Sunday, September 4, 2011

Тимошенко

I first noticed these stickers on the side of my apartment building and have since seen them all over town.
These ones say "Yulia, we're with you!" in Ukrainian
In a nutshell, Yulia Tymoshenko was the prime minister of Ukraine twice between 2000 and 2010. Now she's in jail for "misusing funds" and there's a big protest / counter-protest going on.

This is the pro-Yulia side (please ignore the gigantic Oriflame ad. Did I mention advertising is freakin' everywhere here?)
This is the anti-Yulia side.
I don't know much about this whole thing, but I know a little about PR. Listen to this: one side has intimidating-looking black and white signs and is constantly broadcasting a very angry voice....I couldn't understand everything, but I caught these threatening snippets: "American mistake", "the thief should be in jail", "against the Ukrainian people", "Washington", and "Europe doesn't like scandals". Take a listen:

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I was told that this is the "government" side and the people holding the signs have been hired by the government. They're enclosed inside a makeshift area and are not interacting with the passer-by. I wanted to take a better video but there were a lot of soldiers and police standing around and they made me really nervous.

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Meanwhile, the pro-Yulia side is playing nationalistic music to try to drown out the angry voice. They're handing out free stickers. They've got lots of displays and handouts. I saw a Chinese tourist posing for a picture here and stopped to do the same. 

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The guy who came over and gave me the sticker said that all foreigners were stopping here for a picture. I'm not saying I'm on one side or the other, but guess which camp is winning the friendly PR campaign?

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Meanwhile, just down the street things appear to be as normal. For some reason the main street was closed here and families and couples were out strolling, enjoying the afternoon.

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