06 December 2004

A Ukrainian Caught in the Middle

The following emails are from a responsible adult Ukrainian friend of a friend who teaches at a university in the western part of Ukraine. It took a while to obtain permission to reproduce them (without naming names). I suspect these sentiments reflect a large number of people who are neither blogging nor talking in front of TV cameras.

27 November 2004

It is crisis. Our students as well as schoolchildren are on the streets. The democracy is at its top - those who want to study, come to Uni and study, those who want to go to meetings, go to meetings. Some Universities are closed, ours is working. The problem is that what is going on is very chaotic. Because many people who supported Ushchenko want to strike and are on strike, but I am not sure whether their salaries are still paid or not - nobody knows! The people of different views who understand the danger of ruining economics work - if we all strike, who will work?

Besides, if our students who paid money want to study, how can we not teach them? If we close for now, when will we work afterwards? On holidays? On Christmas holidays? So, there was a decision as meetings are all day round that from 8 till 1 our students study and then those who are eager to show his/her will, go to meetings. In Vinnytsia all the Unis go to meetings, so I won't give you the exact number - 2000-5000, etc? With Kyiv it is more complicated - they say up to 100,000 people! Or more! West and East are for different candidates and there are threats to divide Ukraine! Can you imagine, e.g., My situation, if my mom and her relatives come from East, who live there and my husband's family - all of them - live in West! We are really desperate!

The situation is very unpleasant because the majority understands that politicians who were unable to solve complicated problems at their work are using our romantic youth. The young people who are striking are also different: some of them are really supporting their ideas, others are having fun because of total freedom and friendship, some of them are using the situation not to study, some of them are innocent and idealistic, some ignorant and aggressive. I personally don't know what is going to happen, but I was shocked to know that our school teachers let their children go to meetings alone! (I am speaking about my son's classmates, he is 15.)

Thank God everything is friendly so far, but people are getting impatient! In Vinnytsia there are no threats as only one candidate is being supported while in Kyiv the situation is more dangerous - both candidates' supporters came to the capital. So far everything seems alright, but, you know that there are many indecent people who would like to provoke smth unpleasant. I do pray all the time.

3 December 2004

The situation here is really depressing for those people who tend to think and analyze. I believe that our main problem is that we forgot to count our blessings! It is always easier to criticize than do something. Our Uni doesn't work now - we have a week holiday. Still all the teachers go to work. From Monday we have to teach our students and plus give them all the classes they didn't come to!

God knows how hard we have been trying to survive all these years. You do remember the chaotic things a couple or more years ago in Ukraine. I can't say that we are great now, still, the houses are being built, the roads are repaired, you won't recognize our railway station! There are MANY pregnant women in the streets, my mom has 464 Hr pension (app $80) and she used to have 153 HR (less than $30). The currency rate was more or less stable, people started using bank accounts to keep their savings and what are we going to do now? Genetically we are scared of everything!

Besides, I can't understand who is fighting whom, as Yanukovitch is working as Prime-Minister for a year and a half and Yushchenko - from the very beginning of the independency of Ukraine (13 years!). Our town mayor (!) accused the government of frauds, etc. But HE IS THE GOVERNMENT! Our local one, isn't he? Sometimes, I feel really angry because THEY over there USE Me and MY COUNTRY for THEIR political games. My future, the future of my son!

Yes, the media IS very biased and disgusting. So, I have nothing against Joel getting my e-mail. I do have my opinion which is fortunately supported by many people I love and respect.

Sorry for such an emotional letter, I do love my country, I work hard and I am patriotic, but not nationalistic, racistic, fanatic and aggressive. I don't believe in the power of ultimatums, because they can and will boomerang and again chaos and disorder will flourish.

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