Voices from Russia

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



Sunday, 1 July 2012

YOU SAY “Помидор”; I SAY “Помідор”

The Wednesday Morning Fights (at the Rada, not the Garden)

Sergei Yolkin



This cartoon is from two years ago… “the more things change, the more they stay the same”… pass the jug…


Last week, fists flew in the Ukrainian parliament over the latest attempt to grant the Russian language a measure of official status in the country. Fat politicians brawled with other fat politicians, whilst outside, an angry crowd protested. From her jail cell, former Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko denounced the bill as a “crime”. Earlier, she had characterised it as an apparently sacrilegious assault on “an issue that’s holy for many of us”. Timoshenko, who could not speak Ukrainian until she was 36, is a demagogue. Nevertheless, the word “holy” reveals the extremes of passion felt on this subject. Politically and culturally, language is a hot kartofel (or should I say kartoplia?) in the Ukraine and the “Russian Question” provokes defensive outrage from Ukrainian nationalists.

I witnessed Ukrainian language policies in action in 2005, when I visited Kiev. I confess that I thought it rather strange that many people were speaking Russian, but all of the signage was in Ukrainian. The apotheosis of absurdity came when I watched a Russian action movie, where the credits were in Ukrainian, but the language of the film was Russian. Pretentiously, there were English language signs on some government buildings, but nothing in Russian. I also recall a story about a town in the Western Ukraine, where some micro-fascists had banned Russian pop from the airwaves. The struggle to impose the Ukrainian language by force on the country’s large Russian-speaking population, about 30% of the total, has a long pedigree. In his fascinating book, The Affirmative Action Empire, Terry Martin details a barking-mad attempt in the early revolutionary period to compel everybody working in government administration to switch from Russian to Ukrainian in two years… a move that Moscow endorsed in order to defeat “Great Russian Nationalism”. It failed because it was a stupid idea, and ground to a complete halt when Stalin, a Russifying Georgian, came to power.

Of course, it’s natural that many Ukrainians feel anxious about their language. Russia is a powerful neighbour located right next door. The Ukraine has only been independent for 20 years, and nationalists fear that the use of Russian will divide the nation, and threaten its very identity. However, the country already has sharp divisions, and what, in fact, is that identity? It’s not as if all those Russian speakers in the Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea arrived last week to destabilise a hitherto homogenous Ukrainian culture. Most Russians living in the Ukraine were born there. The only reason the Russian-speaking Crimea is part of the country because Nikita Khrushchyov “gifted” it in 1954 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Ukraine’s union with Russia. The Russian Empire captured New Russia in the south-eastern Ukraine in the 18th century, and both Russians and Ukrainians settled there. For centuries, there was no border, and Kiev is the “mother city” of Russians and Ukrainians alike. Russian is also the lingua franca of most of the other long-established ethnic minorities in the Ukraine.

The millions of Russian speakers in Ukraine are hardly interlopers, then. Some are as “indigenous” as the ethnic Ukrainians themselves. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that many object to the policy of forced Ukrainisation, active since the 1990s, which has seen education in the Russian language largely eradicated and eastern and southern government offices conducting business in a tongue predominantly spoken in the western half of the country. Embarrassingly, the independent and democratic Ukraine is more oppressive in this regard than was Brezhnev’s USSR was in 1970. At that time, in the autonomous region of Tatarstan, 70 percent of schooling was conducted in Tatar, not Russian. By 1990, schooling in Tatar had dropped to 24 percent. By 2001, however, the figure was at 49.3 percent and rising. Thus, Russia… the Grand Villain of Ukrainian nationalism… grants its linguistic minorities more rights than the independent democratic Ukraine.

Perhaps, I’m more relaxed about language because although I’m Scottish, I speak Standard English, not Gaelic, and don’t feel any less Scottish for it. I freely admit that the Scots and the English are very similar, just as Ukrainians and Russians are very similar. Life is too short to dwell on the narcissism of small differences. Meanwhile, in Texas, I see Spanish language signs all the time, most often in big stores, because the politics of immigration aside, it’s good for business if your clientele can read the signs. Second-generation immigrants assimilate and become bilingual, because if you don’t learn English you’re doomed to a life of low-paying menial jobs.

Perhaps, if Ukrainian politicians could concentrate less on punching each other in the face and focus more on giving Ukraine a prosperous future, the language issue would become less contentious. Anybody with ambition who wanted to play in the big leagues would be motivated to learn the language of the unitary centre, which is Ukrainian and will remain so. Russian speakers might look over the border at their cousins and feel pity. They might even read a volume of Taras Shevchenko’s poetry by choice instead of as a legal obligation in school. Well, OK, that last one’s probably going a bit far. However, you get my drift.

1 June 2012

Daniel Kalder



Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ukrainians Forced to Cancel European Summit over Timoshenko

A sardonic Ukrainian take on Yuliya’s hubris and arrogance… spot on accurate, I’d say…


A diplomatic spokesman said that the Ukraine had to call off a Central European summit in Yalta after some European leaders refused to attend the event over the alleged ill-treatment of jailed pro-Western ex-premier Yuliya Timoshenko. “Orange Revolution” princess, Timoshenko, 51, is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of office following what Western governments called a politically-motivated trial. Aleksandr Dykusarov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, said, “The Ukraine decided to postpone the summit and not to hold it on 11-12 May in Yalta. The event will be held at a later time that we’ll determine through diplomatic channels”.

Leaders of Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Czechia, Austria, and Italy said that they’d shun the summit in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort in protest against the way the authorities handled the situation around the former premier, who’s suffering from severe back pain and was diagnosed with a herniated spinal disc. Last week, photos circulated in the media showing Timoshenko with bruises on her body, which she claims prison guards inflicted as they forcibly transferred her to a hospital. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that European leaders refused to attend the summit before the scandal erupted around Timoshenko’s alleged assault and battery in prison.

8 May 2012



Editor’s Note:

This is the dumbest move that the EU and Langley could’ve come up with. It’ll only push the Ukraine into VVP’s open arms… and Vova’s just waiting for it to happen. That’s the typical end of American/Western arrogance and hubris… and they’re so SURPRISED when it happens. Globalisation’s dead and national interest has “risen from the dead”… it’ll take a while for that to sink in, though… the McMansion dwellers aren’t known for their brightness…


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