Say what you want about the Ukraine, but it's not exactly known for its treatment of Jews. Pogroms might be a thing of the past, but their echoes still sweep through the country. So it's no surprise that the potential Jewishness of former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko was widely debated.
Tymoshenko herself has denied the claims, saying it's part of a smear campaign. Yes, her father's surname is Grigyan, but that's not Jewish, it's Latvian, and her father's family has been Latvian "for ten generations". (The mother's side is Ukrainian — whew.) Move along, no Jews to see here.
But Tymoshenko's denials were not good enough for her countrymen, who dug further. And it looks like she is — give or take — 3/8 Jewish, with her paternal grandmother being half and paternal grandfather, a one-time principal of a Jewish school... You know what, the details don't matter. She has some Jew in her. She lied about it. She didn't become president, with antisemitism partly to blame.
Well, maybe Ukrainians dodged a bullet here, for Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for abusing the prime minister's office when brokering a gas deal with Russia. Or, who knows, maybe she was unfairly persecuted, as some claim. We don't want to get into that. Say what you want about the Ukraine, but for us Jews, it's better to just let them be...