Finally, I've got the energy to watch Ukrainian TV - if you can call Savik Shuster's Svoboda Slova on ICTV a Ukrainian show.
(Shuster moved to Kyiv after they cancelled his Svoboda Slova on the Russian NTV; he devotes the Ukrainian program to issues relevant to Ukraine - and yet, there's some sense of foreignness to it, a strange feeling, as if someone invisible is watching you. Just takes some time getting used to, I guess: Shuster and Ukrainian politics - in the purely Ukrainian context...)
Today's topic was federalism, separatism and the threat of Ukraine's break-up. They drew on last year's events: the get-together in Severodonetsk, during which a number of folks decided to proclaim the South-Eastern Republic (was that the name?) with the capital in Kharkiv.
Yevhen Kushnaryov, former governor of the Kharkiv region, whose hopes to become head of a new state were crashed a year ago, was speaking when I turned on the TV. It was strange to see him, not pleasant, and I didn't care about what he had to say, especially when I realized that he led a party called 'New Democracy' and his every word was part of his campaign.
I don't think I consciously paid attention to the language he spoke in, Russian. But then someone - editor of the Literary Ukraine newspaper, I think - asked Kushnaryov a question in Ukrainian, and I couldn't ignore that because of the weirdness of looking at Shuster and hearing someone's beautiful Ukrainian. And Kushnaryov replied to this guy in Ukrainian, believe it or not - not as beautiful as the guy's Ukrainian, but totally okay, as neutral as his Russian a minute ago. Again, I wouldn't have paid any attention - if it hadn't been for Shuster's presence.
I am used to our linguistic schizophrenia - but what about poor Savik Shuster, how is he taking it? They don't give you any warning as to when they are intending to speak which of the languages (reminds me of an Armenian-Iranian man I used to know in Iowa - his American wife was in a constant state of panic becuase their 4-year-old son kept switching from English to Armenian to Farsi, and of those three she could only understand English...). Moreover, you'd expect someone like Kushnaryov to speak Russian and nothing else - you'd expect it if you were in Russia, with enough distance to be able to simplify all things Ukrainian, that is. And what is Taras Chornovil doing among these "pro-Russian" guys, speaking nothing but Ukrainian, a little-shit son of the great father, Vyacheslav Chornovil?..
And you'd think the language issue has been dealt with at last, and everyone's more or less bilingual and happy about it - but no, another election is coming up and the language issue, movne pytannya, is as overused as it always is in times like this. Overused mainly by those who have been overusing it for the past fourteen years - thirteen of which they had been running the country and could have done something to solve the problem, if there ever was one...
I liked Anatoly Matvienko, former Crimean prime minister, a soft-spoken, intelligent man, who was trying throughout the show to say how important it was to avoid locking yourself up in a ghetto, an enclave, linguistic or geo-political.
Leonid Kravchuk, first president of Ukraine, is 100 percent a politician, and it's sickening. He spoke of how Ukrainians hate the idea of joining NATO - as if the prospect of it is as real for each one of us as, say, going out to a store and not finding enough money in our pocket, or going over to a hospital to deliver a baby and realizing that the conditions there are so horrid we'd better violate the law and have that poor baby at home...