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You're reading: Provincialism in the diaspora and Ukraine

President Viktor Yanukovych was the only world leader who could not speak English during the April 2010 Washington nuclear summit. Kyiv Mohyla Academy rector Serhiy Kvit said: “Today, English is perceived by the authorities to be a destructive factor that could undermine the so-called ‘progressive’ Ukrainian (post-Soviet) system of higher education and research. Poor knowledge of English, or lack of it, is a problem of all post-Soviet states, a fact that is completely ignored by the Ukrainian government.”

The Yanukovych administration became the first in two decades to prohibit “the requirement of English from applicants to the university.” In Ukraine the provincialism of elites explains why Hrytsak believes “they could not offer Ukraine anything new. This to a great extent explains the failure of the Orange Revolution and the failure of current reforms.”

Yushchenko received a diploma in bookkeeping in 1975 from the Ternopil Institute of Finance and Economics and he began his working life as a deputy to the chief accountant in a collective farm. His limited Soviet education and low ranking career could never have prepared him for the positions of National Bank of Ukraine chairperson, prime minister and president.

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