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Sunday, March 02, 2008

From Russia With Markov

We feel being a part of one civilization with Ukraine — to a large part, a part of one people. No wonder, uh…a marriage between a Russian boy and a Ukrainian girl is not considered interethnic. We remember, and will never forget, that it was in Kyiv — which, as you know, is described as “the mother…the mother of all Russian cities” — that there was perceived…uh…that there started our common statehood. It was from there that our common…uh…Orthodox religion sprang to life, our common, I would say, national mentality. A common civilization does not mean that we would want to have Ukraine, so to speak, lose her independence, to have her destroyed. Not at all. Now, the common Arabian civilization contains a variety of different countries. The common Latin American civilization also contains a variety of different countries. They get along quite well. Today’s agenda, from the Russian side, is the concept of a Common Economic Space. From our point of view, it is…uh…I’d put it this way: an economic union of countries lying to the east of the EU that, in the foreseeable future, will not become EU members. We like the way they live in the EU, and we want a similar way of life — albeit with certain specifics of our own — which is true, basically, for any country. We have the political will, and we will make it happen.

Viktor Chernomyrdin was a genius to say this: “Ukraine will join the EU right after Turkey. And when will Turkey join the EU? Never!”

Sergey Markov, speaking at the Conference “Russian-Ukrainian Relations in a European Context”

In a pointed jab at Markov’s ill-concealed imperialist harangue, moderator Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center suggested that an award be set “for facilitating Ukraine’s accession to NATO.”

That won’t be necessary. Our biggest award will be in joining NATO and pissing the likes of Markov off — once and for all.

And by the way, Russia holds her presidential election today. Oh, did I say election?

Video uploaded from:


elmer said...

Oh, geez, how many times have I heard this "Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people" nonsense.

That, of course, goes simultaneously with the "you Ukrainians are the inferior little russian brothers of russia" nonsense.

They can't decide whether they're coming or going, and they talk out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.

I saw the February 29 Savik Shuster show. It was kiddie night.

1) Ukrainian politicians, for the most part, are like Billary Klinton - they talk endlessly, they blather and drone on and on and on, they love to hear themselves talk, and they don't know when to stop.

2) It became VERY obvious, and Lytvyn finally pointed it out - the overwhelming majority of the kids in the audience want to become members of the Rada, or Prime Minister or some such.

Why? They see it as a path to riches.

3) At the same time, the kids obviously don't believe the current crop of politicians. That was very evident.

4) Poroshenko made an excellent point (and got most of the questions) - the politicians in the Rada ought to learn how to get along.

There was also some very valuable talk about health care and medicine - turns out Poroshenko's wife is a doctor. It's too bad that only one kid wanted to be a doctor.

Then along comes Hanna Herman, and literally invites Shkil to sue her!

According to her, he wasn't being honest about how many residences he got as part of his perquisites as a member of Rada.

What was particularly revealing her was her statement that the "members of the Rada all know each other and what they've got."

So why is the public not able to find out? Why are Rada proceedings, and salaries, and transactions, kept from the public?

It is, after all, a public body - yet only the Rada knows. That is horrifying. We've previously discussed how, in other democratic countries, everything is open and available to the public.

Apparently, open and available in Ukraine means open only to the Rada.

At any rate, Hanna Herman was disgusting.

5) There was some talk of the disparity in education between rural areas and the city. An example was given where a computer is drawn on a blackboard, in order to explain how a computer works - no computers are available.

Oh, my.

But the kids all seemed very, very bright to me.

6) Chernoco was his usual space cadet self. The guy is literally a moon child nut case - why on earth is he still in office?

It was painful to watch. It made me nauseous.

7) One of the silliest moments was a response by one of the panel members to the question "what did you want to be when you were a kid?"

The question was put to each of the panel members. One of them answered "a hero." What kind? Any kind, was the answer. As in "hero of the sovok union," I guess.

I apologize for the length of the post.

My overall impression is that this was a totally dysfunctional situation, and the politicians are locked into a dysfunctional game and patterns that they don't know how to break - or won't.

And that they needed Dr. Phil more than they needed Savik Shuster.

Although I still agree - Savik's show serves an extremely useful purpose, and Savik does a great job.

elmer said...

I apologize for hogging the blog, but I think this is important.

During the Savik Shuster show, Savik put forth the question as to whether Russia is right about Ukrainian democracy - Russia views Ukraine's democracy as "chaos and disorder," and the question was whether it's right to go Russia's "managed democracy", or more accurately, "managed corruption dictatorship" route.

The answer was immediately, unequivocally and correctly put forth - it's vastly better to go the Ukrainian democracy route.

No doubt about it. And that's something to be happy about.

Taras said...

Thank you for this wonderful and detailed summary!

The kids sounded smarter than the politicians, didn’t they? (I watched the first part of the show, but then I went to sleep.)

It is indeed sad that only one of them spoke about a future as a doctor — a cardiologist. But who would seriously want to be a doctor in a country where doctors get paid slave wages?

No wonder, everybody wants to be President, or PM, or chief of Naftogaz — like that girl from Crimea.

You’re right: Unlike Russia, Ukraine has a democracy of sorts. We don’t have much oil or natural gas, but we do have elections. We have elections instead of appointments.

To make elections work better, Ukrainians should learn about their leaders continuously.

The more they keep tabs on what’s going on and take to the streets, the more they will shake stabilnist up and change this country.

elmer said...

Taras, there's more to it than that.

The system in Ukraine is set up so that the pigs continue feeding at the trough - and the pigs, who are also sharks, simply won't let go.

It is no wonder the kids all want to be in the Rada.

I have asked this question over and over and over again, and NOONE in Ukraine can explain it to me - how are elections financed in Ukraine?

What if an ordinary citizen wanted to run for parliament?

Let me explain by contrast, using the Obama campaign for president in the US as an example.

Obama is not a wealthy man.

He announced his candidacy for President after being elected to the US Senate.

PEOPLE are permitted to contribute to his campaign up to a certain limit. All donations to his campaign are accounted for, kept track of, and reported - and are PUBLIC information.

Ordinary citizens contribute money to his campaign. The average contribution is about $109. Some contributions are about $5 or $10.

Some people volunteer to help his campaign by distributing campaign materials, by calling other people to urge them to vote for Obama, or walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors and urging people, in person, to vote for him.

That's not limited to his campaign.

And it's pretty much the way most candidacies for office work in the US.

Of course, individual candidates are permitted to use as much of their own money as they want - but it's all subject to reporting, and to PUBLIC scrutiny.

The system allows people who have no wealth to run for office, if they can hustle around and convince enough people that they are qualified for office and will do a good job.

Now for Ukraine. Akhmetov and others made their money mainly through crooked privatization deals.

They run for office, either themselves, or through front men, so that they can continue steering money from the government their way.

There are no individual candidacies, as in other democratic countries - it's party lists. So individual candidates, who buy their way onto the party lists, are not accountable to the people they supposedly represent.

Where does the money come from?

Well, businessmen either use their own money for their own candidacies, or they use front men.

Noone knows where the money comes from, who contributes how much, who spends what, and what kinds of deals are made.

It is a system designed to keep the pigs feeding at the trough.

"If men were angels, there would be no need of government."

But there are different kinds of government, aren't there?

The kids sat in that studio, looking at the politicians, for the most part, with disgust.

They were clearly dazzled by Poroshenko and his wealth.

But it is understandable why they want to get in on the action.

It's just that they have no idea of the price to be paid.

So- maybe someone can explain to me how elections in Ukraine work, and where the money comes from.

Taras said...

Elmer, you've already perfectly explained the election mechanics in Ukraine from A to Z. (Or should we say, from A to Y?)

I have nothing to add. But I will post a video from that show. It’s a must-see.