A long cold winter such as this one can make you feel rotten. It’s too cold to enjoy much of anything outdoors, so most of us sit around with a bad case of cabin fever until we are forced to go to work. Then we allot ourselves extra time for the commute and still wind up being late to wherever we’re travelling. Add onto this the car problems, the leaking roofs, the ice dams, and cold related illnesses and you might be asking yourself if there is anywhere worse you can live. Well actually, yes. This author’s self-pity party was interrupted today when she happened to meet a stranger who lives in Minnesota but was born in Ukraine.
When asked how he feels about the current situation in his homeland, the Minnesotan-Ukrainian had this to say about the current crisis:
“It all started when the president refused to sign an agreement with the European Union. People in the Ukraine made it clear that we do not want to be aligned with Russia in any way, but he refused to listen. He was bought by the Russian government and everyone knew that he was Putin’s puppet, he didn’t even try to conceal this. He filled his home with lavish items and lived like a king while his people lived in poverty. When people started to rise up and protest his actions, he ordered the riot police to come in and respond to these protests with violence. He even hired snipers to shoot people from rooftops. He thought these actions would make us all hide in our flats and stop questioning him, but that is proof that he does not know the hearts of the Ukrainian people. We have a long history of standing up for ourselves and our rights, it is our tradition.”
This statement brought to mind the Ukrainian Olympic skier Bogdana Matsotska, who quit the Olympics so that she could go home and support her friends and family who were protesting Yanukovych’s regime. For more information on Matsotska, see the following link-
The Ukranian-Minnesotan said that Matsotska should be hailed as a great hero and patriot, and suggested that her fighting spirit is indicative of the sentiments of Ukrainian people. To which this writer asked, “All of the people?”
“No,” the man admitted. There will always be a subsection of people who are brainwashed. These people will support anyone who is in power. It is true that for some time we were ‘Russified,’ but this is no longer the age of the Cold War. Ukraine has demonstrated that in general it wants to join the free people of Europe. Do you know that terrorist called Lenin? We still have statues of him strewn throughout the country from a time in our past when Russia ruled us. Today, 32 of those statues were destroyed. That shows how Ukrainians feel.”
The conversation with this man was continually interrupted as he received updates on his I-phone. Many of these updates were recently released photos showing the president’s home.
“Look at this,” said the man, “Look at this luxury. He has his own zoo. He has his own golf-course, his own tennis court. This is a stable full of livestock, so that he doesn’t have to eat the same food as the regular people. These are ancient Greek columns that he had brought over to use as ornamentation on his home. This is a gold coin with his portrait, it weighs over three pounds.”
When asked about the comparative poverty of the general public, the man said, “Well it’s not like people are starving, but certain things are considered luxuries, like very few people are able to afford to have a car, all of this while our president steals from us and lives in a luxury.”
Playing the devil’s advocate, this writer commented that the White House may be seen as rather lavish as well. However the Ukrainian-Minnesotan had a wise answer for this, “The White House was built for all of the presidents and people can even take tours of it. This man has multiple homes, each one equally lavish, and they were all built about two years ago, solely for his own pleasure.”
The New York Times paints a dire picture of the future possibilities for Ukraine, saying that even with Yanukovych ousted, the future possibilities are at best “murky.” To see the entire article, click on the following link-
However when the Ukrainian-Minnesota is asked about Ukraine’s future, he is optimistic. “The president has been ousted. He was driven out of the country by the Ukrainian people. He made a comment this morning that he will not step- down, he will not give up his power, but who cares? He has already been kicked out. Protestors are guarding his home to make sure that he doesn’t return. The police have announced that they are now on the side of the people, and parliament is working to set up new leadership. The most important thing for people to know is that there has been a shift in power, and the Ukraine now belongs to the people.”
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