July 31, 2014
‘Don’t go, just don’t go.’
‘You realize you just spent a week’s wages on that souvenir?’
By Paul Gronke
Early Voting Information Center
Those two quotations — the first from a concerned coworker before I left and the second from my translator at the end of the mission — reflect much of my experience as an election observer for the OSCE/ODHIR mission to Ukrainian presidential election on May 25, 2014.
The mission to Ukraine was my third time as an election observer for ODIHR. Previously, I’ve served as an observer for the Albanian parliamentary election in June 2013 and the Kyrgyz presidential election in October 2011.
While many of my friends and colleagues were intrigued by the trip to Kyrgyzstan, and a bit jealous of my mid summer trip to Albania, the Ukrainian mission — for obvious reasons — prompted the most interest and concern.
I’d like to regale you with tales of intrigue and excitement, but this is no year of living dangerously. Read more…