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Sunday, February 28, 2010

NYT (Nyet Yet Times?) Keeps Soviet-Era Spelling of Kyiv

That’s not how they spell the capitals of Moldova and Estonia.

Moreover, that’s not how they spell most Ukrainian cities either.

But for some reason that’s how they spell the capital of Ukraine. Why?

So far, my follow-up letter to the editor, citing the Make it K-Y-I-V! petition, has yielded no answer.

Dear New York Times,

You continue spelling Ukraine’s capital the old-fashioned Soviet-era way, which annoys thousands of Ukrainians worldwide.

Some of them are your readers, subscribers and perhaps advertisers. My online petition hasn’t reached every one of them, but it has already reached 2,247.

When will you start spelling Ukraine’s capital consistent with your de-Sovietized spelling of the capitals of Moldova and Estonia?

As Ukraine goes to the polls, you can make welcome news. You can show your support for Ukraine’s democracy in both the spirit and the letter.


Taras, KYIV, Ukraine

Ignorance or interaction? Will the NYT go the distance?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yanukovych Delivers His Inaugural Address

How about a stream of consciousness?

President Viktor Yanukovych: God, responsibility, humility, elections, freedom, democracy, budget, debt, poverty, crumbling economy, corruption, development, his team, Ukrainian people, effective government, rebuilding the economy and the welfare state, government reform, professionalism, Rada rapport, transparency, governance, need for a strong opposition as a safeguard for democracy, stabilnist, strong parliamentary majority [applause], need for overcoming divisions, need for cleansing our hearts of vanity/egoism/vanity, need for conceding defeat, Bible quote (Matthew 5:25), peace, reconciliation, cooperation, Rada rapport, government reform, judiciary reform, Constitutional reform, special interests, public good, ordinary people, middle class, intelligentsia, business, Rada-Cabinet-President rapport, defeating poverty, unifying the country, prosperity=unity, poverty=conflict, strategy of development, capital accumulation (wrong path) v. postindustrial society (right path), abandoning wild capitalism, embracing competition, knowledge economy, high-tech industries, science, catching up with the developed world, strategy of innovation, team, priorities, international division of labor, more government no, more market economy yes, deregulation, investment, IMF, rebuilding trust, stabilnist, fighting corruption, creating a level playing field (no easy task), political will (I’ve got it), clear foreign policy vision, policy that best suits Ukraine’s national interests, Ukraine as an East-West bridge, integral part of Europe & the former Soviet Union (looming into view: First Lady Lyudmyla Yanukovych & Grandson 9:37-9:47); equal power and mutually beneficial relations with Russia, the EU and the US, meeting the challenges, coming together internationally, humanity and Ukraine need the EU, energy, food, environmental safety, we’re ready to participate as a non-aligned European state, hope Rada will approve my foreign policy, as I assume the office of the head of the Ukrainian state, I want to tell the people of Ukraine that all my promises made to them will be fulfilled, we’ll pay back the wages/pensions in arrears, we’ll downsize the government (starting with my staff — applause), actions speak louder than words, result-oriented work in the name of Ukraine’s prosperity is my credo, I count on your support, I count on the support of the international community, which welcomes a strong and stable Ukraine, so help us God!

Hurry up, Mr. President! Patriarch Kirill is waiting!

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Yanukovych Gets Stuck in Doorway at His Inauguration

On his Putin-style inaugural catwalk, President-elect Yanukovych ran into some problems, literally.

Omen of the year?

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Yanukovych Sworn in As President of Ukraine

Tearful and triumphant, he finally grabbed power. Vengeful and vibrant, she can now grab him by the horns.

Quote of the day: “As I assume the office of the head of the Ukrainian state, I want to tell the people of Ukraine that all my promises made to them will be fulfilled.”

The clock is ticking, Mr. President.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tymoshenko Delivers Her Non-Concession Speech

Watch the final Santa Yulia episode of the season.

PM/presidential candidate Tymoshenko: Good evening, my darlings. The presidential election is over. It was our only chance to assert once and for all the independence and power of our state. It was a chance to become a decent member of the European family, to pass deep social and economic reform. It was in this election that we had our first real opportunity to do away with the power of the oligarchy and to return the country, along with its wealth, to you precisely. Such a choice could not please the oligarchy because they need cheap labor, poor and disenfranchised people who can be forced to work for nickels and dimes at their plants.


How’s that for a start? I almost felt like trading blog links with her, but then she started waxing holier than thou again.

So here’s how the story goes. Yanukovych could never win in a clean fight. Yushchenko rubber-stamped those last-moment election amendments. The two ganged up on her again.

The voters who voted against all or simply didn’t show had nothing to do with her defeat, so her face-saving displacement rhetoric goes.

It was fraud that sealed the fate of the election, not you.


She explains why she went to court.

I went to court to protect Ukraine, to protect every one of you. I know that all these days you had hope, you prayed for the honesty of the Court, and I fought and prayed with you, but the Court became a farce orchestrated by the Yanukovych staff.


The Court ignored the evidence, rejected the witnesses, and banned live coverage. That's why she quit. Alas, for the first time in so many years, her experience with Ukraine’s judiciary system resembled ours.

As a presidential candidate, I experienced firsthand what you deal with every day: the inability to defend the truth in court. Like millions of Ukrainians, I hereby assert: Yanukovych is not our president. A president who came to power by deceit will not be here to stay.


She urges Ukrainians to protect whatever they can now that Yanukovych has shown his true colors again.

She cites his attempts to suppress the Ukrainian language, sell the gas pipeline and let his gas barons sue Ukraine in Stockholm.

She calls for unity in the face of “anti-Ukrainian dictatorship” and voices her plans to resuscitate the de facto defunct BYuT-NUNS-LyB coalition.

She finishes her non-concession speech on a maternalistic note.

I also want to state that under no circumstance will I form joint coalitions with Yanukovych. I will not sign any universals and memorandums [rapprochements] with him. It is because I do not recognize him as president of Ukraine and do not accept his anti-Ukrainian, anti-European policy. If the patriotic and democratic political parties in Parliament resort to political party-shopping, I will go into opposition and I will be brining closer the hour of our state's return to a civilized path of development. And I will fight for the principles and values you share. I will fight regardless of whether I’m in government or in opposition. And I will not let anyone deprive you of the Ukraine you all deserve: a Ukraine that is free, strong, just, prosperous and magnificent. I’m with you.


Does Avril Lavigne know that you raid her song sheet?

Avril Lavigne - I'm With You
Загружено loudz99. - Смотри больше видео клипов в HD качестве!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Tymoshenko Loses Her Unwinnable Court Battle

It's over. It’s over for now. No matter how strong or weak her case, she knew she wouldn’t win.

She argued her case passionately, citing multiple violations:

  • Deceased people voting
  • Bribed people voting
  • Last-moment registry change people voting
  • Bogus apartment block people voting
  • Huge number of stay-at-home people voting
  • Unused ballots check-marked by pro-Yanukovych officials voting

She wanted to give us something to reflect on once Yanukovych starts being a real bad boy again — and she comes out with I-told-you-SOS.

A Cassinderella in-waiting, she pulled out of the battle (read: lost the battle) to win the war. Or at least so she thinks.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Paid Yanukovych Fans Rally Outside Court

Venue: The High Administrative Court, Tymoshenko’s last line of defense.
Objective: Keep an eye on her, don’t let his victory slip away.

Tymoshenko argues her case before a panel of 49 judges. Live coverage of court hearings, which opened Friday, has been banned. It goes against the wishes of his client, Andriy Fedur, a lawyer for Yanukovych, said.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tymoshenko Goes to Court, Literally

With Yanukovych’s inauguration set for February 25, she makes a case for a recount and, in her stronger statements, for a revote.

PM Tymoshenko: And if the High Administrative Court does not provide for the documents to be subpoenaed to the Court for a recount at those polling stations in question and for the country to be shown what the real situation there was, then one should simply not speak of justice in our state.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Tymoshenko: Over 1M Votes Rigged, Some OSCE Observers Ready to Testify

As promise-laden Ukrainians hobble back to the salt mines, the braided lady comes out of her bunker and lays out her war plan.

In her long-awaited address to the nation she

  • Thanks everyone
  • Compares 2010 to 2004 in terms of fraud
  • Argues that her rival knew he wouldn’t win in a clean fight
  • Recalls working around the clock to get all the legal paperwork done

PM Tymoshenko: And today I can firmly tell you that the election in Ukraine was rigged, and this is not a political declaration anymore but a clear legal assessment. Let me cite just one example and you will understand everything. We have managed, by a court ruling, to open the polling stations in Crimea for disclosure so that the votes may be recounted. We were shocked to find out that, at all polling stations without exception, there was a legally established fact of fraud from 3 to 8 percent to the benefit of Yanukovych. Overall in Ukraine, the volume of probable fraud exceeds one million votes, by various technologies. These votes are quite enough for our common victory. My conviction that the struggle must continue is also supported by the latest accounts of individual OSCE observers. They have expressed their willingness to testify in courts on our side with videos and their assessments that during the election in Ukraine there was systemic fraud. I understand that you are tired of tough political battles. And I, together with you, want stabilnist and quietude in our state. But if today we don’t defend democracy, the right of honest choice, then tomorrow we will wake up in a different country, one where dictatorship and lawlessness rule.


She then promises to contest the election results in a court of law, despite the rampant corruption. Driven by her sense of responsibility, she has no other option but to go all the way.

PM Tymoshenko: Not going to court today means surrendering the country to the criminals without a fight. I will not be arranging Maidans and I will not allow public civil confrontation. As never before, Ukraine needs stabilnist and quietude. And that is why we will be acting via legal avenues only and in court only. But I want to state it clearly: Yanukovych is not our president. And no matter how the events unfold, he will never become a legitimately elected president of Ukraine.


You don’t have the credibility to arrange genuine protests. Otherwise, you would have already arranged them.

If he did what you say he did, show us how he did it. Don’t show us how you can make a virtue out of necessity in what looks like a self-righteous crusade. The OSCE denies knowledge of any videos that would support Tymoshenko’s claims.

No matter what Yanukovych says or does before he assumes office, it will not automatically restore your street cred.

If you want my support, forget stabilnist. Try spravedlyvist.

Stabilnist: “Don’t rock the boat, don’t stop the party.”
Spravedlyvist: “Do the crime, do the time.”

That’s a tall order, isn’t it?

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Tymoshenko Reappears After 4-Day Post-Election Funk

As Yanukovych received calls from Obama and Barroso, Tymoshenko made her first black widow appearance at a cabinet meeting Thursday.

Finding herself in a nuclear winter of frozen hubris, she made no election comments whatsoever. Taking voters for granted and treating them like shit can be such an ego bust. She doesn’t even want to talk about it.

But some people keep talking about it. I, for one, remember her January 17 post-exit poll sound bite:

It means that Yanukovych, who represents criminal circles, has no chance... I’m convinced that Yanukovych will never lay his hand on the Peresopnytsia Gospels for a president to take an oath of office.

Meanwhile, Yanukovych plans to muster enough votes to fire her next Tuesday.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paid Yanukovych Fans Still Rally Outside CEC

They’ve been camping outside the Central Election Commission building since Round 1, in a hardcore parody of the Orange Revolution.

They will not go away until Yanukovych is sworn in.

Tymoshenko remains incommunicado, despite repeated promises to hold a press conference and/or address the nation.

Her camp plans to contest results from 1,000 polling stations.
According to maverick MP Taras Chornovil, a former Regionalist, Yanukovych gave free bus rides to about 20% of his voters in eastern Ukraine

“Don’t be afraid. I’m with you!” says a post-election Yanukovych poster that apparently tries to reach out to Orange voters. (H/t

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Monday, February 08, 2010

98.95% Counted: Yanukovych, 48.68%; Tymoshenko, 45.73%

“Against all” — 4.38% — turned out to be a real kingmaker in this election.

Tymoshenko thought that hype, hyperbole and hypocrisy would somehow endow her with enough Tihipko-Yatsenyuk-Yushchenko votes.

Big mistake.


Yanukovych Accepts Before Tymoshenko Concedes

Watch the first post-election statements made by Yanukovych and Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko: no retreat, no surrender

Yanukovych: no woman, no cry

She promises to count every vote. He promises to take care of her voters.

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94.33% Counted: Yanukovych, 48.29% Tymoshenko, 46.08%


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Yanukovych Wins According to 6 Exit Polls

As of 8:14 pm Kyiv time, Tymoshenko does not concede.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Final Rallies: Victory Party (He) v. Candle Vigil (She)

Just a block away from each other, the two final rallies differed significantly, much to my surprise.

They differed both in style and substance.

Tymoshenko played underdog. She prayed and asked for forgiveness.

Venue: Sofiyivska Ploshcha (Square)
Summary: candle vigil, smaller-scale
Who came: intelligentsia+a few hundred paid rally-goers/political tourists

Yanukovych played winner. He eulogized the end of the Orange era and waved his hands.

Venue: Mykhailivska Ploshcha (Square)
Summary: victory party, larger-scale
Who came: thousands of paid rally-goers/political tourists mostly

Gone with the wind...

Singer Jamala warms up the crowd

Paid rally-goers (college students mostly) here, there and everywhere

Off to the Tymoshenko rally...

True-blue mobile toilets and Yanukovych rally-goers

As it turned out, the Tymoshenko rally was drawing to a close

A Tymoshenko supporter carrying a sign that prays for Yulia and a better future

Downtrodden: Tymoshenko supporters on their way to the Yanukovych rally

Yanukovych mounts the stage as we re-enter his rally

Live feed from Dnipropetrovsk: “5 years of Orange ruin and chaos”

Taisia Povaliy does a patriotic election song

Battle of the Billboards 2010 (Part 2)

Take a walk through inter-election Kyiv.

Jan. 17: Tymoshenko ads disguised as Focus magazine ads, or vice versa

Maidan, an hour before the polls closed

Jan. 20: The Eye of Providence

Goodbye Yushchenko!

Jan. 30: Win-lose...or win-win?

“Elect Ukraine’s new path” (so much for the Ideal Country/Ukrainian Breakthrough)

The sunset of Ukraine's democracy?

Facelift or liposuction?


A Boy and His Dog...Plus the Girl!

Yanukovych morphing into a blank screen

Jan. 30: Khreshchatyk

Whose balloon will burst first?

“Kyivans for Yanukovych,”
“Yanukovych is our president 2010

Against All Odds

The Halo Effect

Friday, February 05, 2010

Tymoshenko v. Yanukovych in Round 2 Commercials

In Ukraine, campaign commercials look like never-ending advance fee fraud letters.

The more promises they break, the more promises they make.

She goes from she to you, in a hard-sell message that contrasts her with him and offers a slice of death for the skeptics.

Voiceover: Think. Ukraine has a choice to make. You’re choosing a future — your future. You’re choosing: Ukraine will be energy-independent or he will sell out the pipeline and will make you a gas addict. You’re choosing: You’ll have the land or he will steal it — like he stole Mezhyhirya. You’re choosing: Your dreams of freedom and decent living will come true or he will bury them. Think about the future you want. Think about Ukraine. Think about yourself. Protect Ukraine. Yulia Tymoshenko.

He goes government-bashing, teasing and solution-selling in a slice of life populist message, complete with a thank-you note and change rhetoric.

Voiceover: In this campaign, we’ve heard a lot of words from the government. They tried to convince us why we should elect them again. On January 17, the people of Ukraine had their weighty say. It’s time to ignore their talk and look at the facts. When you read between the lines of government reports, you see the grim truth coming out.
Yanukovych: The people of Ukraine had their weighty say on January 17 and I’m grateful for your support! The people said they’re not ready to trust hollow promises when they need true changes. The people said they’re not ready to make peace with such a state of affairs when they need real help. The people are not ready to accept defeats that are being portrayed as victories. It’s time to unite and vote for real changes.

I can’t help but recall that Tymoshenko quote:

And believe me, all this huge false advertising, all these huge false billboards — it’s just falsehood, as is any advertising.

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As Tymoshenko Goes Solo, So Does Yanukovych

To debate effectively, the Effective Leader chose not to stand face to face with his rival. One debate year is one too many.

Enjoy these three Yanukovych solo videos from ICTV.

Video 1
He blasts Tymoshenko’s “see no crisis, hear no crisis” attitude and her unprofessional/inexperienced/irresponsible/smooth-talking team.

When Tymoshenko was saying there would be no crisis in Ukraine, it didn’t ask her — it came.

When...the situation began deteriorating, Tymoshenko started looking for an excuse and saying that crisis is all over the world, as it is in Ukraine. Our economy is going down. But when we looked at how it’s going down in Ukraine and how it’s going down in the world, we saw that Ukraine went down — it didn’t just go down, but it, so to speak, landed very badly — on its head.

Video 2
Punctuating his garbled speech with loan words, Yanukovych refutes criticism as mud-slinging, campaigns for effective and honest government, a government of aerobatics.

When you have the aerobatics, so to speak, then the people have the drive...[applause]...then...then you have the motivation, then life gets interesting.

Yanukovych talks about political shows as a way of life for the likes of Tymoshenko, for whom such recreation activities should be reserved.

Struggling for words and making awkward pauses, he finally discovers his wish for the Tymoshenko people: that they would find ways to achieve satisfaction.

Video 3
When asked by a Russian reporter about Yushchenko’s decision to honor Bandera and Shukhevych, Yanukovych replied unconventionally and even upset the reporter, initially.

Yanukovych: In a fairly short time — in a fairly short time — I think our neighbors in both the West and the East will become convinced...that Ukraine...can live without being told what to do. [nods his head in self-confidence, audience explodes with applause, reporter gets royally pissed]

I often listen to us being...when we’re being talked to in a patronizing tone, and I, so to speak, I feel sorry for the state. [more applause]

Russian reporter: The question still remains: Will you or will you not annul these decrees if you become president?

Yanukovych: You really want me to tell you this?
Reporter: I'd like to fathom... [incoherent]

Yanukovych: I...I want...I want to tell you that we’ll have this system liquidated — the system...[applause] that in the future nobody will ever have such opportunities: When I grab power, I do whatever I want.

Hmmm...why does my my BS meter keep going off the charts all the time?

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

With Yanukovych a Debate No-Show, Tymoshenko Goes Solo

She knew he wouldn’t show up.

She even made this truth-against-mud commercial to capitalize on his absenteeism.

Once in the studio, Tymoshenko made the best of her one-upwomanship. Enjoy these three videos!

Video 1

Tymoshenko does not rule out the possibility of Yanukovych joining her and discusses the benefits of staring at a vacant spot.

It’s just important that the vacant spot would not then occupy the presidential post in this country. That would be very unfortunate and wrong.

Video 2

Tymoshenko talks about 2 Yanukovychs: the airbrushed Yanukovych in commercials, billboards, teleprompter speeches v. the real Yanukovych in terms of IQ, values and policies.

And believe me, all this huge false advertising, all these huge false billboards — it’s just falsehood, as is any advertising.

She also trashes the real Yanukovych for failing to disclose his detailed vision, his team and his PM of choice. She grills him for being a vacant spot, a coward.

Video 3

Tymoshenko draws the line between the honest hardworking ordinary people of Donetsk and their bloody thuggish mafia government, as she puts it.

To illustrate, she portrays the late Yevhen Kushnaryov as a maverick-martyr whose death while hunting three years ago must have been a murder. She doesn't mention Kushnaryov's Ukrainophobic and separatist credentials.

See the guy in the right corner
1:43-1:45? That's Oleksandr Feldman, one of Yanukovych's trusted allies in Kharkiv in the '04 election.

Since '06, he's been under Tymoshenko's wing. Speaking both in Ukraine and abroad, MP Oleksandr Feldman (BYuT) routinely equates the UPA with the Nazis and has sponsored related legislation.

As Jewish organizations denounce the UPA while praising their own freedom fighters, Feldman sides with them but strikes a middle ground on the Holodomor.

He has been raising awareness of the Holodomor in Israel, amid Western media reports of “Ukrainian guards worse than Nazis.” He has even protested the Israeli ambassador’s statement on Israel’s non-recognition of the Holodomor as genocide.

However, MP Feldman argues that it was a genocide of the Ukrainian people, not of ethnic Ukrainians per se. He also insists that the Bolsheviks behind the Holodomor and, by extension, behind the October Revolution and the Gulag “have no ethnicity.”

Back to Tymoshenko. When she said the word “explosions,” she probably wanted to cite another example, but got lost in her talking points.

And, yes, she didn’t mention Lozynsky.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Yanikevich, Yakunovich, Belakovich, Yakubovich... Crimeans Misspel Yanukovych

Krasnoperekopsky rayon, Crimea, Ukraine
Ukrainians, 43.4%
Russians, 33.2%
Crimean Tatars, 17.2%
Belarusians, 1.2%
Molodovans, 0.6%
Poles, 0.3%

In this predominantly Russian-speaking rayon (county), some people got it right: Yanukovich (Rus) or Yanukovych (Ukr).

Others got it wrong. Some people even misspell the Party of Regions!

Yanukovich (it’s Yulia we don’t trust and it’s Yanukovich we respect)
Party of the Region
Party of Ragions
Yanukevich-Party of Regions
Party of the Ragion
Yanakovich-Belakovich-Yanikovich (if he raises pensions)
Viktor Yakonovich only
Yankovych, Yankovych only
This...what’s his name…Yakuboivich
This...Yankevich...or what’s his name?
Yanukovych (there’s a million parties out there)
Yakunovich-Yakunovich-Yakunovich (Man 2: I voted for him last time — he didn’t make it, and this time... Man 3: For him only! Man 1: Yakunovich! He’s a stable man, he’s a stable man. Last time — last time — he didn’t make it... Man 2: That’s right! There were changes when he was PM — changes for the better.)

Talk about groupthink.

H/t WolandDeMorg on Twitter

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