First Graders Hail Yanukovych With Soviet-Style Poems
Public recitals of political poetry got off to a fresh start on Sept. 1, or Knowledge Day, which marks the beginning of a new school year in Ukraine.
The following footage, which I downloaded from Censor.net.ua, features two first graders, boy and girl, at an eastern Ukrainian school ceremony attended by PM Yanukovych.
The poetry they recite mixes patriotism with paternalism. I took the liberty of attempting a poetic translation of these Sept. 1 verses, highly reminiscent of the Stalin era.
Photos courtesy of Sovmusic.ru
И от нас
От пап и мам
Виктор Федорович, вам
Here’s from us
From dads and moms
As we press ever so gladly
Viktor Fiodorovich’s palm
Note: Ukrainians formally address each other by first name, followed by a patronymic: Viktor Fiodorovich (transliterated from Russian), or Fedorovych (transliterated from Ukrainian).
Мы под вашим патронатом
Станем будущем страны
Мы себя покажем Штатам
С украинской стороны
Having you as our patron
Makes our future bright indeed
We will show the States and NATO
Our Ukrainian Godspeed
Apparently, the Age of Innocence still prevails over the Age of Information in some parts of the country. It pampers maladaptive worldviews in adults, encourages first graders to rattle off retrograde rhymes, and creates a divide larger than the digital one. Do you have to be Benita Ferrero-Waldner to know that such personality cult rituals make Ukraine unfit for EU membership? Will there be a knowledge economy in a country that celebrates Knowledge Day this way?
Is it possible that some of our “poetry lovers” crave a divide et impera future for Ukraine? They probably want average-income Orange families to enroll their kids in dance classes right away! This should prepare them for the increasingly popular art of guilt-trip dancing in front of Western embassies to get a visa.
After all, celebrating EU accession at retirement age won’t be so bad, provided you live long enough to beat the current life expectancy of 66 years.