Bliff

What the Ukrainian word for “bluffed” sounded like in the commentary of protesters behind frozen snow walls in Kiev’s icy Maidan square last week. They were analyzing Viktor Janukovytsch’s offer of cabinet posts to two of the three opposition leaders, with himself remaining at the helm and no early elections before the scheduled one in 2015.

The offer was made on 25 Jan 2014 and the Ukrainian opposition turned it down on 26 Jan 2014.

Führerkrankenhausbesuch als Unschuldstarnung

Leader’s hospital visit as innocence camouflage.

After last week’s compromises in the Ukrainian Rada, which Mr. Janukovytsch did not sign into law, Mr. Janukovytsch announced he was ill and disappeared into a hospital. Vitali Klitschko said that tended to be a bad sign in the Soviet era, when leaders would pretend to be sick and out of the loop when their people were getting ready to visit some atrocities on a population.

Update on 26 Jan 2014: Protests have spread beyond Kiev to many other regions of the country. The head of the military said his organization would not act against protesters.

Update on 31 Jan 2014: Army leadership spoke up “for the first time” and said the country was threatening to split apart and Mr. Janukovytsch must take steps to achieve stability and harmony in Ukrainian society. The Ukrainian opposition complained that activists were being systematically kidnapped and tortured; the United Nations called for an independent investigation of those allegations. At least 30 people are missing. One of the missing was recently found dead in the woods.

Though post-Soviet leaders may still be able to hide in hospitals, injured protesters in Ukraine cannot. Ukrainian police have also been accused of going through hospitals to menace people beaten by Ukrainian police. On 30 Jan 2014, after disappearing for nine days, activist Dmitro Bulatow turned up again with wounds all over his swollen body. It looks like they hammered nails through his hands, and cut off an ear. His spokespeople said during his ordeal he was interrogated every day by men asking, “Where is the money?” and “Who and what countries are behind the demonstrators?” After his return, the government first declared Mr. Bulatow under house arrest, because he was too injured for prison, for “organization of massive disturbances.” This prevented him from being able to seek safer medical treatment in a foreign country—reporters showed footage of police who turned up to interrogate Mr. Bulatow at the clinic where he was receiving treatment.

Germany’s foreign minister announced on Saturday, 01 Feb 2014, that he’d heard Mr. Bulatow will be permitted to leave Ukraine on Sunday. Also, Mr. Janukovytsch reportedly did finally sign the repeals of the new anti-demonstration laws.

(Führer CRONK en house be ZOO chh   ollss   OON shooldz tah noong.)

Mezhyhirya

The name of Ukrainian President Viktor Janukovytsch’s “residential compound” along the Dnieper river, which apparently features 345 acres of park land, a golf course, fancy buildings, helipads, pet ostriches, a gold-plated “large barge,” other sports facilities, fruit and vegetable greenhouses and serious government security guarding both the property and a nearby village. Mr. Janukovytsch has been accused of illegally privatizing the manse via the two companies that were granted a 49-year lease on the park and have been tearing down Soviet-era C.P. buildings and doing a lot of new construction.

Journalist Tetyana Chernovil climbed the wall and wandered around the inside of the park taking photographs for about three hours in 2012 before getting caught by guards and dogs. She questioned how Mr. Janukoyvch was able to afford what she saw on his annual government salary of about $115,000.

Update on 22 Feb 2014: Unbelievable photos from inside Mezhyhirya after protesters stormed it today, despite warnings of booby traps and sharpshooters. Spiegel.de said Mr. Janukovytsch first built up the park and then privatized it by selling it off to companies based in London and Vienna, companies that he presumably controls.

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