BRAMA, August 3, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
See comment dated 8/29/09
See comment dated 9/3/09
Prime Minister Tymoshenko is denounced by the Ukrainian National Association Press in the USA
By Boris Danik
What started as a failed attempt in Ukraine during May and June to form a
coalition between the Tymoshenko Block and Viktor Yanukovych's Party of
Regions has turned into a torrent of allegations from parts of diaspora
press against Prime Minister Tymoshenko.
The two blocks in Ukraine each knew that a coalition between them could
not endure, but neither side thought it could afford not to try. The main
reason for the perceived necessity to have a go at it was the popular
expectation (largely wrong) that the economy might get back on track, if
only the politicians could set aside their squabbles.
Multitudes took it seriously. The working class, desperate for jobs, was
paying attention and saw it in a positive light.
Yulia Tymoshenko gambled because, as Prime Minister, she is under an
enormous pressure on the economy front. Viktor Yanukovych, ahead in the
polls, did not really need that gambit. But each camp felt it could play
up popular overtures to its own advantage, and then bail out with
Mr. Yanukovych parachuted first, before an agreement could be concluded,
and left Yulia Andrievna [Tymoshenko] wondering if she played her card cleverly.
Some disillusionment with the Prime Minister among national democrats has
shown recent gains in the polls for Arseniy Yatseniuk – at which point he
predictably started to lose some of his white knight feathers by talking
weighty matters such as improving relations with Russia.
But nowhere was Ms. Tymoshenko painted so darkly as in some U.S. diaspora
publications. She was never in the diaspora's good graces despite her
Orange credentials. But this time Tymoshenko was savaged in the two papers
published by the Ukrainian National Association.
The editorial in Svoboda, July 24, 2009, is of the opinion that "the road
to anti-Ukrainian perspective will be open when either Tymoshenko or
Yanukovych becomes president." And: "They both pave the shorter way for
Moscow to swallow Ukraine."
Now, I might have written something of the sort after tying one on.
However, to print this in a supposedly lucid publication of the UNA is
irresponsible. It is about a woman of exceptional courage and leadership
ability, who put her life on the line as the leader on the ground (not in
the armchair like some of the others) at Maidan. She did not do it "to
pave way for Moscow." One need not have an inside track to understand
I don't question the motivation of Svoboda editors, but I question their
judgment. How does one gin up the following: "Tymoshenko demonstrates her
hostility to NATO by superficially loyal verbal construction." Wow!
One may recall that Ms. Tymoshenko actually signed on NATO membership
application in 2008 (as did Mr. Yushchenko), only to have it nixed by the
Europeans, who are in no mood to stick out their neck – in addition to
being cajoled by the US into the Afghanistan mess.
NATO has become de facto, irrelevant for Ukraine, even though the diaspora
poobas are unable to swallow it. Reliance on foreign troops is part of the
diaspora's own story, all the way from Ukraine to post-war DP camps in
That is not the way any Ukrainian government must deal today with thorny
issues. Diaspora's solicitude is not on the same page – as long as it
centers on folklore and on retooling Viktor Yushchenko's image.
One thing is almost certain: if many national democrats and nationalists
play games with Yatseniuk or Tiahnybok to the extent of undermining the
Tymoshenko bid for presidency, they will help elect Mr. Yanukovych.
Dr. Boris Danik
North Caldwell, NJ
August 29, 2009
Editor, The Ukrainian Weekly
In her "Letter from the Editor" (The Ukrainian Weekly, August 23, 2009, p.7)
the editor-in-chief of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly takes issue
with my op-ed commentary posted on
Brama Press, August 3, 2009
("Prime Minister Tymoshenko is denounced by the Ukrainian National Association Press in the USA").
In particular, she asserts that the words which I quoted from the Svoboda
editorial of July 24th are not the words of Svoboda editors, but of
someone else (someone from Kyiv)
(see Svoboda, p.6).
It does not work. It is very clear that the lines which I quoted are words
of Svoboda editors. In the text, these words are not attributed to any
While calling my commentary misleading, Svoboda's editor-in-chief is now
pathetically distancing herself and her staff from the key lines in said
editorial without admitting that she is backing off. This is
She writes, "What the op-ed writer (Boris Danik) presents as Svoboda's
position is not the newspaper's position at all."
Amazing. The "position has mutated with lightning speed, and without
blinking an eye. But Svoboda's editorial of July 24 is still there, and
anyone can see it.
North Caldwell, NJ
September 3, 2009
Follow-up commentary by Dr. Boris Danik:
An editor's disclaimer of his/her opinion that was previously stated in
own editorial is almost unprecedented in any media.
To top it off, the disclaimer by the editor-in-chief (in her letter in The
Ukrainian Weekly, August 23rd) is coupled with writing that, by quoting
the pertinent lines from the Svoboda editorial of July 24th, Boris Danik
was "…villifying the UNA…".
So much for chutzpah.
The Ukrainian Weekly, the other publication of the UNA, is not short of
opinion about Prime MInister Tymoshenko. It its editorial of June 14 we
(see The Ukrainian Weekly, p.6)
"…The attempt by Prime MInister Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor
Yanukovych to form the so-called Unity and Rebirth Coalition resembled two
mafia lords hatching the heist of their lifetimes…".
And then, "…These swindlers to use President Viktor Yushchenko's
words who gained much of their fortunes through illegal means, couldn't
seal the deal largely because they didn't even trust each other…".
It is not clear what is today's status of The Ukrainian Weekly's June 14
"position." In any event, I have verified that these passages satisfy the
dictionary definition of denouncing someone.
North Caldwell, NJ
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