Karl Rove, Bob Shrum, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Tony Blair, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Viktor Chernomyrdin. What brings these cosmocrats together?
Viktor Pinchuk’s pet project, Yalta European Strategy (YES), whose fifth annual summit kicked off Thursday. (Alas, no Bill Clinton this year.)
In the absence of clear and measurable achievements in brining Ukraine closer to Europe, YES continues to operate largely as a personal PR program of Ukraine’s second-richest man (net worth: $8.8B).
This self-promotional philosophy manifests itself in Pinchuk’s other initiatives, e.g. importing world-class performers Elton John and Paul McCartney to Kyiv for free concerts.
The fifth annual YES talkathon will feature discussions of food, energy, trade, and Ukraine’s European aspirations.
So when will Ukraine become an EU member? Is it 2020? Or has the target date been revised to 2030 or 2040 or 2050? If you press the flesh, drink champaign and share your vacation plans, will it add any value to Ukrainian society?
If you talk the talk as Ukraine’s population continues to dwindle — with a life expectancy of 67.7 years and a net loss of almost 7 million people in 17 years — it will be ordinary Ukrainians who will walk the walk.
They will vote with their feet.