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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama Voices Support for Ukraine, Cites Holodomor

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has sent his greetings to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, VOA Ukrainian Service reports.

In a letter to the UCCA, which recently convened in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama said this about Ukraine:

Friends of Ukraine in the West should continue playing a key role in building a secure and prosperous future for Ukrainians.

The experiment of Ukrainian democracy should succeed — not only for the sake of prosperity for Ukrainians, but also to be an inspiration for those in the region who are struggling for democracy, including even Russia.

In courting Ukrainian American voters, many of whom favor McCain, Obama said he believes that Ukraine is ready for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). He added that he will work with U.S. allies in NATO so that Ukraine will be granted the opportunity to make a further step toward joining the Euro-Atlantic community, VOA reports.

Obama called the Holodomor a “terrible crime,” saying, “We must never forget about this famine and must always ensure that future generations will know about this tragedy so that it will never be repeated.”

Note: Since no English-language sources could be found, I did a back-translation of Obama's quotes from Ukrainian into English.



Michelle said...

So he didn't say, "The Ukraine"? :) LOL....

I am sorry I missed you at blog camp! I would have loved to meet you! Blog camp was awesome and I especially loved the T-Shirts!

Anonymous said...

It was a good campaign move, but I'm not sure how much good it will do. Even assuming that the letter from Obama will get decent amount of exposure in the diaspora publications, it is unlikely to sway those voters who make their decisions based on party identification (Ukrainian-Americans tend to be, as you rightly pointed out, Republican). Furthermore, the issue of Barack Obama's race is undeniably there. Those from the former Soviet Union, Ukrainians including, can hold some prejudiced views that may prevent them from even considering alternatives. This is similar to the problem found in the American Jewish community, where there is a concern that elder Jewish voters residing in Florida may vote Republican based on their distrust of Obama's commitment to Israel and based on the fact of his race.


Taras said...

I hope he didn’t, Michelle:)

After all, it’s staff members who do all the writing in such cases. Writing a letter to a Ukrainian diaspora organization requires a certain grasp of Ukrainian issues.

It turns out we went to Blogcamp on different days. You went on Friday, I went on Saturday and Sunday. Still, I managed to get a T-shirt, too!

I agree with you, Vitaliy. Tradition and stereotypes play a huge role in politics.

Now, imagine what would happen if either McCain or Obama called Israel a “fledgling democracy” or “the Israel” and then started talking about cooperation with Iran?

I don’t know about fresh Ukrainian immigrants in America, but for Ukrainians living in Ukraine Obama’s race doesn’t seem to be the single defining characteristic. On “Shuster Live,” Svitlana Volnova currently runs a segment called “Khochu Obamu” (“I Want Obama”). Here’s another interesting case in point.

As I said before, it’s not my business who America elects. My business is the policy America elects toward Ukraine.