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World Affairs Journal: A tyranny of cats in Ukraine

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Sept. 12, 2012, 7:05 p.m. | Op-ed — by Alexander J. Motyl

Bronze cat Pantyusha in Kyiv's Zoloti Vorota.
© Courtesy

Alexander J. Motyl

Alexander J. Motyl is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark, as well as a writer and painter. He served as associate director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University from 1992 to 1998. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the USSR, and on nationalism, revolutions, empires, and theory, he is the author of Pidsumky imperii; Puti imperii; Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires; Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities; Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism; Sovietology, Rationality, Nationality: Coming to Grips with Nationalism in the USSR; Will the Non‑Russians Rebel? State, Ethnicity, and Stability in the USSR; The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929; and the editor of more than ten volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Nationalism. Motyl’s novels include Whiskey Priest; Who Killed Andrei Warhol; Flippancy; The Jew Who Was Ukrainian; and a work in progress, My Orchidia. His poems have appeared in Counterexample Poetics, Istanbul Literary Review, and New York Quarterly (forthcoming). He has done performances of his fiction at the Cornelia Street Café, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Ukrainian Museum in New York. Motyl’s artwork has been shown in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto; his art is represented by The Tori Collection.

 The perpetually alert Yanukovych regime has recently mounted an assault on cats and other animals. For instance, a preposterously worded draft law, “On Reforming and Improving the System of Free Time in the Sphere of Defending the Surrounding Natural Environment, the Rational and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Ecological Security, on Reducing Regulatory Pressure on Subjects of Economic Activity,” appears to give the authorities the right to hunt down stray cats and dogs. As you may recall, the local Regionnaire authorities rid the streets of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Donetsk of strays in anticipation of the Euro 2102 soccer championship earlier this summer. Legalizing such behavior makes perfect sense. After all, since the regime treats people as animals, why should it treat animals as animals?

 Read more here.

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