Friday, September 09, 2005

Ten years ago, in spring 1995, my first journalistic mentor was working on a privatization story for the San Francisco Chronicle, and we spent what still seems like a month trying to arrange an interview at the State Property Fund, then headed by the acting prime minister Yuri Yekhanurov.

This is the only reason I know who Yekhanurov is.

I don't remember, of course, any of the story's details; all I remember are the extremely shabby offices and the Soviet atmosphere inside the State Property Fund building at Lesya Ukrainka Square, across the street from the Central Election Committee.


Here's what Dan McMinn of Orange Ukraine writes:

I know nothing about [Yekhanurov] as an individual, as yet, but his time in the SPF was categories by woefully poor economic performance. If the government hadn't committed itself to reprivatizing only recent bad deals, a number of Mr. Yekhanurov's privatizations might be under scrutiny. (and will be now, you can be sure) Yushchenko was in charge of the National Bank while Yekhanurov was at the SPF, so we can hope Yushchenko knows him well enough from those days to judge his character accurately.

Even worse than what might be dug up about him is more general fact that he was yet another politician who spent years working for Kuchma. I can't think of a worse advertisement to Ukrainian voters, especially when more and more people have been saying "nothing's changed" in the polls.

I thought about that, too, in a slightly different context.

They all keep going back and forth, since 1991, and in addition to having been Kuchma's allies, many also used to be part of the Communist "élite." Tymoshenko was with Pavlo Lazarenko at some point; Khodorkovsky here in Russia was a deputy chief of a Young Communist League (Komsomol) Moscow district committee; Putin was a KGB spy; Yushchenko was Kuchma's prime minister - et cetera. There's no use pretending about anything here. Maybe one day the untainted Ukrainian Diaspora folks storm their historical motherland and take all the leading positions in the country, but this hasn't happened yet.

To be able to continue to take them more or less seriously, it's better to focus on what they've achieved recently - and that's why it's so sickening to suddenly hear Yushchenko's admission that they did little but bicker for the past eight months.


Here's what Tatyana Korobova says about Yekhanurov in Ukrainska Pravda (in Ukrainian):


The acting prime minister thinks that people should not be afraid of the word 'crisis' - after crisis, there's "catharsis and healing." Right, but only when they know what has to be cured and how. Otherwise, what follows is agony and death.

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