Ukraine's weather forecast: expect severe political storms

Reporter says fine weather compensated for the injustice, lawlessness and chaos rife in the country

Moscow

Ukraine's fractured political climate has in recent years led to fist-fights in parliament, thousands of protesters pitching tents in Kiev's main square, and topless women protesting on the streets. Indeed, in this deeply divided country, the weather forecast was one of the few places where Ukrainians could expect a respite from politics.

Not any more: one of the country's best known weather forecasters has caused a scandal after turning the evening weather forecast into a political diatribe.

Lyudmila Savchenko heads the forecasting division of Ukraine's meteorological service, and her daily weather reports made her a well-known voice. But her bosses decided she overstepped the mark last week, when she suggested that a spell of good weather was compensation for Ukrainian's dire political leadership.

"One cannot remain indifferent to this beauty which shows in the tender scent of lilac and lily of the valley and the melodious trilling of the birds," she said, reading the weather on Ukrainian national radio earlier this week. "At times it seems that such miraculous days are a gift from nature to compensate us for the chaos, lawlessness and injustice which reigns in our country." In case anyone had not got the full gist, she continued: "It is simply incomprehensible that anyone can dislike this paradise on earth, this country, the Ukrainian people so much that they treat it so badly."

Ukraine is a country divided, broadly speaking, between a Russian-speaking east that favours close relations with Russia, and a Ukrainian-speaking west that would like to see more European integration. In the Orange Revolution of 2004-5, thousands of Western-leaning Ukrainians protested against rigged elections and brought the pro-European government of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko into power. But the government became mired in scandal and infighting, and was unable to improve the economic situation in the country.

Then last year, the presidency was won by Viktor Yanukovych, the politician the Orange Revolution had tried to unseat. Ms Savchenko's diatribe was against Mr Yanukovych's government, which critics accuse of being mired in corruption and inefficiency.

Ms Savchenko has not been fired, but the weather forecasts will now be pre-recorded rather than broadcast live.

"I knew that they wouldn't let me broadcast live any more, but I wanted to make my position known, and I don't regret it," Ms Savchenko said. But she was criticised by the deputy director of Ukrainian National Radio, Roman Tchaikovsky: "If a person is talking about the weather, he or she should be objective, qualified, and sharp – but they should limit themselves to talking about the weather," he said.

The case has become a talking point, with Mr Yanukovych's political rivals getting involved. Ms Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, called for Ms Savchenko to be returned to the airwaves. "We give Lyudmila Savchenko the warmest compliments," wrote Ms Tymoshenko on Twitter. "It has again become heroic just to tell the truth."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue