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Friday, June 29, 2007

Talking Eurotalk: Pinchuk Brings Prominent Leaders to Yalta to Discuss Ukraine's Accession Prospects

The Yalta European Strategy (YES), a loose alliance of “friends of Ukraine” among Western political elites is holding its fourth annual meeting in Yalta.

This Black Sea resort, known as the cradle of the Cold War, has become something of an ego spa for billionaire Viktor Pinchuk to bask in favorable publicity. It is there that former president Kuchma’s son-in-law surrounds himself with the glitterati and cognoscenti to celebrate his chronic graduation from localcrat to cosmocrat, using YES as a public relations conduit.

Founded in 2003 under the aegis of the Pinchuk Foundation, YES sprang to life on the eve of Kryvorizhstal’s heavily discounted privatization and Ukraine’s rigged presidential election. So, yes, the timing tells it all.
And so does the branding choice, if you apply an ounce of Freudian analysis to it. Considering Kuchma’s role in shaping Ukrainians’ travel opportunities and treatment abroad, the YES brand projects a tremendous sense of black humor.

No wonder Pinchuk’s pet project has been a "Eurotalkathon:" an organization with no quantifiable objectives and no progress reports.

What’s in the pipeline for Ukraine? This year we hear Kwaśniewski talk of 2020 as the most realistic EU accession date for Ukraine; we marvel at Schröder’s undying passion for GasPutin; we meditate on Clinton’s pep talk.

Clinton seems to have thoroughly repressed the memory of the cheerleader act he pulled for Kuchma during his May 1995 visit to Kyiv. Here’s a quote from a speech he delivered at Taras Shevchenko University:

In the pursuit of peace and prosperity, you have been well-served by President Kuchma and his government's bold and farsighted leadership. You should know this: As you build your future, the United States will stand with you.

Sounds prophetic, doesn’t it? Well, this time he joked about importing Ukrainian budgeting talent to solve America’s deficit problem. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President.


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