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Monday, February 25, 2008

Baba Paraska Showers Yushchenko With Birthday Wishes

…to live a lifetime of 100 years; to know no sorrow and, as they say, to have, in his home and in our Ukraine, prosperity and goodwill. What he promised to the people — I wish he would deliver that. I pray to God for this.

Paraska Korolyuk (aka Baba Paraska, or Grandma Paraska), a 69-year old activist easily recognized as the icon of the Orange Revolution, knows her way around the kitchen of Ukrainian politics. Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have repeatedly fraternized with her before the cameras, treating her as the ambassador of the Ukrainian people to the Ukrainian government.

Perhaps unwittingly, Baba Paraska adds a comic edge to the “our Ukraine” in her statement. (Does refer to Our Ukraine, the party, or to our Ukraine, the country?)

One can also detect a hint skepticism in her voice, as she reads out her wishlist. Now that President Yushchenko has left so many prayers unanswered, the people she represents find themselves wishing upon a star.

Video uploaded from:


Anonymous said...

Kosovo for a pair of sneakers

Belgrade smash 'n' grab becomes YouTube smash hit


Taras said...

It’s happened before, it will happen again. And it’s not just Belgrade or Tallinn. (“I don’t buy Latvian.”)

Scenes of this kind can spring to life in Paris, in Berlin, in Rome — or even in Kyiv, the most stable of places. When the whole country gets grabitized, why not grab a few coats?

Stabilnist — whether it’s crony communism or crony capitalism — contains the seed of its own destruction. We learned it the hard way. Why come full cycle?

So, unless we switch to something more chaordic and people-friendly, who knows what may happen?

Anonymous said...

Posted the article and youtube link because a) it has become a youtube hit - power of youtube b)you are right - "When the whole country gets grabitized, why not grab a few coats?" Protest which denigrate into riots and total mob rule, become more about Gucci shoes than ideology. Human nature. And Ukraine is paying close attention to the events going on.

"Ukrainian Ombudsperson Nina Karpachiova believes that the existence of Kosovo as an independent state will aggravate the situation on the Balkans."

"Despite the increasing tensions in the former Serbian province, EU officials reassured Kosovo leaders that it will remain committed to the new state and the withdrawal of EU personnel should only be considered temporary. ... The remarks came as about 150 Serbs attacked the Kosovar police with bottles and stones at the northern border of Kosovo. In the Kosovo town of Mitrovica, which is split between Serbs and Albanians, 2000 Serbian protesters burned EU flags, forcing a retreat of EU staff in the region and sparking fears that the new country could already be split in two."

Ukraine still has not announced its position regarding Kosovo's declaration of independence. It is a really delicate situation for Ukraine and is imo more of a hot topic than NATO for RF.

elmer said...

If Ukraine consisted of nothing but 47 million Paraskas, it would be the strongest country on earth.

She is an excellent example of accountability to citizens.

If Yushchenko really wants to make Ukraine a great country, he can look her straight in the eye in front of the press and tell her that he has kept all the promises he made -- or why not.

Paraska may not look so great on the outside, but she is a great lady.

I wish there were many, many more like her in Ukraine.

My hat is off to her.

Taras said...

Look at that! Karpachova is becoming Europe’s first ombudswoman-freelancer!

She’s interested in just about anything but her job. “Think globally, act locally.” Wait a second, I guess the latter part is missing.

Luida, I think Ukraine will recognize Kosova once the dust settles. And what’s your take?

Elmer, the problem is he hasn’t been looking us straight in the eye very often. We all know he’s been in a world of hurt. But the buck has got to stop somewhere. If he goes on being a weak president, he will hurt this nation even more.

As of today, he and people like Baba Paraska live in two different countries. There’s no “one law for all” in Baba Paraska’s Ukraine.

Baba Paraska is indeed a great lady. I, too, wish all Ukrainians had her energy. She’s one of those people who had worked hard to build something that was grabitized before she knew it. But at least she knew she had to do something about it.

Anonymous said...

TAras - "I think Ukraine will recognize Kosova once the dust settles. And what’s your take?"

I agree with you but I am a tad bit disappointed that UA has not made a statement already. But if they did it would mean yet another "bill" or "debt" from Gazprom that would run into the billions. RF has been a staunch ally of Serbia/ns and for UA to declare in favor of Kosovo independence would really have them fuming. And half of EU is against Kosovo independence. To declare against Kosovo would be a pr disaster which would be seen as hypocrisy. Horny dilemma indeed.


Anonymous said...

"Parliamentary Deputy Oleh Bilorus of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, who is the head of the Ukrainian parliament's permanent delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, has insisted on peaceful resolution of the Kosovo conflict. ... On behalf of the Ukrainian delegation, Bilorus reaffirmed the position on sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders among member-countries of the OSCE."

Yeah either waiting until the issue is resolved or will come out against K's independence or perhaps a new government will be in session ??? The ques. is how long will the Cabinet remain the Cabinet?


Taras said...

You’re right. In Ukraine, nobody wants to take the flak for recognizing Kosova before the time is “right,” both at home and abroad.

And as you noted, it is especially true in the trenches of the current gas war.

By the way, Oleh Bilorus was Ukraine’s first ambassador to the United States of America.