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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tightening One’s Belt — With $1,650 Handbags, $1,950 Necklaces

Not long ago, President Yushchenko urged Ukrainians to “live without” expensive foreign-made items in times of crisis.

His call appears to be lost on Ukrainian elites. They just can’t live without those items.

Unfortunately, that includes First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko, chairwoman of the Ukraine 3000 international charitable fund.

In terms of Ukraine’s average monthly pay of $268, keeping up with the Tymoshenkos can be quite expensive.

It becomes even more expensive if we compare it to Ukraine’s monthly benefits for children with disabilities: $38.

Leadership by example? Not in Ukraine.

Do as I say, not as I do.



Michelle said...

Are you sure those handbags are real? :) LOL! Maybe they are a nifty little fake that they picked up at a local metro station....

elmer said...

Actually, Taras, your comments are not fair.

They used to live on $1,750 handbags, and $2,000 necklaces, so it's a HUGE sacrifice to come down this far.

Tymoshenko sure picks her spots. I remember when she made a big show in Parliament of delivering and depositing the necklace off her neck up to the rostrum, when the speaker at that time accused her of wearing a $10,000 necklace.

Parliament is not in session, and has not been for a while, so she's not reduced to wearing costume necklaces currently - no fear of having to put on another show by delivering another necklace to the rostrum.

Yushchenko's wife sure looks happy - as in "look at how wonderful I am."

Taras said...

Michelle, to buy fakes, they need to start using the metro first:)

Elmer, I remember that episode. Now, get a load of her home and her wardrobe. Do they look fake?

I don’t think that that leading by example and promoting a culture of clean earnings would be more of a sacrifice than living on slave wages.

I think it's the servant leadership Ukraine needs.

elmer said...

Here's the song that Tymoshenko sings every night about Yushchenko:

Baby, you driving me crazy,
what did I do, what did I do...
You were the one who would hurt me and desert me
when I needed you
Oh, can you see you're driving me crazy
What did I do, what did I do
to you

elmer said...

Or maybe it's Yushchenko who sings "You're driving me crazy" every night about Tymoshenko:

Taras said...

Thank you for the songs, Elmer!

“You’re Driving Me Crazy” also describes the relationship between Ukrainians and their leaders.

Veronica Khokhlova said...

Don't forget about Yushchenko's watches - must be a few dozen by now... Here's what he said back in July 2005:

[...] You see, I'm not wearing a watch. Even though I've probably got 20 or 15 of them. And until I remain the president, I won't be wearing them.

I don't need these primitive themes, these primitive analyses, I don't want it! I'll only be wearing a trident badge and a neat suit. That's all I need, my friends! [...]

Here's also a nice Yushchenko joke from the same time:

Yushchenko talks to his Austrian doctor:

- Doctor, I eat red caviar and shit with red caviar, I eat black caviar and shit with black caviar... Help me, doctor, what should I do?!

- Eat shit and you'll shit like a normal person.

Taras said...

Thank you for expanding this important topic, Veronica!

Tabloid did a great job of documenting Yushchenko’s “Zeal for Zilli” here and here.

But above all this, I just can’t forget that 2005 “Larry King Live” interview. Here’s my favorite part:

KING: A couple of other areas, there have been some questions about the lifestyle of your 19-year-old son. Critics complain -- I'm reading this from notes given me -- that he drives a very costly car, a BMW, he has a platinum-plated mobile phone, private bodyguards. You got angry at a reporter who questioned you about this. Is this the public's business?

YUSHCHENKO: Well, I think on the one side, this is the problem of the age. I will be frank with you, because you are also father of children. I am pretty much satisfied with my children; there are five of them. The oldest one is 21-years-old. That is the person who has good moral attitudes. He is the believer, actually. And I would say he is a mature person. His lifestyle is a common lifestyle for the people his age, and I do not think that there are any problems that I could feel pain. You know, but rather some things happen in this life, for example the same mobile phone. I do not pay any attention to these kind of things. I never ask any questions. I think all the phones cost $200 to $300 U.S. This is the impression that I have. I do not know what he has to do, or what he should do in order to pay $1000 U.S. for that?

Well, and it is not my way and I've got no attraction to that. But when it happens, during my campaigning, he was hit by the car, actually. He found another car to rent, and that car was brought into Ukraine and it was brought in by his friend. He's involved in these kind of things and that is his occupation. But it wasn't registered. And I told my son, please leave this car, give it back, repair your old car. And drive your own car. But it happened so that I left Kiev and I live near Kiev. And he didn't have any place to live, so he is rent -- to lease for the period of six months some premises to live until I complete the repair of my living space.

Well, but those are the details. In one case after another case, in such a way the image was created.

So father Yushchenko here thinks that driving a €133,000 BMW is the “common lifestyle” of Ukrainian youths.

He also thinks his son’s Vertu phones cost between $200 and $300.

And he doesn’t seem to have a big problem with the avalanche of "unregistered" gifts lavished on his son, who “didn’t have any place to live.” (Poor kid...)

Very interesting economic and ethical thoughts from a father who used to run the National Bank of Ukraine!

Finally, how much do they spend on translation/interpretation services at the Presidential Secretariat? $200 a month? $300 a month? Hmmm…