Petition: Do not let Prof.Petro from The University of Rhode Island manipulate public opinion in the States regarding protests in Ukraine

We, representatives of Ukrainian Fulbright community, are deeply concerned about the article of Nicolai N. Petro, professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island, published in the National Interest, defending recent laws enacted by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of the Ukrainian government. Here is the link to the article.

{to sign public petition, pls. follow the link}

We believe that as an American citizen who has the freedom to express himself, Mr.Petro is taking advantage of that freedom in expressing his views in his above mentioned article. By defending the unconstitutional laws passed by the Verkhovna Rada, however, Mr.Petro is denying this freedom to every Ukrainian citizen.

We believe that it is Mr.Petro, not the US government who seriously misreads the situation in Ukraine. Mr.Petro has provided no arguments to refute that the government of Ukraine is responsible for the escalation of violence there. If one has been following the protests closely, then he/she must have seen that the protests were peaceful until the events at Hrushevskoho street provoked a violent response to the government crackdown; accordingly, it could not be that such a response was the strategy of the opposition from the beginning, which Mr.Petro, quite mistakenly, claims to be the case. As a scholar, by making statements like that, Mr.Petro needs at least to cite sources, from which he derives his information. Continue reading

When politicians fail to understand social media – Kernes case

kernesTV1Ukrainian politicians, especially representatives of ruling Party of Regions, demonstrate their blindness towards the impact of social media on political life in Ukraine. Media appearance of Gennadiy Kernes, a mayor of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, is a case.

Kernes, a well-known supporter of President Yanukovych, is famous with his roughness and boorishness towards journalists, political opponents and his colleagues in Kharkiv City Council. For example, in 2012 during a council meeting Kernes as a major addressed to one of state officials, responsible for housing services in Kharkiv, with the words: “Hey you, Kondaurov, a son of the bitch, if you are irresponsible to your obligations, I will multiply you by zero.”

In the end of Jan 2014, Mustafa Nayem, a journalist of Hromadske TV, interviewed Kernes regarding the political situation in Ukraine. The tone of Kernes’ statements was intolerable, the politician abruptly attacked his political opponents, did not answer on journalist’s direct questions regarding government responsibility for the violence and political crisis in Ukraine. Also, Kernes jumped to the discussion of sexual orientation of journalists, personally insulting some of them.

The interview lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Nevertheless, it attracted a huge attention of the audience – tens of thousands viewers watched it during live air and later it has got 232,000 views in YouTube.

Internet users massively reacted on Kernes’s roughness – they wrote in Facebook and Twitter, expressing their emotions and feedback.

What Kernes is talking now, would be a political suicide in any civilized country – Stanislaw @stas8t

Kernes got crazy. That’s all. I have no words – Yasya Krayevskaya @yaassyya

Kernes is not able to answer any question #ΣVROMAIΔAИ (@evromdn)

Kernes’ interview brought immediate media attention – is has been widely discussed in Ukrainian Internet by thousands users. The overview of users’ tweets on Kernes, published in Storify, collected almost 89 000 views during a week.

Here is a story: [View the story “Реакція твітерян на інтерв’ю з Кернесом ” on Storify]

Kernes is also known by his addiction to Instagram where he posts photos from gym and restaurants. He does not care to use vulgar language whole commenting his opponents and critics.