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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yanukovych Ducks Unexplained Wealth Question

Now that she’s done working, he’s all work and no play.

Reporter Mustafa Nayem: I would like to ask you the following question. Today indeed you’ve stated many times that the country’s economy is bad and that indeed people haven’t yet experienced improvements in living standards and that we don’t have money in our budget for Chernobyl and Afghan vets and yet at the same time on a daily basis we all see the circumstances of how your own life in particular is being improved. We see how you’re renting a chopper for a million dollars from a firm that, according to an Ukrayinska Pravda report, belongs to, or is controlled by, your son. We know for a fact that at Mezhyhirya construction is in progress by firms that are controlled by your son. Tell us: Why the disconnect? What’s the secret of your success? Why is it that the country’s doing poorly and you’re doing so fine? Thank you.

President Viktor Yanukovych: Uh…[chuckles]…I’ll tell…I’ll tell you what…uh…what you’re spinning so passionately…uh…it absolutely doesn’t interest me to any great extent. And I’ll tell you the reason for that. Because…I…have very little time, you know, for pleasure. Very little time. Yesterday, for a example, I came home at about 3 a.m., and today I got up at 6 in the morning. Yep. The day before yesterday it was a bit earlier and so on. That’s why I don’t know what easy street you’re talking about, and then you’re discussing my family all the time. I want to tell you I don’t envy you. Hahaha!

Audience: Hahaha!

Yanukovych: Hahaha! You and I know and understand each other well.

Spokeswoman: Next question, please.

Yanukovych: You figure out the rest.

Sometimes his alarm clock goes all jealous on him.

Which is why he doesn’t show up for work until 11 a.m...


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is This Tymoshenko’s Infirmary Cell?

If so, political prisoners have more fun.

Tymoshenko: [...] there have been torture prevention reports by the United Nations Organization that prior to this I was held in conditions that were unacceptable. And that’s why I don't want you putting on a show like this.


Student Ihor Indylo, who died in police custody overnight, didn’t have the same torture prevention coverage.

He fell from his bunk right to his death. Three times. It was his third fall that killed him, according to police reports.

What about political prisoner Blagojevich? Does he have a comfy place like Tymoshenko's?


Monday, December 05, 2011

FEMEN Crash Yatsenyuk’s Rent-a-Crowd Rally

No, they’re not pro-Tymoshenko. They’re against all.

All except the real grassroots protests. That would be the anti-tax code, Chernobyl and Afghan vets crowd.

Looks like the college kids out there were having fun with all the topless ladies around. "Go baby go," they shouted as FEMEN's Inna Shevchenko mounted the Princess Olha Monument. Yeah, what can be a more boring job than waiving those “Front for Change” flags? Unless the change comes with FEMEN!

Well, some people NEVER change.



Mezhyhirya English.

Why try harder?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Donetsk Protesters Overpower Cops, Storm Govt Building

The foot in the door philosophy at work!

Way to go Donetsk! Vote them in, vote them out.


Monday, November 28, 2011

5,000 Fans Rally Outside Lockup as Tymoshenko Turns 51

"Вітю на нари, Юлю на Канари!" (0:32-0:35)

Ukrainians celebrate opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko birthday from alexey solodunov on Vimeo.

"Put Viktor in jail and Yulia in a fairy tale!" (poetic translation:)

As if 2008-2009 wasn’t enough of a fairy tale. The economy drops 15%, the hryvnia loses 60% of its value. People lose their jobs, savings and homes.

And PM/presidential candidate Tymoshenko loses €100K on a Spain getaway?

Not to mention her gas deal that now has Ukraine (Gazprom’s biggest client ‘10) paying well above the EU spot rates: $414 v. $360-$380. We'd be paying $514 had Yanukovych not won that super-magic gas-for-fleet discount.

Not only have we joined the EU, we’ve gone the extra mile.

So where are we, ladies? Jamaica? Haiti?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Blogging Career

Why blog?

2007-2008: 24,797 visits

2008-2009: 38,626 visits

2009-2010: 45,394 visits

2010-2011: 87,487 visits

Incoming links: NYTimes News Blog Guardian News Blog Kyiv Post Global Voices

What else is there? To me, blogging felt like putting Ukraine on the map. In my own way. On my own time.

And what a time it was! Planting all those red dots in places like the

  • White House, State Department, House of Representatives/Senate
  • Parliament of Canada, Privy Council Office of Canada
  • UN
  • European Commission, European Parliament
  • UK Parliament
  • BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, Fox News, Al Jazeera, RFERL, VOA
  • World Bank, IFC, IMF
  • Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, MIT, Duke, Oxford, Cambridge
  • Cuba
  • North Korea

Not to mention the world’s biggest banks and corporations (another 3K visits).

My YouTube account: 2,522,000 upload views since 2007, of which Gaddafi's 2008 visit to Kyiv has fetched 1,368,000. (I used to upload and translate rafts of news reports back then.)

As you can see, I tweet from time to time, but I don’t blog as much as I used to. Blogging doesn’t pay. Working out does. I lost about 90 pounds last year. Despite all the mess in my country, I feel and look better than ever before.

That’s freedom!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney: Tymoshenko Was 'Unindicted Co-Conspirator'

We jail your former PM L = prosecution. You jail your former PM T = persecution.

So being an “unindicted co-conspirator” kind of grants immunity from U.S. prosecution, right?

If you’re one of those lucky “unindicted co-conspirators,” you don’t get 9 years in U.S. jail like your not-so-lucky partner does. You don't even get indicted. Instead, you get full White House and State Department democracy support.
Let’s call it “But She's Our Unindicted Co-Conspirator” program. Gaddafi bad, Karimov good.

Well, some U.S. judges beg to differ. To them, blood is definitely thicker than gas.

As the West worships Tymoshenko, her parliamentary bloc sides with the ruling Party of Regions again. This time they pass an election bill that kills two other opposition blocs' chances. Business as usual. The West loves that!

Rozkazhyyyyyy...chomuuuuu....teeeeell me whyyyyyy...


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Yanukovych Scared, Tymoshenko Stoic as Protests Continue

Just to be clear: It's anti-Yanukovych protests, not pro-Tymoshenko ones.

Chernobyl vet: Screw them, screw them…they’re sitting up there and torturing these people, these Chernobyl folks. The Chernobyl folks were all there, no...nobody ran away from there, and those bastards up there are hiding their asses. [mumbled fragment] They’ve shipped their kids abroad. How long can they mistreat us like that? Yanukovych, come the fuck out, bitch!

He hears everyone.

Yanukovych: …and I’m being informed by law enforcement that…weapons are being procured inside the country…and an effort is under way to attack authorities. [ …] Already, people have lost everything: both fear and shame. So who’s organizing this? [ …] Not those who are struggling the most. Those who are struggling the most, they remain silent, patient and waiting.

No offense (or should we say no fence?), but do you see anyone waiting here?

Well, there’s one lady who’s waiting.

Tymoshenko: Hold on!

She's not working, but she's definitely Ukraine now.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kuchma Chides Yanukovych (2004)

Today’s lions can be yesterday’s lambs.

PM Yanukovych [mumbles on]: ...renovating the production and technology base of the facilities and developing their infrastructure, revamping the means...

President Kuchma [loses patience]:
Bang! Let...let me stop you right there. That’s it. For starters...we heard the national security council and I...after [the ammo depot blaze at] Artyomovsk. I just requested [this handout] — too bad it’s not available — I could’ve come forward and read it out right next to you. Why must you read out what we’ve already heard? It’s already been said! Why did you [staff] have to prepare what’s already been said?

Conversely, today’s prisoners can be yesterday’s princesses.

Take this fair lady/Gazprom partner, the one who brushed off gas supplies from places cheaper than Russia. Oh, we’re talking ‘97, not ‘09, here.

Her other partner served as Ukraine's PM at the time [1:53].

They called their party Hromada (Community), but soon went their separate ways.

She went on to become Ukraine's PM. And he went to jail. To US jail, that is. Not Gitmo, but anyway…
How can you persecute opposition leaders like that?

What if he, too, wants to run for president? For US president maybe?

Can't you guys decriminalize a thing or two and give him a chance?


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tymoshenko Gifts Gaddafi With Sabre (2008)

Freedom fighters?

Tymoshenko: I want you to be strong...and, as armed person. Hahaha!

This was November '08. I was already done with Tymoshenko.

But the West wasn’t done with Gaddafi. Even John McCain, who now supports Tymoshenko, considered Gaddafi an “interesting man.”

Still, you have to admit that giving that man a sabre and wishing him to be “armed” looks a bit too intimate of Tymoshenko.

Wanna make a dictator happy? Forget the sabre. Buy him a bigger drainage pipe! (Or maybe a bigger gas pipeline?)

Hope Tymoshenko would agree.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

As Yanukovych Jails Tymoshenko for 7 Years, FEMEN Slam Both

Last October, they messed with Putin. Now they're messing with his partners.

Switch on your mind!” “Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, same shit!”

That's all it takes for Tymoshenko fans to side with the police. The same police that used force to disperse their rally.

As Tymoshenko fans in the EU are going into police mode, Yanukovych has said that the final say rests with the Court of Appeals. Which probably means she'll let her go. Who doesn't need a safe retirement plan?

The EU will be fine with that. Who doesn't need low transit rates and stability?

But there's one problem. The Ukrainian people might feel a little different about this whole gas-stability thing.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Yanukovych Booed, FEMEN Chased as Stadium Reopens

I play, you pay.

If you think Ukraine’s richer Turkey, think again. We’re richer than Germany!

Olympic (Kyiv, 68,000 seats): €435M
Olympia (Berlin, 74,000 seats): €242M
Allianz Arena (Munich, 70,000 seats): €340M

That last one they built from scratch.

If you feel like scratching your head a little bit, wait until you see this.

Breathtaking, huh? That's Yanukovych’s Mezhyhirya principality.

Hey, EU, you want this *decriminalized* too? Done! Just make sure you hire Tymoshenko to negotiate your gas bills with Russia, OK?

You can then grant immunity to Yanukovych and hire him to run the ECB.

What do you say, Shakira?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ukraine in Geopolitical Cartoons

What do you make of Ukraine?

Spotted this street exhibit while walking down Khreshchatyk last Sunday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Afghan Vets Almost Storm Parliament Over Pension Cuts

Their war isn't over.

The government will mostly likely back down. No government can afford protesters with combat experience.

Not even the world's 134th transparent government
(out of 178).

The government that puts Ukrainians out of their misery.


Monday, September 19, 2011

FEMEN in Anti-Prostitution/Euro 2012 Porn Stunt in Poland

“We don't want this kind of Euro!”

Ladies, you should have done this at the Yulia European Strategy summit.

The folks there should know more about the dangers of sex tourism.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Police Thwart Anti-Yanukovych T-Shirt Sale in Kyiv

It’s the police state’s job to keep humor in short supply. And fail.

First, they raided the company premises, then they cracked down on its sales effort.

OK, those T-shirts haven’t hit the market yet. I mean, physically. But guess what? More juice came out thanks to this crackdown.

Which doesn’t really hurt the “Thank you Donbas!” [for that dumbass] brand.


FEMEN Pose As Hookers to Expose Corrupt Cops

“Everybody wants a slice of the pie.”

That's how one madam put it, referring to the Hr. 150 ($18.75) “law enforcement” tax that every hooker has to pay every night.

What did the cops say? Forward the issue to our public affairs department!

$500 an hour (FEMEN's asking price)? Sounds like a brand new iPad!

But that's not enough to make Paris “$1M
Kyiv gig Hilton blush.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Yanukovych: ‘Conditions Are Being CreMated for Entrepreneurship Development’ (Freudian Slip)

Too bad he didn't mention it in “Opportunity Ukraine.”

Yanukovych: Serious steps have been made on the pathway to reform: Pension and land reforms have been initiated, as well as health care, education, housing and urban development reforms. Conditions are being cremated for entrepreneurship development, a campaign to fight corruption has been launched.

He went off-script. He had to tell the truth. The brutal truth. Instead of створюються (stvo-ryu-yut-sya/created), he opted for спотворюються (spo-tvo-ryu-yut-sya), which literally means to twist or pervert. To keep the poetry in the translation, I came up with a rhyme for created.

So you can't accuse him of plagiarism on this one. In 2010 alone, some 400,000 small businesses closed up shop under pressure from the new tax code.

Why pay higher taxes? Well, here’s why. Welcome to Sukholuchchya!

It’s Yanukovych’s 91,429 acre hunting preserve, a private maximum security gulag, not far from his Mezhyhirya principality. Guarded by masked militia and Ukraine’s secret service.


Friday, September 02, 2011

Woman, 65, Gets 10 Days for Messing With Yanukovych

He hears everyone, remember?

Shevchenko, we love you! We love the Ukrainian people! And this disaster [Yanukovych] has to go away. Go away you freaking con!

And go away he does. Back to his Mezhyhirya principality. In one of those old school Soviet choppers. (His brand new $17M richer-than-Marine One chopper needs a break from time to time.)

It’s times like this that help him get the big picture and write books like “Opportunity Ukraine.”

Btw, some Ukrainians have already taken that opportunity! They're putting the ruling Party of Regions offices to good use. By shitting on them. Literally.


Friday, August 12, 2011

After Deadly Mine Accidents, Riot Police Drills

Every stick has two ends.

Mess with the bull, you get the horns.

Sooner or later.


Friday, August 05, 2011

Tymoshenko Arrested As Supporters Clash With Police

He's working!

You wanted that grand coalition with Yanukovych, ma'am?

You got it!


Thursday, August 04, 2011

'Expendable' Coal Miner Speaks Out After Accident

“They used people as expendables, you understand?

No safety, no shower, no heating. 2 accidents, 38 dead, millions in profits.

Welcome (back) to Ukraine!

Bazhanova mine, Makiyivka, Donetsk oblast: 11 dead
Sukhodolska-Skhidna mine, Luhansk oblast: 27 dead

The latter belongs to Ukraine's richest man/MP Rinat Akhmetov, a supporter of Yanukovych and a neighbor of Tymoshenko.

Fighting back tears, the miner who works at Akhmetov's mine identifies himself as Smetanin Ihor Volodymyrovych. He says he makes $162/month, cried all night helping recover the bodies and will most likely quit after 3 years on the job.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome to Tymoshenko, Akhmetov, Tabachnyk Beaches!

“Do you know where you are? Rich folks live here. So don't sail any closer!”

Can beaches be private property? No, says environmental law. Yes, says the law of the jungle.

That’s the law that trumps the law that guarantees free riverfront passage and bans home construction within 100 meters of any water body.

In a country where government is private property, nothing is impossible!

OK, here we go. Tymoshenko beach (4:17). Feels nice, but nobody’s home.
Oh, she's so busy these days! Not only does she frequently appear in Yanukovych’s court...

...but she also lives next door to Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov!

Red: Tymoshenko (former MP/PM/now opposition leader)
White: Akhmetov (oligarch/MP/Yanukovych backer)

Pretty cool, huh? How about an Overboard remake? Best filming location ever!
The final *swim-union* scene (2:04)

Donbas Arena opening ceremony (August 2009)

Anyway, other beaches turned out not so romantic.

Tabachnyk beach guard: “Are you gonna teach law to me? I have my own laws. You understand?”