There was a lot of jeer and sneer regarding this year’s Christmas tree (or, New Year tree, as it is called) in the central square of Kyiv. It was artificial and sleek from top to bottom: there were no traditional twigs sticking out or hanging down. The lights alternated in layers and did not spangle it in colorful variety, as usually was the case. The tree received the names ice-cream cone, traffic baton, Yanukovich’s yolka, etc. The last name is a mockery of President Yanukovych’s “foot-in-the-mouth” when – while speaking Ukrainian – he forgot the name of the tree ‘yalynka’ and used the Russian name yolka instead. However, the debate was won by non-traditionalists the moment it was announced that the Designer Association of European Capitals recognized the Christmas tree in Kyiv as the best in Europe. I tried to find the website or, at least, some information about the Association mentioned. I surfed the Internet using the keywords of the name “Асоціація дизайнерів європейських столиць” in Ukrainian, Russian and English in all possible combinations by means of Google, Yahoo, Babylon and other search engines, but I couldn’t find the organization. In fact, I’m not against a modernistic approach in art, or in design solutions – interior or exterior, as they may be. I respect the opinion of the minority who liked the Christmas tree. But I’m against cheating. The same method was used to declare a Ukrainian university to be on the list of the world’s 100 top universities. As it turned out later, the arbiter was an institution in Moscow which started liking the Ukrainian education after the pro-Russian government came to power in Kyiv. Another example may be “political” demonstrations and protests which are simply bought nowadays: by the end of the day the participants get a fixed amount of money, though they may even not know for what/whom or against who/what they were demonstrating or picketing.
The other day I was coming to Kyiv by bus. Practically all the way (for more than 6 hours) a primitive thriller was hogged off to the passengers. The volume of the sound was high enough to hear clearly all the criminal jargon even through the powerful drone of the bus. You couldn’t escape the movie even with your eyes closed and your ears stopped with ear-plugs. I’m sure that in case of any protestations, the owners of the transport company could easily concoct a conclusion made by some “association of all-Ukrainian routes and roads” (or whatever the name may be) that theirs is the best transport company in Ukraine or, maybe, in Europe.
P.S. As it may be seen from the picture, the New Year tree in Kyiv is guarded by the police: true beauty can’t be left unprotected against any possible provocations – especially on the part of the political opposition.
P.P.S. The speech balloon coming out from a connoisseur of art in the cartoon taken from the Radio Liberty website, says: “Gentlemen, I consider the compositional perfection of the object to be profoundly existential when viewed along the perspectives of the ambivalence of life.


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