Campaign gets dirty: Leaflets smear Tymoshenko as ‘Jew’

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Feb. 4, 2010, 11:13 p.m. | Ukraine — by Natalia A. Feduschak

Unattributed leaflets referring to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as “a Jew” and calling not to vote for her appeared in mail boxes in western Ukraine in the last week before the Feb. 7 runoff vote.

Natalia A. Feduschak

Unattributed leaflets referring to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as "a Jew" and calling not to vote for her appeared in mail boxes in western Ukraine in the last week before the Feb. 7 runoff vote. LVIV – Ukraine’s bitter presidential campaign took an ugly turn this week as leaflets accusing Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of being Jewish and encouraging voters not to cast ballots in her favor began to circulate in western Ukraine.

The flyer features Tymoshenko’s photograph with the words “Don’t Vote for a Jew!”

It reprints an alleged facsimile by the prime minister’s father documenting his supposed Russian and Jewish background and asks why Tymoshenko is hiding her Jewish ancestry. The leaflet also features purported quotes by four individuals, including former presidential candidate Arseniy Yatseniuk, who claim Tymoshenko is Jewish. The flyer’s circulation is listed as two million copies.

It is unclear who is behind the smear campaign. Hryhoriy Nemyria, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, however, was quick to point fingers at Tymoshenko’s rival, opposition leader Victor Yanukovych.

“Playing to people’s basest instincts is just typical of Yanukovych and his camp,” Nemyria said in a written statement. “His is a politics where an opponent is not an opponent, but an enemy. And as history has shown, once you start looking and defining one type of enemy in society, you begin to look for more and more. So who knows what group will be next?”

Lubomyr Kozak from Yanukovych’s campaign headquarters in Lviv said he had not seen the flyer, but denied his candidate was behind it. “We didn’t prepare it and we didn’t distribute it,” he said. “Tymoshenko has also distributed a lot of dirt…that in the civilized world wouldn’t be tolerated.”

The leaflets, which were dispersed in residential mailboxes and on the streets, appear to be targeted toward residents of western Ukraine, a region that historically has had a troubled relationship with its Jewish community. Ukrainian and Jewish leaders remain divided over the role Ukrainians played in the destruction of the region’s centuries-old Jewish community during World War II. They are also bitterly split over the persona of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, who many western Ukrainians see as a hero but Jewish leaders view as a Nazi collaborator.

President Victor Yushchenko recently fueled the debate by posthumously awarding Bandera the prestigious Hero of Ukraine award, a move that outraged Jews worldwide.

Oleksiy Ivchenko, leader of the right-wing Ukrainian Congress of Nationalists and one of the people featured in the pamphlet, called it “a provocation.”

“Our party has a position, that each citizen, regardless of their ethnic background, has the right to run for president.”

The pamphlet appears at a critical time for Tymoshenko. To win the Feb. 7 runoff vote, she will have to carry western and central Ukraine, as well as make a strong showing in the east. Although the prime minister won most of western Ukraine’s regions in the first round of elections on Jan. 17, some worry that tapping into historical prejudices at this moment could hurt her with that segment of the population which is easily swayed.

“This might work in the countryside, where people are less educated,” said Maksym Palukh, a 23-year-old worker at an upscale Lviv department store. At the same time, he believed such propaganda is unlikely to influence the region’s urban voters. “It won’t work here,” he said. “As for Yanukovych, he is not a possible variant. His image is formed on such a level that people here won’t vote for him.”

This is not the first time the Jewish card has been played in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential race. In an interview late last year, presidential candidate Arseniy Yatseniuk blamed the dramatic fall in his ratings in western Ukraine before the first round of voting on a national smear campaign that also alleged he was of Jewish ancestry.“This country has latent anti-Semitism,” he said at the time.

Yatseniuk would not comment on the anti-Tymoshenko flyer, but his press service denied the former candidate was in any way involved with its appearance.

The pamphlet has outraged Lviv’s small Jewish community and indicates people are still willing to employ political tactics once used by authoritarian states, one of its leaders said.

“Ukraine is going in a different direction, but the methods used are the same of totalitarian regimes,” said Meylakh Sheykhet, the director of the Lviv office of the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union. “This is an example that shows people haven’t gotten rid of their totalitarian thinking; they still see Ukraine as a totalitarian state. It shows that Ukrainian independence is still deeply being threatened.”

Ivan Mospan, a 60-year-old retiree, said the pamphlet could have opposite the intended effect.

“It is clearly insulting,” the resident of Buchach, in Ternopil region, said. “You can’t agitate people with that kind of stuff. People will vote for Tymoshenko because she is our one democratic hope. We are voting for her because if we don’t, we will lose Ukraine.”
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from richard Feb. 4, 2010, 11:29 p.m.    

This is what Yulia's close buddy, Kuzio, did to Yatseniuk in August in the Kyiv Post, by "painting" him as a "jew". She doesn't like her own medicine? Too bad. Time to go.

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Anonymous Feb. 4, 2010, 11:38 p.m.    

The false assessments of Yatsenuiks religious affiliation were coming from other quarters. Kuzio simply referred to them in an article.

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Anonymous Feb. 4, 2010, 11:57 p.m.    

No he didn't. He reported it as fact.

He wrote:

&quot;Yatsenyuk has Jewish origins and, although Ukraine has not witnessed the levels of anti-Semitism found in Russia, it does exist.&quot;

Since Yatseniuk is not Jewish, perhaps he ought to report where he came about this piece of misinformation.

In any case, KP — it's objectionable to characterize calling someone Jewish a &quot;smear.&quot;

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 12:08 a.m.    

&quot;Tymoshenko does not have Jewish origins. Hers are Armenian and Ukrainian. Nevertheless, the campaign against her gives one the ability to imagine how Yatsenyuk’s bonafide Jewish origins could become the brunt of anti-Semitic remarks in a presidential campaign.&quot;

Yatsenyuk, a Yushchenko clone, will bring stagnation

March 04, 2009 at 20:50 | Views: 1575 | Comments: 6

Taras Kuzio Special to Kyiv Post

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 12:45 p.m.    

Bingo! Kuzio was definitely in the game of using Yatsekiuk's alledgedly Jewish origins as a weapon to discrdit him.

When challenged on this, Kuzio came up with the non-sequitur defense of &quot;How dare you? My parents suffered under the Nazis!&quot;

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 11:39 p.m.    

It's true -- and his uncle died at Auschwitz...

falling out of the guard tower.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 2:24 a.m.    

Its actually a &quot;shmear&quot;

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 1:24 a.m.    

What disturbed me the most about the whole thing was that Yatseniuk actually printed up millions of brochures outlining his family tree to demostrate that he is not a Jew, and handed them out on the street.

The initial smear campaign was ugly, and Yatseniuk's response was panicky and bizarre.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 1:59 a.m.    

Tymoshenko is a what??? I did not know that and I am willing to bet that she did not know that also. Wow, will the wonders ever cease? News flash, Yanoukovych is a russian gangster wrapped in a cabbage roll.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 6:18 a.m.    

Gee whiz, if a Jew can lead Ukraine out of its present crappy state, then why not let them try. We all know that the Russians are incapable and now it is beginning to appear that Ukrainians are also incapable. The former USSR is still living in the 1930's. Newsflash - Jews are now citizens throughout the world and are not causing problems, in fact they are intelligent and industrious people.

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Anonymous Feb. 6, 2010, 2:15 a.m.    

A jew should not have the chance to lead Ukraine because their first allegiance is to their fellow tribe members and not the country they live in. Canada has had too many jewish politicians and they just look after themselves. If a jew wants to lead a country, I would suggest they move to Israel. If they can't get elected there, at least they can kill Palestinian women and children for fun and profit.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 6:22 a.m.    

Ok! ...let's elect Misssster YANU! …check out his glorious past, assault, battery, rape, poisoning his opponents, rigging elections…doesn’t know how to spell professor, can’t use a dictionary, doesn’t know how to use a spell checker on computer, must not know how to use a computer, can’t speak properly in public, refuses to debate, changes election laws at the last minute before an election, …hummm, wonder why he did that? Oh that’s right, he was trying to help Yulia, Hah! Oh, now I can add one more, Mr. Yanu the anti-Semitic, anything else Mr. Yanu? Is that all you got left in you war chest? What a joke you are Missster. Yanu! , Presidential material, you are not, a clown yes, perhaps you should try submitting your resume to the local Circus, but don’t forget to have someone literate enough, no, that would not be you, proof it for you, like me, I’ll even do it for free!

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 6:26 a.m.    

How do we know that Missssster YANU, isn't a Jew? Has anybody checked this out? ...I got my print'n press ready to go!

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 7:18 a.m.    

It doesn't MATTER if she's a Jew or not ...she's the BEST choice for Ukraine in this presidential race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get over it and VOTE for and SUPPORT her and ignore political &quot;dirty tricks&quot;!!!!

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 7:45 a.m.    

Find out what candidate is behind this campaign, and be sure NOT to vote for him!

The accusation seems to be that SOME of Yulia's ancestors are Jewish. Well, so what if they are? ALL of Jesus Christ's ancestors were Jewish, and yet he would probably win the election if he ran.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 3:43 p.m.    

You've... uhm... hit the nail on the head.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 7:59 a.m.    

I remember that early in the Orange Revolution -Yulia,Moroz and Yuschenko were called anti-Semitic Nazis....even Pat Buchanan was suckered into believing this; but when that tactic didn't work they were then labeled as Jews esp Yulia and Moroz....and now at this late midnight hour they are resurrecting the Jew thing...I doubt this will sway the election but it sure makes us look bad to the rest of the world

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 8:17 a.m.    

Hold on--there's something wrong here! If someone wants Yulia to look bad, why does he pick a photo of her looking gorgeous? Even gorgeous people look bad in SOME of their photos, so why wouldn't the creators of this poster have chosen one such bad photo? Could have used a photo showing that her hair is really black so as to make her current apparition seem artificial.

So, then, might Yulia be behind this campaign?

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 11:11 p.m.    


you are a good observer

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 10:58 a.m.    

&quot;Jews are not causing problems.&quot;

I beg to differ.Cass Sunstein, a Czar in the White House, has publicly stated that &quot;free speech is a threat to democracy.&quot;He has also called for the United States government to engage in online propaganda with agents posing as ordinary citizens.

So you see, they still are causing problems.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 8:59 p.m.    

Cass Sunstein is a liberal USA lawyer of some note. To say he is anti free speech calls your mental status into question. You should seek some help, you need it.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 9:50 p.m.    

Liberal in the USA means leftist in Europe. European liberalism is known as libertarism. Sunstein and the whole Obama administration are indeed opposed to free speech. Have you heard about the Obama reaction to the Citizens United supreme court case? They wanted to limit political speech to ensure their re-election. Free speech is a threat to the Democratic Party but not to democracy. BTW, Sunstein is not causing problems since he is Jewish but since he and other Obama administration people are leftists hell-bent on socializing America.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 11:09 a.m.    

...why settle for one clown, ...when you can have two! LooK, have you seen the other news? ...two Commies, Misssster YANU and his old sidekick cronie Kuchma (Atheists!) dressed in Democratic attire, light'n candles in our Holy Orthodox Church, ...pretty slick!, ...well, they did take that oath to the state, right? know, the Russian state that is, DOESN’T ANYONE REMEBER? What a pair of chameleons, slimy little lizards, in case you didn't know, Parishners don't get too close to them, you might get a little Dioxin on you! You don't wanna end-up look'n and feel'n like Mr. Yushchenko. ...someone chase these two goony lizards back across the boarder into Putinville where they belong...

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 12:45 p.m.    

The photo in the piece is not very demeaning....actually it's quite attractive. Hmmmmm! Yanuk is a thug and Russophile--not above stooping to this low level of 'campaigning'....but then Yulia might be trying to pull a fast one here by garnering a backlash vote. These are all 'dirty tricks' so common to Ukraine in this high stakes game. It's time for the country to outgrow this aspect and begin functioning normally....but I guess it'll take time.

Meanwhile another former president-thug, Kuchma, was campaigning for Yanuk. Birds of a feather.... . That's a good reason to opt for Yulia.

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 1:49 p.m.    

are the russians that printed this also the ones that are complaining that Bandera got an award for &quot;working with the Nazis&quot;

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Anonymous Feb. 5, 2010, 11:09 p.m.    

no, it was BYuT

believe or not - your choice

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Anonymous Feb. 6, 2010, 1:56 a.m.    

I'n not a dirty joo anymore. Russia just pull out of Interpol the warrant for my arrest for the Russia gas I stole from the Ukraine people to enrich myself. I'm good thief now.

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Anonymous Feb. 6, 2010, 2:03 a.m.    

Please murder Yushchenko. He spoiled my theft of the election runoff :cry:

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko gave a farewell &quot;gift&quot; to presidential candidate and current Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by signing amendments to the law on presidential election, Director of the Penta Center for Applied Political Studies Volodymyr Fesenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Feb. 4.

HA HA HA HA, gasp, HO HO HO :D

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