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You're reading: Current Politics in Ukraine: On brave faces and a sorry business

“Our authorities carried out a special operation aimed at a thorough
elimination of Poland from the information context of Euro 2012. They
imposed upon us the only possible answer to the question ‘Who hosted the
championship?’ – Surely, Viktor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Borys
Kolesnikov and no one else! They celebrate now, and are not going to
share their triumph with anyone. ‘Let Europeans not teach us how to
handle our business’, they say. ‘Let them rather learn from us a little,
from our excellent management of the tournament!’ The trouble is not
that they carried out this special operation. The trouble is they
succeeded” http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2012/07/4/6968065/.

Two days later, the same newspaper published an article by
investigative journalist Mustafa Nayem based on the secret instructions
sent by the ruling Party of Regions to its local headquarters on how to
carry out the forthcoming election campaign and which arguments to
employ in party propaganda. Three concepts are featured in the document:
first, the so called “social initiatives” by the president, which
basically are no more than populist slogans about various social
benefits to be accrued from the empty state coffers; second, the
language policy aimed at mobilization of the Russophone and Sovietophile
portion of the electorate; and third, the alleged “success story” of
Euro 2012 as proof of the government’s efficiency and good international
standing http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2012/07/6/6968257/.

The first two may deserve a separate analysis, but the third one
seems to confirm Borys Bakhteyev’s gloomy observations. The Party of
Regions instructs its activists to praise extensively the country’s
leadership for “rescuing the tournament, which was practically lost for
Ukraine by the ‘orange’ predecessors,” and for the excellent management
of the event despite the coordinated anti-government-cum-anti-Ukrainian
campaign of domestic and international enemies. The attached slogans
speak for themselves: “Chaos is overcome. Stability is achieved!”; “Euro
2012: a goal for Ukraine”; and “Tournaments pass, achievements remain.”
Now, as these slogans are placed on billboards everywhere in Ukraine,
with glamorous pictures of stadiums, airports, high-speed trains and
airplanes, one may wonder whether the championship has actually been
appropriated by the Party of Regions as a real success story and is
boosting its popularity on the eve of the October parliamentary
elections.

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