Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



Things got ugly in Kiev on Tuesday. Everyone knew the BLACK SEA FLEET was a contentious issue for Parliament...but few thought a FIST FIGHT would break out! It began with eggs being tossed at House Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn (try to pronounce that aloud!). He was urging lawmakers to come to a conclusion on the controversial naval base. But the eggs kept coming. Aides produced two umbrellas to shield Mr. Lytvyn from the deluge. But the eggs kept coming. Then came the smoke bomb...and smoke alarms...and brawls. And you thought NANCY PELOSI had it rough!

Why are the Ukrainians so mad at this base? Because it hits at the heart of the main question the nation faces: Are we WITH Russia or AGAINST Russia? Uh-oh! Do I smell a history lesson? Well, it's been a while since the GOLDEN AGE OF UKRAINE. It took place from 980 - 1150 and featured such great leaders as VLADIMIR THE GREAT and...my favorite...YAROSLAV THE WISE. Next, the 'bread-basket-of-the-steppes' switched from one empire to another, culminating with 'THE RUIN.' For thirty years, Russiasns, Poles, Turks and Cossacks fought a gruesome war over sovereignity of Ukraine, leaving it in...well...RUIN. How sad is Ukrainian History? They even spent 200 years under LITHUANIAN control!

Sorry about that...back to the base. Anyhow, in 1783, Imperial Russia built a naval base on the tip of Crimeria, deep in Ukrainian territory. It became their largest, dominated the Black Sea, and became a cornerstone of the Russian (and Soviet) military. But, when Ukraine gained independence from Russia in 1991, the naval base became a sore subject. The entrenched Russian navy refused to leave. Agreements were made to let Russia keep the prized Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol until the year 2017.

Which was all fine and good until elections last February. Simply put, the borders of Ukraine are poorly drawn. They include six Eastern provinces which should have been part of Russia. In this area, Russian is the dominant language and Russian Orthodox is the dominant faith. A leader from here, Viktor Yanukovych, won the recent elections. It was only a matter of time before he decided to push the button and bring up the idea of extending the lease on the base, enflaming tensions and sending parliament into chaos.

And when people get mad in the Ukraine, they grab the eggs. (You might not know this, but the EASTER EGG was born here!) And once you start a food fight, nothing good ever happens. Unfortunately, the same situation is occuring all over the former Soviet block, as new nations begin to dismantle seventy years of Soviet infrastructure. Let's face it: we've got a lot more conflict ahead. Let's just hope they stop throwing eggs!

NOTE: I posted a picture of opposition leader YULIA TYMOSHENKO because I've always loved her hair. AND, the photos of over-weight Ukrainian MP's wrestling in cheap suits were all very disturbing.

1 comment:

  1. One thing about this piece I don't understand: how Yulia could ever lose an election?