Some days ago, in a cooking TV show of Russian "First Channel", TV-presenter Ivan Urgant Urgant made fun of Ukrainians with the phrase: "I chopped greens, like red commissioner chopped Ukrainian villagers". Guest of the show, director and actor Aleksandr Adabashyan played along and said he was "shaking off the remains of residents" from the knife.

The joke caused uproar among Ukrainian society and official structures. In particular, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine declared that incorrect comment of TV-presenter Ivan Urgant voiced on the air was sharply discordant with the high level of strategic partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and the atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding between our peoples.

"Unfortunately, there were many tragedies in the history of our people, and it is unacceptable to speculate on them. In the modern civilized world, such jokes are considered to be bad taste and disrespectful to the memory of millions of victims of the totalitarian regime. Trying to be sharp-witted does not give the right to the famous showman to stoop to the level of jokes, based on human misery, bloodshed and death," the official statement of the Ministry reads.

The Foreign Ministry also noted that such statements demean Urgant himself, who is also a frequent guest of the Ukrainian TV, and has already received a very negative assessment of Ukrainian and Russian society. Moreover, the Foreign Ministry demands from the "First Channel" to make evaluation of the incident.

The showman himself has already apologized through Twitter, but made it in a sarcastic way as well. "I apologize to all citizens of Ukraine, who were wounded by my comment. As a punishment, I promise to cook only Ukrainian dishes until 2018 and name all my future children, regardless of sex, with the name "Bohdan"."

In turn, Aleksandr Adabashyan declared they did not mean anything bad. "I agree the comment was not very correct, but it had nothing to do with disrespect. It was an irony, cliché about movies: bad White - bad Red," he noted.

ForUm has decided to ask experts about what to make of this statement and about Ukraine's reaction to it.

Ihor Shvaika, MP, faction of All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom":

- The comment was said by a chauvinistic creature. It is a usual anti-Ukrainian propaganda. It is spread all over Russian state channels and Ukrainian TV never reacts to it. 

The question is not about why they do this, but why Ukrainian TV and radio always pretend as if nothing has happened. It is a fact that Russian is a strategic enemy of Ukraine, and our side must respond adequately.

Pavlo Ryzanenko, MP, faction of "UDAR":

- On one hand, we have freedom of speech, but on the other hand, there is responsibility. With all due respect to Mr. Urgant, this comment was inappropriate. As far as I understand he has already apologized, but the fact is that the harm has already been done. Honestly, I don't want to comment on someone's improper behavior.

Spiridon Kilinkarov, MP, faction of the Communist Party:

- Urgant is not a public person, but a showman who lives on jokes, and it would not be totally correct to pay so much attention to his hits. Otherwise, we will have to analyze every joke "95th quarter" TV show makes and consider it at the level of Russian Foreign Ministry. Personally, I don't care about Urgant's jokes. He is not a politician, but a showman, and it is his job to joke. Ukrainian side politicizes this issue too much.

Mykhailo Chechetov, MP, faction of the Party of Regions:

- I consider Mr. Urgant a smart and intelligent man, but in this situation, he went too far and simply demeaned himself. If he thought to improve the show's rating in such a way, I believe he failed. I think that because of this joke people will look at him differently.

I don't think we should bring this issue into politics. I believe the showman will have to deal with his share of negative reaction in social networks.

Volodymyr Kornilov, political scientist, historian, journalist:

- It looks like a stupid joke. And honestly, I've never expected similar jokes to be of high intellectual level.

However, I am more surprised by the reaction of those who were supposed to support the idea of Mr. Urgant about genocide of the Ukrainian people. In fact, he voiced out a version about intentional extermination of Ukrainian peasants by Red Commissars.

Moreover, I think Ukraine should be last to express indignation about the comment. Considering the statements Savik Shuster says on the First Ukrainian Channel about Russian authorities, Mr. Urgant's joke seems to be a baby talk. If Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to every show of Savik Shuster, intergovernmental commissions would gather every week.


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