quinta-feira, junho 07, 2007

They think we are gangsters

June 6th 2007, From Economist.com
Our Moscow correspondent inspects Donetsk
THE politics in Kyiv was all tactical manoeuvring, and I was getting lost in its complications. To discover more about the two Viktors, Yushchenko and Yanukovich, I decided to visit their respective constituencies—starting with Donetsk, the industrial heart of Ukraine, where most people speak Russian and support Mr Yanukovich.
“Don’t go out after dark,” a friend in Kyiv warned me the night before. “It is poor and rough,” confirmed a nice lady in the presidential administration. Evidently, Donetsk inspired resentment and fear in white-collar Kyiv. Walking past the prosecutor-general’s office in the capital, where thuggish-looking men were gathered (probably for payment) in a show of support for Mr Yanukovich, I could see why.

The first surprise of the journey was a happy one. The plane to Donetsk was a smart, clean Boeing, not a Soviet museum-piece. My heart leapt for joy. But this interlude of modernity soon came to a close. As we approached Donetsk I could see from the window a painfully familiar sight: long rows of faceless, grey apartment blocks, typical of any Soviet-built city.
A walk around the centre of the city was a disorienting experience. Everything screamed “Soviet Union”: the 1940s architecture, the Red Army tank on a podium, the statue of Lenin in front of the local government building ... I pinched myself and looked again. It was a statue to Taras Shevchenko, a Ukrainian national hero. I needed a drink.

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