Invasion of the body snatchers
The positions being taken by representatives of the Leonid Kuchma mafia clan with regard to the Heorhy Gongadze assassination have become so irrational as to arouse contempt, pity, outrage, shame, and laughter.  The following is a satire based on such current developments as can be read on the Internet at, for example, the two sites below, and as are exemplified in the boxed quotation:

Kyiv Post (in English)
Ukrainska Pravda (in Ukrainian)

Long-awaited DNA results indicate a 99.6 percent likelihood that a headless corpse found south of Kyiv on Nov. 2 is the body of missing journalist Georgy Gongadze, Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko reported to a packed parliament on Jan. 10.  [...]  However, the top prosecutor said he still has doubts that the body belongs to Gongadze, noting that several witnesses reported seeing Gongadze alive after he disappeared.  [...]  Since it is impossible to identify the remains with 100 percent certainty, technically the corpse is considered "unidentified."
Olga Kryzhanovska, DNA indicates Gongadze match, Kyiv Post, 12-Jan-2001

Mykhailo Potebenko in Parliament

It is hoped that the following satire does not prove prophetic, but rather that it will (like Dickens's ghost of Christmas future) help to avert any scenario resembling the one it portrays.

President Kuchma Declares State of Emergency

Thousands of Pod People Rounded Up

Ukrainian Independent Information & News Agency (UNIAN)
12 January 2001

At 23:49 local time, all Ukrainian radio and television stations that are integrated into the Emergency Response Network interrupted regular programming to broadcast President Leonid Kuchma's declaration of a State of Emergency, and his report of measures taken by MVS, SBU, local Militia forces, and the military to stave off threats to Ukraine's security.  President Kuchma's address was brief, and is reproduced here in its entirety:

Fellow countrymen!  It is your President, Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, who addresses you.  The hour is late, but the subject of my words is of the gravest concern, and cannot wait until morning.

At this moment, our nation, so recently founded, stands exposed to mortal danger.  However, the guardians of the State have been watchful, the danger has been apprehended, and I appear before you tonight only in part to awaken you to the war that is being waged against your freedom by hostile forces, but more importantly to assure you that the battle to protect you is being fought, and being won, by your administration.

You have been aware in recent days of the attempt to mislead the nation into believing that the body found by a mushroom picker in Tarashcha is that of esteemed Internet journalist Heorhy Gongadze.  I am here to tell you that this story is a lie.  The lie has been refuted by our DNA analysis which we have completed in the record time of two months and one week from the date of discovery of the body which reveals only a 99.6 percent chance that the body is Gongadze's.  According to the rules of probability, we are forced to the categorization of this body as "unidentified."

Our administration has preferred to follow the path not of speculation and of pessimism, but of science and of optimism, and this path allows me to assure you today that Gongadze is alive, and that all the fuss over his disappearance is for nothing!  Several promising reports of the sighting of young Gongadze in Lviv, in Moscow, in Tbilisi, in Los Angeles have been received and are being investigated.  Hospitals throughout Ukraine have been notified of the importance of bringing any individual with amnesia and wrist injury to the attention of authorities, and already reports of such individuals have begun to arrive on my desk.  You can believe me when I say that every conceivable lead is being followed up with energy and determination.

Those who are entrusted with the security of our State have for some time been at a loss to explain how it is that a person can disappear, and then a body bearing only some weak genetic resemblance to him can be offered in his stead.  I have given this question considerable thought, and I am pleased to inform you that an understanding of the phenomenon has emerged.

The path to understanding arose from my own observations made upon one who is close to me.  Specifically, certain disturbing changes in the behavior of my beloved wife, Lydmila Mikolayevna, became the objects of my concern she ceased to accompany me to official functions, her interest in Ukraine's children no longer manifested itself in public appearances in short, she did not seem to be herself, an unhappy expression which proved only too prophetic.  Of course enemies of Ukraine spread rumors that my Lydmila had believed accusations that had been made against me, and that her feelings towards me had cooled as a result, and that her withdrawal from public life was intended to signal her disapproval of my presidency.  However, this is not the true interpretation, and the true one as I say has been discovered.  Specifically, employing the good services of agents of the MVS, DNA samples were gathered from Lydmila Mikolayevna's comb, and similar samples from a close blood relation, and subsequent analysis revealed only a 99.4 percent chance that the woman whose behavior seemed so inexplicable to me was indeed my wife.  In other words, for several months at least, I had been living with an unidentified woman!

The fact that Madame X as I will henceforth call this mysterious personage has memorized many of the details of the history of my wife, and that she bears some resemblance to my wife (both in terms of outward appearance and in terms of genetics), points to the sponsorship of this deception by some influential and well-organized power.  I am not at liberty at the moment to disclose what that power is, but I can tell you that it lies beyond the borders of Ukraine, and that it is able to buy the support of traitors within Ukraine by offering them large material inducements.

Madame X, you will be happy to know, is presently under interrogation, and a search for my Lydmila is in progress.  Our best information is that the real Lydmila Mikolayevna is being held on foreign territory, and our best efforts are being brought into play to ensure her comfort and safe return.

It goes without saying that the discovery of this grand deception awakened our senses to the possibility of some wider plot, and this is the main subject of my address to you this evening.  Such a plot has indeed been discovered, and has been foiled.  Specifically, using the latest scientific techniques, similar DNA analyses have been performed on other individuals who play a leading role within Ukraine, and I am free to disclose to you at this time some of the results:

  • General Prosecutor, Mykhailo Potebenko: fully a 100% chance that he really is Mykhailo Potebenko.
  • Interior Ministry Chief, Yury Kravchenko: fully a 100% chance that he really is Yury Kravchenko.
  • Security Service of Ukraine head, Leonid Derkach: fully a 100% chance that he really is Leonid Derkach.
My fellow countrymen, these people are the ones on whom you can without the slightest reservation repose your trust.  They are who they appear to be.  There is nothing phony about them.  In them, you are not getting some substitute, some stand-in, some actor who resembles them, and who has memorized their histories.  You are not getting some DNA close match (but not close enough!).  These are the men who protect you, who will return esteemed Internet journalist Heorhy Gongadze to you, and if I may be allowed to refer again to my own personal tragedy who will restore my wife to me; or to look at it from a different perspective, who will restore Ukraine's first lady to the people of Ukraine, and to the needy children of Ukraine.

But now please regard what our DNA analyses have shown about others, about those others who you have witnessed in recent days behaving unpatriotically, who you have seen in recent days attempting to destabilize Ukraine, and really to seize power from the legitimate, constitutional government of Ukraine:

  • Socialist leader, Oleksandr Moroz: only a 99.5 percent chance that he really is Oleksandr Moroz.
  • Anti-mafia crusader, Hryhory Omelchenko: only a 99.2 percent chance that he really is Hryhory Omelchenko.
  • Internet Journalist, Olena Prytula: only a 99.3 percent chance that she really is Olena Prytula.
Who then are these people Moroz, Omelchenko, Prytula?  The answer is that nobody knows.  We have tried to identify them, but failed.  At the moment, we are forced to classify them as "unidentified."  Can we trust people who are unidentified?  Absolutely not!  We place our trust only in those who have been identified.

The case of Mykola Melnychenko deserves special mention.  The fact of the matter is that Mykola Melnychenko is an employee of the MVS, and that I had the pleasure of breakfasting with him this morning in my residence.  He is a wonderful young man, with many amusing stories to relate about his adventures in the service of the Interior Ministry.  I must emphasize that a DNA analysis which is becoming almost obligatory in these troubled times has confirmed with 100% certainty that he really is Mykola Melnychenko.  As for the impostor who today claims that he hid a tape-recorder under my couch, and that he has tapes of me planning the abduction of esteemed Internet journalist Heorhy Gongadze for whom I have never harbored any feelings other than deepest respect and abiding gratitude for his journalistic services on behalf of Ukraine as for this other fraudulent "Mykola Melnychenko," I say, I ask him to return to Ukraine from wherever he is hiding, and to submit to a DNA analysis, so that the people can judge for themselves, on the basis of evidence and not innuendo, who he really is.

And in concluding my address to you this evening, I bring to your attention the very latest development in the current crisis, which I ask you to absorb calmly, without panic and without hysteria.  The latest development reveals how very great is our danger, and yet I remind you once again of the sleepless vigilance, and indeed the limitless ferocity, of our own security forces when it comes to defeating any attack upon the State.  That new development originates from the Central Bureau of Forensic Expertise located within our good neighbor, Russia, which has been assisting us in our DNA analyses, an assistance that has been made necessary by so many Ukrainian scientists having fled Ukraine over the course of my two-term administration.  It appears that the DNA samples coming from Moroz, Omelchenko, Prytula, and many others like them, contain structures never before seen by the investigators, and which the investigators have labelled as "alien."  [A gasp can be heard in the broadcast studio at this point, and the sound of scurrying feet.]  Dear people! I remind you of the need to remain calm!  [Long pause, with background shouts and noises.]

Until such observations can be confirmed, we do not attach any certainty to them, but the mere existence of reports of "alien" DNA structures, preliminary though these reports may be, forces us to open our thinking to unfamiliar and one must say, disturbing hypotheses.  Specifically, what we may be witness to in our Ukraine is the realization of events already foretold in art.  We know how readily the science fiction of yesterday becomes the science fact of today.  We have all watched pirated versions of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers in our theaters and on our television screens, and can understand what it is like to be the victim of a conspiracy to replace human beings by extraterrestrial pod people, one individual at a time.  So great is the danger, not only to Ukraine but to all mankind, of such a conspiracy, that all must agree that the principle of scientific caution in crediting a hypothesis, and the principle of the presumption of innocence in detaining citizens, must at least during the interval of crisis take second place to the protection from takeover of Ukraine, if not of the whole world.

Accordingly, I have ordered a roundup of those known to be carriers of alien DNA, or as we have begun to speak of them in official circles, the "pod people."  At this moment, the apparent leaders of the pod conspiracy have been apprehended, with the exception of a small number who have gone into hiding, but who with your help will be quickly found.  Also, a large number of those merely suspected of being pod people have been detained, and DNA analyses are being conducted on them even as I speak.  Rest assured that anyone receiving a certification of 100 percent absence of alien DNA will be released unharmed, without regard to his or her political views or party affiliation.

My fellow countrymen, for the sake of informing you of the dangers which besiege our young nation, it has been my painful duty to fill your minds with troubling visions, but I ask you as the hour of sleep approaches to fix your thoughts not on the dangers that beset you, but on the wisdom and the strength of the administration which protects you.  Please go to your beds now, and pass a night of happy dreams, confident in the awareness that your guardians, swords drawn, hover above you watchfully even as you sleep.