Archive for April 5th, 2010

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And your starter for 10……..who said this?

April 5, 2010

And your starter for 10, dear readers, who said this?

Today we are beginning a purge of our team. And I promise you that this will be the biggest purge in Ukrainian politics in all the years of independence. We will get rid of all the excess weight, the dirt, all the useless figures that became stuck to our team by chance and commercial reasons. We will get rid of those people who make our team weaker than the times demand…

The answer is the good leader of “an” opposition coalition…..the ex Prime Minister, Yulia T.

http://blog.tymoshenko.ua/en/article/s7wm43u4

Spring cleaning is one of those things unfortunately…….however, when something is so dirty and rotten, why would you wait until you are out of power and loosing MPs almost daily to the opposition before doing so?

The answer of course is she needed every single last corrupt, scheming, cheating lying mealymouthed, underhanded, rotten to the core, one of them to keep her majority of 1.

Now, with 7 defectors from BYuT to the current power base and an anticipated 10 or so more before the summer break, is this Spring Clean simply spin for the falling numbers and falling appeal of being associated with the BYuT.

How many will jump to Arseny Yatseniuk when we get closer to the elections in 2012…..or Tigipko…..even after her Spring Clean?

With so many defectors from BYuT, gaining a majority of even 1 is now simply not possible…….unless she will welcome back to the fold every single last corrupt, scheming, cheating lying mealymouthed, underhanded, rotten to the core, one of them in times to come…….as the youthful up and coming people of political note are more likely to go the way of Yatseniuk in any numbers.

Still, if she is looking for foreign advisors in any guise either nationally or locally, I am available for hire at far more reasonable rates than those she has previously engaged…….and have no nasty skeletons in my political cupboard.

Ms T, now has the opportunity to remove all historical misdeeds which surpass the level of acceptability within her party and campaign in the future on the platform of “cleaner politics”.  Let us see if she will accomplish this with a series of staggered and headline grabbing high profile explusions from her party.

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Where angels fear to tread – The controvercy of language……again!

April 5, 2010

Well dear readers, as you know from my previous posts, the issue of language in Ukraine is settled……..at least as far as the State language is concerned.  The official State language of Ukraine is and will only be Ukrainian.

As I have previously pointed out though, contained in Article 10 of the Ukrainian Constitution and also within the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, there are guaranteed rights regarding minority languages such as Russian and Crimean Tartar to name but two specifically mentioned, both Constitutions guaranteeing the free use of such languages in “all forms of public life”.

All jolly good and also in accordance with the International Laws Ukraine has signed up to and ratified.  End of the problem then?

Of course not, the west and some central parts of Ukraine are predominantly Ukrainian speaking whilst the East and South are predominantly Russian speaking.

Where in Lviv, I expect……but do not know…….most school lessons are given in Ukrainian with Russian taught as a foreign language, certainly in the school in Odessa my step-son attends and the university the good lady’s sister attends, all lessons are given in Russian and the only time Ukrainian is heard is in Ukrainian language lessons.

Not good?  Well to be fair it reflects the Odessa population, where if someone is heard speaking Ukrainian, for the most part it is assumed they are here from Lviv or Kyiv and certainly not from Odessa.  There is the odd exception of course, but if my income was to depend on the Ukrainian speakers in Odessa I would be a very, very poor man indeed.

Whilst many Ukrainians really do not care in their everyday life if someone speaks Russian or Ukrainian as the language of choice, it does pose serious political problems which are of course divisive. 

It is not unusual to hear on the radio, a conversation taking place with one person speaking Ukrainian and the other speaking Russian.  Nobody really cares except those at the extreme ends of the language arguements and some politicians.

Yulia Tymoshenko did not learn Ukrainian until her mid thirties and is not 50 yet.  This means there are millions of people in this country who do not speak, read or write Ukrainian.  This is of course being addressed in schools where even if Ukrainian is not the language used to teach nationally, Ukrainian is, non the less, taught to all children.

It is simply not practical to make everyone speak Ukrainian any more than it is enforcable even if this was law……which it isn’t and can’t be because of international law  Ukraine has ratified, together with  the national consititution.   People will speak the langauge they prefer……end of story.

So what to do?

Why is so much time and effort being spent on the extreme minority at either end of the language arguement when the majority have other things to worry about…….such as jobs, the economy, travel, banks, fuel prices and every day survival?

How do you display equal tolerance for those who wish Ukrainian to be the lead language in Ukraine over and above a very large voter and population  base which cannot speak the language and prefer to use Russian as their langauge of choice?

What is the point of local administrative forms written in Ukrainian if nobody in that region understands them?

Even with a free tranlation into Russian, you cannot insist the forms are completed in Ukrainian if the person completing them cannot write Ukrainian.  If someone completes the form for them, how do they know what is written is what they want to say?

President Yanukovych’s proposed solution is here – http://en.rian.ru/world/20100403/158423749.html

Will citing the Ukrainian ratified European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages be enough to appease the nationalist west of Ukraine when enshrining it in national law also?  Probably not, and yet these are the same people pushing for EU integration exceptionally hard.  The expression “cake and eat it” comes to mind and they will not take kindly to having to allow Russian and other languages the prominence they currently have.

Is there any need to enshrine these rights further into Ukrainian law with ratified international agreements existing?

Whilst for certain forcing one language over another will undoubtedly split the nation east and west, will a plan to let regional government and regional education use the language they prefer not also lead to the same split……albeit over a longer period of time?

Admittedly this plan is the reality of what happens in Ukraine daily anyway, but it has never been formally “the plan” and therefore has remained outside of political point scoring.

Whilst the opposition will no doubt condemn the plan, we should consider that they were in power for 5 years and did all they could to ignore the situation.  They will also have to be careful in any condemnation, as of course to do so will alienate a large voter base come the next elections.  Any silence however, will also be deafening!

What is the alternative to this plan though?

Allowing Lviv and Kyiv to educate children in Ukrainian with Russian as a foreign language is fine, allowing Odessa and Donetsk to educate their children in Russian with Ukrainian as the secondary language is also fine on a day to day basis, but what happens when it comes to examinations? Which language to maths papers, history, geography papers etc get written and answered in?

If regional administrations are responsible for cultural issues in their specific region, what is to stop Lviv putting statues to Badnera all over the city…….despite condemnation from the EU, Poland, jewish communities home and abroad and Russia……or people in Lugansk putting up statues to Lennin or Stalin to condemnation from Kyiv and Lviv etc.?

How does this prevent the split of the nation which can already be clearly drawn on a map politically and by language of choice, from getting any worse?

Does it make the situation previously ignored by the last administration worse or better?

Does it just recognise what was the case under the previous administration, who chose to turn a blind political eye to it?

Would it have been better to continue to turn a blind eye? 

It is probably not possible now, since the outgoing President Yushenko forced it into the limelight with his honouring of Bandera in the last two weeks of his tenure.

What would happen if President Yanukovych in his last two weeks in office, decided to honour Leonid Brezhnev or Nikita Khrushchev as hero’s of Ukraine?  After all both were Ukrainian and Khrushchev gave the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to Ukraine when leading the USSR in 1956.

If Crimea decided that all schools will teach children in Crimean Tartar, how will the Ukrainian and Russian communities in Crimea react?  Will we end up with schooling based upon language of the school and parents be forced to choose between those which teach in Russian, Ukrainian or others?  Will children be descriminated against later in life……or now…….depending upon which school they attended?

Will there be a similar situation to Tony Blair’s “Faith Schools” in the UK where enrolement is based upon, enthinicity in Ukraine, rather than religion in the UK?

Will particular Russian teaching schools become targets for Russiaphobes in the west of Ukraine and Ukrainian teaching schools in the East be the same there?

Would further political blindness to this have kept a lid on the matter rather than the attempt to address it?

There is of course no right or wrong answer to this in a country such as Ukraine, other than the gradual encouragement of Ukrainian across the nation by way of education and getting to the stage where at some point, Ukrainian will be the language of choice for the vast majority…..but it may also be the case where it will be the language of choice by an extreme minority……there is no guarantee as to how it would play out.

Whilst it is certainly the case that more of the planet understands Russian than Ukrainian or Crimean Tartar, even Russian is not a leading global language.  Ukrainian however, will only ever be as much use as Welsh in Wales……and even there English is the most commonly spoken language by the vast majority on a daily basis,  despite 20 years and more of teaching and pushing the Welsh language in Wales…..ironically funded by the English.

Does a Welshman consider themselves less Welsh for speaking English?  Certainly not.  Do they still consider themselves Welsh even if they cannot say a single Welsh word?  Definintely.

Is this a fair comparison?  Maybe, maybe not.

Is tackling this issue either wise or timely as far as the current President is concerned? 

There is certainly good reason to turn a blind eye as the previous administration did as an uneasy acceptance of how things are maybe better than forcing the issue onto the Statute Book.

Alternatively, if this matter is not tackled how long before the ethnic divides similar to Yugoslavia appear and Ukraine does split 2 or even 3 ways.  After all it would not only be an ethnic Ukrainian and ethnic Russian split but the Autonomous Replublic of Crimea is historically that……autonomous.

What do you get?  An agricultural less densely populated West, a heavily populated white collar capital and a heavily populated south and east of Ukraine financed by heavy industry with natural resourses and sea access.  Then there is Crimea.

How many more new countries will be born on the continent of Euroasia? 

The past 30 years has produced 15 new independent nations in Euroasia and 33 globally.  Does it really need another 2 or 3? 

A large minority though cannot be ignored……because it is large…….so sooner or later this issue must be tackled.

Whilst this proposal is certainly acknowledging the reality of what happens in Ukraine anyway, Mr Yanukovych officially now enters where angels (and the previous administration) fear to tread!

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