11 September 2007

Yulia Addresses Western Investors

Yulia Timoshenko - BYuT's Contract with Investors was a carefully managed meeting between Yulia and EBA and AMCHAM members in the recently opened Hyatt St. Sophia. The room was packed. Simultaneous translation was provided for those that required it and press kits included english and ukrainian version of a three page policy summary entitled "Contract With Investors". At the end of her impressive speech, she made a point of signing two copies, handing one to the head of EBA and one to the head of AMCHAM. I really dug the results oriented approach in everything she spoke about. Tangible project steps were outlined and timelines were stated. Like all good politicians she outlined broadsweeping reforms in a wide variety of sectors. Her answers to questions from the audience were concrete, thorough and intelligent. She seemed on top of the issues.

In a bizarre twist near the end of the meeting, an elderly man in the back of the room stood up and introduced himself as a Congressman from the USA. He then proceeded to quote the bible and lectured Yulia not to succumb to pride as a result of all the media attention. Again quoting the bible, he recommended that she not allow herself to be isolated from the counsel of many wise people in the citizenry that may seek access to her. Yulia, listening through the simultaneous translation, had a quizzical look on her face. Not sure where this was going. Finally, the self-proclaimed Congressman concluded with: "I was recently back in Washington for a visit and I was asked by various high-level officials about what it was like in Ukraine. They were particularly interested in what 'this Yulia Timoshenko' was like. I answered that Yulia is a visually a pretty woman, conducts herself always as a lady, thinks like a man(?), and works like a horse." what?

If I had to pick between BYuT, PoR, and Nasha Ukraina, (which i don't) it's a no brainer to pick BYut. Like my journalist friend commented at the meeting. "She takes a lot of criticism but she is definitely a strong force in Ukrainian politics. She will be around for a long, long time."

As an aside, in conclusion, she announced the launch of her english-language website www.ibyut.com today and encouraged the meeting participants to visit it.

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