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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tymoshenko Trips Over, Cracks a Joke

Coal Miner's Day
Luhansk, Ukraine, August 31, 2008

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: Greetings, dear Luhansk! It goes to show, once again, that one cannot walk on high heels. They warned me many times, but what's done is done. Dear friends, I'm very glad to address you on this holiday. Half the cabinet came here today to thank you for what you...

Damn! That's no way to build a team! Couldn't she just be more fall-friendly?

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Anonymous said...

I always thought that Ukrainian was the National Language. Guess I was wrong!

Taras said...

Not always, as you can see.

Top government officials must speak Ukrainian on the job, and most of the time they do. But as politicians, they often set this rule aside, especially when running for president.

Take Tymoshenko, for example. Her use of Russian in the heavily Russified Luhansk fits the “go East” plank of her political platform.

You can be sure Yushchenko speaks Russian with Putin/Medvedev. He even spoke Russian with former Polish President Kwasniewski. Both Yushchenko and Kwasniewski had been members of the Communist Party, and had learned Russian as most Eastern Bloc people of their generation had done.

What surprises me most is that neither Tymoshenko nor Yushchenko speaks English, despite having native speakers of English in their families.

Speaking of English, in America both Democrats and Republicans employ Spanish in wooing Hispanic voters.

This may not be a perfect analogy, but it helps explain why politicians, be they Bush or Tymoshenko, use regional languages when covering their electoral bases.

For a more detailed discussion of the language issue, click here and here.