Thursday, November 25, 2004

Before the election, the government mobilized groups of thugs to harass voters. On the day of the election, police prevented thousands of opposition activists from voting at all. Nevertheless, when the votes were counted, it was clear that the opposition had won by a large margin. As a result, the ruling party decided to falsify the result, and declared victory. Immediately, the Russians sent their fraternal congratulations.

No, that was not a description of the presidential election that took place last Sunday in Ukraine. It was a description of the referendum that took place in Soviet-occupied communist Poland in June 1946. Although blatantly falsified, that referendum provided the spurious legitimacy that allowed Poland's Soviet-backed communist leadership to remain in power for the subsequent half-century.

But although that infamous Polish election took place nearly 60 years ago, there are good reasons why descriptions make it sound so much like last weekend in Ukraine.
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