“Ukraine will become a European superpower,” – claimed Saakashvili at the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence in Sacramento, – “it is time for Ukrainians to come back home!”
Saakashvili appeals to Ukrainians to return home; the Ukrainian diaspora of California sings hosanna and takes selfies with Savchenko on the Independence Day.
My visit to the Ukrainian Fair, which was held last Saturday in one of the Sacramento’s parks, came right in the middle of the show, when Mikhail Saakashvili, an ex-President of Georgia and the acting Governor of the Odessa region, was on stage.
After reading some of his poems composed back in his youth, Mr Saakashvili thanked the Ukrainian diaspora in the US for their help to Ukraine. He promised that the corruption in Ukraine will be defeated very soon, and invited them to return to their birthplace.
“I have always asked myself a question about Ukrainians: why can they make it here [in the US] yet they cannot make it in Ukraine?” – he asked an age-old question. – “Every one of you probably thinks the same thing; I believe the reason is that we do not have an example of success within Ukraine. This should be changed: Ukraine has a young generation that is very different from the old political class. We need to support these young people.”
Then the politician appealed to the Ukrainian diaspora to return home.
“The success of Ukraine is the way of returning home, the success of Ukraine is the way of uniting with your birthplace, it is our future together,” – said Saakashvili to Ukrainian immigrants.
In his opinion, Russia will only be successful when it will “help Ukraine and restore peace”. “Russia will be different then too”, – he said.
“We cannot be successful without defeating the corruption,” – concluded the member of the Ukrainian delegation. He added that he is also a citizen of Ukraine.
After his speech the crowd shouted: “Glory to Ukraine!” and started posting selfies to Instagram.
Then the Slavic Chorale choir performed a Christian song.
A big crowd gathered around Nadezhda Savchenko as well. Despite the blazing California sun and a long trip, she did not look too tired or exhausted. On the opposite, she was very cheerful and full of life.
A similar agitation could be seen a few days earlier in the State Capitol where the bill about the recognition of Holodomor was being adopted. When the Ukrainian delegation entered the room, the security had to usher the excited Ukrainian activists away from the balcony as they misbehaved during the Parliament session.
While taking selfies with Savchenko and Saakashvili, the crowd nearly stepped on the feet of Jim Nielsen, a distinguished senator from Ronald Reagan’s era. It was really tasteless and disrespectful to the American legislators.
Never in my life I have seen such pompous “security guards” and such servility of the event organizers towards the foreign “VIPs”. Except, maybe, in the Soviet Union 25 years ago.
The fair looked more and more like a large country market – there were about 50 vendor tents where you could find anything from $35 ethnic Ukrainian outfits to truck parts. One of the shopkeepers told me that she paid $500 for the spot – which gives us at least $25 000 for all of the tents. That’s not counting private donations whose amount the company prefers not to disclose.
I was told that the event organizers spent about $100 000 to arrange the Ukrainian fair and to invite the delegation from Kiev.
I doubt it was really $100 000 (you could probably bring the entire Disneyland to Sacramento for that kind of money), but the fancy cars of the event organizers, including a brand new black Tesla, were proudly parked right in the middle of the green lawn. That’s exactly the way Ukrainian politicians and prosecutors park their cars on Kiev’s sidewalks.
A pair of new shiny trucks were parked nearby. What do American trucks have to do with Ukrainian independence, I could only guess. Are they used to deliver shipments of rice from India to Donbass? Or maybe all the Ukrainians in Sacramento work in the trucking industry?
Any positive impressions about the event? Children’s rides, Armenian beef skewers, fireworks – and that’s about it. Nothing else was too exciting. It seems that the organizers are out of original ideas for entertainment. If not for the presence of Savchenko and Saakashvili, the event could be yet another boring meeting of Ukrainian patriots abroad.
The event was visited by some US legislators, including the Sacramento Sheriff and a congressional candidate Scott Jones. At one of the vendor tents, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was being advertised.
Well, happy Independence Day, Mother Ukraine. Let’s wait for the next Maidan…
I would like to remind you that some members of the Slavic community in California, including myself, have some questions about the financial unscrupulousness of Ukraine Relief. I demand a public investigation of all the donations made to Ukraine Relief. I demand a complete audit of their cashflow and other financial operations. This must be done openly by a completely independent audit firm, including publication of bank statements, IRS filings and payslips of all the employees, as well as the profits of USKO Shipping which also belongs to Skots brothers.
If you agree with this, please support me by reposting this article in social networks. “Together we can do more!”.
Ruslan Gurzhiy, SlavicSac.com