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14 October, 2011

Primates and People

From now on, Yulia Tymoshenko is a political prisoner regardless of how soon subsequent scenarios of pardon or acquittal by a court of higher instance will be implemented to please Europe, if at all.

It took judge Rodion Kireev less than three and a half hours, not counting the breaks, to announce the sentence to Yulia Tymoshenko. The ex-premier is to spend seven years in jail, cannot hold public office for a further three years, and must pay UAH 1.516bn to NAK Naftogaz of Ukraine. This court and this verdict nullifies any charges against her. With its moves, the government has essentially granted complete absolution to the key opposition leader’s sins, be they real or imaginary. From now on, she is a political prisoner regardless of how soon subsequent scenarios of pardon or acquittal by a court of higher instance will be implemented to please Europe, if at all.

This trick by the white’n’blues (those who believe that the wunderkind from a village near Kyiv made the relevant ruling independently, with no instructions from the top, should stop reading the piece right now!) has significantly damaged the overall climate in Ukraine – if you like, the atmosphere and air, because it ultimately and clearly turned the complex relations within society into a scheme of interaction between the alpha male primates in a pack of monkeys. The primates only know the strong and the weak. The reservation called Ukraine which once had the Ruska Pravda, the legal code of Kyiv Rus tracing back to the 11th and 12th centuries; the 16th century Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the Magdeburg Rights, and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms, is now ruled by completely different principles. From now on, it is comprised of only two types, just like in a pack of monkeys – the cool guys and the losers.

I am not an expert in how to become one of the cool guys. For this you have to turn to animal behavior experts. It is claimed that animals have ritual poses to demonstrate their status. Once you have made it, the priority is to prove to the others in the pack that they are losers. There are few options: if you don’t want to be cool, you agree to be a loser. If you are not willing to drive in the oncoming lane to bypass a tiny traffic jam, only to block the road completely at the next crossroads, you are a loser. If you are not prepared to establish relations with those in power and share your cake in order to gain career growth, at which point others will subsequently be sharing their cake with you, you are a loser. And you are a loser thrice over if you believe that other creatures, similar to you, have the same rights as you do.

This is what the government has done, led by a president who is now movingly and resolutely denying his part in the decision announced by his subordinate primate. Apparently, this has simplified the relations within a society, or culture in other words, which have evolved over many centuries. And culture is not just listening to Haydn at the philharmonic or reading Proust on the weekend, although these are integral components. Culture is a sophisticated complexity, gained through the experience of generations. Complexity means rules, ethics and etiquette, as well as the unshakable habit of managing them. This clearly requires some individual discipline. If complexity is not in your nature or is too difficult for your mental capacity, you will try to simplify it down to basics, then…. And then your children are doomed to start building the pyramid of relations almost from scratch. Just don’t count on them being grateful.

No, you like to have spare apartments in London or the French Riviera, or as a surrogate, a mansion along the old Obukhiv Road to Kyiv. At the very least, this signals that you value individual expressions of sophistication, such as clean paths, safe streets and nicely mown lawns. But you have yet to realize that this applies throughout the country, not simply within the boundaries set by fences and bodyguards, and is a derivative of the accursed culture, that includes the division of power, the rule of law, the honest counting of votes as well as numerous other minor issues, which are not so difficult to grasp, providing you are willing to do so.  

The group of primates at the top, which considers us to be losers, has spent the last 18 months thrusting its primitive outlook onto us and ultimately demonstrated it so convincingly, that no Ukrainian has any lingering doubts whatsoever.  

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