By George Green
Two weeks ago the signs adjacent their booths were the same as the 'One country one official language' that still hang from the Opera House, and Rada. Recently however they have changed the ones adjacent their mock protest to read 'Ukrainian Language Fan Zone', and these signs bear the logo of Tymoshenko's party. Were one to take the number of interested individuals stopping to discuss this matter as a measure of interest in Ukrainian language, it wouldn't have many fans. A recent addition of rather presumptuous stickers reading 'Ukraine is against Yanukovich' resulted only in numerous poles and signs being defaced, one wonders how much the city will need to pay to cleanup this propaganda.
While most Ukrainians have moved on from the issue of multiple official national languages Tymoshenko's Bat'kivschina Party hasn't dropped the issue. That said they have tried to move away from the racist nuances of the 'One Country one Official Language' rhetoric, they nonetheless maintain a constant presence in front of the Statue of Taras Shevchenko on Prospekt Svobodi in L'viv. While no doubt flush with money, given their massive signs, collection of expensive empty tents, and several kiosks dispensing propaganda, the area remains devoid of Ukrainians interested in hearing what they have to say.
Indeed one wonders whether Tymoshenko is wasting her money. Asking several Ukrainians, many sympathetic to Tymoshenko's positions on many issues, none felt she could ever be elected to Ukrainian office again. For a country where corruption is wide spread, Ukrainians by and large are pretty accepting that she was legally convicted of legitimate crimes, and she should not be able to take public office again. While almost certainly Tymoshenko can manage some overturn of the decision were the party in power to change; her ability to win hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people is clearly severely diminished.
The literal name of Yuliya Tymoshenko's party is Block Yuliya Tymoshenko. Certainly any candidates running under that banner live or die on Tymoshenko's reputation. If Ukrainians are convinced she is a criminal, as even in the heartland of her support they seem to be, then any claims of massive support would be questionable at best. No doubt Western 'Observers' (Ballot manipulators) could certainly fake results were she able to run, or were she to accuse the legitimate Ukrainian government of election fraud, the feelings on the ground make it plain few would bother to vote for her, and even those who care about the policies she promotes view her ability to affect real change with extreme skepticism.
Another irony of the Ukrainian Language Fanzone is the tents laid around the area, clearly with the intention of portraying supporters camping out to show support. The only class really affected by this is the homeless. The day after the final Euro 2012 match homeless and bums were easily identified by their 'free Yuliya' t-shirts which were handed out free of charge before the match. But these unused tents certainly must enrage the homeless, whom frequently haunt the small park in front of the Opera, when they are met with 24 hour security precluding their use. At least if Tymoshenko made them available to the homeless perhaps she could garner some sympathy from them.
It is surprising that in this situation Tymoshenko, who no doubt still holds strong influence in the party, would pursue divisive issues. It appears to have only made her enemies more vocal, and her supporters less convinced she cares about them, or is able to affect real change for their concerns. For whatever reason she seems to feel crying 'I'm just a persecuted girl who loves Ukraine' is going to help her personally or her party. That position didn't work in court, and it isn't working in the hearts and minds of Ukrainians disenfranchised by political corruption and certain she is no less corrupt than the rest. Indeed, like current polls show Americans to be, Ukrainians are absolutely certain that Government is the problem holding back Ukraine; empty tents, and empty squares combine with racist and isolationist rhetoric are not bound to change that.
George Green has worked with several financial, technology, and political publications since 1997, and currently lives near L'vov Ukraine.
The bodies of two Russian women were found in Turkey's Bodrum. The killer tied the bodies and wrapper them in sheets before getting rid of them