Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev by Andrey Kurkov:
Monday 24 February
What will happen now? For the moment, Ukraine has other fish to fry, although everyone is concerned about a possible Russian military intervention in Crimea. Crimea is really the only pro-Russian region of Ukraine; the main Ukrainian patriots there are the Tatars, who number only 300,000. The Russian-speaking Slav population is about one and a half million people. The Party of Regions has infested almost all the regions. In Crimea, as in the rest of the country, all public offices–even those of district prosecutor and chief tax inspector–were assigned to people from Donbas, birthplace of the president and his party. Officially, the Party of Regions has around 1.4 million members, and 430,000 from Donbas alone, out of a population of seven million. But in general, it is a party of dead souls. Nikolay Gogol would have loved it. His character Chichikov would have had no trouble buying these virtual members of the party, subscribed by mines, factories, entire companies.
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