Voices from Russia

Saturday, 10 November 2012

10 November 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Short Paws, Quick Fangs

Short Paws, Quick Fangs

Sergei Yolkin



This is another multilayered Yolkin pun… in the recent Ukrainian legislative election, one of the parties was UDAR (“punch” in Russian). So, one shouldn’t overlook a “punch”… a not-so-subtle jab at this Russophobic political party and its attacks on Russia and the pro-Russian Party of Regions/KPU bloc.


Scientists observing the nocturnal behaviour of crocodiles were surprised at the speed of the animal’s reaction… in 50 milliseconds, the predator snapped at any object that touched them.

8 November 2012

Sergei Yolkin




Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ruling Party of Regions Wins Ukrainian Election – 99.84% of Votes Counted


On Saturday, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission said that the ruling Party of Regions won 29.99 percent of the party list vote with 99.84 percent of the ballots counted after the election for seats to the Verkhovna Rada. The Batykivshchina (Fatherland) Party led by jailed former Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko came in second with 25.53 percent, and former boxing champion Vitaly Klichko’s Udar (Punch) Party came in third with 13.95 percent. The Communist Party of the Ukraine (KPU) came in fourth with 13.18 percent, and the nationalist Svoboda party gained 10.44 percent. The remaining parties didn’t get past the 5 percent minimum threshold to enter parliament.

The Party of Regions also won the constituency district vote. The election took place on 28 October, with a mixed vote system. Half of the Rada deputies are chosen from party lists on a proportional representation vote, and the other half stand for election in discrete constituencies. The Ukrainian Central Election Commission will announce a final vote tally, with all ballots counted, on Monday at 11.00 local time (13.00 MSK 09.00 UTC 04.00 EST 01.00 PST 17.00 AEST). So far, the Central Election Commission has accepted all the ballots from 188 of 225 regional election commissions. OSCE monitors said the election was not sufficiently transparent and noted an imbalance in the use of administrative resources in the course of the election as well as a disparity in access to media resources among the contending parties. Earlier on Saturday, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, criticised the Ukraine for not having a result declared for the election five days after the vote.

3 November 2012



Editor’s Note:

For those who are interested, the following table shows the proportion of the vote gained by the various major factions in the last three elections (must have won at least 5 percent in one election, bold type indicates a gain in votes over the last election):

  2012 2007 2006 2002
1. Party of Regions


34.4 32.1


2. Fatherland


30.7 22.3


3. Udar


—- —- —-

4. KPU


5.4 3.7


5. Svoboda


0.8 0.4  —-

6. Our Ukraine


14.2 14.0


7. Ukrainian Socialist


2.9 5.7


8. United Social Democrats

—- —- 1.0


The above vote led to the following allocations of seats in the Rada (bold type indicates a gain in seats):

  2012 2007 2006 2002
1. Party of Regions


175 186


2. Fatherland


156 129


3. Udar


—- —-


4. KPU


27 21


5. Svoboda


—- —-


6. Our Ukraine


72 81


7. Ukr Socialist


—- 33


8. United Soc Dem


—- —-


The Our Ukraine (the Yushchenko gang) bloc has imploded. The two minor Socialist parties have fallen off the map, too. Fatherland (Timoshenko’s bunch) appears to have peaked, and is on the downturn. The Party of Regions is holding its own, and the KPU is coming back from a disastrous collapse in 2006. What’s worrisome is the rise of Svoboda and Udar, but there were 72 Yushchenko deputies in 2007 and 77 Svoboda/Udar deputies in 2012. It looks like the Yushchenko voters went for the two extreme right parties, actually diluting their influence. It shows you the level of intelligence amongst the rightwing… namely, not much. In short, not much change.

If one counts the Regions/KPU deputies together, one comes up with the following total of pro-Russian deputies:

  Rada deputies








That is, these two pro-Russian parties have 30 percent more seats than in 2002… that doesn’t bode well for the Galician nationalists, which is why they probably bolted from Yushchenko’s faction and cast their lot with the Far Right Svoboda. This probably means that a Ukrainian rapprochement with Russia is on the way in the middle-future (five to ten years down the road). America’s great attempt to weaken Great Russia by wresting away the Ukraine has probably failed. Sic semper tyrannis



Monday, 29 October 2012

Party of Regions Leads the Ukrainian Parliamentary Election After 10% of Ballots Counted


On Monday, the Ukrainian Central Election Committee said that the ruling Party of Regions, headed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, leads the parliamentary elections after it counted 10 percent of the ballots. Yanukovich’s party gained 39.97 percent of the vote, followed by jailed ex-premier Yuliya Timoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party with 19.56 percent. The Ukrainian Communist Party came in third with 15.79 percent. Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR), led by world-famous boxer Vitaly Klitschko had 11.59 percent of the vote, whilst 6.18 percent of the voters cast their ballots in favour of the nationalist Svoboda Party.

The rest of the political parties participating in the electnationalistion didn’t pass the five percent threshold necessary to gain seats in the country’s legislative body, the Verkhovna Rada. Over 5,000 candidates contested 450 seats in the Rada, with half of the deputies elected by party-list voting, whilst the other half stood in single-mandate constituencies. Polls closed at 20.00 EET (21.00 MSK 18.00 UTC 13.00 EDT 10.00 PDT 04.00 29 October AET) on Sunday. According to the Central Election Committee, voter turnout stood at nearly 58 percent.

29 October 2012



Saturday, 27 October 2012

Church and State Collide in the Ukraine: Calls for Clergy to Stay Out of Politics Go Largely Ignored


Sometimes, the separation of church and state is not as simple as it sounds, particularly in a country as religious as the Ukraine. Despite calls from church leaders for congregations to stay out of upcoming elections, such a scenario seems unlikely. Recent polls conducted by the Razumkov sociological centre indicate about 71 percent of Ukrainians are religious, with almost 52 percent associated with the Orthodox Church and about 11 percent Greek Catholic. Recently, both churches issued statements forbidding clergy to campaign for any candidates.

The statement issued by the Holy Synod of the UOC/MP read, “The church must unite people with different political views; therefore, political campaigns must stay outside of the church”. The Greek Catholic Church took a similar position, “A priest has no right to praise anyone but God”. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich also chimed in, “We have to agree for it not to happen, for the church not to participate in the political process. It’ll only work to split society”. Still, in a country where religion is so intertwined with politics, largely, most people ignore such calls.

Taras Antoshevsky, head of the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine, said, “It’s a tradition in the Ukraine for the church to be involved in the political life of the country in one way or another. Nowadays, the church is dependent on politics, and politicians often use the church for their own purposes”. So far, clergymen from both major groups have been actively involved in countless political campaigns. Yanukovich said the reason is simple, “Politicians have one of the lowest rates of trust in society, while the church has one of the highest”.

The Ukrainian media highlighted instances of priests actively campaigning for politicians. Recently, three deans from different deaneries along with several priests attended a meeting of voters to show their support for a candidate. When asked to explain why, the press secretary of the local diocese said the clergymen weren’t in fact supporting the candidate as a political figure, but simply thanking him for his patronage. Another candidate used the same tactic when he had Greek Catholic, UOC/MP, and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox representatives speak at a rally.

In a village in the Western Ukraine, a priest campaigned for a candidate during a church service, saying, “You all know that [he] helps your community. The church doesn’t take part in state affairs, but you see there are people who actually do help the church and everybody else, too. So, give your vote to good people”. Fr Grigori Bolshakov, a dean of a Kiev church and a local candidate, has gone so far as to use his position to campaign for himself. A banner hangs on his church with his picture which reads, “Vote with your heart, vote with your soul!” According to church rules, a clergyman can only be involved in politics with a blessing from the head of the church. According to a UOC/MP archbishop, the church has granted no priest such permission, saying, “If you want to be a Rada deputy, quit the church, and stand for election as a private person”.

Still, Antoshevsky said that the church rarely punishes priests who do get involved in politics, noting, “There’s no specific punishment for such actions”. He added, however, that he thinks the importance of the church in politics is overstated, observing, “I don’t believe that church influences elections that much. We have so many religious people, yet such a high rate of corruption. Well, where are all the religious people then?”

24 October 2012

Anna Shamanska

Prague Post



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