Viktor Yanukovych, whose Kremlin-backed election victory in 2004 was overturned by the Supreme Court amid allegations of fraud, says the pro-Western revolution that brought his rivals to power has led to political chaos, corruption and a dismal economy.
“So what did this Orange Revolution give us?,” Yanukovych asked in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “Freedom of speech? That’s very good. But what price did the Ukrainian people pay for this? For the development of this democratic principle in our country, the price was too great.”
The Orange Revolution took Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit, as the pro-Western leadership sought membership in the European Union and NATO. It also deepened animosity between the pro-Russian east and the west of the country, where Ukrainian nationalism is strong.
Yanukovych said his first priority as president would be to revive the use of the Russian language in schools and in the workplace, a move that would reverse the “forced Ukrainization” of the millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians who support him.
He repeated his pledge not to seek membership in NATO, Russia’s Cold War foe. But he said he would give his full support to Medvedev’s proposal for a joint European security regime, which has gotten an icy reception in most of Europe.
He also promised, if elected, to do everything in his power to speed Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
Yanukovych, a barrel-chested hunting enthusiast, also denied that his 2004 presidential victory had been fixed. Instead the Supreme Court broke the law when it overturned his election and ordered another round of voting, he said.
“The third round of those elections was illegal,” he said. “Why? Because five years have passed, and in those five years, the falsification of my election has basically not been proven. This means that those elections were legal. They were not rigged.”
The use of Russian, seen by its opponents as a symbol of Soviet subjugation, has been phased out.
On a recent campaign trip to the Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula, where he enjoys broad support, Yanukovich poked fun at the Ukrainian language and the politicians who insist on speaking it.
So beware Ukrainian voters, this man is dangerously close to winning the election on January 17th and is intent on destroying the Ukrainian identity and the ideals of the Orange Revolution.
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A: I did a movie in Russia and didn’t realize how Russian I look, even more specifically, how Ukrainian I look until I was over there. Even though I’m mostly Irish, I do have some Ukrainian or Russian heritage. I don’t know if it was a reference to that. It’s also an inside joke with one of the AMC executives, Vlad Wolynetz, who’s Ukrainian. And I think it’s just a hilarious go-to pick-up line.
The melody was created in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) and titled “Shchedryk” (lyrics). Based on an old Ukrainian folk song, the original lyrics describes the swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. The song’s title is derived from the Ukrainian word “shchedryi” which means “bountiful.”
The original song in Ukrainian: Choir Irkutsk University – Shchedryk
The song was originally written for the New Years, not Christmas:
the original folk melody that Leontovich used to compose his work was one of many well-wishing tunes sung in many Ukrainian villages on Jan. 13 — New Year’s Eve on the Julian calendar — usually by adolescent girls going house to house in celebration of the new year. As the girls sang the tune predicting good fortune, they were rewarded with baked goods or other treats.
“Very few people realize that the composition ‘Shchedryk’ was composed and performed during a time when there was intense political struggle and social upheaval in Ukraine,” Potoczniak said. The same choir director who commissioned the song formed the Ukrainian National Chorus, mandated by a fledgling Ukrainian government, in 1919 to promote Ukranian music in major cultural centers in the West. Touring across Europe and North and South America, the chorus performed more than 1,000 concerts.
The Ukrainian National Chorus did not limit its performances of “Shchedryk” to the Julian New Year, and the song became popular in other parts of the world as the choir introduced it to other nationalities, including the United States, where they first performed the song to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall Oct. 5, 1921.
When American choir director and arranger Peter Wilhousky heard Leontovich’s choral work, it reminded him of bells; so he wrote new lyrics to convey that imagery for his choir. He copyrighted the new lyrics in 1936 and published the song, despite the fact that the work had been published almost two decades earlier in Soviet Ukraine. In the late 1930s, several choirs that Wilhousky directed began performing his anglicized arrangement during the Christmas holiday season.
Now called “Carol of the Bells,” the song has become associated with Christmas because of its new lyrics, which include references to silver bells, caroling and the line “merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.”