22 Dec 2004 Mrs. Victor Yushchenko
Every now and then, I read something in the newspaper that really knocks my socks off, and this is one of those times.
I just read John Fund’s On the Trail column in the Wall Street Journal and learned that an old friend of mine, with whom I had lost touch, is married to Victor Yushchenko. Yes, that Victor Yushchenko (we all know so many!).
(That will teach me to keep up my Christmas card list a little better.)
John Fund calls her Kateryna Chumachenko Yushchenko; I knew her as Kathy Chumachenko, and a more pro-freedom Reaganite you could not meet.
I’ve posted some links in this blog to CodeBlueBlog speculating about the medical cause of Yushchenko’s disfigurement. I was very much a detached observer of that medical matter, having no medical expertise. I now consider myself less detached. To the extent that Kathy has spoken out on the medical issues, and I know she has, I know you can take what she says to the bank. Kathy is a very, very impressive person in that she is — I very much doubt she has changed — extremely motivated by values. She is not a self-promoter and she is someone who works many times harder than everybody else and then thanks you most profusely for doing one tenth what she did.
I’ll tell you something else: If Victor Yushchenko could win Kathy Chumachenko’s hand, he’s a worthy guy. She wouldn’t settle.
I met Kathy during the Cold War days, doing rallies and events in support of freedom and democracy for the Soviet bloc. (She loved Ukraine deeply — to this day most of what I know about Ukrainian culture is what she taught me — but she cheerfully worked to free all the Captive Nations.) At the time, most people thought the Cold War would go on for decades. Only true believers did the work Kathy did. There was no glory in it; certainly no money (one usually had to supply one’s own money) nor prestige. The mainstream media and even some politicians on our side of the aisle thought those of us working the issue were a little strange; maybe even dangerous. (Ending the Cold War would be so destabilizing, don’t you know? And only warmongers actually criticize the USSR — it just wasn’t appropriate. The Cold War was just something we’d have to live with, and, anyway, those foreigners over there aren’t like us, they like security while we like freedom — who is to say which is better? Blah blah blah.) But Kathy wanted Ukraine to be free and she was in the cause because of that love. I can’t say I am surprised to see that she is still on the job, because i never met anyone more dedicated to the freedom of her homeland than Kathy.
So now, fellow bloggers, I will go out on a limb — a very sturdy one in this case — and tell you that when you read tea leaves on anything related to Victor Yushchenko, look for comments made by his wife, and trust them to be true.
In the meantime, Kathy, in the unlikely event that you Google up this blog post, hello from Amy Moritz (now Ridenour). I don’t think I’ve seen you in person since the 1988 Captive Nations banquet, but I am delighted to know you have been able to pursue your work for a free and prosperous Ukraine in such a significant way. And congratulations, too, upon your marriage and the birth of three children. I’ll be watching the news coverage for a glimpse until I see the children at least once (I have three little ones myself now). I know you and your family are going through a lot. May God bless all of you, and may you be successful beyond your wildest dreams.