Sunday, July 30, 2006

Baltica 2006

This is footage from Day 3 of this year's Baltica Festival in Latvia. The Baltica Festival takes place each summer in one of the Baltic States, so every third year it is in Latvia, as it was this year. The Baltica Festivals, I believe, started in 1986 and were a major part of the movement that led to the Baltic States' independence from the Soviet Union.

The festival always takes place in a variety of locations in each of the host countries. This year it opened on a Th near the town of Sigulda; Fri it was in Riga; Sat it took place in different locations throughout the Latvian countrside, and Su it closed with a concert and ceremony in the very picturesque town of Kuldiga.

This is footage from Sat in the village of Kolka, which is located on the coast at the point where the Baltic Sea and the Bay of Riga meet in the Kurzeme or Courland region of Latvia.

More specifically, this is footage of two groups from Latgale. Latgale is a region of Latvia that has long fascinated me; it is considered by many to be the most rural part of Latvia, and it shares a long border to the east with Russia. The Latgallian dialect is quite distinct from the rest of Latvian, and Latgallians are considered a distinct group within the Latvian nation, though there is a small, small minority who consider the Latgallians a distinct Baltic ethnicity seperate from both Latvians and Lithuanians. I have heard many people--i.e., other Latvians--claim that one of the major points that makes the Latgallians distinct is the Slavic influence they have inherited in their borderland with Russia. Whatever is the case, there is a degree of similarity between, say, some Latgallian dance styles to those of their eastern neighbor, which is represented here at the end of the clip. I have seen/heard other Latvian groups play this tune while dancing in a different manner to the music.

One of the perfomers gives an explanation of his group's next song in the middle of the clip, which I have not subtitled. He explains, while speaking in more standard Latvian, that North Latgallians also differ from South Latgallians, which I presume he mentioned because of this stereotype in Latvia concerning how different Latgallians are from the rest of the Latvian bunch--well, he seems to be saying, Latgallians even differ from themselves, too! He goes on to say that the next song is an "apdziedasanas" (which I write here without the diacritical marks, as I don't have Latvian fonts on my laptop)--a song in which people sing about one another, often humorously. He says the singing of such songs is still part of wedding traditions in his, I think he meant to say, South North Latgale, and warns the audience that they might not understand the words as they are sung in the Latgallian dialect.

In short, Latgallians are to Latvians what Hutsuls are to Ukrainians.

In general, I have gathered from native speakers of Latvian that they can catch on to Latgallian if they listen carefully enough.

For readers of my blog, this is a perfect example of what I mean by "real" folk music/dance performance--no Sovietski Bullshitski, nor overly arranging and/or ornamenting the music, but rather the presentation of music and dance with an authentic village-based sensibility.

I absolutely adored the orchestra of the 4 older musicians that appears at the beginning of the clip.

In the middle and at the end of the footage appears my daughter with her mama and one of Julija's buddies--they are all dressed in Livonian costumes.

For family and friends: I was part of the festival, performing with the folk ensemble Skandinieki with Zinta; Julija was with us throughout the festival. In the footage you will see her charging to the performers on stage. Julija was a frequent and quite welcomed cameo in a variety of acts during the course of the festival, and was on stage when Skandinieki performed. Listen for the crowd's laughter in this clip as Julija takes the stage.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dream, er, Nightmare. . .

Had the following dream two nights ago (reproduced here with just a tiny bit of embellishment):

BjuT continues to boycott parliament which Yu finally chooses to disband, but the rump parliamentarians refuse the order to dissolve (as promised). So the 1993 Yeltsin v. Parliament incident repeats itself in Ukraine, but in Ukraine things are more complicated. It turns out that Yu i joho ljubi druzi have sold the pipelines to Gazprom. The Kremlin then sends Russian Spetsnas into Ukraine--in collusion with the rump Parliament--under the pretense of protecting the pipelines and guaranteeing oil and gas deliveries to Europe during Urkaine's crisis. A civil war breaks out and the Kremlin sends more forces to back forces within Ukraine's military that remain loyal to the parliament, with the claim that Yu's move to disband the parliament was undemocratic and that the Kremlin most help restore democracy to Ukraine. Guardian writers publish pieces that say, "We told you so, about those Oranges," while others chide that this is what the West gets for meddling in Russia's backyard.

The forces of the rump parliament win with the aid of the Russian army, and the parliament rams through more legislation reversing the constitutional changes and restoring full powers to the presidency, after which they declare Ya an interim president before new elections.

As the war raged, the US, the EU and the UN all meakly said that the fighting should stop and that a negotiated peace should be brokered, and the EU of course continued to feed at the trough of Russian gas while they all three thanked Russia behind the scenes for protecting the pipes. All three are quick to recognize the legitimacy of the Russian-backed Ya government (this time it is they, not Putin, who are humiliated), and they--due to the new geopolitics of the situation and their neverending realpolitik that trumps all idealpolitik or principled politics--accept the presence of a Russian "peacekeeping force" in Ukraine. A partisan war begins, yup again in Western Ukraine against occupation by Muskali (slang for Russians). So unfortunately, scenes from that damn video game that was created in Russia during the OR come to life. (The game goes like this: it is 2008 or so and the OR has failed and Ya is President and Russian troops are in Ukraine again; there is a partisan war in the West, and in the game you are a Russian soldier shooting down Western Ukrainian insurgents).

The funny or most dreamlike part of the dream is that I am flying around Ukraine on a magic carpet with a hooka pipe in the center, observing everything happening. With me are Solzhenitsyn, Bulgakov, and Roman Szporluk (Professor of History at Harvard and former director of the Ukrainian Harvard Research Institute). Solzhenitsyn rambles on, saying such things as, "See, we told you nothing original comes from Ukraine. The Ukrainians are derivative, they copy us, they borrow our culture and tastes and call them their own. They copy what we, the Great Russians do, in history. The Great Russians are the true descendants of Rus', while Ukrainians--the Little Russians--are the offshoots, historical accidents. It is indeed time that the Little Russians returned home once more." Bulgakov sits there, only nodding his head but to mention once, "It takes a Russian writer from Ukraine to create something original--like Gogol, or myself."

Szporluk protests, mentioning first that Gogol had a rather tormented and unsettled/uncertain sense of his own identity and that one had obviously to admit that though he expressed himself in Russian, his inspiration was Ruthenian or "Little Russian," and that his Little Russianness accounted for a great deal of his originality as an author. Szporluk then went on to discuss first Nikolai Gogol's/Mykola Hohol's predicament and identity crisis as a perfect example of the predicament of colonial writers in the modern/colonial period, and then he discussed the history of colonial/post-colonial relations between Russia and Ukraine as per arts and culture, emphasizing how before the Muscovites incorporated Kyiv, there were no universities in Moscow and that there had been little high culture in Moscow that was not related to religion and icon painting. He went on to say--repeating in my dream a lecture he delivered the summer I studied at the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute--that Ukrainians would never be truly free to develop themselves as a nation until the two major Continental powers of the late modern period--the Germans and the Russians--stopped bullying Ukraine and figured out who they were as peoples. The German nation, he argued, was now more or less fully formed and settled within stable borders, and that it had succeeded in doing so because it had given up further imperial adventures on the continent and channeled its energies into the supranational EU project--which for Ukraine means that it could expect no more invasions from the West. But looking down from the carpet, he said that it was clear that Russia will not give up imperial ambitions and delusions and stabilize in this generation, and so Ukrainians still had a generation or more of struggle ahead of them before they could truly try to build a society and government of which they could feel proud.

I do not intend here to put the lion's share of the blame for Ukraine's troubles on Russia or the Kremlin--the ending to my dream suggests I might. . .

Monday, July 24, 2006

More on Riga's Gay Pride and Latvia's Shame

Note: For those of you who may notice--this is a reposting of this post. I started to write this a couple of hours ago and then had to deal with getting the little one to bed, and must have accidentally hit "Publish Post" instead of "Save as Draft". . .though this is not a finely edited piece, the more drafty draft is gone. . .what's the blogger etiquette on this, I wonder, but only to wonder. . .

Notes and links:

1) The group that organized events surrounding the Gay Pride Parade, called Mozaika (Mosaic--their site here) has gathered 250 signatures so far and is calling for the resignation of the Minister of the Interior. The Latvian PM has given the Interior Minister 3 days to make a report on what happened during the confrontations, which took place both in front of Hotel Latvia and a church, in which he is to report on who the main people were that "did bad things." The bad things included throwing eggs and feces, and I forgot to mention in the previous post that there were perhaps a thousand or more counter-demonstrators. I don't know how many people were attending the events in the Hotel, as I did not myself go inside

2) A friend, a Latvian-American, said that she went into the Hotel Latvia as one showing her support for the GLBT community. Inside, people were told not to go out the front doors, and that transportation was being arranged out a side door. She, however, felt that she had come to show her support against the counter-demonstrators, and so went out the front door. Though nothing happened to her, she said that she was scared and that her impression was that the police were not doing a very good job of crowd control.

For more information on what happened to others, including to people who were just passing by, you can go to this post at the All About Latvia blog.

3) Some news links. . .it is one site. . .at the very top of the page, are two links with video of events:

A) The one entitled "'LNT ziņas: 23.jūlijs (2006)" has footage and info (in LV) of what happened in front of Hotel Latvia

B) The one entitled "900 sekundes: 24.jūlijs (2006)" has footage and information (in LV) of what happened today, the calls for resignations and demos in front of the ministry of interior.

I don't know how long those links will be up, and you have to go to that page to see them both, I can't provide perma or seperate links to them. . .

4) Then this today, from the Baltic Times: Minister of Interior responds to criticism.

5) Found this today, a statment by Latvia's President Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

Though she has her critics, she is a strong president who knows how to use her powers, limited to a largely symbolic function, to maximum effect. She is in general beloved of Latvians and in general disliked by those Russians who disagree with Latvia's strong language laws and attempts to beat a fiercely independent path from Moscow.

6) Another article here.

7) Article about last year's events, with damning comments from the PM:

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis had opposed the event, saying Riga should "not promote things like that".

"For sexual minorities to parade in the very heart of Riga, next to the Doma church, is unacceptable," he told LNT television on Wednesday.

8) My closing thoughts from my post after last year's Gay Pride in Riga:

I was sitting in a cafe in Riga, in a location of a restaurant chain called Lido that serves traditional Latvian food (there are similar chains in Ukraine, serving Ukrainian food, of course), and I looked out the window to notice a tall, very muscular black man wearing a very tight black dress that came down only to mid thigh level, and who was wearing knee-high leather boots with stilleto heels. I was amazed. Ok, in the US one might be able to spot such bold display of one's sexuality, but here in Riga! And also given that he was a black man in a country where nonwhites are but a decimal point of the population, one can guess that he was quite a sight. At the time, I had no idea how to read him and his display of sexuality but for to think, "Right on man, be proud!" But I could not believe the risk he was taking. He just strutted--and he strutted--up and down the street looking intently at each person who passed by. I therefore wondered about his eagerness most of the day, until later I learned about this whole anti-gay uproar. That fellow is just as courageous as any of the Latvians who boldly stood out to proclaim their right to be Latvian against the Soviet government. Or to put it another way, in light of last week's anti-gay fervor, walking down that street in that dress was just as bold and courageous (and potentially dangerous) for that man as it was for any Latvian to have walked the streets wrapped in the (red-white-red) national flag in the early days of perestroika and of open resistane to the Soviet regime. Thus, I truly, truly hope that neither he nor anyone else like him becomes martyred as did the many Latvians who bravely struggled against the Soviet regime for one thing: the right to be who they are

9) And one more thing: It is true that the vast majority of the counter-demonstrators spoke Russian. You can make your own heads or tails of this--but I will voice in here to say that I think it is quite evident that the leadership of the Russian community of this country is leading its members into much darker areas of the human spirit than the leadership of the Latvian and other non-Latvian communities are leading their members . . .Not, of course, to say any one community is free of prejudice and intolerance of any kind.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Riga's Gay Pride and Latvia's Shame, Part II

As the world is going to hell--i.e., Israeli fundamentalists bomb Lebanon and warn of a ground invasion in a world in which far too many people foolishly view war as a means of lasting peace; and Ukrainian politicians continue to fuck over the people of Ukraine due to their meakness (Yushchenko), their tactical stupidity (Our Ukaine), their stubbornness (Yushchenko, Our Ukraine), their lack of vision and will (Yushchenko) or of moral compass (Moroz, Regions, but also Our Ukraine's upper eschelons), or all of these things (all of them); and claims about electoral fraud in Mexico get burried and laughed at as quickly as did the claims of fraud in Ohio 2004--things in Riga have to make me feel a bit more gloomy today. . .

The Issue of the Gay Pride Parade in Riga (go to this site for some general info):

Here is something from an email I just sent:

Well, have you heard anything about the issues surrounding a march for Gay Pride here in Riga? It was supposed to happen today, but the city council did not approve the permit for the march, claiming not that it was opposed in principle to a Gay Pride Parade, but that it was going to be too dangerous--last year, while 40 or so people marched in the parade, many more people showed up to throw insults and eggs and tomatoes at the marchers, and the counter-demonstrators pledged to return this year to do much worse than last year. So the city claimed that they could not guarantee the marchers' their saftey, said that the march was too dangerous, and one politician said that to march would be suicidal.

The claim that they can not provide security is, of course, completely bullshit. Every May, when Latvians and Latvian-friendly non-Latvians in Latvia celebrate the day the country (more or less) declared its independence form the USSR in 1990, mostly Russian counter-demonstrators show up and hurl insults and the occasional egg or tomatoe at the those celebrating. So, this past May major counter-demonstrations against Latvia's indepedence from the USSR were planned for the site where Latvians gather for their independence celebration (at Freedom Square), and the city council ensured that a massive cordon of police encircled the celebrants, protecting and seperating them from the counter-demonstrators. I guess there was a bit of violence this past May.

So, the claim by the city council that they could not protect a Gay Pride march is bogus. They could have--they just lacked the political will to do so, and this lack of political will betrays the prejudices and double standards of those in office, or the prejudices of the fellow party members and electorate of those in office. Last year, the city allowed the Gay Pride Parade to take place, but then faced a storm of criticism from portions of the Latvian press, the city government, and from the parliament and certain political parties. Calls were made for the resignations of members of the city government and even of some MPs. That many people in Latvia--no surprise--hold anti-gay attitudes here. (Read here what I wrote about Gay Pride in Riga last year; I got here one week or so after it was held.)

So this year, since there was no parade, the counter-demonstrators showed up in front of the Hotel Latvia, where events were to be held after the parade. The counter-demonstrators were there in front of the hotel today, heckling those who tried to enter and their supporters. The men that were counter-demonstrating against GLBTs were extremely angry and fiercely violent. Some guys charged at those trying to get into the hotel and the police jumped in to stop them. It was an angry, violent, disgusting scene--not because of the GLBTs, of course, but because of the intolerant ones.

But the point is that the city provided some security at the hotel. . .but they had to. Hotel Latvia is a prestigious (I think 4 star) hotel where foreign businessmen, diplomats and tourists stay. . .

They could have done so for a parade.

One hopeful comment, though: there were those in the press and in politics here who complained bitterly that all of this stood out against EUropean values and that they planned to take the decision of the city council to some EUropean court (I forget which), and I had dinner tonight with a bunch of fifty-something Latvians who I would never have expected to have held tolerant views about GLBTs, but who all agreed that allowing a march is part of the meaning of democracy. And oh, some pundits went so far as to warn that such ongoing intolerance could be grounds for throwing Latvia out of the EU. There are plenty here that would be all too happy if that happened (go here and look at the second photograph), but that is another issue. It is of course quite unlikely that Latvia would get the boot over a gay pride parade; more likely that the EU will become more tolerant of intolerance, as places the world over seem to be becoming these days (see this here for what I think of that).

I will try to get some video up of the confrontation in front of the Hotel in the next day or two. . .

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Hutsul Wedding

Take a break from Ukrainian politics:

Watch the video

This is part I (go to part II here) of three short (8-10 min) pieces I will post of footage I took at a wedding in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine in August 2004. The wedding was that of a cousin of a friend, Anna. Much of Anna's heritage is Hutsul. Hutsuls and their descedents have lived in their part of the Carpathians for some 500-600 400-500 years*. The sign at the entrance to Anna's home village of Jabloniv boasts 450 yrs of settlement.

The video begins with footage of Anna, two other friends (including my second-cousin Oksana Kolodnytska from Pidhajtsi) and I leaving from Anna's village for another, nearby village for the wedding.

The majority of Hutsuls identify themselves as Ukrainians, unlike other peoples of the Carpathians who, like the Hutsuls, speak a language closely related to Western Ukrainian dialects. That is, the majority of people comprising other Carpathian Mountain groups that speak languages closely related to Ukrainian dialects, such as the Lemkos, Bojkos and Dolynjany, insist that they form a seperate ethnic identity from Ukrainians and refer to themselves as Rusyn or Carpatho-Rusyn (see this site for more info about the Rusyns).

(I am of the mind that the outsider must accept the ethnic self-definition of the majority of any ethnic group. Hence, Hutsuls indeed are Ukrainian, while the Bojkos and Dolynjany, and perhaps Lemkos too, are Rusyn. . .)

In general, the people of Western Ukraine and the Ukrainian Carpathians are thought to have preserved a great deal of their traditions. These are quite rural and agricultural areas that were once dubbed as among the most isolated and "backward" in Europe --and they may still be. "Backward," however, is a strong and wrong word, depending on one's prejudices (i.e., need of creature comforts); this can be a deeply enchanting and powerful land, especially if one can forego the typical requirements, service expectations, and judgments of a Westerner. Much of what many consider the traditional past remains contemporary here--with all its plusses and minuses (many of the latter of which are formidable vis-a-vis the young and especially for women).

Some notes to the footage:

This is Ukraine, and so drinking vodka (or better, horylka, as it is known in Ukrainian) plays a big role in the wedding festivities. I encourage the viewer to have an open mind about this and also to pay attention to a unique tradition in this area: when drinking a shot outdoors, people frequently would throw the bottom 1/3 or so of the shot over their right shoulder or downward at the ground.

There are some substitles, but much is left untranslated. From what is subtitled, one should easily get the gist of what is going on.

This is the best quality I knew at this time for uploading such a large file to the internet. It is best viewed while not expanded to full screen.

If one would like a high-resolution CD or even a DVD of this and the next installment, contact me at to make arrangements.

This was obviously shot and edited by a folk music fanatic, thus the emphasis on
music/musicians. Note that while much if not most of the music is specifically Hutsul, some of the music is part of a general repertoire of Western Ukrainian Wedding Music--in particular, note the Wedding March played outside the Groom's Home, which is common throughout Western Ukraine, though with some variation. (Update: compare the wedding march in this video from the Hutsul region of the Carpathians to the wedding march here from Pidhajtsi, a quintessentially Galician town.)

Part II will come later, containing:

-Footage of the wedding ceremony at the church
-More footage of the Carpathians from this village of Nyzhnij Bereziv
-The Reception line and various traditions as people arrive at the reception
-Reception dinner and singing
-The Dance--including footage of authentic Hutsul dancing as done, not for the sake of performance but for enjoyment, by contemporary-day Hutsuls, including an arkan (UPDATE: this footage will form Part III, and will not be in Part II)
-More footage of the musicians!

*Update: The ancestors of the Hutsuls are thought to have been Vlachs (Romanian-speaking sheepherders/mountain people) that migrated up the Carpathian Chain from the Balkans about 400-500 years ago. Where these Vlachs settled amongst Rusyns, they eventually became Ukrainian. It is also thought the Gorale of Poland have a similar ethnogenesis. This is based on linguistic evidence: Real Hutsul dialect is said to have a number of words with Romanian roots.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Coming Soon. . .New Video

This is a still from footage of a contemporary Hutsul wedding I went to in August, 2004. I am almost done editing a short video (15? maybe 20 minute) of the day. I finally have a computer again with which I can get back to work using Adobe Premier; the last month has been full of nothing but lap-top troubles, computer help centers, and costing $. . .
Pro bozhevilnu sytuatsiju v Ukrajini:

1) Kuzio pointed out, in some "notes to the disaster," that most of what was left in Our Ukraine for the parliamentary elections were its coalition-with-PR-friendly "national bourgeoisie," while most of its "genuine" national-democratic constituency had bolted; from the UkraineList:

From: "Taras Kuzio"
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 00:16:26 -0500

This disaster can be squarely blamed on Yushchenko's indecision and lack of strategy, Our Ukraine's unwillingness to accept the election results and the Socialists lack of moral principles.

The only [foreign policy] factor I would add is that the US support for an Orange coalition was too narrow. Perhaps the US should have backed an Orange coalition OR a Grand coalition with Yulia Tymoshenko as Premier.

The two parties to gain from the new coalition are Regions and Tymoshenko. Back in late 2005, I labelled such a scenario as one of three, but unlikely and called it Kuchma-Lite.

The Socialists, Our Ukraine and Yushchenko have lost out.

Lytvyn will gain votes in the next election from the Socialists who can now be accused of "betrayal" of their votes. I doubt this parliament will last 5 years.

Our Ukraine are weakened by not having their national democratic constituency in parliament. Our Ukraine is less national democratic today than it was in 2002 and more centrist. Major national democratic blocs did not join Our Ukraine in 2006 (Pora-Reforms & Order and the Kostenko bloc) and lost the elections. In 2002 these two blocs were inside Our Ukraine.

After returning from Kyiv I concluded that Yushchenko is a one term president. A minority told me in Kyiv that he might even not last one term (like Kravchuk who called early elections in 1994 and lost to Kuchma). I now believe that Yushchenko could go the way of Kravchuk as a coalition dominated by the anti-presidential institution left + anti-Yushchenko Regions, could attempt to either impeach Yushchenko or abolish the presidency by making Ukraine into a full parliamentary republic (where the president is elected by parliament, a step that Kuchma-Medvedchuk proposed in 2003 when constitutional reforms were proposed).

The only "good news" is that if you think that an Orange coalition had internal contradictions then take a look at Kuchma-Lite's anti-capitalist left & Regions big oligarchs (translation: Yekhanurov's "national bourgeois'). How long will Kuchma-Lite last?
2) LEvko at Foriegn Notes points out this piece about Moroz.

3) Yuri Shevchuk (Lecturer of Ukrainian Language and Culture at Columbia U, originally from Rivne, PhD from Shevchenko State U) had this optimistic thing to say I thought worthy of rumination (vis-a-vis his claims about PR here):

From an interview printed in Toronto's Novyi Shliakh newspaper (full text)

RT: What is your prognosis for the Ukrainian political situation?
YS: I feel a coalition between Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions (PR) would be the best outcome given the reality because I don't see any substantial difference in thinking and acting between the two forces. The pronouncements are all very well, but they say one thing, do another thing.

RT: But what about their different views on NATO and the EU?

YS: The PR absolutely wants to join NATO and EU; it wants their respect. Russia won't give them respect. It regards them as its vassals, not as serious partners, and PR realizes this. Simply behind them there are millions of people who have an animal fear of everything Ukrainian and PR is their hostage. But when PR is in power, they will sing another song. I think PR will achieve more for the European integration of Ukraine than this toothless and chaotic government we have now. It should have been done from the very beginning-unite with PR. Tymoshenko's bloc will be a great opposition and bridle them all. She's very charismatic; if in five years she persuades Ukrainians that she has an alternative, people will vote for her.

In my opinion, the Orange coalition has no future. These are completely different people, who hate each other; it will be a paralysis. On the other hand, it [that the democratic process of forming a coalition is taking place] is done for the first time in Ukraine. We should take this into account and not be frustrated.

[Sometimes], I get the impression that if Parliament never worked, no one would notice and life would go on...If laws are adopted, does anyone observe them? The problem is not in the laws, there must be political will to do things: to support culture, to not hinder business, etc.

Friday, July 07, 2006

As Bob says, Ultra-Competitive Uki Politics

Frickin' Ukrainian politics. . .

I have been dumbfounded, flabbergasted for the past few hours, and now have come up with this:

Our Ukraine should suck it up and accept Moroz as a Speaker and the Orange coalition should continue to hold and Tymoshenko get the PM seat. The three parties of the pro-democracy coalition getting the three more or less top jobs in descending order: Yushchenko/Our Ukraine, as victors of the presidential election, get the President; BJuT as the winners of the parliamentary elections within the pro-democracy camp, gets PM; and the Socialists, as the third partner, get the speaker position. I never wrote about or proposed such a scenario, but I have often ruminated on it. . .

This, I believe, is Moroz's intention/gamble. He may be a schmuck for so last-minutely backing out of the coalition deal, but I don't believe he was bribed. He is a cunning politician, a cool, cold-ass operator and manipulator who is not very gracious toward those he has used along his political path (i.e., Melnychenko, a la abdymok), but he is right about one thing: combination of Tymoshenko as PM and Poroshenko is full of potential disaster/s.

I once again blame the incredible stubbornness of Our Ukraine that has resulted in a) its failure to accept its defeat at the polls and b) its continual support for people like Poroshenko for much of what happened today.

And of course, Moroz's cunning is also to blame. . .he is indeed a major political risk-taker and is very, very cunning; will this risk work?

It is a little premature, it seems to me, to declare the experiment with democratization over just yet. . .let us wait and see who becomes PM. . .again, the Orange coalition can re-form if Our Ukraine can accept Moroz as Speaker (probably a pipe-dream); I am sure BJuT would accept it, if Tymoshenko can get the PM job. . .

Of course, the Socialists would have to agree to Tymoshenko still getting the PM job. . .

If they are completely against that, too, then they are schmucks, and Moroz one of the worst traitors of Ukrainian history. . .

UPDATE: Perhaps I was foolish to assign any degree of nobility to Moroz's move. . .just read (how did I miss this, out of all the things I have read today?) that he claims the other rationale for his move in addition to his opposition to Poroshenko is "the need to heal the east-west divide. . ." Now what the f? Why wasn't he talking about all that and a grand coalition when Our Ukraine was talking about it? Oh, of course, because he probably wouldn't have gotten the Speaker seat by going along with Our Ukraine. . . So he had to do it this way? He's that hungry to have hands on significant levers of power? For what purpose?

I don't know what to think about Ukrainian politics in Kyiv anymore. I think I will, from now on, keep completely to the grassroots, as I mostly do on this blog, anyway. . .

But I still think that Our Ukraine and BJuT should just suck it up, accept Moroz's perfidy, and keep the Orange Coalition alive as outlined above. . .

Fat chance. . .too many variables. . .too much distrust. . .too much contempt. . .

"If there aren't Russians, Germans, or Poles to fight, we have got one another to fight to the ruin. . . "