Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Slate article: What's the Matter With Kiev? Sunday's vote wasn't a rejection of the orange revolution, it was proof of its success.

This is an piece I've been mulling over for almost a month now, since my two weeks in Ukraine in February.

It starts with me, along with just about everybody else in the room, being drunk out of my skull:

After some jazz standards, the Lithuanians join the singing with a drunken rendition of "Svetit Neznakomaya Zvezda" ("A Foreign Star Is Shining"), an old Soviet folk song about being in a foreign city far away from your beloved. Everybody but me joins in—they all know the words, even though none were adults when the Soviet Union collapsed—and for a moment I'm back in the U.S.S.R. This is the new Kiev, polyglot and approaching something almost like cosmopolitanism.
I'm very happy with the editor's work, but there were some important things that got snipped, such as the fact that the two Lithuanians' names were Paulius and Adomas, which come on, let's face it, are objectively brilliant names.

Also, she removed the word "Kuchmastan."

The words to "Svetit Neznakomaya Zvezda," and the translation, according to Paulius:

"Svety neznakomaya zvezda, snova my otorvany ot doma, s nova mezhdu namy goroda, yarkyi ogny aerodroma..."

"Once again we torn away from our home, once again the cities separate us, and bright airport lights, but hope is my eternal compass, and fortune is reward for bravery, and it is enough to have our song to remind us of home...."

Here are my initial impressions of Ukraine, without more stuff about me having to spend so much cash and less mumbling into my shoes about politics.


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