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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Breaking (Belated) News: Yushchenko, Yanukovych, Moroz Set Final Elections Date to Sep. 30

In the early hours of Sunday, with most Ukrainians fast asleep, our leaders came to a settlement on the elections issue. In a major concession on the part of Yushchenko, the settlement pushes the date down to the end of the summer vacation season.

Photo courtesy of Ukrayinska Pravda

A Soap Opera Turned Action Movie?
All Is Not Quiet As Kyiv Celebrates Its 1522nd Anniversary

Piskun’s noncompliance with Yushchenko’s decision has injected a dose of adrenaline into an otherwise boring, flatline wrangle over the elections.

Prosecutor Piskun, excommunicated from his powers at a time when Yanukovych most needs him, became a cause celbre for the Coalition, which came to his rescue with police forces under its command.

Interior Minister Tsushko did not hesitate to intervene for his pal. Once at the scene, he and his Berkut task force squeezed out the State Security operatives involved in Piskun’s eviction.

Even though both sides continue trading threats and recriminations, no blood has been shed. Negotiations between President Yushchenko and PM Yanukovych continue at the Office of the President, where the National Security and Defense Council meets in frequent sessions.

Recently Yushchenko issued a decree through which he assumed command of the Internal Troops (the local equivalent of the National Guard). On Yushchenko’s orders, several IT detachments are being currently deployed to Kyiv as a deterrent force against PRU hotshots eager to play with fire.

Amusingly, highway patrolmen, who take orders from Minister Tsushko have obstructed their movement. (This funny picture simply doesn’t add up to the Coalition’s apocalyptic imagery in which Yushchenko poses as a dictator-to-be. Mr. President, you’re failing your dictatorship exam.)

The situation deteriorated when Yanukovych broke his election promise and began leading Yushchenko around by the nose. In his new stratagem, he has banked on Piskun’s unwillingness to take on Justice Stanik and has stuck to his guns in the Constitutional Court.

With that in mind, we must help Yanukovych pocket his pranks. We must help Moroz get back on earth. We must send a clear message to those high-net-worth individuals from Donetsk: If this thing spins out of control, you will not leave the country.

We also must be on guard against false-flag terrorism. Let’s not spoil this sunny weekend of Kyiv anniversary celebrations.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Piskun Gets His One-Way Ticket to the Moon

Svaytoslav Piskun, Ukraine’s perennial prosecutor general, lost his job today. His third term in office lasted but a few weeks until it was terminated by the President, ostensibly on the grounds of violating a regulation that prohibits Cabinet members from holding multiple offices. (Piskun has not relinquished his MP mandate.)

Still, a more objective cause of dismissal would be political disloyalty. Contrary to what had been expected, the comeback arrangement didn’t work out. Once appointed, Piskun did little to distance himself from the Party of Rogues, thus becoming a huge disappointment for Yushchenko.

The eviction procedure, not yet finalized, featured a scuffle between the Yushchenko-controlled State Security Service and the Yanukovych-controlled Berkut riot police.

Key recent appointments:

• Ivan Plyushch, former Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, became Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council
• Oleksander Turchynov, Tymo’s right-hand man, assumed the post of Deputy Secretary of the NSDC
• Valeriy Heletey, head of law enforcement liaison at the Secretariat of the President, took charge of the State Security Service

Thursday, May 17, 2007

$200 Knee Surgery Takes Yanukovych to Spain on Private Jet Worth $7,000-12,000 per Hour

Having sustained a tennis trauma that reportedly costs about $200 to repair locally, Yanukovych instead opted for royal treatment sponsored by his friends, writes Obkom, the Ukrainian blog. Not bad for a country with a GDP per capita of about 8K (PPP)? To carry the point further, he and his wife live on a per capita monthly income of $700. Well, that’s what his personal income statement says. (You’re not buying any of this, are you?)

Señor Yanukovych’s passion for Spanish surgical craftsmanship adds yet another episode to his burgeoning catalog of splashy, Paris Hilton-like appearances, which includes

  • a voyage to Athens on a luxurious cruise liner as head of the Ukrainian delegation to the 2004 Olympics
  • a pair of designer shoes worth $1,285 in which he extravagantly set foot on the floor the Council of Europe

So what’s the difference? Paris Hilton ends up with a few weeks jail time for DUI and our man remains on the loose. He’s unstoppable and untouchable.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shape-Shifting & Sharp-Shooting
Tymo Sides with Sarko; Blasts Moro, Yanuk in Controversial Joke

Following a “flexitime” accord between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, Tymoshenko has produced two riveting soundbites that could well be considered as an opening to her campaign.

In the first one, whether impromptu or not, she expressed solidarity with Nicolas Sarkozy, obviously targeting a well educated audience familiar with the intricacies of the French presidential election. That audience, in light of her recent containment drive, may also include her can club in Washington.

Most likely, her passionate overture hasn’t registered with the wider Ukrainian audience. Brushing off any notion of girlpower, Tymo made a cautions attempt to reposition from left-of-center to right-of-center. Her case offers yet another testimony of the grotesque levels of ideological volatility present in Ukrainian politics. (I’m sure the unfavorable endorsement did little to impact Ségolène Royal's chances.)

Having come out of the closet, she indulged in a fable-like joke that mixed sex with politics. Ukrayinska Pravda has the details.

Білочка і зайчик покохали один одного і створили родину. І почали жити, кохати один одного, а діти не народжуються. І вони пішли до мудрої сови і питають: "Що нам робити? Ми білочка і зайчик створили родину, а діти не народжуються. Це чому? Тому що ми такі різні, ми білочка і зайчик?". А сова подивилася і каже: "Ні! Тому що ви обидва хлопчики.

То я хочу вам сказати, що поєднувати те, що не поєднується, неможливо. Ні шансу, ні природного шляху немає. І завжди закінчується відсутністю дітей, шановні друзі.

A squirrel and a rabbit fell in love and started a family. And so they started living together, loving each other, but alas, no kids. And so they came to the wise owl for advice, asking, “What shall we do? We, squirrel and rabbit, have started a family but no children are born to us. Why? Is it because we’re so different — we, squirrel and rabbit?” The owl looked and said, “No, it’s because you’re boys.”

So I want to tell you that joining together what can’t be joined is impossible. There’s no chance, nor is there any natural way. And it always ends in an absence of kids, dear friends.
The joke provoked a roar of laughter from the reporters who attended her press conference. By American standards, of course, this kind of anthropomorphism would be termed as politically incorrect or outright homophobic.

In response to a question regarding the creation of a single opposition bloc, she quipped, “Things are not so bad since we have at least one girl here.” Sounds just as funny, doesn’t it? (If we take into account her opposition to the single bloc idea, and, even more so, if get to the bottom of that biopolitical — and self-deprecating — allegory she used.)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Breaking News: Yushchenko, Yanukovych Reach Compromise; Parliamentary Elections Will Be Held Within 60 Days of Required Legislation's Passage

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Yushchenko Fires Stanik, Pshenychny for Unprofessional Conduct

President Yushchenko Tuesday discharged two Constitutional Court Justices for “breach of oath,” as stated in his decree. According to the Secretariat of the President, Deputy Chief Justice Valery Pshenychny overstepped his authority when he assigned Justice Susanna Stanik to the task of preparing the briefs on the dissolution case. Justice Stanik remains under investigation on charges of bribery.