How do you get thrown out of a political party in Ukraine? By daring to be different. This is exactly what happened to Ukraine's National Security secretary, Raisa Bohatyriova. Her Party Of Regions ticket has been yanked.
Up until a few days ago one would have thought that Ukraine's Party of Regions was almost monolithic. They voted as one, they moved as one, they probably even thought as one, a little like the Borg in Star Trek. (Resistance is futile. You will be absorbed!) The only other party that closer resembles the Borg is the Communists.
But now it seems there's trouble in paradise.
The Party of Regions has very few women. It has a lot of barrel-chested men who like to wear black. That is why Bohatyriova always stood out. With her blonde French-twist hairdo, elegant suits, and ready smile, she was not your typical MP from the coal basin.
A gynecologist by training, Bohatyriova is -- or was -- one of the more intelligent and attractive women in the Party of Regions. Never the most influential person in the party, she has always been articulate, polite, and pleasant. And she was the leader of the party's parliamentary faction.
But Raisa began to follow the beat of a different drum.
First she dared to go over to the presidential camp by accepting the job of secretary of the National Security Council. Then she dared to attend the U.S. Democratic National Convention where she saw a different type of democracy at work. And then she gave an interview to the Ukrainian section of VOA where she said that Ukraine supports the EU and NATO position on events in the Caucasus.
All this right after the leader of her party, Viktor Yanukovych urged Ukraine to follow Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Bohatyriova went further and dared to say that such a view was only Yanukovych's personal one and did not represent the general position of the party.
The party couldn't stand this ideological dissonance. On September 1, the Political Council threw Bohatyriova out of the party.
What does this mean one might ask. Well for starters one less smart, good-looking woman in the Party of Regions. Definitely a great loss for the party, in more ways than one.
Second, the leader of the party has made it clear that if you dare to disagree with what he says, buddy, you are out. Get another party ticket.
-- Irena Chalupa