If it’s not one thing it’s another with poor old Ukraine. First they had the geographical misfortune to be located next to Russia, which, according to history, has been a problem for quite a few countries – and not just for immediate neighbours, near neighbours too: I’m thinking of Poland, which also had the geographical misfortune to be located next to Germany, but that’s all forgotten now. Then they had the misfortune to be governed by a bunch of corrupt kleptocrats and oligarchs (allegedly) who treated the nation’s wealth as their own, and who have just presided over the murderous carnage of the last few days.
But now we hear that the Ukrainian Olympic Nordic skier, Marina Lisogor, has just failed a dope test. She’s contrite, obviously, and quick to explain that the culprit is not her but a ‘medicine’ she imbibed in the belief it was no more illegal than a glass of cool, clear Evian water sourced from the natural springs of Lake Geneva. To be fair, the banned substance, Trimetazidine, has only been included in the list of forbidden substances since 1 January 2014, so perhaps it was a simple matter of not getting the memo.
Yet one doesn’t suppose the people of Ukraine, considering recent events, will be too fussed about this latest disappointment – I know I wouldn’t be. One wonders, though, what they would give to be a country where this sort of minor infringement of civilised behaviour is the worst that might befall them and their country. In a roundabout way, that’s what the protesters are struggling for, isn’t it?
Not related, but it’s just coming through that the Ukrainian parliament has just voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych and set elections for 25 May. This is better than the protesters themselves dismissing him, because that would in fact be a coup d’état. Sticking as close as possible to constitutional propriety is the best example to set for the future. The hope, however, one would now expect, is that Yanukovych, who is meant to be in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, is not planning some sort of unilateral declaration of independence of the Russian-speaking bit of Ukraine. That could make things extremely messy.