In the media, Yulya Tymoshenko has long been called a latter-day Joan of Arc. During the Orange Revolution of 2004, it seemed like an apt comparison. She was a leader of spectacular talent and drive. But it is only now, on the fifth day of her tantrum over losing the Ukrainian elections, that her team has taken up the analogy. They’re using it, sadly, to blame somebody else for her failure. From the Associated Press:
“The reason for Tymoshenko’s defeat is Yushchenko’s political betrayal. He resembles the king who betrayed Joan of Arc and sent her to be burned at the stake, even after she had made him king. But she will not burn,” Yury Lutsenko, her acting interior minister, said during a televised press briefing an hour ago.
Yushchenko is the departing president who led the revolution alongside Tymoshenko five years ago. It’s true he could not have won without her dynamism and charm. And he has indeed betrayed her: Ahead of the final round of voting Feb. 7, he called on his supporters to vote “Against All” (an option in Ukrainian elections) rather than support Tymoshenko. Some of his deputies in the parliament are also about to join a coalition with the man who defeated her. So the minister’s comparison today, though clumsy, is not far off. He is really only wrong about one thing: Tymoshenko is already burning.