[lg policy] (no subject)

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue May 21 10:34:43 EDT 2019

Comedian to be sworn in as Ukrainian presidentComedian to be sworn in as
Ukrainian president






Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky will formally become the country's
new president at a ceremony in the capital, Kyev, on Monday, May 20. 2019.
With no previous political experience, Zelensky scored a landslide victory
in last month's presidential election and ousted incumbent Petro Poroshenko
who had been in power since 2014.
[image: Volodymyr-Zelensky_mod.jpg]
Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky has made two big promises: to tackle Ukraine's deep-rooted
corruption and bring an end to the war with Russian-backed rebels in the

It is not clear which issues he will raise in his first speech as leader.
The former television actor has said little since his resounding victory
with 73% of the vote on April 21.

Political wrangling broke out over the timing of his inauguration, which he
had wanted to hold on Sunday, May 19, 2019, a day of mourning for victims
of Stalin-era repression in the country. Ukraine’s parliament, the
Verkhovna Rada, disagreed and voted to hold it on Monday morning.

In fact, Zelensky has done this all before, though it was in a long-running
television series "Servant of the People", a satirical drama in which his
character accidentally becomes Ukraine's president. He plays a teacher who
is elected after his expletive-laden rant about corruption went viral on
social media.

At that fictional inauguration he arrived by taxi and gave a speech
refusing to make bold promises. Instead he pledged to do the best he could
for Ukrainians.

Now that it is happening for real he is unlikely to arrive in a taxi but he
has already apologised to the people of Kyev for the traffic congestion the
event is likely to cause. The apology was delivered via a video on social

His inaugural speech remains a mystery until it is delivered. In the month
since being elected Zelensky has given no press conferences or interviews.
He has left it to a team of advisers to try to reassure people that he
knows what he's doing.

He ran under a political party with the same name as the show. With no
previous political experience, his campaign focused on his difference from
the other candidates rather than on any concrete policy ideas. Despite
this, he stormed to victory.

Zelensky trained as a lawyer before becoming a comedian. He has 4.2 million
followers on Instagram and is a millionaire thanks to his production
company Kvartal 95.

In his declared fight against corruption, last month his aides announced
plans to scrap MPs' immunity from prosecution and to make military
purchases more transparent. The other major challenge is the ongoing
conflict with Russian-backed forces in the east of Ukraine. Zelensky has
said he wants to "renew relations" with eastern Ukraine and start a
"powerful information war to end the conflict".

[image: #]

Fighting in the region has claimed about 13,000 lives since Moscow annexed
Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014. There have already been indications
that Russian President Vladimir Putin will test the political tyro. Shortly
after the election, Putin made it easier for those living in the separatist
territories to obtain a Russian passport. The move was widely seen as a
challenge to the new leader.

In a response on Facebook, Zelensky's team labelled Russia *"an aggressor
state which wages war against Ukraine"* and called on the international
community to provide *"diplomatic pressure and the pressure of sanctions"*.

Statement by Embassy

The Embassy of Ukraine in Hungary has issued the following explanation of a
law that was adopted by Ukraine’s parliament and signed by outgoing
President Petro Poroshenko on May 15, 2019.

The Language Law: Myths and Reality

   - On April 25, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of
   Ukraine "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state
   language". 278 Members of Parliament of Ukraine voted in favour of the
   draft law.
   - The law does not discriminate against the languages of national
   minorities and foreign languages in the territory of Ukraine. At the same
   time, the primary task of the Law is to eliminate the remnants of a
   discriminatory approach to the Ukrainian language, which is the legacy of
   the era of the Russian Empire and the USSR.
   - In Russia, the law was described as the one prohibiting the Russian


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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