Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween in Ukrainian style. Part 1.

One of the features of contemporary Ukrainian top-politics is a strong commitment to epistolary genre. If President wants to say something to Prime minister, he will not call her or schedule a meeting, au contraire, he will write an official letter mentioning all the points of discontent and criticism. The answer will be most probably given also in a form of a letter or with help of mass media. Members of parliament, party leaders and other politicians very often use the format of open letters to say something to their opponents.

Generally speaking, Ukrainian politics has a big problem with communication (in particular, with interpersonal communication) between the main players. But yesterday all the Ukrainians witnessed an unprecedented democratic achievement: all the political “top managers” of Ukraine appeared in a live TV-show.

President, Prime minister, Speaker of Verkhovna Rada, leaders of opposition – all of them spent the beginning of Halloween night talking about economy crisis in Ukraine. The programme started at 21.30 and lasted almost for 4 hours. During that time nobody left the studio. The closing speech of President finished at 01.24. Pretty late.
I was waiting much more from that evening. The main part of the show appeared to me rather boring and not very dynamic. Everyone was talking exactly what he (or she) was supposed to say. No breaking news, no lively noticeable discussion. That’s why I did have a plenty of time to notice a lot of interesting details, including strangeness of a decorations.

The President Viktor Yushchenko was sitting in a massive chair on a kind of a big podium, surrounded with two flags. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had a chair near the podium on the left from President, and the Head of Parliament Arseniy Yatseniuk – on his right. It resembled very much a throne of some fairy tale king and looked strange and pretentious. Maybe President’s aides were thinking that it should emphasize the presidential power, who knows. But I’ve suddenly thought that the previous President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, the main anti-hero of the Orange revolution, never made such a show from his TV appearances.
Other noticeable politicians, including leader of the People’s Party Volodymyr Lytvyn and the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych – were situated on the opposite side of a throne, sitting in rows on a simple chairs. The Chairman of the Communists Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko was not invited, though communists are noticeably represented in Parliament.

The most interesting part of a show started near 1 o’clock in the night, when all the political leaders were to answer two questions:
1. Does a joint vote for anti-crisis-law-package of President’s Party Block (OU-PS), Block of the Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (BYT) and People’s Party of Volodymyr Lytvyn on 31 October mean that a new parliamentary coalition in formed?
2. Do you believe in a stable future work of Ukrainian Parliament? (Which means that no early election will be held in a nearest future).
I will not give all the answers here, as I’ve already got a rather long post. I will just chronologically give some quotations as they reflect the current situation in Ukrainian politics in the best way.

Ivan Kyrylenko, leader of parliamentary faction of the BYT:
“Parliament will work… I am sorry for all the troubles we have caused to our colleagues by blocking the parliament”.

Arseniy Yatseniuk, Head of the Parliament:
“With God’s will we will work”.

Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, leader of parliamentary faction of OU-PS:
“We haven’t united with anyone yet, we’ve just voted for a law… No, unfortunately it’s not possible to say that there is a new coalition”.

Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the oppositional Party of Regions:
“We have been watching this performance during all the year… Yulia Volodymyrivna (Tymoshenko. – T.V.), you shouldn't fool people so cynically as you are doing now".

Volodymyr Lytvyn, leader of the People’s Party:
“The consolidation demonstrated here looks like made in a 5 minutes before the shooting execution”.

An answer of a President Yuschenko was also very interesting and symbolic a lot. I will write about it in my next post. Have a nice weekend.

1 comment:

elmer said...

The infamous "Ukrainian third way" - talk, talk, talk for 4 hours ---

and say nothing

and do nothing.

Just talk.

PS The word verification is "curses" - very nice for Halloween!