Saturday, May 16, 2009

By now, I do have doubts about Lutsenko's Germany scandal: way too much politics, too few facts presented.

We're watching Savik Shuster's soap opera right now (of course), and I don't understand why they can't get someone from the German police and/or Lufthansa - someone who was directly involved in the incident - to talk live about it. Where are those people? Do they exist?

Instead, we have to listen to Nestor Shufrych, who claims that he has never tasted alcohol in his life, and to others, who share their assumptions and recall various negative Lutsenko- or police-related episodes that are more or less irrelevant to what happened at Frankfurt airport. Hanna Herman mentioned Anton Chekhov's gun when she was talking about Lutsenko's fist on his election campaign posters. Another Party of Regions guy said that Lutsenko had threatened to ruin the coalition by withdrawing 20 of his people should BYuT and Lytvyn vote in favor of his resignation.

Later, there was a Germany-based Ukrainian journalist who talked about the case and attempts to cover it, and she did shed some light on it all, though not too much: no video exists; and it's up to Lutsenko and his lawyers to make some of the case papers public.

Lutsenko is very angry about the treatment of his ailing son by the German police - rightly so, I guess. And he's mad at the Party of Regions for claiming that Andriy Klyuyev had paid for his son's surgery (which cost Lutsenko €4,000). But he also repeated what he said about the children of politicians after his fight with Chernovetsky: that they - the children - should not be dragged into politics, no matter what. He didn't mention the Sicilian Mafia this time, but repeated that he had defended Yushchenko's son, and Tymoshenko's daughter, and Chernovetsky's son - and I'm afraid he genuinely believes that this is the right way of doing things.

Someone brought up Vitaly Klitschko's recent encounter with the German border officials (amazing, but both his and Lutsenko's scandals took place at Frankfurt airport) - and then they moved on to a brief discussion of the fate of our zarobitchany.

Pandora's box opened - and closed right away.

A charming young woman from Lviv - a student, not a labor migrant - talked about being detained and humiliated on her way back home via Poland. She was almost crying as she spoke about another Ukrainian woman she'd met in her cell - who was being starved by the Polish border guards.

The story did not generate any memorable responses.

Somewhat later, Lutsenko read a few paragraphs from last year's Dzerkalo Tyzhnya story about mistreatment of zarobitchany in Europe (here it is in Ukrainian, Russian, and English).

I'm not sure what the point of this reading was. Possibly, Lutsenko wanted to make us believe that he and his son were just like those zarobitchany - people with no rights, etc. Maybe he meant something different. I don't know.

But I hope Shuster will do a show on zarobitchany one day - and will invite some real people, not the bullshitting politicians. Because, unlike what some of them believe, it's not Lutsenko who's ruining Ukraine's image abroad when he misbehaves. What ruins Ukraine's image abroad is the existence of those millions of Ukrainian laborers who've been chased out of Ukraine to look for work elsewhere - and our bullshitting politicians are at the root of the problem.

Back to Lutsenko: I feel that both scenarios are credible - he could have been wrong and he could have been right - and at this point I don't really care which one they'll end up picking.

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