Veteran Vasily Kljuj on Shuster: A Catastrophe Of Cattle

Dear Readers,

Possibly the most interesting talk show in the world is Savik Shuster’s, on Ukrainian TV.  I don’t have time right now to go into its long and ropey history of ups and downs.  On the air, off the air.  Switching channels.  Controversy after controversy.  Now back on the air.  Also, admittedly, I have myself only ever watched a couple of episodes, and admittedly not even the entire episode, just segments on youtube.  The format of the show is unique, each episode can stretch on for hours, with guests coming and going, large dollops of audience reaction, etc.  In some shows, very important political and military figures sit on the stage side side by side with ordinary people and can often be engaged to talk for literally hours, revealing much of themselves.  In this regard, Shuster is a brilliant talk show host.

Savik Shuster

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try to make the time to watch more episodes.  Here is a site I found where one can watch archived episodes online.

Ideologically speaking, talk show host Savik Shuster can be considered the journalistic midwife of everything that is Orange, svidomite, and Maidanite in Ukraine.  Plagiarizing heavily from the wiki piece I just linked:

Shuster himself was born a Lithuanian, his real name is Ševelis Šusteris.   Born in 1952 in Soviet Vilnius, Savik as a young man emigrated, with his parents, in 1971.  First to Israel as a transit station, then Canada.  Either they were Jewish, or pretending to be Jewish, in order to hie them to the New World.  Coming of age as a journalist, Savik travelled all over the world and covered various hotspots.  Savik has always been on the anti-Soviet, then anti-Russian side of the ideological fence.  His profile is that of an engaged propagandist.  Shuster covered the anti-Soviet mujaheddin (=Al Qaeda) fighters in Afghanistan, and for a time worked for Radio Liberty.  However, for a time he did work for a Russian TV channel, NTV, until, in his own words, the Kremlin “shut him down”.  In 2005 Shuster found a more congenial home base in the Ukraine, and has been living and working there ever since.  Given his ideological proclivities, it was a natural fit that he would support, first the Orange Revolution, and then, 10 years later, the Maidan.

Savik’s show has been on the air for several years, but he has had to switch channels a couple of times.  Recently he was briefly banned, and then came back on the air.  As I said, I don’t have time right now to research the tortured history of his show, although it deserves a book-length treatment, probably.

Veteran Vasily Kljuj

All of this is in the way of introduction, to bring us to this story which I saw about yesterday’s show, which Shuster dedicated to a discussion of the May 9 Victory Day holiday.  In one segment of the show, Shuster’s guest was a WWII veteran named Vasily Kljuj.

WWII veteran Vasily Kljuj

Now, even though he fought on the Soviet side during the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II), Kljuj is no friend of the Soviet Union, nor of modern-day Russia.  A quick google of Kljuj (use the Russian spelling Василий Клюй in order to get results), shows that Kljuj has been a firm opponent of Russian President Putin.  For example, in this piece, Kljuj compares Putin to Hitler.  In the sense that Putin, like Hitler, desires to seize the Ukraine’s most arable chunks of “Black Earth”.  (He is talking about the Donbass.)  In his career and training, Kljuj is an agronomist, hence is interest in agriculture.  Here is a quick bio, based on a comment from that piece I just linked:

Vasily Kljuj was born in 1927 in the Kirovograd Oblast.  During the winter of 1942-1943 he was mobilized into the Soviet army [yalensis:  Doing the math:  He was only 15 when he was drafted into the army!], where he was trained as a radio operator on a Black Sea submarine, of the type known familiarly as the “Pike”.  Kljuj and his comrades helped defeat the Hitlerites in Odessa.

After being demobilized, Kljuj returned to his native area, where he became the chairman of a kolkhoz.  He spent much effort in the task of restoring agriculture.  He engaged in Party work as well.  In the 1970’s and 1980’s he worked in the Council of Ministers of the Ukraine, where he curated the Agricultural-Industrial Complex.

After his retirement, he continued to engage in scientific activities, and is an Honorable Member (Emeritus) of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the Ukraine.  Kljuj also continues to participate actively in veterans affairs.

Kljuj’s biography shows him to be an honorable, brave, and hard-working man.  His support for the Maidan comes from his feelings of Ukrainian patriotism and his support for Ukrainian independence, which seems to be his dominant ideology.

Kljuj On The Crisis

Which brings us Kljuj’s appearance on Shuster’s show yesterday.  Here is the link to that episode.  According to Kljuj, in the 23 years of its independence, the Ukraine has lost 10% of its Gross National Product.  Here is the payload quote:

Ukrainian cattle in crisis

“In these 23 years we have lost so much.  You can talk about the Holodomor [the famine], the war… During these years (of independence) we have slaughtered 20 million head of cattle.  We used to have 24 million head of cattle, and now we have only 4 million left.  Do you have any concept, what this means?  That’s our economy for you.  In the last 23 years we lost 10% of our Gross National Product, compared to 1991.  And when it comes to animal husbandry, we are down 65%.”

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6 Responses to Veteran Vasily Kljuj on Shuster: A Catastrophe Of Cattle

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    “After being demobilized, Kljuj returned to his native area, where he became the chairman of a kolkhoz. He spent much effort in the task of restoring agriculture. He engaged in Party work as well. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he worked in the Council of Ministers of the Ukraine, where he curated the Agricultural-Industrial Complex.”

    Yeah, because – As Everybody Knows ™ – the USSR was a “prison of people”, and poor Ukrainians were oppressed and not allowed to rule their own land. As opposed to now!

    “During these years (of independence) we have slaughtered 20 million head of cattle. We used to have 24 million head of cattle, and now we have only 4 million left. Do you have any concept, what this means? That’s our economy for you. In the last 23 years we lost 10% of our Gross National Product, compared to 1991. And when it comes to animal husbandry, we are down 65%.””

    Seems like the Ukraine has everything to become the “Agro Superpower” from Mr. Pyatt’s wet dreams [nods].


    • yalensis says:

      I just sat down to watch the whole episode, which is 1 hour long. Something I probably should have done before posting my piece, but I didn’t have time, as I was almost late for work.

      It wasn’t actually Shuster himself hosting this particular episode, it’s a very attractive young “strawberry blonde”. Unless Shuster himself had a complete make-over, which we don’t know about. Otherwise, this is his assistant or replacement host. Who goes much easier on the eyes than that grizzled Lithuanian rascal, it has to be said.

      The topic of the day is “Does May 9 (a) unite or (b) divide us?”
      Hint: the correct answer is (b).

      Anyhow, in addition to Kljuj, there are several other guests, including Volodymyr Viatrovych, of whom we chatted on forums, he the svidomite “historian” who is now in charge of the Ukrainian National Historical Archives. The fox in charge of the coop, in other words.

      Also some pony-tailed hirsute rascal from the Poroshenko Party, who looks to be lycanthropic and hungry for his next meal. Wearing that ridiculous “Ukrainian poppy” on his lapel, which looks more like an infected anus than an actual flower.

      Then some well-fed curly-headed guy chattering on in rapid Ukrainian dialect, of which I understand only a very few words – “Hitler – Stalin – Hitler – Stalin….” etc.

      They don’t get to Kljuj until around 15:00 minutes in, before which he just sits there quietly with his sad old face yet keen eyes. And wearing on his chest a boatload of medals, including the hammer and sickle of the USSR, the St. George ribbon, a couple of svidomite ones, and many many others. Kljuj obviously an honorable soldier and human being, who has done his best to square the circle, and reconcile the irreconcilable.

      When Kljuj finally starts to speak and tell his war stories, the other men finally shut up, thank goodness. Either showing their respect by listening, or pretending to show respect; either one is a relief from their opinionated cacophony. Kljuj then launches into his philippic about the demographic decline and the slaughter of the cattle, and he is rather effective in his sincere outrage.
      This is good stuff, and this is why I like the Shuster show. Because it allows people to just come on and vent like this.
      After Kljuj’s rant, which was the lede I posted on above, the old veteran is sidelined until 35:30 minutes in, when he gets to speak again. This time plugging the work of a committee which he is on, whose work is to raise the consciousness of pupils about Ukrainian veterans.
      The guests go on to blast Russian President Putin for his handling of the May 9 celebrations, in which Putin did NOT officially congratulate the leaders of Ukraine and Gruzia on the victory. (Putin congratulated other leaders, and deliberately snubbed these two.) Instead, Putin congratulated the people of those 2 nations. A deliberate snubbing and political act, of which I personally approve.

      Having said that, the svidomites on the show then make one point with which I actually have to agree. When they go to to rant about Putin’s pimping of Empress Catherine and a’ that. Which is Russia’s way of squaring the circle, reconciling the irreconcilable, and turning this WWII victory, which was a victory of the class struggle, into a Russian national victory, even involving past Tsars.

      “Where is Ukraine in all of this?” the svidomites complain.
      And I am forced to say: They have a valid point here.
      So long as the victory was a Soviet victory, then everybody is included.
      Once it becomes a Russian victory, blessed by Nicholas II and Catherine I, then it no longer involves Ukraine, or indeed anybody else.


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        ‘Once it becomes a Russian victory, blessed by Nicholas II and Catherine I, then it no longer involves Ukraine, or indeed anybody else.’

        Only if you accept their premise that Ukraine and Russia aren’t one and the same. And why would you?

        They are, and these pieces of obsolete farm equipment calling themselves ‘Ukrainians’ cannot make it otherwise.


      • anonym2008 says:

        With the exception of West Ukraine, all of Ukraine was part of the Imperial Russia and not as a separate country within the realm like Finland .
        Ukrainian cities like Odessa exist thanks to Russian rulers like Catherine.


      • yalensis says:

        Regardless of whether or not there is any such thing as a true Ukrainian national identity separate from Russia (I mostly agree with you guys on that), my point still holds for other (former Soviet) peoples who fought within the ranks of the Red Army for a common victory. Are Kazakhs, for example, supposed to be able to relate to the glories of Tsar Nicholas or the Empress Catherine?

        Nationalists and monarchists are attempting to crash the party, that’s what boils my grits!


      • Jen says:

        Ah, so this is one reason why it was not in order for Natalya Poklonskaya to have carried a portrait of Tsar Nicholas II in the Immortals Regiment parade in Crimea. Not to mention the fact that if no past relative of hers had participated in World War II as a combatant or assisting the armed forces in any way, she shouldn’t have even been in the parade. She needs to go back to school and learn some history.


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