The Kyiv Beet     Ukraine’s First Real “News”paper    Vol. 2 No. 5, April 21, 2003     
Saddam Knocked Off; Kuchma Makes Top Ten
VIENNA – Transparency International, the world’s leading watchdog organization for human rights, has released its revised list of the worst national leaders for April 2003. With the elimination of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from power, President Kuchma of Ukraine has vaulted up a notch and has made it into the top ten rankings. Kuchma, who was holding steady at number eleven for the last year, moves up to the number ten spot after the number one for the last 20 years, Hussein, was deposed by the United States. Kuchma has seen his ranking elevate in recent years after the quick succession of overthrows of Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, Alberto Fujimori of Peru and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The rest of the top ten worst leaders include Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, and Mommar Qaddafi. Kuchma, who has been in the top twenty since 1999, has been accused of corruption, election rigging, conspiracy to murder, embezzlement of state funds and crackdowns on independent media. A Presidential Administration spokesman said that the president did not agree with the list and called it nonsense, but did feel that he should have ranked higher than Mugabe.

International: Dark Cloud Over Ukraine Witnessed by Air Passenger

L’VIV OBLAST – An American traveler to Ukraine has confirmed the existence of “a bit of grayness” over the country. Thomas Folman from Boston was on a flight from Warsaw to Kyiv when about ½ hour into the flight he noticed a change of environment. “The weather was beautiful in Warsaw” Folman began, “nice and sunny, about 65 degrees, and after takeoff I was enjoying the great blue sky out the window. But then, as the pilot announced that we had crossed into Ukrainian airspace, I noticed that it began to become overcast and cloudy – the bright Polish sunshine had gone.” For years foreign residents in Ukraine have made observations about the sudden worsening of the weather after entering Ukraine and the gradual improvement after leaving Ukraine. “It seemed strange to me, but really, after I crossed into Slovakia by bus, the sky was a little bluer, the grass was a little greener. It was the damndest thing,” explained Jack Chang from Miami. The United Nations climatology agency has allocated $40 million over the next 5 years to investigate this phenomenon.

Local: Aerosvit Food Better than Ukrainian Food

IVANO-FRANKIVSK – According to new Peace Corps volunteer Jamie Kerr, the quality and flavor of her in-flight meal on her trip from the U.S. was better than any meal she’s had in Ukraine since then. “I just completed our training last week and after 3 months in the rayon center, I really have to say that the best meal I’ve had was on that Aerosvit flight, it just seemed more traditionally Ukrainian,” she said. After living on less than average golubtsi, cabbage salad and vareniky for the last 11 weeks, Jamie remembers that meal on flight VV567 from Frankfurt and wishes more Ukrainian food were as good as that. “The cheese and roll, the kruchenikiy with potatoes and vegetables and the sliced meat with veggies was really good. Too bad local Ukrainian cafes can’t cook as well as airline catering services,” she sadly noted.

International: Kolchuga Failure Causes Iraqi Defeat

BAGHDAD – The former Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf, has stated through his new website that the forces of Saddam Hussien fell to the U.S. and British, not because of lack of fighting skill, but because of the failure of the Ukrainian radar system to detect the enemy bombers and fighter jets. The man who once said, “We will welcome them with bullets and shoes," says now: “Our brave and honorable Republican Guard fought with the speed and power of Allah, but those damn defective radar systems allowed their planes to bomb us and destroy our equipment. The Ukrainians will suffer our wrath when we force them to commit suicide at the gates of Kiev”. The director of UkrSpetzExport, the manufacturer of the Kolchuga radar system, could not be reached for comment.

Local: Expat Goes Two Weeks Without Changing Money

KYIV- In what has been called an impressive display of financial niggardliness, Brian Thompson managed to make his supply of hryvnas last since April 5th. “I just was really careful about spending cash,” he said. “I only went out once for beers during that time and I ate over people’s houses a lot. I also rode the trolleybus 3 or 4 times on a single ticket. I see how everyone goes to change money like every other day because they don’t want to change more than $20 at a time. It’s really a huge waste of time, as far as I’m concerned. All you need is a little will-power,” he said. Brian’s next challenge is to see how long he can use the same plastic bag for food shopping.

Local: Tourist Can’t Understand All The Expensive Cars

KYIV – An American visitor to Ukraine says that he doesn’t see how Kyivans could afford all the luxury cars he sees – given that the average monthly salary is reported to be around $125/month. “I just don’t get it,” said Pat Stevens. “I mean, like in the States, the average income is like $30,000 a year, and most people drive Fords or Toyotas. Here, people make like $1600 a year and they’re driving brand new BMWs, Mercedes and Audis? I don’t know how they do it. Something just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Local: Man Dresses According To Calendar Instead of Temperature

KYIV – Sergey Benko admits that he lets the date on the calendar determine the amount of clothing he wears, rather than the actual weather outside. Benko, 47, is not alone in his dressing habits – over 73% of Ukrainians in a national study chose their clothing based on the same criteria. For years foreigners have noticed that in March - even on a sunny warm day - people in the street would be seemingly overdressed and wearing heavy coats. The Ministry of Health has decided to allocate Hr 50 million to the investigation of this phenomenon.

International: Anti-Chemical Team Forced to Buy Own Ticket Home

KUWAIT CITY – Now that the Iraq War is over, and since no WMD were used by the Iraqis against “coalition” forces, the United States has cancelled the return portion of the Ukrainian team’s flight to Kyiv. “We were afraid at first of the use of chemical weapons against us, but thankfully it never happened. So, as part of the agreement – which provided the team with per diem, lodging and air travel only if they performed services – we were no longer obligated to keep paying. It’s fair and square as far as I’m concerned,” said an unnamed U.S. official. The 500-man Ukrainian team will now - because of budget constraints - have to take an Omani cargo ship through the Persian Gulf, around the Arabian peninsula, up the Red Sea, through the Suez canal, into the Mediterranean, through the Bosporus strait and cross the Black Sea to dock in Sevastopol. “It may take a little longer than it took to get there,” Lieutenant Sokol said, “but the men will really enjoy the high-seas experience. You know – like pirates or something.”

International: Iraqis Hired to Tear Down Lenin Statue

BASRA – A team of Iraqi street celebrants has won a tender from the Kyiv City Administration to remove the Lenin Statue at the intersection of Shevchenko Blvd. and Khreschatik. The statue, which has stood untouched since the fall of the Soviet Union in Dec. 1991, has seemingly been protected by Soviet sentimentality by the older generation of city residents. The Iraqi team, which consists of seven men and two teens, plans to arrive in Kyiv only in mid-June, as to allow adequate time for them to make the 2,000 km trip by donkey. It was decided to hire foreigners with experience so as not to show Ukrainian officials as anti-Lenin - for political reasons. “You see, this way, people will think the U.S. financed some program or something using Iraqis. This allows us in government to pander to the babushkas by extolling Soviet virtues while at the same time pleasing the Westerners – its brilliant,” said Viktor Volon of the city cultural department. If the operation is successful, a contract may go out to remove the giant hammer and sickle above Maydan Nezalezhnosti.

Regional: Kyrgyzstan Eases Visa Regime for Some Foreigners

BISHKEK - The Kyrgyz government has issued a decree simplifying the procedures necessary for citizens of 28 countries to obtain Kyrgyz visas, Deputy Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev told a press conference. The decree, signed on 15 April and reported by that day, gives citizens of Western European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and South Korea the right to obtain one-month Kyrgyz visas without invitations and exempts them from police registration. It has been reported that the four guys that planned to visit Kyrgyzstan this year were happy with the decision.

Beet Flashback – One Year Ago - Street Poll: 99.6% of Western Guys Think Ukrainian Chicks are “Hot!”

KYIV – In a random poll of 200 American, European and Canadian men between the ages of 23 and 55 living in Ukraine, almost all of them described Ukrainian women as “hot”. “Dude, they are smokin’ and I love ’em’”, said 24-year-old Jason Radcliffe, a Peace Corps volunteer in Kherson, “especially the ones named Natasha!” They really seem to like me for who I am, not because I’m an American or anything.” Likewise, 51-year-old Magnus Swedenson from Goteburg, said, ”Ukraine is the kind of country where a grown man can find an attractive 17-year-old girl to love him unequivocally and not have society give him shit about it.” Of all the participants surveyed only one man (who shall remain nameless) did not recite the virtues of Ukrainian girls. His sexual orientation was not addressed

Over Counter Beets Served


February 14, 2003 Issue
January 24, 2003 Issue
January 3, 2003 Issue
November 22, 2002 Issue
November 1, 2002 Issue
October 11, 2002 Issue
Setember 27, 2002 Issue
September 6, 2002 Issue
August 23, 2002 Issue
August 2, 2002 Issue
July 12, 2002 Issue
June 21, 2002 Issue
June 1, 2002 Issue
May 2002 Issue
April 2002 Issue
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