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Friday, July 11, 2008

YESummitry: Talking the Talk

Karl Rove, Bob Shrum, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Tony Blair, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Viktor Chernomyrdin. What brings these cosmocrats together?

Viktor Pinchuk’s pet project, Yalta European Strategy (YES), whose fifth annual summit kicked off Thursday. (Alas, no Bill Clinton this year.)

In the absence of clear and measurable achievements in brining Ukraine closer to Europe, YES continues to operate largely as a personal PR program of Ukraine’s second-richest man (net worth: $8.8B).

This self-promotional philosophy manifests itself in Pinchuk’s other initiatives, e.g. importing world-class performers Elton John and Paul McCartney to Kyiv for free concerts.

The fifth annual YES talkathon will feature discussions of food, energy, trade, and Ukraine’s European aspirations.

So when will Ukraine become an EU member? Is it 2020? Or has the target date been revised to 2030 or 2040 or 2050?
If you press the flesh, drink champaign and share your vacation plans, will it add any value to Ukrainian society?

If you talk the talk as Ukraine’s population continues to dwindle — with a life expectancy of 67.7 years and a net loss of almost 7 million people in 17 years — it will be ordinary Ukrainians who will walk the walk.

They will vote with their feet.


Anonymous said...

YES is still around? That's some competition with the newest Tusk/Sikorski pet project to revive the eastern vector. The European Neighbourhood Policy is useless enough, why should the Ukrainians be subjected to three strategies?

As for Kwaś, he has always been more ambitious than Pinchuk. You know he is currently a "Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership" at Georgetown University? Maybe that's what Pinchuk is eyeing after.

Let's see how far YES gets to granting a easier visa process to Ukrainians...

Taras said...

When I think of Yalta European Strategy, I think of Santa Barbara.

I started watching Santa Barbara in 1991, when it first arrived to Ukraine, shortly before the breakup of the USSR.

Watching the show made me forget about the raging hyperinflation, enveloping me in a euphoric era of post-Soviet Westernization.

I watched SB from time to time until about 1994, by which time I lost interest.

Based on current projections, YES will outlive SB by at least a decade. Hopefully, the final episode will air sometime in the 2020s or 2030s:)

I don’t know about Pinchuk, but his father-in-law, Kuchma, holds honorary degrees from various universities and, at Yushchenko’s whim, sits on the board of Taras Shevchenko National University.

Kwaś obviously can’t get enough of Ukraine. He appears to be something of a Schröder for local oligarchs.

Kwaś has attended a number of Party of Regions events, where one could also notice Barbara Brylska, the Polish actress who starred in several immensely popular Soviet sitcoms.

As for the breakthroughs brokered by YES, I haven’t seen any. I haven’t seen any breakthroughs on visas or in any other area that YES could have delivered via its networking.

YES continues to operate in the talking business, not in the doing business.

Anonymous said...

Karl Rove used the conference as an opportunity to ignore a subpoena to testify before a U.S. Congressional subcommittee investigating his political interference in the Department of Justice. He neglected to mention he was leaving the country, and failed to appear for the hearings, risking a legal penalty for Contempt of Congress.


Michelle said...

"Cosmocrats" Now THERE's a new word I like! :)

Here's some trivia for you: The opening/closing credits for the TV show "Santa Barbara" and all the establishing shots including the pier were made in a small town in OC and were not shot in Santa Barbara!

Taras said...

Thank you for these interesting details, Mike!

They speak volumes about the guest speaker selection process.

Too bad Ken Lay doesn’t talk anymore. If he were alive, he could come over and do a speech on leadership and corporate governance.

Taras said...

Feel free to use it, Michelle:)!

And thank you for broadening my knowledge! You come from Orange County, right?

Here’s the intro to Santa Barbara.

And btw, in 1987 Yalta became Santa Barbara’s sister city.

Anonymous said...

Well, clearly, all of this also operates as a sort of PR/rehabilitation program also for Pinchuk's father-in-law, Kuchma, the murderer of Gongadze, the man who squelched freedom of the press in Ukraine, the man who called Ukrainians emigrating to other countries in search of a decent living "prostitutes" (what did Kuchma ever do for them?), the man who devised fake political parties in Ukraine in order to fool people in elections - and the man who favored a few key people with insider privatization deals so they, and he, could rob the country of billions of dollars.

Pinchuk was a Kuchma beneficiary. So is Akhmetov. So are a few others.

So Pinchuk has to drag Kuchma around like a ball and chain, paying Slick Willie Klinton to shake hands with Kuchma.

But hey, when you've got over $3 billion, what's a few hundred thousand to a former US President to get a picture and a handshake?

Even during the Paul McCartney concert in Kyiv, Pinchuk, the organizer of the concert, stuck a big-screen video on stage of Kuchma "remembering" the Beatles - as if anyone gives a damn about what Kuchma thinks of the Beatles.

By the way, I wonder if that children's cancer clinic in Kyiv actually got some money from that concert.

Pinchuk has a lot to be thankful for. So does Kuchma's daughter, who not too long ago bought a mansion in Londongrad for a cool $160 million.

About Gongadze -

Watch the video.

When Kuchma asked Gongadze his name as Gongadze was posing some, shall we say, uncomfortable questions to Kuchma - that was Gongadze's death sentence.

Anonymous said...

YES in Yalta

Elton John in Kyiv

McCartney this year again in Kyiv

Land corruption in Kyiv

Apparently, Pinchuk's theme song is "We Built This Country - and City - on Rock and Roll"