Monday, May 19, 2014

5 days until the elections

A confession: some days I don't even check the news anymore.

With less than a week to go until the presidential elections, it seems like every available surface is covered with political statements.

Defaced campaign ad for Mikhail Dobkin
Found this while walking near a basketball court the other week. It reads: There's only one choice- either Timoshenko or war, economic breakdown, corruption, and oligarchs. Vote with your mind, not your emotions!
Blue-and-yellow billboard @ the train station: Kharkov is Ukraine. Don't sell your motherland!
Left: A billboard asking Mayor Kernes to return (he's still in Israel, recovering from being shot in the back)
On a telephone post: bribes, corruption, bureaucrats-for-sale. How much can you put up with?

The recent holiday (V-day) brought out a number of sights like these-
Born in Lugansk [eastern Ukraine], he protected Galicia [western Ukraine]... Thank you for peace! Glory to the heroes! And in the background- pardon the accidental finger cameo- is an ad for presidential candidate Serhiy Tihipko with the words Peace comes first!
Billboard in the same style, this one reading: Born in the Donbas [region of eastern Ukraine], she freed Kiev... Thank you for peace! Glory to the heroes!
At the intersection of Sumskaya St and Vesnina St: The victory was for all of us!

It's the same thing every time I get online. Facebook and Google must be making a killing from all these ads-

Ad for the Eastern Front: Self-organized residents of Kharkov, Donetsk, and other cities to protect against radicals.
This ad is for Timoshenko: I demand a Ukrainian referendum be held on whether to join the EU and NATO.

I don't know if the Ukrainian army is still asking for donations, but ads for the Protectors of the Motherland Fund continue to be displayed.
or this-

- decorate a lot of the pages I visit.

The YouTube ads are less politically-oriented and tend to reference the economic situation instead:
Business education abroad: is it worth enrolling abroad during a crisis?

This 4-part ad for a local IT school shows up all the time-
Screen 1: What will happen tomorrow?
Screen 2: [EU flag]? [Russian flag]? or something else?
Screen 3: IT specialists are needed in any country...
Screen 4: Enroll at the Computer Academy!

We don't have a TV so for the most part I've been ignorant of what's going on via that form of media. This weekend we did watch about 15 minutes of TV at a friend's apartment, including a commercial break that was filled with back-to-back campaign ads. I remember one particular ad seeming more like the guy was trying to sell something than win an election. Anyway, in that regard (ad after ad after ad) it felt like watching TV in America just before the elections. As for the other stuff- billboards, posters, etc- I never saw much of that in Alaska, probably because it'd be late fall and everything would be covered in snow.

What's usually on display in Ukraine at this time of year are summer vacation ads like this one. But this year, what's below is the only such ad I've seen anywhere-
Neva Guesthouse in Alushta (Crimea): Make a reservation now and receive a 10% discount
Kind of makes you wonder if they arranged for advertising long before this all happened and never got around to cancelling the order. 

Summer in Crimea usually means people everywhere-
My first visit to Crimea, 2007 or 2008

-though I have a feeling that dock is going to be pretty empty this summer.

*Update: Read 5 days after the elections.*


  1. One of my Russian friends is going on holiday to Krim this year. It's an... interesting choice.

    1. Have you seen this article, Polly? Sounds like they're trying hard to fill up those hotels.

  2. I have been to Yalta once. We went the first time we went to Ukraine in 2004. It was great, and I am glad that I was able to get there, but not a great as Kherson. :) Zak

    1. We spent an afternoon in Yalta one August. All I remember is the heat and the masses of people everywhere :p