Son Cashes in on Orange Revolution

KIEV, Ukraine -- The symbols of Ukraine's orange revolution last year have been registered as profitable trademarks in the name of the eldest son of the revolution's leader, Viktor Yushchenko.

Crowds protesting over the fraudulent presidential elections of November last year were decorated with a series of opposition logos, including the Tak! logo (Yes! in Ukrainian) and a downward-facing horseshoe. The logos were predominantly on backgrounds of orange - the colour of the opposition.

Orange Revolution

Mykola Katerinchuk, a former legal adviser to the Yushchenko campaign and now a senior tax official, said he had personally transferred the copyright to Andriy Yushchenko, the president's 19-year-old son, after the third and final round of elections in December. Questions are now being asked as to how much money these highly popular logos have generated for the Yushchenko family.

Andriy has recently been the focus of media scrutiny because of his lavish lifestyle. The student claims he has a consultancy job that enables him to rent a BMW from a friend, afford a personal bodyguard, pay restaurant bills with large rolls of cash, and carry a platinum mobile phone worth up to £20,000.

The Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper, which first reported Andriy's lavish lifestyle, carried news of the logos' ownership under the headline: "The privatisation of revolution by Yushchenko's son?" The claim may foment dissatisfaction with the fledgling administration, whose critics say they are repeating the nepotism and corruption of their ousted predecessors.

Mr Katerinchuk told the Guardian: "These logos were designed by Viktor Yushchenko. I personally gave the right to use the signs to Andriy Yushchenko."

He said the logos were hugely popular abroad as well as in Ukraine. "I can't say that they have made Andriy wealthy, but he is an enterprising young guy. We'll see when he makes his tax declaration."

He added that the Tak! brand of vodka was also very popular during the election and that he had been suspected of profiting from its production.

"But the symbol was illegally used [on the vodka]," he said, "and I had nothing to do with it." Mr Katerinchuk added he would resign from his post at the tax service tomorrow because he did not agree with the administration's decision to "preserve the old tax system".

President Yushchenko's press service said that the family of Mr Yushchenko had been given the legal rights to the symbols before the 2002 parliamentary elections to "protect them from inappropriate use". A spokesman would not say why Andriy was chosen as the beneficiary or if he had made any money from them.

Source: Guardian Unlimited

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