the lesser of two nitwits, but no one will follow her into the streets. On the Maidan today, the central square in Kiev where Yulya led the Orange Revolution protests in 2004, a security guard named Stas told me, “It would be another humiliation if she tries to challenge this election with protests… She’ll be standing on the square by herself.” What an image.
Her other option is to challenge the vote in the courts, but both local and international observers have deemed the election fair. She won’t get very far. And she can’t hide forever, although exile might be an option as well.
Viktor Yanukovych, her adversary is meanwhile doing his victory dance for the cameras. For about a week before the elections, advisers had kept him muzzled so he wouldn’t let slip one of his idiot gaffes. (These usually derive from the fact that he can’t speak Ukrainian very well. It’s the national language, but he prefers Russian.) On Tuesday he went on CNN.