Monday, November 29, 2004

A wealthy camper

We got a report yesterday of a very wealthy man who is down at the protests on the square. Apparently this guy has a three floor apartment, something almost unimaginable in a country where most people live in one or two rooms. (Not bedrooms but rooms. This of course excludes the bathroom and kitchen but they are often not that large at all to add much space.) He has a chauffer who drives him around. He eats at the best places, has the best clothes and I am sure he associates in the highest circles of society and government. In short, this man leads an enviable life for just about anyone either here or in the US.

But this man, to the surprise of his colleagues, set up a tent down on Kreschatik (the street that bisects the square) and is living there, in the tent city, sleeping on a cot--maybe a luxury cot, if there is such a thing, but a cot nonetheless. And his security personnel are staying there with him. His friends can’t understand what has gotten into him. They think he's gone crazy. And if you think about it, he has.

It is highly unlikely that a person here can get wealthy without having some sort of patron in government. Often that means being part of a clan but it can mean simply that you have access to power for some reason. That is the system here. If you have access to the right power center in government, you can become immensely wealthy. And a number have.

This man has made his wealth under that system of patronage, the current system. But Yuschenko has pledged to abolish that system under a campaign to get rid of corruption. This man is helping to fight against the very system that has given him his wealth. Call it killing the goose that laid the golden egg or biting the hand that feeds him, the point is that he is not acting in a way that would protect his interests.

So why is he doing it?

He is doing it because he is Ukrainian and he sees his people out on the street at risk and he has cast his lot with them. For him, being Ukrainian is the most important thing. What is left is not much by comparison. He is out there with his people trying to secure for his people the right to a democratic government. It is as simple as that.

6 comments:

Ron said...

Most interesting posts, Scott... very glad I found your blog. I've carefully marked it for keeping up with the drama in Kiev. Just wish I could be there and wave a big orange banner... hehe.

Scott W. Clark said...

Ron,
Orange is good and the color that might name the revolution. I though saw a sight a couple of days ago that I thought quite appropriate. Someone was waving the Stars and Stripes in the crowd. A beautiful sight and I thought the right place to wave it too.

Anonymous said...

Scott,
Your account had me in tears. I pray for the freedom of Ukraine - that democracy will reign. Keep up the blogging!
Bill in Winnipeg, Canada

Anonymous said...

Probably this man is there, because he's worried that he will go to jail if Yuschenko loose, along with Yuschenko themself and Timoshenko, who were both involved in stealing and laundring millions of bucks back in 90th. Or probably he's just blinded with this orange propoganda. Anyway, please don't associate those people on Maidan (whose number is allegedly 500000, which I doubt) with Ukrainian people (there is much larger population in Ukraine, and most of them at work by the time all these protesters interfere with the work of legitimate government). There were much larger support demonstrations for Yanukovich (~2.5 M people in Donetsk region only) but they marched on weekend, working the rest of the week.Check the sources, and I mean all sources - not just those "orange" brainwashing sites, but someone unbiased.

Scott W. Clark said...

By someone unbiased I suppose you mean your sources?

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