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Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at a party congress in October

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at a party congress in October

In a story in the current issue of "The New Republic," Julia Ioffe reveals an interesting little tidbit about Ukrainian Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko:

Like many Ukrainian politicians, prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko relies on fortune-tellers and TV psychics to bolster her embattled spirit. Several years ago, one such mystical specialist compared birth years, personality types, and other intimate details to confirm what Tymoshenko had suspected since the 1996 release of the movie "Evita."

"She was told she is the reincarnation of Eva Peron," says Dmitry Vydrin, who was Tymoshenko’s close adviser for nearly a decade. "And she believes it. She admits it in closed circles. She copies her consciously and subconsciously."

There's the elaborate, kaleidoscopic wardrobe; the bleached up-do; the theatrical mannerisms; the way the public rustles whenever she appears.

"It's that way of flirting with the public, of addressing them as ‘my loved ones,'" Vydrin says.

And there are the men whom the two women used to get out of poverty, but then brightly eclipsed. For Evita, it was her husband, Argentine President Juan Peron; for Tymoshenko, it was a string of well-connected men, starting with her father-in-law and ending with Ukraine's current president and hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution, Viktor Yushchenko.

But, while Evita never held office, Tymoshenko is within striking distance of her country's presidency.

So can we expect Madonna to play her in the movie?

-- Brian Whitmore

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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