Share |

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky Halloween Edition
PoRnoholics Gynecological

A monochrome Orange coalition — it has died stillborn. It won’t happen, and the processes that occur from within — let me say it again — they have already buried the Orange coalition in advance. Today, the agenda is to form a parliamentary coalition of national unity, at the core of which will be the winning party, the Party of Regions. And one year from now, so many things will happen that I think we’ll have a coalition of 300 [constitutional majority]…not just 226, but…
— MP Mykhailo Chechetov, PRU

A coalition of national impunity that’s coming full circle?

Video & picture uploaded:

PoRnoholics Astronomical

Well, there is some probability that that the Earth may collide with a very large meteorite. That’s about the same probability that these two political forces will form a sustainable working coalition.
— MP Vladyslav Lukyanov, PRU

This guy obviously missed Tymoshenko’s Nostradamus ad.

Uploaded from:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eurasian Extremists Hack President Yushchenko’s Official Website

The Eurasian Youth Union (ESM) has taken responsibility for what it says was retaliation for a Ukrainian attack on its site. (Full story available in Ukrainian at Ukrayinska Pravda.)

While the ESM site shows no signs of downloading, President Yushchenko’s site, with luck, takes about five minutes to download.

The “heroes of Hoverla” have also threatened to bring down the site of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Teen Protester Brutalized by ‘Cops for Construction’

So much for civil rights, or welcome to just another ugly slice of Kyiv life.

Cop 1: I’ll show you who beat her, and how they beat her.
Woman 1: If you got beaten, you’d be lying [on the ground], too.

Cop 2:
Why are you hollering?

Woman 2:
And why all the talk — with all that insignia on you — you’re the shameless kind, you don’t even know the rules!

Woman 3:
We don’t know what’s with her, wait. Don’t touch. Heaven forbid her neck’s broken.

Women bystanders:
Let the people come and see. We want this to be shown.

There are lots of eyewitness accounts. Namely, they saw her being pounded with feet, then raised up. They say, “Get up!” and then they pound her with feet — that’s how they raised her up. Before the day it happened, she defended babushkas, for the babushkas were thrown right under the vehicle.

More on the issue. A few weeks ago, a crack opened in an Obolon high-rise, caused by nearby sardine-packed construction, a zoning policy endorsed by Mayor Chernovetsky.

The high-rise is now unsafe for habitation. How long before Kyiv catches up with Dnipropetrovsk?

Video uploaded from:
Photos courtesy of:

PoRnoholics Medieval

Are you kidding? Why are we supposed to work in the opposition if we are the winners? As the winning party, we have the right of the first night — to be the first to form a coalition.

MP Mykhailo Chechetov, Party of Regions (acronyms: PRU, PoR), quoted in Ukrainian weekly Vysoky Zamok, week of Oct. 25-31

Too bad neither Viagra nor, to a lesser extent, the Party of Regions was invented in the Middle Ages.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Four Coal Miners Killed in Luhansk Oblast

An accident at a coal mine in eastern Ukraine on Sunday claimed the lives of four people, Ukrainian news agencies report. Several miners are missing.

The Ukrainian mining industry has one of the highest casualty rates in the world.

Kyiv Mayor Chernovetsky Trashes an Illegal Slot Machine; Confesses to Being a Juvenile Gambler

Chernovetsky: I myself played gambling games when I was a kid. It was…uh…really exciting for me, and I didn’t realize that it sucks you in.

(Smashes slot machine with sledge hammer.) Anybody want to give it a try?
Reporter: Just show it a couple of more times.
Chernovetsky: It’s hard to break them that way.

Well, many Kyivites would question the chronological continuity of that confession.

Video uploaded from:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monument to Catherine the Great Polarizes Ukraine

Odesa, Ukraine’s fourth-largest city, on Saturday paid tribute to its official founder, Russian empress Catherine the Great, Korespondent reports.

The restoration of a tsarist-era monument has again highlighted Ukraine’s bipolar identity, a product of centuries-long Russian colonialism.

For most Odesites — their city being a hotbed of pro-Russian sentiment — the German-born empress indeed holds greatness. She, along with Peter the Great, belongs in the pantheon of Russian patriotism, and symbolizes Russia’s naval might and geopolitical glory.

To historically-minded Ukrainians, however, she represents the icon of Russian imperialism and oppression. Catherine the Great crushed the Zaporizhian Sich and further breached the Pereyaslav Treaty of 1654, thus eroding Ukraine’s autonomy.
This makes her something of a red cloth in the eyes of Ukrainian Cossacks, Ukrainian nationalists, and Ukrainian Orthodox clergy.

Unfortunately, some of these people decided that the best way to demonstrate the anti-Ukrainianism of the empress’s historical footprint would be to obstruct the event by engaging in a little pushy action. The opening ceremony, attended by a few thousand people, featured skirmishes between monument opponents and police.

Local proponents included
Party of Regions activists, Russian Orthodox clergy, and pro-Russian Cossacks, obviously unmoved by the heavy toll Catherine the Great had exacted on their Ukrainian counterparts.

The issue of political solidarity in the former Soviet Union can be noted for its bizarre proportions. In the roaring 90s, communists and monarchists held joint opposition rallies in Moscow, waving red banners and carrying portraits of Nicholas II.

These carnivals flew in the face of the well-publicized fact that the Bolsheviks had massacred the Russian royal family, not sparing even the tsar’s children, whom they stabbed with bayonets.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Secrets of Food Inflation Revealed!

Agriculture Minister Viktor Slauta delivers an impromptu workshop on the global economy, in which he struggles to put a fig leaf on Yanukovych’s phantom promise of “stability and prosperity.”

To tell you the truth, Asia. The Chinese have started consuming meat galore — not just rice — and this diverts resources and creates a tremendous demand. Second, the problem of global warming, or non-warming. Third, biodiesel fuel.

Video uploaded from:

Agent PoRnificateur

MP Yuriy Yekhanurov, NUNS, blasts the Orange Coalition agreement in a deliriously Tymophobic shyrka speech. Reading between the lines, we can safely assume that this “voice of dissent” looks forward to hooking up with the Party of Regions (acronyms: PRU, PoR) for a “sexy time.”

The drafts being proposed today — they are being touted as holistic documents. Right now, whatever signatures there are — they’re nothing. The undersigned are the people who want it that way. We’ve got to have a stance and dignity — the dignity to defend the interests of our voters, for our voters…our voters are the people who “thought with their heads,” and BYuT folks thought with some other body parts. We have to coexist with the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Video uploaded from:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Uncle Gramp Wants You for the Ukrainian Army!

Equity theory writ large: Junior conscripts, speaking in surzhyk, deplore the idea of discontinuing the draft for fear of being denied the opportunity to bully the next wave of juniors.

The draft should stay by all means, because we were pushed around. We should push around somebody, too, or else no way would it be fair.

Not fair at all! We need the next draft. How come we’ll be all by ourselves? Gramps [seniors] get along well with scoops [juniors], and we’ll get along well with them, too.

Rampant military bullying, known as didivshchyna in Ukrainian, or dedovshchina in Russian, leads to permanent disabilities, frequent fatalities, and mass draft-dodging. As a result, the army mostly calls up the least educated and the most disadvantaged young people unable to bribe their way out of the recruiting station.

Recently, President Yushchenko publicly nixed Tymoshenko’s campaign promise of abolishing the draft as early as next year.

Uploaded from:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'Nader Raider' Comes Out of the Closet

Yanukovych tackles the triple-digit sunflower oil price hike:

What, have they lost shame — our so-called exporters — or lost their morals? If they waged war on our consumers, on our citizens, lets shut down exports — totally!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Duel of Urine Samples: Lutsenko Clean; Chernovetsky a No-Show

Before each of his speeches, Lutsenko drinks a glass of vodka. After that he…uh… terrifies people with various stupid stories about…uh…various scary tales. For that purpose, I’m ready to undergo a medical exam with him. Since he is so confident, we will also check his drug influence and mine, and alcohol influence, and also whether he or I took bribes while carrying out our job duties.

In the above statement, Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky enthusiastically responds to a “mutual medical exam” challenge from NUNS leader Yuriy Lutsenko.

Speaking on Channel 5 last week, Lutsenko suggested that he, along with Chernovetsky and scandal-scarred Kharkiv Mayor Mykhailo Dobkin, should undergo a publicly monitored medical checkup.
Chernovetsky’s spaced out speechmaking has won him the nickname "Kosmos," plus a trail of persistent rumors of possible drug use. Dobkin’s infamous obscenity-laced video, in which he absorbs tons of virtuoso four-letter language from his posse, made the best-seller lists on the eve of the Sept. 30 parliamentary election.

Channel 1+1 seized the initiative and agreed to oversee the medical exam procedure arranged at Eurolab, a well-respected private Kyiv clinic. Today, Lutsenko’s test results came out negative. So far, no urine samples have been forthcoming from Chernovetsky, not to mention Dobkin.

Lutsenko believes that Chernovetsky is fishing for an excuse to dodge testing. The full procedure involves an analysis of hair samples, which, as Lutsenko points out, store "smoking gun" evidence of drug use for a period of six to nine years. Nevertheless, he has expressed hope that Kyiv Mayor will deliver.


Ukraine WTO Accession Talks Show U.S. Against GM Labeling

The upcoming round in Ukraine’s WTO accession talks, to be held in Geneva on Oct. 25, may result in a tradeoff between membership and proper labeling for genetically modified products.

UP quotes a report in Liga that puts the U.S. as the chief opponent of proper labeling for its plethora of genetically modified exports.

Dear Uncle Sam, is freedom of information the price less powerful nations have to pay for free trade? What about the Golden Rule?

Babushka Praises Putin; Putin Praises Himself

Below is a hugely popular video of how Vladimir Putin basks in accolades lavished upon him by an elderly lady during a recent national call-in press conference.

Female host:
Hello, please introduce yourself.
Babushka: (firmly): I will not speak with you, but only with the President.
Female host:
Uh…Vladimir Vladimirovich is listening to you. Ask your questions.

Yes I’m listening. Good afternoon.

Babushka (inquisitively):
Is that you?

That’s me, good afternoon.

Babushka (incredulously):
Is that really you?


Babushka (gleefully):
Gee, and that was you before, right?

I was.

Babushka (cordially):
Oh God (sigh of relief), thank you so much. Many thanks for everything!

Male host (chuckles):
Sounds like no questions were asked.

Female host (smiles):
Live broadcasting...
Putin (self-importantly): Thank you for…for what you said. Basically, this is an evaluation of my work, an evaluation of those people I’ve been working with side-by-side during the last years. (Self-critically) But I assure you we feel there’s a lot we haven’t done yet. I promise you we will take every effort to realize the goals we set for ourselves.

Bonus track: "Takogo Kak Putin"

English version: "You Must Be Like Putin"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Migrants’ Remittances Twice as High as FDI

The credit for keeping the economy afloat in Ukraine’s unemployment-stricken regions goes to zarobitchany, migrant workers employed throughout Europe and Russia. (UP quotes another report in Delo.)

Last year, Ukraine netted $8.4 billion worth of electronic remittances — or 8 percent of its GDP — and almost the double of its meager FDI of $4.8 billion.

According to Delo, estimates for alternative delivery services could raise that figure significantly.

Inflation May Hit Record 14 Percent at Year-End

Under the Yanukovych Cabinet, Ukraine’s inflation may reach a seven-year high, closing at above 14 percent, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, quoting a report in Delo. Quite a reality check for Yanukovych’s “stability and prosperity” mantra!

In September, the country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), published by the State Statistics Committee, stood at 108.6 percent. While the economy has expanded at a rate of 7.3 percent, food prices have risen 12.7 percent; services, 8.7 percent. Food costs gobble up the lion’s share of Ukrainians’ incomes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hate at Hoverla
Ukrainian National Emblem Vandalized by ‘Eurasian’ Extremists

At the top of Mt. Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and President Yushchenko’s favorite mountaineering range, members of the Eurasian Youth Union have trashed the Ukrainian coat of arms, the trident, and its accompanying stone engravings.

Pictures of the trident being sawed off (the trident used to crown Hoverla) appeared online on Friday. The Eurasian Youth Union (known by its Russian acronym as ESM) claimed responsibility for the incident. The ESM is a cadet wing of the Eurasia Party, helmed by neo-imperial ideologist Aleksandr Dugin.

A statement issued by the Eurasians contains threats of more “preventive action” in the event of Tymoshenko’s premiership, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. It also reports that the SBU has identified three suspects, two of them nationals of the Russian Federation. The SBU has determined that the trident was dismantled, not sawed off, as simulated in the video below. (Perhaps the saw wasn't up to the task.)

The SBU claims to have gathered evidence that this act of vandalism was masterminded and coordinated by ESM leader Pavel Zarifullin and by his boss Aleksandr Dugin. More on ESM activities in Ukraine:

Commenting on the episode, Dugin revels in Slavic folklore and couches his rhetoric in a self-styled struggle between good and evil:

What happened at Hoverla was a castration of Ukrainian orangism. It was a symbolic castration of Yushchenko. Now what’s left is to get to Tymoshenko. But, because this surgery is not applicable to her, she, like a witch, has to be burned.

Bingo. As in the case of Kashchei, to defeat the orange serpent, it’s necessary to find an egg that’s in the woods, hanging on a tree branch, inside of which is a needle that has to be broken. That they sawed off the lousy neo-Nazi trident — that, I believe, was the breaking of the needle of Kashchei.

It’s necessary to demonstrate to the whole world the beastly, absolutely anti-people, anti-national neo-Nazi mug of the orange regime.

They already gave it a try once. For that, a Yushchenko adviser was deported from St. Petersburg. We’ve seen that Russia does not sell her own kind. Putin’s Russia does not sell her own kind.

Statement of the Eurasian Youth Union (translated from Russian):

The forces of a special mountain ESM unit at Mt. Hoverla have sawed off and desecrated the symbol of Ukraine’s occupation, the trident. Destroyed is the granite plate of the Ukrainian sectarian church. Shattered is the granite landmark devoted to the so-called Constitution of Ukraine.

In place of the Ukrainian collaborators’ blue-white banner, erected on top of the mountain is the flag of the Eurasian Youth Union.

Mt. Hoverla is hereby renamed to Stalin Peak.

With this unprecedented act of Eurasian enthusiasm, the ESM proclaims that the days of the so-called “independent Ukraine” are coming to an end. In place of the ugly limitrophe entity, we will build a Great Ukraine, as part of the Eurasian Empire.

Also, the ESM warns that in the event of orange ape Yulia Tymoshenko’s appointment to the post of Premier of the so-called Ukraine, we will not be able to stop our Ukrainian activists from taking preventive action of direct effect against the leadership of this pseudo-country.

Tymo Keeps in Touch

With all my heart, I thank all those who supported our political team, those who entrusted us with their lives and with the life of the country.

Your trust and your vote are a tremendous responsibility that we owe you for every commitment that our team undertook. We will deliver everything we promised during the campaign. I also want to thank all members of our team, all election commission members, and all observers. I know that you worked hard for Ukraine, had no sleep for two or three days. You protected the people’s choice. You did it for your conscience, not for money. Without you, we would have never won.

With the end of the election campaign, the political crisis is finally over. The new coalition and the new government will restore order in the country. We will curb inflation, corruption, chaos and injustice. Go on and build your future plans. And we we’ll help their realization. As always, I’m with you.
This post-election address hit the screen a few days ago, after the Orange camp finally inked a coalition deal and sliced the cabinet pie.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the expectant PMother of the coalition, exudes confidence, waiting for her Oscar night. Within days of her official nomination by President Yushchenko, she is canvasing support for her candidacy in the new Verkhovna Rada.

She takes pleasure in taunting Yanukovych with speculations that some PRU MPs will break the party line, and will support for her candidacy. It’s her way of responding to the Party of Regions’ claim that some Tymo-antagonists in the Orange camp will not vote for her.

Outgoing PM Viktor Yanukovych has sunk into a sullen mood. Naturally, he exhibits an insecure attachment triggered by the torturous anticipation of being parted with the toy of his life. His stabilnist is slipping away. He can be heard extolling the virtues of shyrka (grand coalition) and can be seen throwing just-you-wait tantrums. Regionalist boys find it hard to be in an equal opportunity sandbox (relatively speaking, of course), and one full of other eligible kids.

To minimize their ambivalence, the Orange coalition has promised them a royal diet of opposition perks and pacifiers. The consolation package, unprecedented in Ukraine’s history, will include the posts of Vice Speaker and Vice PM, along with a host of senior positions in local government.

As the majority stakeholder in the Orange coalition, Tymo wants to keep things nice and easy, and to keep her fans in the loop in case something goes wrong.

Concern remains over the coalition’s insufficient voting capability and tricky internal dynamics. It is still unclear whether Mr. Lytvyn is out or whether he is in.

This reminder ad presents itself as an innovative technique to build voter goodwill and thus maintain an insurance against coalition volatility. Tymoshenko sets herself apart from the "one night stand" tradition according to which the “partners in democracy” lost contact the day after.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ukraine’s Underrecognized Insurgent Army Marks 65th Anniversary

Last year, Ukraine’s parliament finally recognized the Holodomor as genocide. For the few thousand octogenarian UPA veterans, some of whom gathered at Kyiv’s Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Square) on Sunday, October 14, the struggle for recognition continues.

Joining them in the chilly and humid weather were a few thousand young activists, many of them members of Oleh Tiahnybok’s Svoboda (Ukr. freedom), a nationalist party that has failed to gain seats in parliament. (I do not support Svoboda due to its right-wing slant. However, I do support the idea of recognizing the UPA as an army that fought for Ukraine’s independence.)

Having held a warmup rally at the Shevchenko Monument, they marched in column for a mile through downtown Kyiv to the beat of drums. At some point, an adventurous faction split from the column to “say hello” to Symonenko’s Communists and Vitrenko's Progressive Socialists just a few blocks away, down at Bessarabska Square. These pro-Kremlin folks camped around the Lenin Monument, where they celebrated “Ukraine’s liberation from fascism.” (By fascism, they obviously referred to the UPA.)

Provoked by this false-flag profiling, some Svoboda dumbasses engaged in self-sabotage, trying to break through the police cordon separating them from the Red crowd. Police intervened, busted a few guys, and quickly ended the brawl, with no significant bodily harm reported.

Little did these young men seem to realize that their uncivil behavior played into the hands of those whom they tried to disprove. Meanwhile, the rest of the column proceeded peacefully to Sofiyivska Ploshcha.

This year, at President Yushchenko’s behest, the event has gained an official status of sorts. For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, the military dispatched a parade orchestra to the UPA remembrance ceremony.

History Recap
The UPA remains a divisive issue in Ukrainian society, and reflects its post-Soviet identity crisis, one amplified by poverty in terms of income and information. Ukrainians’ grasp of history varies with geography and across generations. Understanding the UPA requires a set of contextual tools with which to disentangle it from the clutter of Soviet mythology.

Under the Soviet rule, the Red Army and Soviet partisans held a historiographic monopoly on every act of freedom fighting by Ukrainians in WW II. The only role reserved for non-Red Ukrainian combatants was that of cutthroat “bourgeois nationalists” who collaborated with the Nazis and committed atrocities. (Certainly, no credit was given to the thousands of Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians who fought for the Allies across the globe.)

The Soviet side of the story still prevails in eastern parts of Ukraine. Soviet historiography, with its monological Moscow-written script, created a lasting association between the UPA and the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galicia, the Ukrainian equivalent of the Russian Liberation Army (RLA). That association runs counter to historical evidence. Unlike the SS Division Galicia and the RLA, the UPA fought against the Red Army and against the Wehrmacht. (Among foreign volunteer units of the Wehrmacht, one can also find Dutch, Flemish, Croatian, Hungarian, Latvian, Estonian, Belarusian, Azeri, Finnish, French, British, Indian, and even American units. View complete list.)

In the 20th century, much of the human tragedy took place in Ukraine, a jigsaw puzzle of a country governed by Austria-Hungary, tsarist Russia, Poland, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.
A cesspool of civil war in the aftermath of WW I and a genocide lab in the 1930s, Ukraine became one of the bloodiest WW II battlegrounds — a graveyard for up to ten million people who perished in the clash of evil empires and embittered ethnic groups.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — an inconvenient truth for Soviet sympathizers — paved the way for the Soviet occupation of western Ukraine in 1939. Stalin’s reign of terror thrived on mass deportations and executions of Ukrainians and Poles, nations with each other’s blood on their hands. (The war path of Polish-Ukrainian relations, evident since the 17th century, culminated in the Volyn massacre and Operation Wisla.)

More perspectives on the anatomy of the Polish-Jewish-Ukrainian conflict:

(View timeline.)

No wonder, in 1941 the local population often greeted the Germans with open arms, viewing them as liberators. Pogroms erupted. Many blamed the mass executions of the Ukrainian intelligentsia on a “Jewish conspiracy” perpetrated by the retreating NKVD troops. (One could find persons of Jewish origin among NKVD top brass.)

At the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) nursed the illusion that collaboration with the Third Reich would annihilate the Stalin regime, thus freeing the rest of Ukraine.

On the eve of the German invasion, Stalin may very well have toyed with illusions of his own. Russian historian and former GRU officer Viktor Suvorov believes that Stalin relied on Hitler as “the Icebreaker” of the Communist Revolution in Europe. Stalin’s strategy according to Suvorov: The war in Europe would weaken Nazi Germany and European democracies, at which point the Soviet Union, in a surprise strike, would overtake both, thus exporting Communism to Europe. To this end, Stalin had deployed the Red Army on standby alongside the border, in a clear-cut strike position that proved disastrous once the strike came from the other side.

Suvorov’s theory offers a no-nonsense explanation of the close ties between the Third Reich and the Kremlin. How close were those ties? Closer than they taught in Soviet schools.

Many Red Army vets would be loathe to learn that Heinz Guderian had honed his blitzkrieg genius at Panzerschule Kama, a training facility near the Russian town of Kazan.
Nor would they be delighted to discover that, upon partitioning Poland in 1939, the Red Army and the Wehrmacht held a joint parade in Brest-Litvosk, as shown in the above video fragment, featuring Krivoshein and Guderian. Accounts of Lenin’s liaison with German intelligence via Parvus fall in the same category.

Hitler proved the OUN and Stalin wrong. He had no plans for Ukraine’s independence, and it was Stalin who ended up dealing with a surprise strike. The short-lived collaboration between the OUN and the Wehrmacht supplied the Soviet propaganda machine with the ammunition that nailed Bandera and Shukhevych, leaders of the Ukrainian resistance movement, as Hitler’s stooges. Soviet history textbooks wax eloquent on the collaboration issue, yet keep mum on the protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

In narrating the tragedy at Babyn Yar, where the Nazis machine-gunned more than 100,000 people — most of them Jews — nowhere do Soviet history textbooks mention the fate of some 621 OUN members killed there, including Ukrainian poet and activist Olena Teliha.

Ukraine has a hell of a history, complete with genocides and wars of all kinds. What’s missing in most of Ukraine’s history is independence.

Ironically, people who have lived through 16 years of Ukraine’s independence still find themselves on the wrong side of history. They who fought for Ukraine’s independence are now fighting for recognition, a mission next to impossible for people in their eighties and nineties.

UPA vets are the same age as their Red Army counterparts. Their beliefs put them worlds apart, but the blood they shed for their loved ones leads them back to this land. As Sting put in one of his songs, “We share the same biology regardless of ideology.”

Nationwide, UPA memorial ceremonies were held in Kharkiv and in Simferopol, where UPA vets were harassed and assaulted by pro-Kremlin activists, who waved Soviet flags and Russian tricolors.

What best practices are there in post-Soviet countries that had non-Red resistance movements? In full respect of the Nuremberg Trials, Latvia does not recognize members of the Latvian Legion. However, Latvia does recognize the Forest Brothers.

If Ukraine aims to be a part of Europe, the Verkhovna Rada should recognize UPA members as WW II combatants, and should put them on the same legal footing as Red Army vets.

Attempts at re-educating and reconciling elderly people contrary to their beliefs should be abandoned. But revisiting Ukrainian history and recognizing, for future generations, the people and events misrepresented in Soviet textbooks makes perfect sense.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Orange Coalition Formed

Ukrayinska Pravda at 7:34 pm Kyiv time (GMT +2:00) reported that the Orange leaders have finally formed a coalition.
Yulia Tymoshenko of BYuT and Vyacheslav Kyrylenko of NUNS have signed the much-awaited coalition agreement.

Let the new government serve the Ukrainian people, and let it vigorously take on the utility industry.

Gas Blast Kills 23 in Dnipropetrovsk (Last Updated Oct. 20)

A natural gas explosion on Saturday, Oct. 13 took the lives of 23 high-rise dwellers, seven of them children, in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine’s third-largest city. (Rescue efforts ended Friday, Oct. 19.)

The explosion blew apart an entire section of the 10-storied condo complex, leaving more than 70 people injured. The shock wave has damaged neighboring buildings. According to preliminary findings, the accident was caused by the utility company’s negligence. Two company employees have been arrested.

PM Viktor Yanukovych, who came to ground zero, did not receive a warm welcome. Eye witnesses claimed that the fire engines summoned to the scene had lacked the fuel to extend their turntable ladders, a drag on rescue efforts at a time when every second counted. The victims surrounded Yanukovych and demanded that he sign a written obligation to reimburse them for their loss, Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

Local authorities have vowed to provide replacement apartments to all victims.
BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko, a native of Dnipropetrovsk, has also visited the site of the tragedy. President Yushchenko has declared Tuesday a day of mourning.

I just watched Channel 5, and they said that people had been calling Dniprogaz, the utility company for two days, asking them to fix the broken gas valve. No response. Now you know
what it takes to grab the utility company's attention in Ukraine. A total of 5,200 buildings were cut off from the gas supply.

The accident was followed by days of silence from Dniprogaz stockholders, the most prominent of which is Viktor Vekselberg. His Gazeks company, which controls Dniprogaz, is offering a payment of 500,000 hryvnias ($100,000) to every family, without accepting blame for the accident "until proven otherwise."

Gazeks is in turn owned by Renova, a company that positions itself as "Geography of Responsibility. Ideas, (sic) that shape the course of history."

Photos courtesy of Natalia Kovalchuk of AFP

Learn more:

Monday, October 08, 2007

Yushchenko Meets With Party Bosses, Sets 5-Day Coalition Deadline

During talks with the leaders of the five parties that have gained representation in parliament, President Yushchenko laid down markers for the coalition-building process, Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

He urged that the coalition be formed within five days, at which time he will, with the advice and consent of the coalition, nominate the Prime Minister.

Yushchenko demanded the rescinding of the Cabinet of Ministers Bill, a controversial piece of legislation passed earlier this year that strips the President of much of his authority.

The President also reaffirmed his Constitutional authority over law enforcement. BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko — the Orange coalition’s No.1 PM candidate — expressed her willingness to supply the opposition with chairmanship of the Audit Chamber, as well as with deputy minister and governor posts.

Yanukovych signalled readiness to assume the opposition role:

Якщо ми будемо в коаліції, прем’єрське крісло буде в партії регіонів. Ми готові взяти на себе відповідальність, ми маємо на це (формування коаліції) право як переможці цих перегонів... якщо так не станеться, у нас є єдиний шлях – це опозиція".

If we are in the coalition, the premier’s seat will be with the Party of Regions. We are ready to take responsibility; we have a right to do so [form the coalition] as winners of the election…but if this does not happen, then we have only one way — the opposition.

He did not support the idea of rescinding the Cabinet of Ministers Bill, saying instead that amendments could be made.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

NUNS' Suicidal PoRnification: Rumor or Reality?

Are we seeing what we think we’re seeing? Are NUNS morphing into sluts — again? As the Party of Regions continues love bombing Nasha Ukraina-Narodna Samooborona, the threat of their sweet surrender in favor of a shyrka, or grand coalition, becomes real.

Shyrka, short for shyroka koalitsiya — and slang for intravenous drug use — is a popular witticism that aptly extrapolates the effects of such an arrangement on Ukraine. In diagnosing the shyrka motives on the Orange side, we’re dealing with a good intentions-bad intentions axis.

Good intentions, Wilsonian designs.
One way to interpret Yushchenko’s coalitioneering is to assume that he has again tasked himself with “mending Ukraine” and “making Donbas safe for democracy.” Consider this idealistic motif as the tip of the iceberg to a pragmatic dimension that underlies NUNS’ mediocre election score — and the Tymophobia that comes with it.

Will Orange voters buy into a Wilsonian shyrka? Not very likely. Should NUNS accept Yanukovych’s “stability and prosperity” proposition, they who put their trust in “one law for all” will experience high levels of cognitive dissonance. In their eyes, NUNS’ reliance on Yanukovych as the “white knight” will add up to a nymphomaniac bait-and-switch scheme.

They who voted for NUNS will make no peace with their electeds’ labor migration from church choir to Playboy party, no matter how lofty the rhetoric. Should NUNS swap “one law for all” for “one dough for all,” the next election will slap them with “one loathe for all.” Few voters will suffer gladly a bunch of promiscuous drones that sold them down the river, and then attempted to put a patriotic face on it.

If history is any guide, it teaches Yushchenko to avoid the trap of good intentions. In August 2006, Yushchenko tried to tame the tiger with the Universal of National Unity, only to end up being cornered by the Coalition of National Impunity, uh sorry, Unity.

Bad intentions, Machiavellian designs.
Some analysts paint uglier pictures. One school of thought has it that Yushchenko might be interested in a zero coalition. Failure to form a coalition may result in an interregnum in which lame duck Yanukovych continues as PM on a short tether.

Still, others hypothesize that Yushchenko’s ambition to play “lord of the Oranges” supplies him with a stake in the Orange coalition’s “creative destruction.” Once the fragile Orange coalition falls apart — a process catalyzed by the President himself — the more stable shyrka will make him feel more comfortable, so they argue.

The most demonic way to look at it is to visualize a president who has nothing to lose in terms of reelection chances and thus opts for an exit strategy. He tells his lyubi druzi to get into the groove, grab as much as they can, and run.

Both Wilsonian and Machiavellian roads lead to hell — at least to the hell of public opinion. Should NUNS and Yushchenko chose to follow in Moroz’s footsteps, they will place Tymoshenko the martyr on a springboard to presidency.

However, it is not in Ukraine’s best interests to have a BYuT monopoly in the Orange camp. The PRU-BYuT duopoly that will arise from the ruins of NUNS will not benefit Ukraine any more than the two-party system benefits the United States.

With LyB as the indispensable margin of safety, BYuT and NUNS should discover the joys and challenges of team play. They should roll up their sleeves in the war on poverty. The turf wars of the past must be made taboo.

The Orange coalition should confront Yanukovych’s gatecrash behavior with a well-designed benefits package. This is not a winner-take-all election. The Blue camp should be provided with strong, but reasonable incentives to keep the opposition job.

Amid reports of Friday BYuT-NUNS coalition talks, there is hope that the Orange Revolution’s third anniversary will not be defiled by NUNS’ PoRnification.