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Monday, June 02, 2008

Paul McCartney on Coming to Ukraine

“Ukrainians, I love you. I don’t even know you, but I love you already.”

Back in 1968, he sang: “Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out, they leave the West behind.” A lot has changed since The Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” The USSR collapsed, Ukrainian girls hit Western brothels, and Paul McCartney is now coming to Ukraine!

Watch a piece of McCartney’s promotional interview aired on ICTV.

Also, watch his public service announcement. (Interestingly, McCartney still relies on Soviet-era usage, such as Kiev and the Ukraine, although he does say a few words of Ukrainian).

The Beatles enjoyed enormous popularity in the USSR, where Western music signified non-conformism and was deemed a threat to the regime.

On June 14, McCartney will come to Kyiv to perform a free concert at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, the heart of the now-comatose Orange Revolution.

Indeed, one can see the shadow of yesterday (pardon the pun) hanging over the event.

The concert will be sponsored by billionaire Viktor Pinchuk, one of Ukraine's richest men and son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, the autocratic leader to whom the word regime was often applied before and after the Orange Revolution. (Well, not exactly. Last month, President Yushchenko appointed Kuchma to the board of trustees at Shevchenko National University, adding to an already impressive catalogue of controversial awards.)

Bringing the world’s best performers to Kyiv has been Pinchuk’s pride and joy for several years.

In June 2007, Elton John drew a crowd of several hundred thousand people at an AIDS awareness concert at Kyiv's Maidan. This year, on May 23, mayoral candidate Vasyl Horbal of the Party of Regions threw a concert by famous German rock band Scorpions.

Undoubtedly, hundreds of thousands of people will truly enjoy McCartney’s show.

But given today’s level of social responsibility in Ukraine, will they believe that the host’s love for Ukraine runs deeper than his promotional considerations?


Michelle said...

Yes we must prepare for McCartney Mania! :) I will watch in a comfortable chair in my flat. I have seen Paul in concert and he is very good and I enjoyed it even though I was never a big Beatles fan. He doesn't seem to have a big ego which is nice.

elmer said...

Well, well, well.

In Rome, they gave away bread and circuses to prevent people from rioting and overthrowing government.

In Ukraine - just circuses, no bread.

Wasn't it Pinchuk's wife who just bought an $800 million mansion in Londongrad, for some reason?

So a rock concert by Paul McCartney - how nice.

That will solve all of Ukraine's economic and government problems, won't it?

I'm also still waiting for Akhmetov's "charitable works," after he announced in public that he was in his "third phase" of charity.

One more thing - the mayor of Kyiv, Chernovetsky, does not speak Ukrainian.

Paul McCartney, who is NOT Ukrainian, but loves Ukraine, speaks a Ukrainian phrase in his video - "let's meet at Independence Square" - "зустрінимось на Майдані".

Paul McCartney at least has some consideration for his audience.

Cherno has no consideration for his own country - or its citizens.

Taras said...

Michelle, I will attend the concert, too. It will be a pleasure to see Paul McCartney, the world music legend.

But I can’t promise that my opinion of the host’s ego will change. Not until I see major changes in this country. Until then, my opinion remains as stable as stabilnist.

Good point about bread and circuses, Elmer!

It’s actually an £80M house, and I guess it still holds the record as the most expensive piece of real estate sold in London.

And yes, it’s a shame to have a mayor who refuses to learn Ukrainian.