Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Ukraine's next First Lady

John Fund has a profile of Ukraine's next First Lady, Kateryna Chumachenko Yushchenko, a Chicago-raised scion of Ukrainian immigrants who raised her to remember her heritage, as Fund notes:

She grew up speaking Ukrainian at home, learning the national dances and attending a Ukrainian school and Orthodox church. "My parents felt they had to keep alive the culture and traditions they thought were being suppressed by the Soviet Union," she told me.

Better yet: she worked for the State Department in the Reagan and Bush-41 eras and went to Kyiv after the fall of the Soviet Union to train Ukrainian accountants. She met Yushchenko, married him in '98 and had 3 kids, yet the corrupt stooges in Ukraine's government never granted her citizenship.

As Yushchenko became more popular and more noteworthy, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma sought to discredit her and her husband:

Tape recordings made by a disgruntled bodyguard for President Leonid Kuchma show that the president personally ordered a disinformation campaign against the Yushchenkos. Mr. Yushchenko was portrayed as a fascist puppet of Western bankers and Kateryna as an active CIA agent. She responded by winning a libel judgment against a Russian television station that accused her of disloyalty to Ukraine. But the government has refused to process her application for Ukrainian citizenship.

Ultimately, victory is hers, and Ukraine's.

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