Monday, November 15, 2004

Today, for the first time ever, we've had TV debates between the presidential candidates. (In Russia, they did have debates this year as well - but Putin refused to take part, and then won the election.)

Yushchenko's performance was solid and impressive; he spoke with ease and was quick to come up with valid, specific counterarguments. He had some very interesting stats regarding the work of the current government (headed by Yanukovych, the other presidential candidate) - I'll cite them here when I find the debates' transcripts.

Yanukovych was making an effort to smile as some likable, average guy, but his spite toward Yushchenko was obvious - beneath that smile and in most of his statements. He chose a retrospective approach, blaming Yushchenko for Ukraine's problems most of the time and emphasizing more than once that for most of the 13 years since independence, Ukraine has been in a miserable condition - and the way he said it made me suspect he didn't believe independence was a good idea at all.

I'm sure there were others, but the most spectacular slip that Yanukovych made during the debates was when he said he wanted the citizens of Ukraine to feel unsafe, pochuvaty sebe v nebezpetsi - and the host corrected him, saying, "Viktor Fedorovych, you meant to say u bezpetsi, safe." Too stupid to be true, too true to be funny.

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