Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fists, Eggs, and a Smoke Bomb: Ukraine's - Colorful? - Parliament

Note: The Lemming doesn't post about politics as a rule: but this was just too weird to ignore.
"Fists fly in Ukraine parliament punch up"
CNN (April 27, 2010)
(Includes video)

"Lawmakers in Ukraine scuffled with each other, throwing punches and eggs, as parliament met Tuesday to ratify a treaty with Russia that extends the latter's navy presence in the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula until 2042.

"The ruling Regions party eventually ratified the treaty but not before howls of protest from the opposition.

"Someone set off a smoke bomb inside the building, while Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn sought refuge behind an umbrella as he was pelted with eggs...."

I suppose the MPs who didn't like the deal have a point. Russia is (bribing?) Ukraine to keep that base.

"...The deal extends Russia's lease of a major naval base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol for an additional 25 years, in exchange for a 30 percent cut in the price of natural gas that Russia sells to Ukraine...."

I won't pretend that this is a simple situation, or that the Russian Federation is a 100% wonderful country with absolutely no imperfections. But those dudes in the Ukrainian parliament: I suppose I should remember that not all cultures have the same standards of conduct.

Maybe Members of Parliament throwing eggs and setting off smoke bombs is a cherished cultural tradition for Ukrainians. Or, not.

"Smoke grenades, eggs & tomatoes turn Ukraine parliament into battlefield"

RussiaToday, YouTube (April 27, 2010)
video, 9:34

"Ukraine's parliament has turned into a battlefield with politicians setting off smoke grenades and throwing tomatoes over the ratifying of extending the lease to Russia's Black Sea Fleet of Sevastopol's naval base. The same ratification process is underway in Russia's State Duma - but it is passing through a lot more quietly."

That video gives quite a bit of background. For example, Russia has had a naval base in Ukraine for about three centuries.

(Historical note: The Soviet Union is a strictly 20th-century phenomenon. (see "Timeline: Soviet Union," BBC) Russia, as a nation, is a whole lot older. And Russia is, except for a few less-than-ideal ports, a landlocked country.)

There's more. And, yes: It's RussiaToday. And despite the British accents - here's how RT describes itself: "...The channel is government-funded but shapes its editorial policy free from political and commercial influence. Our dedicated team of news professionals unites young talent and household names in the world of broadcast journalism...."

I'm hardly one of those folks who saw Commies behind every door, and I realize that "Russia" isn't the "Soviet Union." Also, I remember 1991.

On the other hand, I apply that proverbial pinch of salt when there's a financial connection between a news service and whatever's being covered by them.

Smoke Bombs in Congress?

What really got my attention was the smoke bomb(s).

Of course, I'm applying American standards to Ukraine's legislative body. Over here, if members of one party set off smoke bombs in Congress - after the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and possibly CIA got through with them, there'd be consequences.

Never mind the rather dim view American courts sometimes take of setting off pyrotechnic devices in (or near) federal buildings. Come the next election - we'd likely see a major shakeup in the political landscape.

Maybe Ukrainians are more laid-back about the sort of nonsense they'll put up with, when it comes to their national leaders. Me? I expect some bombast. Smoke bombs: not so much.


Brigid said...

Your accent is slipping: "about sort of nonsense"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


Ah! English's definite article may be omitted without hindering meaning - but sentences sound funny then.

Thanks, and fixed!

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