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Monday, September 17, 2007

'Party of Ringtones' Photoshop Spoof
Зрадлива родина — потішна країна! Zradlyva rodyna, potishna krayina!
Crappy family, distressful country.
(Literal translation: Treacherous family, funny country.)

Based on:
Щаслива родина — успішна країна! Shchaslyva rodyna, uspishna krayina!
Happy family, successful country

Containing Neo-Soviet Imperialism

A clash of civilizations between a Soviet flag-clinching fist wearing Lenin’s hat and a dulya-flipping fist wearing a peasant Ukrainian hat. Dulya (doo-lia), the
local equivalent of flipping the bird, is a fist-clinching gesture in which the thumb goes under the index finger.

All works courtesy of

Ilya Repin. Barge Haulers on the Volga. 1870-1873. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Stabilnist = Spin x Sovok x Sadomasochism?

American PR wizards may chalk up a few extra votes for the Party of Regions. But they will not change the mindset of the grassroots Regionalist voter; they are chasing it! All it takes is pushing the right buttons, using state-of-the-art spin in tandem with the preexisting Moscow malware.

So far, the PRU top brass has refused to emancipate its electoral base in eastern Ukraine from mental slavery to Sovok, or Sovietica. Here, in the nexus of Ukraine’s Rust and Sun Belts, one can also discover a heavily Sovietized, proletariat-influenced subculture. Here, the local oligarchs perpetuate their power by stirring a political cauldron of the good old Soviet times — when the state provided for people’s basic necessities as long as they stayed within the Communist Party’s line. The breakup of the Soviet Union did not alter this Pavlovian formula. In the sixteen years of Ukraine’s independence, it has served as an elixir of the ruling elite, guiding the country’s transition from communism to crony capitalism, or stabilnist.

When you think of Ukraine’s second-class citizenship with regard to the EU, think stabilnist. The societal submissiveness that came with this chronic condition sank Ukraine to the lower tiers of the Human Development Index. It landed the once third-largest nuclear power on a castaway continent euphemistically called Eurasia. For stabilnist to be effective, Y2K (Yanukovych, Kuchma & Kravchuk) pumped their subjects with nostalgia-inducing painkillers, a task reserved for the well-choreographed Big Brother media. The Ukrainian people assumed the role of the proverbial mule that follows a carrot suspended from a stick, but never gets too close to take a bite.

Somehow, the less Sovietized and more educated segments of Ukrainian society managed to generate immunity against their government’s operant conditioning. The Kuchmatrix malfunctioned. After an interlude of lost opportunities, which we call the Orange Revolution, the Kuchmatrix reloaded. The fresh air of freedom became scarce again, as the smokestacks of stabilnist resumed their routine, rising above the food chain of Ukrainian society.

Some argue that stabilnist has changed. But has it really? Despite all the talk of Akhmetovization — the emergence of a modernization-minded and more Western-oriented wing — most Regionalists have stuck to their guns. They do not share the grief of Soviet genocide victims. With a glorious view of the Soviet past, they have capitalized on a culture of Ukrainophobia and Holodomor denial as their greatest asset in squashing the Oranges.

Recently, the Party of Regions sexed up its campaign by mounting a nationwide petitioning drive to hold a plebiscite on Russian as a second official language and on Ukraine as a non-NATO country. Most likely, the PRU will drop this déjà vu initiative after the election to seduce NUNS into forming a grand coalition.
But before that Kodak moment, the PRU will spray itself with political pheromones to solidify those few percentage points worth of stabilnist-overdosed or Communist-leaning voters.

Most of the swing voting will occur in the Orange camp, as more NUNS supporters predictably switch to BYuT. In contrast, PRU supporters exhibit a far stronger propensity to continue as Guinea pigs in what essentially remains a “hit-me-baby-one-more-time-oops-I-did-it-again” neverending story.

Bait-and-switch manipulations, hardly exclusive to the PRU, offer further insights into the seasonal — and sadomasochistic — peaks and valleys in the Ukrainian social contract. Every campaign, the issue of social responsibility blossoms into a mouth-watering oasis, only to wither away once the campaign comes to an end. Ironically, stabilnist gives short shrift to the very people who support it in the polls. Paradoxically, they keep coming back. Insofar as NUNS and, to a lesser extent BYuT — not to mention the CPU and the SPU — fail to keep their promises, they, too, have a stake in stabilnist.

So here we are, half the country stuck in a time warp, marinated in Cold War soup, while the other half hasn’t quit looking for democratic healthfoods. How’s that for a pop-art Huntingtonian model?


elmer said...

You know, even dogs know to stay away after they've been beaten over the head so many times.

Is stabilnist really that powerful a drug?

Taras said...

Too many Ukrainians have too short a memory span.

That’s why I suspect that stabilnist is still going strong. Hopefully, this election will prove me wrong a little bit.