Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Monument in Kyiv: For Vyacheslav Chornovil

Well, I was going to post some pictures, but the battery on my camera just died. I am writing from an internet club in Kyiv.

I arrived today, and will be heading tomorrow to Lviv and then to Kolomyja, locale of this year's annual Festival of Hutsul Music and Dance.

Earlier today I was strolling downhill from the Arsenalna metro station toward European Square, past the Rada and Marijinskyj and CabMin and the hill on which we once had banged oil-barrel drums, when I came upon a spot where a bunch of people were gathered. Turns out that today was the unveiling of Kyiv's newest monument--in honor of Vyacheslav Chornovil.

Unthinkable before the OR.

I arrived just in time to see a black mercedes limousine pull up and a fellow with highly recognizable silver hair get out--Moroz. He got out of his car about 30 paces from where I was standing with a bunch of others, across the street from where the new monument is located. The area around the monument to be unveiled was cordoned off with fences. There were metal detectors at the entrances to teh area, and plenty of security guards, as well as lots of nonuniformed but menacing-enough looking guys standing alongside the road, all in formation. I noticed Yanuk already standing there, kind-of off to the side of the monument but still front and center enough. Yushchenko arrived shortly thereafter, and I heard someone nearby ask, "Is he late?" I didn't hear the answer and had no idea myself for what time the unveiling was scheduled.

The people standing across the street outside the protected zone were of various sorts, but a lot of them were holding Narodnyj Rukh signs. They were a mellow bunch. I was surprised that no one shouted hin'ba (shame) when Moroz arrived. A lady was walking around handing out a poster with faces of current political and business figures making up the shape of Ukraine and with the title, "Our Ukraine?" She also handed out a newspaper that had on the front cover a picture of Yu giving a lecture. In the image, Yu is pointing to a board on which is written, "Bandits will sit in jail." However, at some point in the lecture, he apparently had crossed out bandits and written "coalition."

There were speeches--Tarasjuk, I think made the first speech. Actually, I don't remember who made the first speech, but I do remember Tarasjuk's arrival, 'cause he was late and some of the folks I was standing among (the spectators and journalists/fotographers who had no press passes) were commenting. Yu made expected, uninspiring comments delivered in a dry manner. Then they unveiled the monument, which looked nice enough. I will have to go sometime and get a closer look at it. I am rather happy that Lviv is now not the only major Ukrainian city with a monument to this important figure.

Moroz left after some very brief mingling, and right after him went Yanukovych. Moroz went by car, while Yanukovych headed off uphill on foot with his retinue--apparently walking back to work in the building outside of which so many people had banged drums, hoping to forever drive him out of any high-level steering position in Ukraine's political system.

I turned to my neighbor and said, sarcastically of course, "The Ukrainian nationalists have left so soon!" Someone else overheard, and said back, "Well, what is Yushchenko still doing there?" That started people debating. Yu good, Yu bad. I listened for a while to the debate among spectators and also, Yu at this point was answering questions from the press. However, I was extremely hungry for lunch, and so I decided to hit the road for a Dva Husja when the fellow standing next to me started complaining that the trouble with Yu is that he has let all the Jewish oligarchs back in power. He said this while holding open that image of Ukraine with the 100 faces (the poster doesn't have that many faces, but Korrespondent's "100 most influential Ukrainians" issue is selling at newstands) the lady had handed out earlier. I am pretty sure that they are not all Jewish on that poster.

Off to Lviv and then to the festival.


Anonymous said...

Some numbers - yes the Correspondent does inc. all 100 people (though not all are full head shots) and out of the 100, 20 people are Jewish. This means that 20% of the top most 100 influential people are Jewish while Jews comprise less than half a percent of the total general population of the country. All this does is to ferment anti-Semitimism and the list is subjective arrived at by 20 'experts' one of whom was Jewish.

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