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Kyiv's Mayor Just Gets Weirder And Weirder

First there was the wacky taxes:

According to media reports, Leonid Chernovetsky plans to introduce several direct and indirect communal taxes, which aim to raise at least 30 billion-40 billion hryvnyas (about $4.7 billion).

Satellite dishes and air conditioners are among the first to be taxed (50 hryvnyas monthly per dish, 24.5 kopiyky for every air-conditioner kilowatt-hour). Mobile operators will also be subjected to an additional tax.

Then the singing:

Chernovetskiy's rallies at the Maidan - the chestnut-tree-lined Kiev square where Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution happened - have grown used to their mayor bursting into song.

Earlier this month he sang to them: "I am giving my burning heart to you/ It is burning for you to live better." Other lyrics on his website include the haunting: "What wax does not afraid fire/ And for you and me, burning down candles cry."

And now Chernovetskiy has given a press conference in his swim suit (you can watch him here do pull-ups):

Kiev Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky, who is known for his unusual behavior, made an original response to deputies of the Ukrainian parliament, who literally offered him to have his head examined. Chernovetsky decided that his physical condition was the best evidence to prove his psychic health.

Chernovetsky attended Kiev's Dynamo Stadium on Wednesday morning to run a 400-meter track, to make 15 pull-ups and swim in a swimming pool. When the mayor went out of the pool, he began to demonstrate his muscles to photographers.

"I want the whole Ukraine to know that I am physically and psychologically healthy," Leonid Chernovetsky said wearing only his wet speedo in the locker room of the swimming pool.

I'm guessing that a number of people will remain unconvinced.

-- Luke Allnutt

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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