Friday, July 29, 2005

I woke up with this very lucid thought today: Yushchenko never seemed to pretend he and his family didn't have enough money.

He's a former banker; his hobby, collecting antiques, is - potentially, though not necessarily - an expensive one; his wife isn't some working class American girl, etc. The seeming populism of his decision to celebrate his 51st birthday at an expat bar is easily negated by the fact that many, many Ukrainians would find the prices at that place prohibitive: 8 hryvnias ($1.6) for half a liter of the local beer or 26 hryvnias ($5.2) for a pint of Guinness is too much. (That the president's son would most likely consider O'Brien's a shithole is irrelevant: I didn't vote for Andriy Yushchenko. Similarly, I sort of hate the look in Petro Yushchenko's eyes - so calculating, only God knows what a person like this is up to - but that's irrelevant, too, for I didn't vote for the president's older brother.)

I loved it that Yushchenko didn't try to conceal part of his wealth when, a few years ago, journalists discovered he had a really nice country house: he invited them over and showed them around, instead of pretending he had been caught visiting a rich friend's residence or something.

It's totally fine with me that Yushchenko isn't as poor as the rest of the country's citizens - and that this is public knowledge: it's so different from the old Soviet ways that it gives hope - assuming, of course, that he and his team know what to do about the economic and social situation in the country.

But the way he behaved at that press conference was so graceless; the way he made it clear he was as Soviet as it gets was so pathetic; the way his press secretary and the interior minister tried to shield him and his son was so amateurish...

With all this, it's impossible to keep the lucid waking thought about Yushchenko's lack of hypocrisy for a long time...

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