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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yanukovych Promises to Punish His Woman Beaters

No, Shufrych didn’t do it. Some other fellas did.

Woman: Yatsenko Lyudmyla Stepanivna here. Mr. Yanukovych, I’m that woman who, 5 years ago, came showing you a League of Bila Tserkva Entrepreneurs pin and was asking for sound legislation. For that pin, your teammates at the time — when you lost in the first round — would pound me with their feet. They [later] switched to a different party...

Yanukovych: I’d like to ask you — I’d very much like to ask you — to name publicly the names of those who dared touch a woman — those fellow party members of mine, as you put it. Please name them. I really want...the names of the specific people who laid a finger on you.

Woman: I don’t know how I’m going to live in Bila Tserkva [if I name them]. [applause]

Yanukovych: Well, in that that case, leave your number and address. As early as tomorrow morning — tomorrow morning — you’ll have my...[nods his head]...people come to whom...who will hook you up with me on the phone. And please supply all the papers. We will deal with it. On these issues, I’m telling you, I’m a man of principle...OK? There will be a definite response — a definite one — you can count on it. I don’t know any tough guys in Bila Tserkva whom we won’t find. [applause]

It’s hard to translate Yanukese. We're dealing with a high-context, Freudian-slippery, slang-infested dialect.

Original: имена, людей, которые вас конкретно тронул пальцем
My translation: the names of the people who specifically laid a finger on you
Comment: конкретно (konkretno), as in чисто конкретно can be translated as absotively posilutely, no shit, etc

Original: которые свяжут вас со мной
My translation: who will hook you up with me
Comment: связать (svyazat) also means to tie somebody up

Meet another man of principle from the Party of Regions: MP Oleh Kalashnikov (no pun intended). This man, a then-MP, attacked reporters in 2006.

After a 3-year exile, he now appears to have been pardoned by the Party of Regions top brass, not to mention the Office of the Prosecutor General.

Z Novym Rokom! Happy New Year!

The year of the White Tiger, as some call it.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Medvedev Wants Ukraine to ‘Make the Right Choice’

If you’re a sovereign nation that neighbors Russia, you can count on a biiiiig Christmas wish list!

Q: Who is our Russian candidate in...uh…the course of this presidential campaign in Ukraine, if anyone?

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev:’s probably Viktor Andreyevich* Yushchenko, if we proceed from the notion that the bul...the bulk on the Ukrainian subject coming from me...from me were in connection with the actions of the incumbent president. On a serious note, Russia certainly doesn’t have and cannot have its own candidates there. Uh...Ukraine is a self-reliant state, a sovereign state, where the president will be determined by the people. And I’m confident that they are capable of sorting through both the political declarations and the course of the difficult political struggle that’s going on there — they almost have twenty candidates there, I think. In summary, the one thing I would very much want is that the next...president of Ukraine — and we naturally will accept any choice of the Ukrainian people (it’s evident, it’s a norm of international law) — would be inclined toward good, cordial — brotherly, if you will — relations with our country: that the Russian language would out of harm’s way, so that bilateral contacts would be allowed to develop, so that our joint economic projects would develop, so that there wouldn’t be this strange kind of yearning to dive into some foreign military bloc that...uh...will unnerve a large number of people. I’d want this kind of partnership. And I...I very much want — I’m pretty much counting on it — that the Ukrainians make the right choice.

*Patronymic transliterated from Russian

Indeed, for Russia, it’s a tough call.

Tymoshenko: supports Russia v. Georgia, consorts with Yanukovych, signs a whorrible gas deal, and giggles at Putin’s jokes.

Yanukovych: attends United Russia events, dumps Tymoshenko, promises to make Russian a second official language, but abwhores the gas deal.

Anyway, here’s the Kremlin's “right choice” in 2004.

Starring: Kuchma,
Putin, Yanukovych (as Kuchma’s heir), Medvedev (as Putin’s chief of staff), and Medvedchuk (as Kuchma’s chief of staff). A friend of Medvedev, Medvedchuk now backs Tymoshenko.

As you can see, Medvedev doesn't always behave like an elitist. Unlike Putin.

Whether it’s Candyman or White Tigress, all is grist to the Kremlin mill in 2010.

All except maybe Yushchenko, who has a windmill of his own and denies striking a power-sharing (Ya prez/Yu PM) deal with Yanukovych.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tears for Votes: Yanukovych Follows Lytvyn

Some laugh and sing. Others cry and cry.

Whether spontaneous or staged, tears put a human face on a politician. The Hillary syndrome has now spread to Ukraine. Tears have been shed in our presidential campaign.

Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn routinely blasts the oligarchs and claims being cash-strapped.

That’s despite privatizing 600 sq m of taxpayer-paid real estate and having a daughter who owns a luxury boutique and a brand new $100K car.

You’d think that makes him a thick-skinned materialist. Hell no!

When a fellow Lytvynite presented him with a rushnyk sewn by her mother, the gift moved the man to tears.

Presidential candidate Volodmyr Lytvyn: In...[fights back tears, falls short of igniting a standing ovation] a back-of-beyond Polissya village...[fights back tears, ignites a full-blown standing ovation] parents brought me into this world.

Yanukovych found himself in a similar situation during his tour of western Ukraine, where his opponents vastly outnumber his supporters.

An elderly woman mounts the stage, empathizes with Yanukovych’s childhood of growing up without a mother, gives him a vyshyvanka and wishes him the best.

Presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych: [smiles amid applause, crosses himself, bows repeatedly, thanks the woman, kisses her hands, ignites a standing ovation]: Thanks a lot, Hanna Mykhailivna! I’m deeply moved. I’m very grateful. In the area, in the region, in the land where I grew up, there’s a hu...huge industry. It was there...that I grew up, it was there that I was taught to work, to manage production, the economy. I grew up all by myself among people. Indeed, down there...nobody wore vyshyvankas...[gets sentimental]...and I’ve never worn it in my life. But I...I promise you that I will definitely wear it on holidays. [ignites a standing ovation, steps down, visibly tearful]

It’s the same tough guy who sells his apartment for Hr. 33,416,350 but reports Hr. 2,674,910 on his tax returns.

If you have a problem with that, you can sue him. So he says.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Tymoshenko Calls Herself ‘White Tigress’

Totems pervaded the dawn of civilization. The Tymoshenko campaign is no exception.


Greetings: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The white tigress thinks you have the brain of a chimpanzee.

Swallow her every word. Pick up your Darwin Award.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Yushchenko: ‘Obviously, I'll Win’

Against all odds — and opinion polls — he says he’ll win.

Incumbent President Yushchenko: Obviously, I'll win. [applause] Obviously. And...and I want to explain why. Because there’s you. And there are millions of people like you — millions in this country — who understand why tomorrow, over Ukrainian soil, the sun should rise.

If you follow the sausage, you will lose both freedom and the sausage. If you follow freedom, you will gain both the sausage and independence.

In other words, he promises fishing rods to his voters so they can catch fish themselves. And then he turns a blind eye to a bunch of poachers who use fishnets, electroshockers and explosives.

It’s the same guy who takes the high moral road and talks patriotism every time somebody questions his behavior.

ATV Reporter: Viktor Andriyovych, could you...could you please tell us: Is this a working visit or a campaign event?

Incumbent President Yushchenko: A working visit.

ATV Reporter: With elements of campaigning?

Yushchenko: A working visit, young man. A working visit. You have a Ukrainian cap! A working visit.

ATV is the #1 Ukrainophobic channel in Ukraine. Everybody knows that. So when Yushchenko equates Tymoshenko with Yanukovych, how does he set himself apart?

By letting Yanukovych grabitize Mezhyhirya — a 339-acre property — in exchange for favors?

By imitating Tymoshenko, who flew to an EPP convention — using a government jet and tax hryvnias — and then requested tax euros for royal pageantry?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tymoshenko Explains Putin’s Jokes, Her Laughs

Putin says he doesn't support her. She says she didn’t support Putin’s humor.

Reporter: You didn’t respond to Putin when he offended our president. Any regrets?
Tymoshenko [full uninterrupted quote]: Dear friends, how did he offend anyone? I don’t get it. You know, I’ll tell you what. All politicians — no matter what country they live in — they have their own relations. Always. Those are absolutely the same people as any others. And when politicians have sympathies or antipathies, one way or the other, it gets vented from them. It gets vend...vented from Viktor Andriyovych [Yushchenko], it gets vented from Putin, it gets vented from me. But I want to tell you that I never associate — never — a politician with the country. The country is a different animal. And as for the conversation with Putin and the press conference, to be honest, it wasn’t his words I was entertained by. And if you remember, I said a different thing. I said that, as a woman, I sometimes feel like eating my tie, but, thank God, I don’t have one. Hahaha!


Of course, she wasn’t laughing at Putin’s jokes. You can re-read her chuckle-fest, chapter and verse.

Of course, she never equated herself with Ukraine. Never! Not even in her “They’re talking. She’s working./She’s working. She’s Ukraine!” slogans!

She never spent a dime of IMF money except on the economy. She never had any oligarchs in her party. She can honestly explain everything, can’t she?

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Battle of the Billboards 2009

They're everywhere. They want our votes.

Pace yourself by clicking II and then -> or <-.

Anywhere you go, they'll follow you down...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yushchenko, Lutsenko Trade Barbs on Corruption

How do they fight corruption in China (CPI: #79)? Capital punishment.

How do they fight corruption in Indonesia (CPI: #111)? Protests.

How do they fight corruption Ukraine (CPI: #146)? Words.


  • Yushchenko calls Lutsenko and other law enforcement chiefs “accomplices”;
  • Lutsenko calls the allegation “unfair” and walks out the door;
  • Yushchenko cites Lutsenko’s unsolved/closed cases;
  • Lutsenko cites Yushchenko's cronyism/cover-ups;
  • Yushchenko calls for a probe into BYuT’s election employee incentives;
  • Lutsenko pulls Yushchenko’s portrait from his office wall;
  • Yushchenko asks Tymoshenko to fire Lutsenko.

That’s all, folks!

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Yanukovych: ‘I Wasn’t Trained as an Artist’

How does Tymoshenko debate with a shy guy like this?

Presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych: I wasn’t trained as an artist. Therefore, compe-competing...with this profession is something I won’t do. As a matter of principle. It’s not my profession.

Yes, it is. Always has been, always will be. You’re both artists. She just happens to be a better one.

She says her hubby runs a small business, yet she doesn’t even know the company’s name. When she comes home, he’s already asleep. When she goes to work, he’s still asleep. You know the story.

Now what’s your story?

On your tax returns, you say you sold a 140 sqm Kyiv apartment for Hr. 2,674,910 in 2008 — to buy that Mezhyhirya property (339 acres).

But the sales agreement says you actually sold a 384 sqm apartment — for Hr. 33,416,350 (about $7M in ‘08) — to MP Serhiy Klyuyev, a fellow Regionalist.

Moreover, it says you had obtained that apartment as a gift.

Ain’t that art?

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Humble Beginnings, Happy Ending: A Forward-Looking Tymoshenko Biopic

If you want something said, ask Tymoshenko. If you want something done, ask the U.S. judicial system.

During the last two decades, Ukraine has been robbed blind.

Only one person has served jail time for it: former PM Pavlo Lazarenko. And, yes, that happened outside Ukraine.

The $200M he had looted in Ukraine in the ‘90s amounts to a fraction of what his stay-at-home buddies have been looting all the while.

Which finally brings us to our main character, Tymoshenko. What’s her story?

Hers is a story of accidental love and manifest destiny, of modesty and compassion, of industry and imprisonment, of success and sacrifice.

In this airbrushed account of her life, she tells us that:

  • She’s the Iron Lady (she’s not the Gas Princess);
  • She only does business with Putin, Barroso and Biden (she never did business with Lazarenko);
  • She once met a poor old lady in a decrepit khata and felt impelled to “change the situation” (she’d probably change her entire wardrobe, if only she lived like that lady);
  • She never consorted with the oligarchs, nor did she ever consort with Yanukovych;
  • She’s the martyr (Yushchenko is the traitor);
  • She’s the reformer who kicked RosUkrEnergo out (she’ll punish the bastards who quadruple-charged the government for Tamiflu, creating shortages and causing deaths — on her watch — just give her a little more time);
  • She’s the workaholic who works for Ukraine, takes responsibility and has Ukraine-first family values (don’t believe those stories about her estranged husband and her love affair with Shufrych — it's all a big lie).

PM/presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko [opening quote]: Since early childhood, when I started going to school, I felt that, in my life, I must do something very weighty. It wasn’t just a random thought for me. It was the confident knowledge that my life would not be very usual, that I would have to devote my life not just to myself and my family.

Handwriting: I believe in Ukraine! Yulia Tymoshenko

Quotes from her latest “Svoboda on Inter” appearance would have turned this biopic into a bestseller.

When asked about her husband’s business — the elixir of her wellbeing (for those who still believe in Santa Claus) — she modestly replied: “He’s in the construction business. It’s a small company.”

When asked to name the company, the Gas Princess, uh, the Iron Lady, gave us a dose of how she puts career over family:

I have no time for this. And I absolutely have no interest in this. Because when I come [home], he’s already asleep. When I go [to work], he’s still asleep. When we do get in touch on weekends, it happens very rarely. And I try to say something pleasant. Delving into business — let alone employing government capabilities — I consider this immoral.

Or how about this one, from a recent interview: “If all officials treated corruption as I do, New Zealand would only come second. Ukraine would come first.”

PM/presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko [closing quote]: I love Ukraine so deeply that Ukraine has become my life. It’s not about my family — may they forgive me — nor is it about my personal affairs, nor is it about my ambitions. My life is about Ukraine. I made an oath to her once, and I will be with her until my last breath — whatever the status, whatever the position, whether in government or in opposition, in politics or outside’s just my life. I understood this a long time ago and I no longer wrestle with this destiny of mine.

Indeed, why wrestle with your own destiny if you can wrestle with other people’s destinies? Using other people’s money.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

‘Elect Me’: A Song That Nails Hopefuls

From the frontman of Tartak, one of the bands that cheered the crowds during the Orange Revolution...

Enjoy this hit single by Sashko Polozhynsky, the guy who puts the reality of our presidential race into rhymes.

Even if you don’t understand Ukrainian, you’ll find the video and the Limp Bizkit-style music entertaining.

The video opens with a comic scene of former president Kravchuk endorsing Yanukovych in the 2004 presidential campaign. In this campaign, Kravchuk endorses Yanukovych’s main rival: Tymoshenko.

The voiceover idolizes Lenin, coming from the intro to a Soviet recording of his “Что такое Советская власть?” (“What is Soviet power?”) speech.

Poetically translated, the song’s refrain goes like this:

My fellow Ukrainians, here’s the deal
Make me the president of your dreams
And if you want protection from treason
Let me run a dictatorship for a reason

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

FEMEN Gives Shufrych an Earful on 'Shuster Live'

FEMEN knows how to grab attention.

The self-styled Kyiv-based activist group has been around for a while, professing feminism and protesting against sex tourism, human trafficking, prostitution, flu mask-mania and sexual harassment.

Actually, when it comes to FEMEN, I prefer the term shocktivist.

One of their latest public protests had them acting out near-pornographic scenes: scantily dressed female college students harassed by sex-for-grades college professors.

Naturally, the pornified event didn’t go unnoticed. Outside the Ministry of Education building, in front of the cameras, the deputy minister promised them to look into the problem.

They have a busy schedule. Their latest television appearance saw them on “Shuster Live,” a popular political talk show.

Watch the vinok-clad FEMEN shocktivist steal the show.

“Don’t believe these liars!” shouts the lady and hastily wraps up her sign out of everyone's sight. “Ukraine is not a brothel!” reads her T-shirt.

Unlike Michaele Salahi, this lady doesn’t look like she came uninvited. It’s amazing how Savik Shuster grabs her by the waist and doesn’t get slapped in the face.

MP Nestor Shufrych (PRU) had a lot of nerve parking his sorry ass on “Shuster Live” — with a suitcase full of broken promises. Namely, he forgot to follow through on his Oct. 2 promise to pass legislation “on Tuesday” [Oct. 6] that would have criminalized pimps and clients.

Frankly, I don’t see a single civilized country that has managed to ban prostitution (as opposed to having reduced or regulated it). Nor do I always see FEMEN acting in protest-oriented (as opposed to publicity-oriented) ways. But I do support their drive for accountability.

Holding politicians to their promises is what we must do. Love that “Fucking Hell” T-shirt (0:58-1:00)!

It’s about time we gave them the fucking hell they deserve.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ukraine Commemorates 76th Holodomor Anniversary

Today, Ukraine remembers the millions of men, women and children who starved to death in the Holodomor (Ukr. death by hunger) in 1932-1933.

Stalin’s manmade famine killed at least 3.2 million people: thousands of Russians, Jews, Poles, Moldovanspeople of other ethnicities, and millions of Ukrainians.

Unlike elsewhere in the Soviet Union, the peasants in Ukraine and in the neighboring region of Kuban had nowhere run. By a directive of the Communist Party, barrier troops surrounded these areas, populated mainly by Ukrainians, and
ensured that few would escape death.

Deprived of food, entire villages would die slowly and painfully. Deprived of food, people would lose their minds and eat their children. Those on the verge of dying would be piled up on carts and, along with the dead, carried to cemeteries.

The Holodomor dealt a severe blow to the Ukrainian peasantry and contributed to Ukraine’s Sovietization and Russification.

The exact number of the dead will never be known, but the numbers in Soviet and post-Soviet censuses speak for themselves:

USSR (1926)

Russians in USSR: 77,791,124

Ukrainians in USSR: 31,194,976

Ukrainians in Ukraine: 23,218,860

Ukrainians in Russia: 7,873,000

Russians in Ukraine: 2,677,166

USSR (1939)

Russians in USSR: 99,591,520

Ukrainians in USSR: 28,111,007

USSR (1989)
Russians in USSR: 145,155,000

Ukrainians in USSR: 44,186,000

Ukraine (2001)

Ukrainians in Ukraine: 37,541,700

Russians in Ukraine: 8,334,100

Russia (2002)

Russians in Russia: 115,889,100

Ukrainians in Russia: 2,943,000

At the Holodomor Memorial, I didn’t see quite as many people as I saw last year, during the opening ceremony, attended by foreign delegations.

Besides, with Ukraine still reeling from the flu epidemic, it’s natural for people to avoid public gatherings.

Ukraine for the people
Says who?
Says the man
behind a huge fence — with surveillance cameras and check points — the man who's building himself another palace on a 336-acre property (privatized with Yushchenko's help and worth tens of millions of taxpayer hryvnias).

It's the same man who opposes the effort to investigate the Holodomor, and calls it an attempt to alienate Ukrainians from Russians.

For the first time in the last few years, I saw people wearing those orange scarves again.

Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate)

Presidential candidate Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Homin, the famous Ukrainian choir

We remember.