Pereiaslav II at Novo-Ogarevo
"The big difference between the two Pereiaslavs is that in 1654, Bohdan Khmelnytsky ceded Ukrainian sovereignty to Moscow in order to protect the Ukrainian people from foreign armies, whereas in 2004, Leonid Kuchma cedes Ukrainian sovereignty to Moscow in order to protect himself from the Ukrainian people." — Lubomyr Prytulak
Kuchma, Putin, and Yanukovych
at Kyiv military parade 28-Oct-2004
07 November 2004
Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Pereiaslav I — at Pereiaslav in 1654
Having initially defeated Polish forces, Bohdan Khmelnytsky and his Cossacks found themselves trapped in perpetual warfare with Poland, and seeing no end to internecine hostilities, they sought security by placing themselves under the protection of Moscow, sealing their submission with an oath before the Muscovite ambassador, Vasilii Buturlin, in the town of Pereiaslav near Kyiv on 18-Jan-1654.
Pereiaslav II — at Novo-Ogarevo in 2004
Three hundred fifty years later, having initially defeated the Ukrainian people, Leonid Kuchma and his gangsters found themselves trapped in perpetual warfare with them, and seeing no end to internecine hostilities, they sought security by placing themselves under the protection of Moscow, sealing their submission with an oath before the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in his Novo-Ogarevo residence near Moscow on 09-Oct-2004, where was born the tradition of Putin honoring Kuchma with Archangel Michael's place on his right hand, and Yanukovych with Archangel Gabriel's place on his left.
Pereiaslav II at Novo-Ogarevo 09-Oct-2004
No photographs exist of the Pereiaslav I events, of course, but advances in technology permitted the Pereislav II festivities to be televised, especially to Eastern Ukraine where the inhabitants made the mistake of imagining that they might be protected from Kremlin oppression because they spoke Russian just like Putin, forgetting all the while that tens of millions of victims of the Kremlin had found no protection in speaking the same language as their executioners. Khmelnytsky had labored under a similar delusion: in deciding whether to seek protection under the Polish king, the Tatar khan, the Ottoman sultan, or the Muscovite tsar, he opted for the tsar because of the shared Orthodox faith, which, however, proved insufficient to deflect Muscovite oppression, exploitation, treachery, and ultimately genocide.
Details of the bill of sale
At Pereiaslav II, then, the Kremlin obtained license to accelerate the destruction of Ukrainian language, culture, and sovereignty. In consideration of such license, Vladimir Putin gave Kuchma-Yanukovych a handful of colored jelly beans, to their delight and satisfaction, though most Ukrainians considered the payment small, and in any case never devolving to them:
The Pereiaslav II celebration at Putin's Novo-Ogarevo residence on 09-Oct-2004 was televised to Ukraine along with Putin's explicit recommendation that Ukrainians vote for Yanukovych, and along with Putin demonstrating his attachment by bestowing kisses to both Kuchma and Yanukovych. As with all Kremlin-supplied candy, Kuchma-Yanukovych benefitted by a boost in prestige, but the benefit to the Ukrainian nation was nil.
Kuchma-Yanukovych got the publicity of ten billboards and five screens promoting Yanukovych's candidacy, which in the center of Moscow are valued at $1,800 each per day.
Kuchma-Yanukovych had most to gain from their initial plan to manufacture a torrent of Yanukovych votes in 650 polling stations across Russia, putatively for the use of diaspora Ukrainians. The number of proposed polling stations was later scaled back to 41, and a Ukrainian court forbade even these, with the result that this particular jelly bean Kuchma-Yanukovych were allowed to look at and even chew, but — no matter how profuse their salivation — forbidden to swallow.
Kuchma-Yanukovych valued the Kremlin derogation of opposition Member of Parliament Yulia Tymoshenko, through issuance by a Moscow court of a warrant for her arrest, and by a request to Interpol to place her on an international wanted list for declining to answer the Moscow court's summons.
One may wonder whether Kuchma-Yanukovych benefitted by the supply from Russian chemical and biological warfare laboratories of a toxin to knock presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko out of the race.
Kuchma-Yanukovych got a status boost from Vladimir Putin's three-day visit to Ukraine, whose high point was the trio's appearance on the reviewing stand during a military parade on 28-Oct-2004 — a date that Ukrainians had never commemorated before, but which happened to antedate the election by three days.
The cost to the Kremlin of the above jelly beans is insubstantial, given that what is being bought is the largest country in Europe. Maybe Putin's shrewd purchase will distract from Russian embarrassment for the blunder of having sold Alaska to the Americans for $7.2 million in 1867, which is for less than two cents an acre, though of course two cents was worth more then than it is today. On the other hand, maybe Kremlin interference in Ukrainian elections will prove to be a Russian blunder even greater than the sale of Alaska in that Kremlin indications that the aim of its interference is to subjugate Ukraine will drive its inhabitants into the arms of the Americans.
Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be the only one of the trio in high spirits, and unashamed to look the camera in the eye, which is easy to understand, as he has not just sold his country down the river, but rather has bought a country for the price of a bag of candy.
Pereiaslav II is not an exact repeat of Pereiaslav I
The big difference between the two Pereiaslavs is that in 1654, Bohdan Khmelnytsky ceded Ukrainian sovereignty to Moscow in order to protect the Ukrainian people from foreign armies, whereas in 2004, Leonid Kuchma cedes Ukrainian sovereignty to Moscow in order to protect himself from the Ukrainian people. Little wonder that Vladimir Putin finds his two Ukrainian friends amusing.