The passing week turned out to be an extraordinary test for the foundations of democracy: the diplomatic struggle of Kyiv and Budapest, the soap opera around Scripal family (even here the Russian trail leads to Ukraine) and a new language bill that can change Ukraine forever. More details – in the traditional digest of Opinion.
The works of the “Democracy” exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre were selected for the visual accompaniment. It has been created with the participation of two dozen artists and is pushing for a double question: “Do we have to rethink democracy? How to adjust or adapt this system so that it survived the challenges it faces today? Or ‘Do we need a new model?’” The exhibition does not offer a straightforward look at all these issues, as well as this weekly digest, but rather offers a comprehensive framework of thoughts, risks, and dreams.
Zoe Leonard “I want a president”, 1992
The Verkhovna Rada has adopted a revised bill on the language in Ukraine in the first reading on October 4. According to the document, attempts to introduce official multilingualism in Ukraine (do you remember the attempts to make Russian language the co-official one) provoke a language split in the country and can’t be accepted.
A public humiliation or contempt of the Ukrainian language are equated to the violation against the state symbols of Ukraine and is punishable by law. This is 3 years of imprisonment. Every citizen of Ukraine must know Ukrainian, as well as one, who claims to be a citizen of Ukraine (hello, Mr. Tabachnyk and Azarov).
If the organizer of the meeting wants to hold it in another language, he must provide a translation into the state language. If during a meeting someone spoke not Ukrainian but any other language, the organizer is obliged to provide simultaneous or consecutive interpretation into the state language, if at least one participant of the event requires it. In addition, all series, films, theatre performances and even tickets to them should be in Ukrainian. This is no longer gentle but a total Ukrainization. The one, that had to be started in 1991. One, which truly protects and develops the culture of Ukraine. The one you can be proud of. Of course, if our deputies don’t ruin the bill in the second reading.
Olafur Eliasson “Still River”, 2016
The victory is won on the battlefield. At least diplomatic one. Or, as the Ukrainian classic Franco said, “Scale down this cliff”. The US Senate finally recognized the Holodomor of 32-33 years as genocide of the Ukrainian people. The resolution also condemns the systematic violations of human rights, including the right to self-determination and freedom of speech, committed by the Soviet government against the Ukrainian people. It took 2 years for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to get this.
But this victory is not the reason to relax, because there is a new threat and it’s not in the offing, but in our home – it comes from Hungary. In the Transcarpathian Berehove, the Hungarian consul gave the passports to everyone and also asked to hide them. However, in the twenty-first century, it’s hard to hide the truth – the video appeared on YouTube and made a pretty scandal. In the end, the consul was declared as persona non grata and was given 72 hours to leave Ukraine forever. The reason is the violation of our laws and attacks on sovereignty. And what did Hungary do? Apologized? No, it didn’t. Made a good face? Again – no. Budapest recalled the Ukrainian consular and pulled the strings in order our Secretary of Defense Stepan Poltorak not to be invited to the summit of NATO military ministers. It seems not only the northern neighbor has imperial ambitions. Sorry, Mr. Orban, but the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is long gone. And your army – is only 10 thousand soldiers – as many as in one of our 72nd separate mechanized brigade named after Black Zaporizhian Cossacks. By the way, they have the motto “Freedom or Death!” So don’t encroach on Transcarpathia, but rather sit down at the negotiating table. We are civilized Europeans, aren’t we?
«Ave Maria», Maurizio Cattelan, 2007
“Let’s summarize: three houses in Kozyn – approximately 8 million dollars, Land Cruiser with ‘unverifiable’ plates and expensive flights on a helicopter, and now the most important question: where did all this come from? Is there any clear source of such wealth?” – journalists ask in the program “Our money with Denys Bigus”.
It is noted, that the authors of the investigation analyzed the incomes of Serhiy Semochko and his family over the past eight years and found no real legal source.
The journalists checked the data and stated that the family of the deputy chief prosecutor of Ukraine has Russian citizenship. NABU started the investigation, but does it make any sense? The Russian citizenship of the mayor of Odesa, Trukhanov, was exposed in the same way; however, he got no punishment, even a moral one.
Allora & Calzadilla “Stop repair prepare”, 2008
From one agents to another. Unfortunately, the text has no place for James Bond, but only for the rats, that are prowling through trash bins in search of food.
The suspected of poisoning the ex-spy of the RF Sergei Skripal and his daughter a colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service Anatoliy Chepiga (“Ruslan Boshirov“) led an operation on the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s transfer to Russia. Moreover, for this special operation, Chepiga was awarded the title of “Hero of Russia”. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the names mentioned were unknown to them and declared about the “information manipulations” by Britain.
The British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that Russians are the officers of the GRU – the military intelligence of the Russian Federation. Britain received a European arrest warrant for Russians.
We remind you that the former employee of the GRU of Russia, Sergei Skripal, along with his daughter, were poisoned in British Salisbury on March 4, 2018. They were poisoned by a nerve agent of the Cold War era called “Novichok”. But he also should not be considered an angel. On October 4, a BBC journalist, Mark Urban published “The Scripal Files” book. He talked with a secret agent. This dialogue was the culmination of the conversation:
”Sergei: The problem with the Ukrainians is that they are not able to manage. They need Russia for this. Ukrainians are just like a sheep that needs a shepherd.
Journalist: Hm… Sergei… It seems, I have to tell you, that my father was from Ukraine.
Sergei (motionless): This is ok. Do not worry.”
So “rooting” for someone in this spy melodrama is impossible. It’s better to be “for Ukraine” and then “everything will be Ukraine”.
By Kostyantyn Rul
Photos are given by PinchukArtCentre Photographer: Maksym Bilousov