Ukraine Today Promo Video

On the 24 August, and international TV station "Ukraine Today" was launched, and was introduced by a rather curious promotional video. In this post I shall have a look at some of its contents...

First off, let me tell you what my opinion about the Ukraine Today channel is. I think it is a pointless waste of money in a country that is on the verge of bankruptcy. There is no need in fact for an international TV news channel offering global audiences a coverage of Ukrainian news from a Ukrainian perspective. All major English (not to mention other Western) language venues have a pro-Ukraine bias, and provide a coverage from the Ukrainian perspective. The standard practice in Western media is to simply reiterate what has previously been reported by Ukrainian media. All this makes the existence of Ukraine Today rather redundant, the "World" hears Ukraine's voice on a fairly regular basis.

In the video we are told Ukraine is fighting a war of independence against imperial forces. That is what they now call the punitive operation which aims to subjugate restive regions in the East of the county. And these rebels, elevated now to the dignified position of "imperial forces" threaten the whole of the civilised world apparently (I have already posted about this notion of Ukraine being the last line of defence against Eastern hordes). And this struggle (for independence apparently) will set the tone of international relations for decades to come. Such views are not crazy enough for the mainstream in the West, read Ben Judah's recent rant on the pages of the New York Times for instance. Which once again makes the existence of Ukraine Today rather redundant, and wasteful.

Watch the video, it is quite something:



Coal Reserves Are Being Depleted 

This story is dated 3 September...

Due to the situation in Donbas, the reserves of coal in Khar'kov region are projected to be depleted in 10 days. Basically there is no coal, and consequently there will be no electricity.   

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk announced the other day that Ukraine is buying one million tons of coal from South Africa. That situation is akin to Saudi Arabia buying oil from Russia - absurd. But it could have been avoided if idiots like Yatsenyuk preferred political solutions to military. 


Russian Irredentism Sells

And industrious Ukrainians appear not to miss a chance to make some money on irredentist memes...

I found this the other day on the Colonel Cassad blog, (this website posts translation of some material from there into English) whose author happens to be a resident of Crimea. He posted photos of a curious lighter he bought on the peninsula. 

The lighter promotes the notion that: "Crimea is Russia".

On the observe side it says in Ukrainian, that the lighter was made in Ningbo, China on the order of the company "Faer Treyd" (Fire Trade) in Odessa. There is even an address included, poor schmucks might now get a visit from radical nationalist thugs who are known to harass anyone pro-Russian in the city. 


The People Welcome Their Liberators With Cheers

I found this video of soldiers in the Ukrainian city of Vynnitsia (in Central Ukraine; West of Kiev and North-West of Odessa) complaining that they were sent to a war zone unequipped. They say they do not want to be returned back to the war zone as it is a meat-grinder...

At around the second minute of the video, the soldiers begin talking about their encounters with the natives of Eastern Ukraine. I translate:

We agree to serve in the 9th battalion on the territory of the Vynnitsia region. We do not say that we do not wish to serve, we will [serve] in the ranks of the 9th battalion on the territory of the Vynnitsia region! They have called us to defend a territory that is not ours. We are liberating these people, so they would not be bombed (yes, he actually said that), and they are showing us "fuck you" (that is the middle finger) and ask: "Why have you come here?"


They say we are banderovites, fascists, punishers, ukropy... ("ukrop" means "dill" in Russian, because it starts with the letters "ukr" it became a term meaning "Ukrainian", an expression "Cut down ukrop" has gained some currency) They call us junta and ukropy!


We are fighting for them, and they, grown men like us, are sitting next to a shop drinking beer. And we are fighting for them!


Svidomites Now Defend Europe From Russian Hordes

Yes, from barbarian, Turanic Mongoloid, Muscovite hordes...

It looks like there is new myth designed to elicit sympathy from the Western World which does not appear to care enough for Ukraine and her troubles. The svidomites now claim that they are defending Europe and America from Russian barbarian horde in Eastern Ukraine where the Ukrainian government is attempting to suppress a local secessionist rebellion without much success. I have visited one of the Euromaidan pages on Facebook, where I found this post by a certain Max Mykhaylenko. He is by far not the first one expressing the opinion that Ukraine is defending Europe and the World from a Russian horde, however it is a particularly interesting one in terms of arguing the case. I quote his rant in full:

And yes, dear Americans...this is the last time I am addressing you on behalf of my nation and Ukraine, with any respect.

United States, stop playing chicken!

We are now fighting Russian hordes on our own. We don't need more of your hypocritical statements of 'concerns' , really.

We need weapons -- guns, bullets, missiles, choppers, jets and navy units. 
I mean, in case you became such pussies that you cannot send troops to defend Europe from Russian Nazi Barbarians -- this is sad and strange, isn't it?

We even do not ask you to do so, we've understood that, actually, Americans became so damn cowardly, that they agree to suck up to a gangster dictator Putin.

Eventually, you'll have to agree to cede Alaska and Florida to Russia -- but hey, this is your choice. Actually, California has also been colonized by Russians-- how about a referendum on cecession while facing Russian guns in LA? Guess, the White House will express some really grave concerns on that, too!

But, read the above.

If you are at least somewhat sane -- you can still somehow hold up your reputation of a ' leader of the democratic world', he-he.

Ah, remember the Budapest Memorandum? We, Ukrainians, gave up our nuclear weapons in exchange of the security guarantees from you, the U.S. We've believed that US security guarantees were not bullshit or some piece of paper to throw in trash. Simpletons we were, weren't we?

So, you could at least give us outdated weapons to fight away Russian agression. In fact, I don't believe you would, and you know why. You've already allowed hundreds of thousands people to get killed by Assad in Syria, probably now you are going to allow millions of your own European kin to die in Eastern Europe.

We are fighting. Rivers of blood are flowing down the Black Sea for what we still think are Western values -- human rights, democratic government, diversity, tolerance and peace.

Your choice, Americans, is still there on the table -- maybe, for another day or two.

I'll leave this without a comment...

PS: Explanation of strange terms used:

I often refer to crazy Ukrainian nationalists as "svidomites", a term that might seem strange top non-Slavic readers. It comes from the Ukrainian word: "svidomist'" meaning "consciousness", or rather 'natsional'na svidomist'" or "national consciousness". Some people have too much of it, and those aroused patriots I call "svidomites". Their ideological product is "svidomism". It is characterised by Ukrocentrism, and pathological Russophobia. 

Some out there claim the word is a combination of "svidomist'" and "sodomite". Well, it isn't. It is a rendering of "svidomit", the practitioner of "svidomism". Others say that it means any patriotic Ukrainian. Once again - no! You can be a patriot of Ukraine without being a fool. 


Dostoyevsky On Russian Liberals

He had them figured...

Found here 


Has Kravchuk Seen The Light?

Former president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk is a media person in Ukraine, and has a large presence on the television there...

Appearing on the "5 channel" he had this to say:

Those processes that have taken place in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were not only caused by the Russians. The cause [of this] is our senseless policy in relation to the regions. The problem is that we have been declaring the idea of independence of regions. But in practice all financial flows have been going through the center, and the center was robbing them (that is regions)

I talk to many people, [and] such poverty as in Lugansk and other regions is impossible to find. Even though these are relatively wealthy regions. Therefore there was basis for [social tensions] to blow up. However, there wasn't any basis for these regions to come to the idea to separate from Ukraine.   

Kravchuk has not seen the light entirely in my opinion. He is correct that people's economic needs have not been met by the unitary arrangement, but so haven't cultural needs of the people. The latter is what gave people of Eastern Ukraine the idea to separate from Ukraine. Fair enough, I guess Kravchuk still wants to maintain his presence on Ukrainian media which have for months been claiming that no discrimination of the Russian cultural element has been taking place. And hence, the people in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea have had nothing to complain about.

Another aspect of Ukrainian propaganda is to label the protests and uprising in the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea as Russian instigated, or at the very least Russian inspired. The point is to downplay internal causes, and the inconvenient fact that who the Ukrainian forces are fighting in the East are largely natives of the region. I guess it makes leveling cities from multiple rocket launchers easier. On top of that, an outside enemy helps to consolidate the public, and is a useful target to blame economic hardships on. 


The Harvest Of Despair

Ever since the sowing period in early spring, I keep on hearing about the unsatisfactory levels of agricultural production in Ukraine. Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Shariy made an interesting account of the fall on his facebook page, and I decided to translate it...

Friends, not everything is so scary. We are anticipating a wonderful harvest on top of all the niceties. 

So, according to data from Government Statistics Bureau, agricultural production in Ukraine has dropped by 17.6% in comparison with June last year when the mob ruled over Ukraine. (note: mob or "banda" is what Yanukovych's government was called by Maidan protesters)

Plant cultivation fell by 30.1% in June

As of June 1, cereals and grain legumes (not including corn) made up only 9.3% of all the area sown.

The production of grain fell 2.1 times.

The production of wheat (winter wheat and spring wheat) fell 4.8 times, of rye by 27.5 times (!), of grain legumes 2.3 times.

Rapeseed - minus 36.5%, harvest of fruits and berries minus 12%.

Grain reserves are minus 20% as of June 1 in comparison with last year.

70% of wheat harvested is fodder, it is for the cattle to eat, also a rather small amount. Maybe for export? No. The costs of logistics are too high. And that's not only problem.

The hryvna has crashed which led to double increase in the price of resources. And that made our produce not needed by anyone on global markets. There the prices are persistently low.

Maybe we can sell it to Russia? That wouldn't work. Due to damaged relations, the export of agricultural products has dropped by 30%, including grain by 10%, vegetables by 50%, meat by 75%, the import of milk products is banned, [that of] packeted juices [also], and so forth...

[Should we] save them? No. We do not have the capacity. We can only store away from rain 30 tons, and the rest will go to the forefathers.

Simply put, under the previous government of thieves and criminals it was possible to create reserves thanks to which there will not be hunger. Not this year at least.

And I have to say, we have won, and glory to Ukraine and her wise rulers... 


Ukraine Is The Worst Performing Economy In The World

According to The Economist...

I avoid that Russophobic rag by the name The Economist like plague, so I found the above graphic here


Putin Saved Crimea From Bloodshed

Opponents of Russian annexation of Crimea have only one solid argument against it. The annexation was not entirely correct according to international law. Indeed, Ukraine did not give consent to the annexation. But breaking the law in order to save lives is a noble thing to do. And knowing how the Ukrainian state treats attempts at greater autonomy by its heterogeneous regions, (that is Donbas, Transcarpathia, or Crimea, and couple of others) we know that such a consent would never be given. 

For the last 23 years, the Ukrainian state treated any attempts to establish autonomy in the regions with ignorance and repression. The Ukrainian state ignored referendums in Donetsk region, in Transcarpathia, it even sent APCs to Crimean cities to intimidate people demanding more autonomy. It was only to be expected that the Ukrainian state would meet renewed demands for greater autonomy from regions in 2014 with repression. 

In Crimea, as well as later in the Donbas, mass protests led to the formation of local militias. The radical nationalist organisation "Right Sector" threatened to send a "train of friendship" to teach the Crimeans a lesson. But the Russian military got involved and no "train of friendship" full of "Right Sector" thugs ever arrived. What such "train of friendship" would have looked like was shown on 2 May in Odessa, when thousands of thugs were brought into the city with the approval of local government, and were unleashed against activists at Kulikovo Pole. Dozens of unarmed, peaceful activists were burned alive in the House of the Trade Unions.

The people of Donbas were unfortunately not so lucky, their region did not turn out to that attractive for Russia to take under her protection. But we have had the chance to see the full extent of what the Ukrainian state is capable of doing to people who dare to demand more self-determination. Instead of entering negotiations, the criminal Kiev regime unleashed a military operation against Donbas. Ukrainian state would have unleashed a military operation against Crimea too had the Russians not intervened.  


Ukrainian Soldiers Are Fed Nutrition Way Out Of Shelf Life

Oleg Lurie published on his blog some photos that were earlier posted on a forum of Ukrainian commandos. 

The photos show that Ukrainian soldiers are being fed something that looks like fossilised space food.


No the above are not bricks, nor are they stone pavement from the Maidan in Kiev, they are loafs of bread. 

The can above remembers president Yushchenko.

That white paste is sugar, it is apparently hard as a rock. And that brown substance, no that is not street heroin, it is tea. It remembers president Kuchma. 

But has Washington not sent the Ukrainians food rations? Well those, as Vice reported already back in April, were resold by enterprising officers online. The latter must be making a killing on this war.

But some Ukrainian soldiers are inventive, here they are preparing a viper:



Russia Has Reached An Agreement With Iran On A Large Oil Deal In Defiance Of The US


Russia has reached an agreement with Iran about a large oil-for-goods deal which will help weaken the influence of sanctions on both countries.  

Today, [both] sides have signed a 5 year memorandum of understanding which envisages a delivery of Russian equipment and consumer products in exchange for Iranian oil.

The co-chairmen of the intergovernmental committee Iran-Russia, the Minister of Energy of Russia, Alexander Novak and his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Namdar Zangane have signed today a five year memorandum of understanding - reported the ambassador of Iran in Russia, Mehdi Sanai on his Facebook page.

We are talking about broadening of trade and economic cooperation. The Ministry of Energy has confirmed to Kommersant that we are looking at participation of Russian companies in projects in construction and repair in the area of electricity generation and [electric] networks in Iran, and also the export of cars, equipment, and consumer products from Russia to Iran. Iran is ready to sell Russia its oil which is currently under embargo from Western countries. Specific contracts might be signed during a meeting of the intergovernmental committee which will take place [between] 9-10 September in Teheran.

Russia and Iran have held talks about the deal since the end of last year. All the while, Washington exerted pressure on Moscow with the aim to abort a deal being reached. The White House fears that the oil cooperation with Russia will reduce the impact of Western sanctions against Iran, and will reduce the pressure on Iran in the ongoing "Group of Six" talks about the status of its nuclear programme. 


Burning Wood

When you have nothing else left...

It has been reported that Kiev will be left without hot water. Director of the department of housing infrastructure at the Kiev City State Administration, Dmytro Novitsky said:

We are planning to shut off [from hot water] to all the households, so that the heating season would pass [well] with more certainty than we have at present according to our calculations.

Earlier on the pages of this blog, I featured a report about limits imposed by the Ministry of Energy on consumption of gas which are to ensure that there would be enough fuel to heat the homes with in Winter. Now it appears that the limited supply of gas might not be enough. Novitsky said that they have been allotted 1 billion 200 million cubic metres of gas which is "not enough to pass the heating season (that is winter) in a stable fashion, and to obtain a comfortable temperature." In other words, they would not be able to provide regular heating of the homes in Winter. That is why they are planning to shut off hot water in the city until mid October.

It begs a question, will there actually be hot water in late Autumn and Winter? Perhaps the municipality of Kiev will provide the people with hot water on New Year's Eve. Last summer, the West Ukrainian city of Ternopol' provided hot water for an extended period of time on August 24 to celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day. In many cities of the Ukraine the supply of hot water was limited even before the current crisis.

People attempt to cope with the scarcity of hot water by buying electric boilers. But as the writer Andrey Vadzhra pointed out, too many people with electric boilers might prove to be a burden on the antiquated electric grid. But certain Ukrainian officials have other solutions. For instance, the first deputy head of the Kiev City State Administration, Igor Nikonov suggested people use energy saving technologies and alternative sources of energy. Hopefully, the middle classes of Kiev will be able to afford those energy saving technologies. 

Referring to alternative sources of energy, Nikonov suggested that "hospitals, for instance, should look into the possibility of installing and using hard fuel cauldrons." That is burn coal, wood, or tires perhaps. Nikonov's colleague, the head of Transcarpathia's regional council, Ivan Baloga suggested that all projects that have to do with the social sphere move to systems of heating which are not based on gas. He likewise suggested changing gas cauldrons for cauldrons burning a different type of fuel. Fuel of local provenance to be precise. I hope they will have mercy on Transcarpathia, a region that already suffers from the environmental consequences of deforestation. 


Russia Is Not Nigeria... But Is The Ukraine Nigeria? 

Well, at least it is much closer...

Mark Adomanis published a post where he points out the folly of comparing Russia to countries of sub-Saharan Africa. He uses economic data to demonstrate why such comparisons are off the mark.

Nevertheless, comparing the level of development of East European countries to sub-Saharan Africa is certainly not an unworthy exercise. It is not very intellectual to be honest, but entertaining, especially if you give it a good spin. Take for instance Botswana, with GDP per capita of $15,675 (World Bank -2013), and population of 2,155,784 (CIA -2014), if she wasn't a remote country south of the equator, it would be a hot candidate for membership in the EU. I mean Bulgaria is already a member with a GDP per capita of $15,941 (World Bank -2013), and population of 7,364,570 (census -2011).

So is the Ukraine Nigeria? Not quite yet I must say. At present, GDP per capita of Ukraine is at $8,788 (World Bank -2013); Nigeria's is $5,862 (World Bank -2013). That is Ukraine's GDP per capita, is greater than Nigeria's by $2,926. For comparison, Russia's GDP per capita is $24,120 (World Bank -2013). Quite clearly, Russia is in a different league than the Ukraine and Nigeria. 

The nominal GDP of Nigeria is at $522,638 which is far more than that of Ukraine which is at $177,431. This clearly has to do with Nigeria's large population, more than four times that of Ukraine, and even bigger than that of Russia. Perhaps the comparison of the Ukraine to Nigeria is not the best. With GDP per capita of $9,685 (World Bank -2013), Namibia appears to be a far more suitable country to compare to the Ukraine. 

To those wishing to compare other East European countries to sub-Saharan Africa, I also suggest comparing Moldova to Ghana, and Georgia to Swaziland.