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World Affairs Journal: Yanukovych’s galleon and Yushchenko’s obsession

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Sept. 12, 2012, 6:45 p.m. | Op-ed — by Alexander J. Motyl

Ukraine's newly-elected President Viktor Yanukovych (R) sits with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko as they talk after the inauguration ceremony in Kyiv on Feb. 25, 2010.
© AFP

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.

 Ukraine’s last two presidents have clearly gone bonkers.

Viktor Yanukovych has built himself a Spanish galleon. Viktor Yushchenko is still suffering from his Yulia Tymoshenko obsession. The two Viktors used to stand for different visions of Ukraine. Now they stand for identical psychological maladies.

Journalist Tetyana Chornovil sneaked into Yanukovych’s palatial compound north of Kyiv on August 24th, Independence Day in Ukraine. “This was,” she later told [1] the press, “an exclusively political action. After Yanukovych signed the law on languages, I fully understood that he is an enemy of Ukraine. I wanted to alert people to the fact that we are sliding toward dictatorship for the next 20 years. And my action was supposed to demonstrate that fences mean nothing. No fence can protect the enemies of Ukraine from the anger of people, from their peaceful actions, if many of them show up. If one person can do this, then nothing can stop a sea of humanity.”

 Read more here.

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