Sunday, January 17, 2010

We're back home in Kyiv. Went out for drinks in the evening, picked up a copy of Kyiv Post, read this beautifully idiotic sophomoric editorial endorsement of Serhiy Tihipko.

Very amusing. Or not. Depends on what you expect from KP.

But definitely a good illustration of how crazy and pathetic things are here on the eve of the election, and how desperate we are.

Here's what they have to say about the candidate they seem to be endorsing:

[...] Like many of his opponents, he is also a product of the Soviet era as well as the corrupt post-Soviet era of ex-president Leonid Kuchma. He rubbed shoulders with greedy oligarchs, even helping them build one of Ukraine’s largest banks during the crony capitalist 1990s. He violated basic conflict of interest rules as the head of the National Bank of Ukraine while building up a personal banking fortune. Tigipko also has no clear team or power base in parliament to rely upon.

Most troubling, he is tainted by his role as campaign manager in the 2004 presidential election campaign of Yanukovych, the front-runner in the current election. To his credit, Tigipko resigned after the fraudulent second round. He now admits that vote fraud occurred, but insists that both sides were to blame and downplays the extent of falsification in favor of Yanukovych. Moreover, Tigipko has yet to come clean with what he knows about these horrible crimes and his possible involvement in them.

Will he help solve a long list of other major crimes that continue to haunt this country, such as the murder of opposition politicians and journalists, unfair privatizations, Yushchenko’s poisoning and dozens of others? This answer is also unclear. [...]

How lovely.

But -

[...] Despite these reservations, we find enough to like about Tigipko to endorse him. [...]

The rest of the editorial is about "hope" and "gamble" - and about the lesser evil, of course (yes, again):

[...] Tigipko is the lesser of the 18 evils in this vote, especially if he is capable of resolving differences among warring factions and convincing the nation’s politicians to put Ukraine’s interests ahead of their own.

Tihipko, let me remind you, "has no clear team or power base in parliament to rely upon," according to allegedly the same folks who wrote the optimistic concluding sentence above.

This disclaimer seems to be worth quoting, too - I find it very moving somehow:

[...] Before we go into our choice and reasoning, we want to make it clear that this endorsement solely represents the opinion of the editorial staff of the Kyiv Post. Our view is independent of publisher Mohammad Zahoor, who wants it made clear publicly that he is a foreign businessman who does not take sides with any politician in the presidential race. So any fault in logic is our own. [...]

And - there's not a single mention of Russia in this piece, which is kind of refreshing: I'm so tired of reading all the Russocentric commentary on Ukraine in the English-language media.


All I can say about Tihipko is that he should have run for president in 2004, instead of Yanukovych. In 2010, he is five years late.

And I've also heard that he is too sensitive about his receding hairline - but this is irrelevant, I know.


  1. What a lovely endworsement indeed.

    Have a nice election day!:)

  2. I'm sort of amazed by the ongoing wave of Tihipkomania in the international media. Some weeks ago he was still a complete unknown, and now even the mostly Ukraine-ignorant El País, whose Moscow correspondent appeared last Friday at Shuster Live (of course no Spanish speaking newspaper has its own Ukraine correspondent, alas!) consecrated an interview to the "new face of Ukrainian politics" (!) and depicted him in the most sympathetic manner, thus leaving his communist past unmentioned. And it feels that's the way most foreign commentators see him. Weird.

  3. Ukraine has a lot of company - bad political choices seem to be in vogue the world over Veronica. A meaningful show of political courage is generally followed by a quick fall to political irrelevance. Normal people need to wish each other the strength to persevere and find some satisfaction in their daily lives. Hope your family is doing well!

    Chris B.

  4. Ah, yes, the "political elite" in Ukraine - a kaleidescope.

    Same pieces, different patterns.

    The foreign journalists should pay more attention.

    Looks like Tihipko bought himself some favorable coverage.