war crimes in Ukraine

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Do not tease the wolf

Vasyl Ovsienko, Kyiv
The incident which happened in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on 23 September 1999 between MPs Mykhaylo Brodskiy and Yaroslav Kendzior, became widely known, distorted by rumors, so it demands the proper legal and ethnic assessment.

In order to express his protest against blocking the direct translation of plenary meetings of the Supreme Rada by TV, MP Brodskiy demonstratively set down in the armchair of the President of Ukraine and said that he would not stand up until the TV transmissions were resumed. MP Kendzior retorted by the remark, which the press did not quote verbatim, but the general sense was: . You will sit into the President. s armchair in Tel-Aviv. . Brodskiy understood this remark as insulting and rushed at Kendzior, who took the defensive boxer. s stance. But the narrow passage between two rows of armchairs was blocked by the lady-deputy Olena Bondarenko. Then Brodskiy began to spit on Kendzior, who protected his face with forearms. V. Medvedchuk, a deputy speaker led Brodskiy away from the hall. Viktor Omelych, the head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of deputy ethics, suggested to deprive the both deputies of the right to attend plenary meetings for a week. However, people. s deputies deprived only Kendzior of this right. Only in the end of the working day after several attempts the same penalty was imposed on Brodskiy.

The cause of the incident is the absence of the real-time transmissions of the meetings of the Supreme Rada. President Kuchma and the Cabinet of Ministers explain the prohibition by the unwillingness of making the Parliamentary tribune the place of advertising candidates to the Presidency. Yet, the President is daily shown on TV screens.

In the entire world the work of the Parliament is permanently reflected by mass media including TV. Moreover, every citizen has the right to observe meetings of the Parliament from special galleries. Besides, every citizen has the access to Parliamentary materials: documents and projects. In Ukraine such access is very restricted. From this standpoint M. Brodskiy. s demonstration is quite well-grounded.

Yet, there is another cause of the incident. The armchair reserved for the President in the Supreme Rada is a sort of symbol of his power and statesmanship. When this lofty place is occupied not by the President, then a Ukrainian citizen may feel that his patriotic feelings are abused. The more so, that MP Brodskiy hinted that this lofty place is unneeded in the Parliament, so, maybe, the President is unneeded in the state at all. The reaction of a Ukrainian Kendzior to the fact that a Jew Brodskiy occupied the armchair was emotional, but not quite ungrounded: Ukrainians do not feel themselves yet masters in Ukraine, since they do not own the major part of the Ukrainian property. To make the things worse some MPs, including Brodskiy, do not use the state language on principle, thus demonstrating their neglect to the Ukrainian people and its state.

The newspaper . Kievskie vedomosti. , which is known by its scandalous anti-Ukrainian publications, on 24 September printed a very emotional article by Brodskiy, where he called Kendzior . a national-socialist. . Having stuck to the emotionally used word, Brodskiy adds to it a number of accusations to all Ukrainian (as to the culture) political world. Brodskiy completely denies that the . People. s Rukh. is a democratic organization and appeals to all the world to severe contacts with the parties . People. s Rukh of Ukraine. (led by Udovenko), . Reforms and order. , . Congress of Ukrainian nationalists. and . related structures. , unless they officially condemn . the anti-Semitic provocation by Yaroslav Kendzior and the actions aimed at his support. .

For the time being Kendzior did not contact the press, but on 23 September on TV he made a remark he was not an anti-Semite, which is proved by the fact that there are many Jews among his friends, and that Brodskiy. s provocation may result in a burst of anti-Jewish sentiments in Ukraine.

It should be noted that the parallel constructed by Brodskiy between the Ukrainian Kendzior and the Russian Makashov is also groundless. In Russia there exist many large organizations that support open anti-Semitism, whereas such organizations are practically absent in Ukraine. Ukrainian patriotic organizations, regarded by Brodskiy as anti-Semitic ones, are actually not anti-Semitic.

In any case the MP risks much by teasing the wolf. It would be better if they combattants begged each other. s pardon.
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