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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Make It K-Y-I-V! Help the NYT Spell Ukraine’s Capital!

Online petition - Make it K-Y-I-V!

They know how to spell Mumbai and Kolkata.

They know how to spell Chisinau and Almaty.

They even know how to spell Lviv and Kharkiv!

But they don’t know how to spell Kyiv.

Help them. Sign this petition. Let them know that the Soviet-era spelling of Ukraine’s capital must go.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ukraine Marks 92nd Battle of Kruty Anniversary

On January 29, 1918, 400 Ukrainian cadets defended Kyiv against 4,000 invading Bolshevik troops, as Bolshevik Russia sought to overthrow Ukraine’s independent government.

The battle took place at a railroad station near the village of Kruty, 130 km (81 mi) northeast of Kyiv.

Today, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko attended a remembrance ceremony and even exchanged a few words before observing a moment of silence.

Tymoshenko, who campaigns on a patriotic platform, desperately needs Yushchenko voters’ support to win the February 7 runoff.

So don’t expect her to laugh at Putin’s jokes until at least Valentine's Day.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yanukovych, Tymoshenko Crisscross Ukraine

The love-bombing air assault continues. They need every vote they can get.

Tymoshenko goes after Tihipko-Yatsenyuk-Yushchenko voters. Yanukovych stands little chance of winning over Yatsenyuk-Yushchenko voters, but he does have some chance with Tihipko voters.

Channel 1+1 follows both candidates on their campaign trails.

Same rallies, same concerts, same receptions, same promises, same interviews, same endorsements.

Yanukovych in Mykolayiv: I don't get much sleep at night, but I think everything will be alright.

Your powerful voice has been heard all over Ukraine.

Tymoshenko in Lviv: I want to ask you to help me not to lose this main, important battle of this particular presidential election.

More updates. In Kyiv, where people break bones on icier-than-ever sidewalks or burn themselves by falling into negligently open manholes, Yanukovych scored 16%. This prompted Deputy Mayor Irena Kilchytska to declare herself a Yanukovych supporter.

Speaking at a rally in Lviv, Tymoshenko also said this: “Had I lived in 1918-1919, I would have definitely been among the Sich Riflemen. Because it was a real struggle for the freedom and glory of Ukraine.”

Asked twice whether she would have joined the UPA if she had lived in 1944, Tymoshenko uttered no sound and walked away.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

‘Everything’s Gone!’ Cartoons Blast Tymoshenko

“Everything’s Gone!” owes its name to Tymoshenko’s 45 seconds of infamy as the-lovelorn-lady-about-to-address-the-nation.

The soundtrack is a parody of “Ти ж мене підманула,” the popular Ukrainian folk song about a young man whose date didn’t show up.

The refrain of the original song goes like this:

You made a fool of me
You failed me once again
You made me drool over
And you made me go insane

The refrain of the first cartoon soundtrack goes like this:

I fooled you all, people
I failed you all, folks
I want to be president
And I've got enough dough

In the cartoons, the Tymoshenko character starts with “I” and waxes poetic. She covers just about everything:

Part 1: Soviet savings, broken military promises, lies, gas, Gazprom, Putin;

Part 2: Communists, Lytvyn, IMF loans, tax returns, Louis Vuitton, talk shows, Yatsenyuk, Ratushnyak, “She’s working;”

Part 3: White Tigress=White Rat, white rats=Tymoshenko cronies, kleptocracy, broken promises, brainwashing;

Part 4: Pedogate, Kuchma cronies in BYuT, Hubsky, Lozynsky, Yushchenko, “With YUkraine at Heart,” Pugacheva, kleptocracy.

Brought to you by Obozrevatel, the popular online engine controlled by Mykhailo Brodsky, who has a love-and-hate relationship with Tymoshenko.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Unity Day 20 Years Ago: Kyiv-Lviv Human Chain

On January 22, 1990, Ukrainians took to the highway to make a human chain that united Kyiv and Lviv.

With Ukraine still part of the USSR, the move symbolized the Ukrainian resurgence (or rather its early perestroika-driven signs) after centuries of foreign domination.

Today, Yushchenko finally awarded Stepan Bandera with the honorary title of the Hero of Ukraine.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paid Yanukovych Fans Rally Outside CEC Building

If you’re looking for a parody of the Orange Revolution, look here.

They didn’t make it to Kyiv as grassroots protesters five years ago. Now they have their chance — as paid political tourists — outside the Central Election Commission building.

(The practice has gained currency since the decline of the Orange Revolution and has been employed by Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych alike.)

Some look joyful. Some look drunk. Some look stupid. Some blame Yanukovych for going unpaid for hours. Some huddle before the cameras to prevent the reporters from shooting the scene.

Journalist-beater Oleh Kalashnikov talks honesty.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

100% Counted: Alien, 35.32%; Predator, 25.05%

“No matter who wins, we lose.”

Yanukovych, 35.32%
Tymoshenko, 25.05%
Tihipko, 13.16%
Yatsenyuk, 6.96%
Yushchenko, 5.45%
Symonenko, 3.55%
Lytvyn, 2.35%
Against all, 2.2%
Tyahnybok, 1.43%
Hrytsenko, 1.2%
Bohoslovska, 0.41%
Moroz, 0.38%
Kostenko, 0.22%
Suprun, 0.19%
Protyvsikh, 0.16%
Pabat, 0.14%
Ratushnyak, 0.12%
Brodsky, 0.06%
Ryabokon, 0.03%

The first round has become yet another triumph of style over substance and promise over practice.

The second round will be perceived as bipolar by many, but will hardly be any different.

Without transparent campaign finance, without a mature voting culture and without grassroots protests, free and fair elections go only so far.

To me, it will be Alien vs. Predator.

After voting Tymoshenko in ‘06, ‘07 and
08 — and watching her all the while — I don’t believe in a born-again Tymoshenko. Not anymore.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

99.87% Counted: Yanukovych, 35.35%; Tymoshenko, 25.03%

So much for the National Exit Poll 2010!

What a cold Vodokhreshcha (Theophany).

The bargaining process appears to have kicked off. Tymoshenko ponders buying Tihipko votes in the 2nd round by making him PM and giving him half the Cabinet.


Monday, January 18, 2010

98.61% Counted: Yanukovych, 35.3%; Tymoshenko, 25.05%

Will the gap shrink to her over-hyped single digits?


93.60% Counted: Yanukovych, 35.39%; Tymoshenko, 24.95%

With less than 7% of the vote left to count, the 10% gap refuses to go away.

Maybe she was celebrating a bit too early?


81.85% Counted: Yanukovych, 35.7%; Tymoshenko, 24.77%

As of Jan. 18, 10:24 a.m. local time, 81,85% of the vote has been counted. The results are as follows:

Yanukovych, 35.7%
Tymoshenko, 24.77%
Tihipko, 13.02%
Yatsenyuk, 6.96%
Yushchenko, 5.37%
Symonenko, 3.55%
Lytvyn, 2.35%

Tymoshenko — who counts on the Tihipko-Yatsenyuk-Yushchenko vote in the 2nd round — spent the night celebrating the expected single digit between her and Yanukovych.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Exit Poll Data: Yanukovych, 31.5%; Tymoshenko, 27.2%

The National Exit Poll 2010:
Yanukovych, 31.5%
Tymoshenko, 27.2%
Tihipko, 13.5%
Yatsenyuk, 7.8%
Yushchenko, 6%
Symonenko, 2.8%
Against all, 2.7%
Lytvyn, 2.4%
Tyahnybok, 2.1%
Hrytsenko, 1.7%
Moroz, 0.5%
Bohoslovska, 0.4%
Suprun, 0.2%

Learn more here.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Battle of the Billboards 2010 (Part 1)

Watch Kyiv on the eve of the first round of the presidential election, on the first days of the 2010s.

The pics and vids you’ll see capture the mood and motion in Ukraine’s capital January 1 through January 13.

Pace yourself by clicking II and using => <=. Click here for my December slideshow.

Putting things into perspective: a bottle of Soviet Sparky

Tymoshenko morphing into 100% beef!

Bingo! I hit the jackpot!

Yanukovych the Terminator meets Yanukovych the Teaser: “I know I’ll Come”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tymoshenko Melts As Orange Revolution Hater Croons

Let me take the liberty — and the headache — to translate the refrain of this love song.

Russian singer Nikolai Baskov:
I’m not afraid to tell you that

I hate us to be apart

From dusk till dawn
I’ll be the one who needs your answer

On the spot

And I’m not afraid to insist

That your love for me persist

The woman in white you put up a fight
This heart of mine could not resist
Baskov: The most beautiful woman of Ukraine, dressed in white, Yulia Tymoshenko!
Russian singer Alla Pugacheva:
Nikolai Baskov and Yulia Tymoshenko!

This was the dance of the year! I hope Ukrainians will remember it. I’ve never had such a luscious woman dressed in white.
Pugacheva: Come on! Quit lying!

By the way...

Pugacheva: Come on, come on...

Yulia Vladimirovna, by the way, I’m single. [audience explodes with laughter]

You know, quit kissing up please! We just made the Prime Minister feel good because — what, everyone’s having fun, dancing — and she’s working, working. Hahaha!

By the way, Baskov campaigned for Yanukovych in 2004. He toured Ukraine with a squad of Ukrainian and Russian showbiz stars, on a road show that closely resembles Tymoshenko’s “With Yukraine at Heart.

And here’s how Baskov addressed Orange rally-goers: “What are you waving your rusty flags for? Put them away and get the hell back to your America!”

Tymoshenko’s artistic license allows her to woo two distinct groups of people — Baskov fans and Orange Revolution vets — at the same time.

This time, as you can see, the Kremlin’s artistic license covers both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko.

This time, the Kremlin doesn’t put all its eggs in one basket.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Voter ‘Bribery,’ Tymoshenko-Style

If Chernovetsky can do it, why can’t she?

Here you go: 1 kilo of rice+1 kilo of vermicelli+1 bottle of sunflower oil+1 can of condensed milk. Drink responsibly! Courtesy of MP Oleksandr Dubovy (BYuT).

When interviewed, they say it’s from Tymoshenko. They say it’s bribery. They say it’s basically their own money. And they take it.

In Greece, they would have torched the whole place. In Ukraine, they complain and let the slave mentality take over.

In rural Ukraine, they take those hard-to-get certificates of land ownership — a pork barrel cause championed by Tymoshenko and frowned upon by the OSCE.

How many of those who take Tymoshenko handouts will vote for her? I don’t know.

All I know is Chernovetsky scored 32% of the vote — twice — with his handout campaign in Kyiv.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Tymoshenko Sends Her Christmas Greetings

When 13 became her number on the ballot, she compared it to Jesus Christ and the 12 Apostles.

She believes in every one of us being a bovine believer in her holiness.

PM/presidential candidate Tymoshenko: My darlings, I cordially greet you with the bright holiday of Christmas! More than two thousand years ago, in Bethlehem, baby Jesus was born, the one who changed the world. The Lord came to earth and gave us hope, forgiveness and salvation. His New Testament became the firmest foundation on which our civilization was built. He gave us the main commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And I dream that humanity will live by this exact rule that we got to know from childhood.



How on earth did you learn that rule in your childhood? Didn’t you grow up in the atheist city of Dnipropetrovsk in the ‘60s like I grew up in the atheist city of Kyiv in the ‘80s? Didn’t you marry the son of a Communist Party boss? (I didn’t.)

You love your voter as yourself? Tell it to Jesus.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Yanukovych Sends His New Year/Christmas Greetings

If you live in the land of the “Ukrainian Bell Carol” but speak Russian only, he’s your man.

Presidential candidate Yanukovych: New Year and Christmas are again coming to our house — with goodness, with hope, with faith that we all will be better off. I know we can overcome the difficulties. We’ll find ways to happy and joyful. Our kids will be growing up healthy. There will be tranquility and abundance in our every family. Accord, peace and prosperity will again rule supreme in our state.


He forgot to mention one of his elixirs of tranquility and abundance:

One Mezhyhirya is never enough.

Anyway, z Rizdvom Khrystovym! Merry Christmas!

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Putin (Cartoon Character): ‘Unruly Yushchendogs’

On Russia’s #1 channel. On New Year’s Eve.

This time, Kyiv, we request
That you pay us cash for gas
Not those tangos-fandangos
And unruly Yushchendogs

That’s as closely as I can poetically translate it.

Ющенками (plural declined form) is a portmanteau of Ющенко and щенок (Yushchenko and dog). Literally, щенок means a puppy, but when applied to humans it means a dog.

I first heard this portmanteau during the Orange Revolution, from an elderly Yanukovych supporter who kept screaming “Вы щен-ки! Вы щен-ки!” (“You’re dogs! You’re dogs!”) Vastly outnumbered, she faced a cheering crowd of “Ю-щен-ко! Ю-щен-ко!” (“Yu-shchen-ko! Yu-shchen-ko!”) supporters.

And guess what? Nobody laid a finger on her. Nobody swore at her. Meanwhile, Yanukovych would call Yushchenko supporters “kozly” (“jerks”) and “Orange rats.”

He wouldn’t apologize until the Orange Revolution hit him hard. When he did apologize, he justified himself with a neo-Biblical interpretation of the word kozly (literally, goats) as meaning traitors.

The integrity of his Orange rat exegesis rivaled Tymoshenko’s exegesis of Putin’s jokes and her joyful reaction to them.

I digress. I wonder if Medvedev-Putin cartoon made Tymoshenko laugh again. Or how about this one?

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Snow Queen Tymoshenko Celebrates New Year on Maidan

She wants to rekindle the honeymoon spirit of 2005.

PM/presidential candidate Tymoshenko: Five, four, three, two, one, start! Hahaha! [fireworks explode as everyone sings Ukraine's anthem]

We celebrated New Year 2005 with her and Yushchenko on Maidan — after the Orange Revolution — so in love with everything they promised.

Now, what did we achieve in 2009?

We lost 12% of our GDP. No, you don’t want to mention that if you’re a PM who’s running for president.

PM/presidential candidate Tymoshenko: One more thing, my darlings: We can and should take pride in the fact that it was in 2009 that more babies were born in Ukraine than ever since independence! And it’s your joint effort! [giggles] Our joint effort! Because if the country starts setting records in giving birth to Ukrainians, it means we’re really doing fine.

So delayed childbearing means *we’re really doing fine*?

How many more delayed births does it take to stem depopulation and reproduce the almost 7 million people we’ve lost?

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