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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Tabachnyk, flowers and insults

The education minister accused the Kyiv Mohyla Academy along with Ksenia Sobchak of rowdiness and lack of educational achievements
27 February, 2013 - 18:00

Dmytro Tabachnyk commented recently on the Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s court defeat in its battle against the Ministry of Education over the latter’s attempts to abolish so-called crossover admissions into the university’s master programs.

“You know, there is a notorious socialite in Russia who can neither sing nor dance, nor play on a stage. She is, however, staging scandals at every high society get-together, keeping in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons... Now, we have a similar socialite in our education system. It is called the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, which has litigated tirelessly with all the ministers of education and always met the same end,” the minister said and took another shot at his opponents: “They compensate with their public activities for the lack of appreciable educational achievements, while, say, the Shevchenko University or the Kyiv Polytechnic can boast every year of their students winning prestigious competitions and intellectual contests, while the universities themselves invite international professors and win state awards.”

It is not clear whether Tabachnyk’s accusations are a consequence of the bitterness he harbors after having been slapped with a bunch of flowers by Daria Stepanenko, a student of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, or an additional evidence of the university actually having high educational standards.

His description of Sobchak looks funny enough, too. Yes, the first mayor of Saint Petersburg’s daughter was commonly seen as a glamorous TV presenter and socialite for a long time, but such a characteristic seems to be rather stereotyped now, for Sobchak has changed her ways. Beginning in December 2011, she appeared in the ranks of the opposition supporters at rallies in Bolotnaya Square, Akademika Sakharova Avenue and several other protest events. (Sobchak won 32,500 votes in the elections for the opposition’s Coordinating Council in October 2012, the fourth best result after Alexei Navalny, Dmitry Bykov and Garry Kasparov). The police conducted a politically-motivated search of her apartment in summer 2012. She is also the host of socio-political TV shows Gosdep-2, Main Theme and Sobchak Live. However, she has been barred from entertainment projects on the major national TV channels which she previously participated in.

It should be added, though, that both the Kyiv Mohyla Academy and Sobchak, their putative weaknesses notwithstanding, have never been loyal to the ruling regimes of their respective countries. It looks like nonconformism has now become known as “high-society rowdiness.”

By Nelia VAVERCHAK, The Day