Vladimir Putin: Mrs Yanukovych yells FIRE! in a crowded theater
Letter 17          08-Dec-2004

Mrs Yanukovych
"What appears to be the case, rather, is that the Kuchma-Putin-Yanukovych team had asked Mrs Yanukovych to cry FIRE! in a crowded theater — which is to say, had attempted to trigger a panic which would empty Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square." — Lubomyr Prytulak

             08 December 2004

Vladimir Putin, President
4 Staraya Square
Moscow 103132

Vladimir Putin:

I draw your attention to the following sentence from C. J. Chivers' New York Times article:

Several regions in eastern Ukraine threatened to seek autonomy as a way to try to preserve the tainted vote, and Mr. Yanukovich's wife made televised comments now infamous in Ukraine, saying that the protesters were being paid and were under the influence of drug-laced oranges.  (Her statements were greeted with gratitude by the opposition on Kiev's streets, if only as a cause for laughter.)

C. J. Chivers, Putin says he will accept the will of the Ukrainian people, New York Times International, 07-Dec-2004  www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/international/europe/07putin.html

The first part of the Chivers sentence has Kuchma-Putin-Yanukovych ascribing to Eastern Ukrainians the motive of breaking up a nation in retaliation for Eastern vote fraud having been detected, which is bound to discourage investment in Eastern Ukraine by businessmen who shun irrationality, lawlessness, and instability.  Thus, while Kuchma-Putin-Yanukovych pretend to defend the interests of Eastern Ukrainians, they in fact succeed in sullying their image and damaging their economy.

The second part of the Chivers sentence has Mrs Yanukovych depicting the opposition protestors as drugged.  Below are two videos of the relevant segment of her address, the shorter version covering little more than her statement on the subject of drugging, and the longer version including also what she said both before and after.  The videos reveal that Mrs Yanukovych said not merely that the oranges were spiked, but that they were responsible for a mass poisoning, and that she had just heard a news report that demonstrators were being admitted to hospital with meningitis.

Наколоті апельсини, масові отруєння і менінгіт.  Пані Янукович про акцію громадянської непокори

01.12.2004 16:40:57

Spiked oranges, mass poisoning, and meningitis.  Mrs Yanukovych on the subject of civil disobedience

01-Dec-2004 16:40:57

У своєрідний спосіб здоров'ям учасників акції протесту опікувалася дружина Віктора Януковича

In her own unique way, the wife of Viktor Yanukovych takes an interest in the health of the protestors.

Її заява стала однією з топ-новин у політичному житті країни — перший публічний виступ колишньої другої леді країни на мітингу в Донецьку.

Her statement became one of the top news stories in the political life of the nation — the first public appearance of the former second lady of the land at a meeting in Donetsk.  [The President's wife would be the first lady; the wife of the former Prime Minister would be the former second lady.]

Людмила Янукович:

Ludmilla Yanukovych:

— Горы оранжевых апельсин.  Это на фоне "Оранжевое небо...", понимаете, от такое вот.  Да, это просто... это кошмар.  И хочу вам сказать, что эти апельсинки не простые.  Эти апельсинки наколотые!  Люди берут один апельсин, съели, взяли другой.  От.  И оно тянется и тянется рука.  Вот сейчас я ехала сюда в пять часов, были новости, и сказали: на площади массовое отруєння почалося, и у людей, значит, частые случаи обращения в больницу, людей везут в больницу с менингитом!

— Piles of orange oranges.  There was a song "Orange sky," you understand, it went like this.  Yes, just like that... it was a nightmare.  And I want to tell you that those oranges weren't ordinary.  Those oranges were spiked!  People take an orange, eat it, take another.  There.  And the hand reaches out again and again.  Just now, when I drove here at five o'clock, it said on the news that in the square, a massive poisoning had erupted, requiring hospital treatment, they are taking people to the hospital with meningitis!

Прес-служба головного управління здоровєя та медичного забезпечення Києва не зафіксувала жодного випадку захворювання на менінгіт.  Натомість зафіксовано: за медичною допомогою 30 листопада звернулися 1927 осіб, в тому числі з гострою респіраторною вірусною інфекцєю - 1550, травмами - 4, госпіталізовано 40 осіб.  Це на декілька сотень тисяч маніфестантів.

The news service of the head office of health and medical protection of Kyiv did not record a single case of illness due to meningitis.  Instead the following was recorded: 1927 people required medical attention on 30 November, among whom were 1550 with severe respiratory-tract viral infection, 4 with injuries, 40 people hospitalized.  This from among several hundred thousand demonstrators.

Material in the left column is from the Channel Five web site, of which the right column is a ukar.org translation.  Ludmilla Yanukovych's statement appears in the two tinted boxes — in her original Russian in the yellow box on the left, and in English translation in the blue box on the right.


Originally published by Channel 5 at

Ludmilla Yanukovych


As no meningitis outbreak had occurred, Mrs Yanukovych cannot have heard of one over the radio.  What appears to be the case, rather, is that the Kuchma-Putin-Yanukovych team had asked Mrs Yanukovych to cry FIRE! in a crowded theater — which is to say, had attempted to trigger a panic which would empty Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square.

Mrs Yanukovych cries FIRE! in a crowded theater — and Ukraine only laughs.  Ukraine laughs at Mrs Yanukovych, at Mr Yanukovych, at Leonid Kuchma, at you, and at the ineptitude of Kremlin attempts to restore the Russian empire.

Lubomyr Prytulak