World Affairs Journal: Real men and women in Ukraine

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Oct. 14, 2012, 1:01 p.m. | Op-ed — by Alexander J. Motyl

A Dec. 22, 2004 file photo of Ukraine's then-opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and then-ally Yulia Timoshenko (L) with star boxing brothers Wladimir Klitschko (second from left) and Vitali during a mass rally marking the one-month anniversary of the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought Yushchenko and Tymoshenko to power. Since then, Yushchenko has faded into political oblivion, Tymoshenko has been imprisoned and Vitali Klitschko has started his own party that is contesting for seats in the Oct. 28 parliamentary election.

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.

 If you’ve seen Joseph von Sternberg’s 1930 classic film The Blue Angel, you’ll know that it features the young Marlene Dietrich as the sexy chanteuse Lola-Lola who belts out a song that made her a star: “Kinder, heute abend, da such ich mir was aus.” Lola starts by saying she’s “in love with a man, but doesn’t know which one,” and then proceeds with the refrain:

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