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Friday, May 21, 2010

Medvedev Good-Cops Ukrainian Students

If every guest speaker meant what he or she said, we’d be a G20 country.

May 1995.
Speaking at the Taras Shevchenko National University, Bill Clinton said this:

But your efforts will not be in vain, because the course is right, even if the path is difficult. The toil is bitter, but the harvest is sweet, as the old proverb says. In time, your transformation will deliver better, more prosperous lives and the chance for you and your children to realize your God-given potential. You and your children will reap the harvest of today's sacrifices.

In the pursuit of peace and prosperity, you have been well served by President Kuchma and his government's bold and farsighted leadership. You should know this: As you build your future, the United States will stand with you.

15 years later.
The Children of the Sweet Harvest meet another guest speaker: Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia.

“They brought me this iPad. I don't know if you have it,” he tells them teasingly, answering a question about his reading preferences. (Ukrainian students live on a God-given monthly stipend of $50.)

On a lighter note, he promised them that Russia wouldn’t use its Black Sea Fleet against neighbors.
Student: How do you see the strategic importance of preserving this base in Sevastopol for...

Let’s have a straight talk: Will Russia use its Black Sea Fleet to attack neighboring states? No, it won’t. Hahaha! We’re a peaceful country.

One of the students turned out to have a name that’s hard to forget: Ihor Yushchenko.

That didn't spoil the party. Medvedev got high marks from the audience.

Among other things, he recalled attending a conference at the University two decades ago as a postgraduate from Leningrad.

An easygoing democratic type, he now reads Gogol on his iPad.

Videos embedded from:
Original sources:


Anonymous said...

Well, we have to admit that Medvedev has much more human image than Putin and it is a good point for him. Or not if I think to my former Maths teacher who gave bad marks with huge smile. :P

James Stanhope said...

In reading this blog over the past two years or so, I've noticed that you've become sardonically critical of the U.S. government for supposedly abandoning Ukraine to the Russians.

Specifically, how should the U.S. government have acted toward Ukraine since Yuschenko's election in 2004? Which specific U.S. policy failure led to Ukraine's turning to Russia for help, in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Would you please upload the first video again?

Taras said...


That’s the essence of the “good cop, bad cop” approach.

As good as he may be, Medvedev gave ProFFessor Yanukovych an F on his “Let Me Pump That Gas from Central Asia.”:)


Thank you for reading my blog!

I believe the U.S. abandoned Ukraine right after we gave up our nukes. From then on, we became a non-priority, to be revisited on a contingency/residual basis.

To help ourselves, we Ukrainians should have been more assertive internationally and more active domestically.

To help Ukraine, the U.S. should have been more grassroots-oriented (not Kuchma-oriented) and more reform-oriented (not IMF-oriented).

None of this happened.

The collapse of communism put Eastern Europe (less communist/Russian Empire experience) on a Europe track, and Ukraine (more experience) on a Eurasia track.

Just compare the U.S. policy toward Ukraine (no nukes) with its policy toward the Baltics (no Russian troops).

These track placements contributed to where we are now.

What should the U.S. have done to help Yushchenko? I don’t know. Maybe the U.S. could have persuaded his U.S.-born wife to teach him how to fight corruption?

But then I recall how, according to some sources, she flew her mother to Kyiv for his inauguration using an oligarch-sponsored charter flight:)

I’m not saying Yushchenko was beyond hope. Something could have been done to boost his strengths and neutralize his weaknesses.

Bottom line, I think his victory brought a wave of “end of history” euphoria to Kyiv and Washington. That made a lot of people fall asleep at the switch.


Thank you for alerting me to this problem! I’m afraid I can’t re-upload it. I embedded it from someone else’s YouTube account.