Ukraine 10 years on

Discussion in 'The Near Abroad' started by owenpolley, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. owenpolley

    owenpolley Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    I thought I would post this despite the site's imminent demise.

    I first visited Ukraine in 2003, travelling to Kiev and Donetsk and I've just returned from a trip to the capital and to Crimea, so a few observations.

    1) The vast majority of people still seem to speak Russian but those who object are ridiculously chippy. I witnessed a particularly petty incident outside Simferopol train station, with someone demanding that a taxi driver speak to him in Ukrainian. A slanging match ensued.

    2) The authorities in Kiev have invested quite a bit of cash on street-lighting. There are no longer the dark streets that I recall from 2003. Neither does masonry fall from buildings which workmen are renovating, any longer. Health and safety appears to have taken hold.

    3) Prices have gone up quite dramatically. £3 GBP for a beer in many restaurants and cafés in Kiev. You could easily spend upwards of £30 on a decent meal. The cheapest place we visited was Bakhchisaray in Crimea.

    4) I was pick-pocketed on the Kiev metro (I am careful, but the train was packed and it was a highly professional job). The militisya could not have been more helpful and indeed they were able to return my wallet (minus some money) about 2 hours after the incident took place. I was extremely impressed.

    5) Crimea's southern coast is a huge amount of slightly trashy fun. I could've happily spent the entire summer lounging on beaches and drinking beers from the kiosks at the front in Alushta.

    6) Simferopol looks like a dusty, no mark town when you're passing through, but if you wander around for an afternoon you find attractive parks, pedestrianised streets and trendy cafes.
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  2. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Has the overall rate of poverty seem to have fallen, did you see less homeless people?
  3. owenpolley

    owenpolley Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Morgoth - it's difficult to draw any firm conclusions from a relatively short visit, but, on the surface at least, I saw more visible prosperity and a little less poverty. The expensive cars, technology, fashionable shops etc. were considerably more plentiful. The proviso is that I was in Kiev and some relatively prosperous towns in Crimea, like Simferopol and Alushta, where most people were Russian tourists. Bakchisaray, the centre for returning Crimean Tatars, was not visibly wealthy in any regard and we travelled through some impoverished rural places, by train or marshrutka.

    There's certainly a big gap between the prosperous urban commuters, each with their iPhone and tablet computer, and people on the breadline. I did see quite a bit of visible poverty - begging, people eating from bins etc., but no more, particularly, than in Russian cities and certainly no more than in big 'Western' European cities like London or Paris, where homelessness is extremely visible on the streets at night.
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The Guardian Russia correspondent Shawn Walker, formerly of Lebedev Junior's London Independent, reports today on Russia's relationship with the Ukraine in: "Ukraine's EU trade deal will be catastrophic, says Russia".

    In his second paragraph, Walker states:

    "Russia is making a last-minute push to derail the integration agreement, which is due to be signed in late November. Instead, Moscow wants to lure its neighbour into its own alliance, a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan that critics have referred to as a reincarnation of the Soviet Union. Russia has made it clear that Ukraine has to choose between the two options and cannot sign both agreements."

    Walker has such a way with words! Note how he uses "lure", suggesting malicious deceitfulness as in "to lure someone into a trap", rather than "persuade". And the Soviet Union gets a mention, of course.

    Truly journalism at its objective best!

    Does Walker think that Russia not be allowed to persuade other states to follow policies that are in accordance with what the Russian administration believes are in Russian national interests?


    On December 6, 2012, The Financial Times had an article entitled: "Clinton vows to thwart new Soviet Union", which began thus:

    The US is trying to prevent Russia from recreating a new version of the Soviet Union under the ruse of economic integration, Hillary Clinton warned on Thursday.

    “There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” the US secretary of state told a news conference in Dublin hours before going into a meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

    “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” she said, referring to various iterations of a Moscow-backed plan to deepen economic ties with its neighbours.

    “But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”

    I wonder if Walker would have considered US policy as expressed by the then Secretary of State Clinton as an attempt to "lure" Russia's neighbours away from any consideration of joining a customs union with Russia?
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  5. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    That's all well and good, but what about the general reality?

    It's not just the Western media claiming that Ukraine has decisively opted on an Association Agreement with the EU over further integration into the Customs Union. That's the consensus in the Russian media as well from what I've read.
  6. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Here's a comment on this topic by arch-establishmentarian pundit Walter Russell Mead:

    http://blogs.the-american-interest....hat-should-be-dominating-the-news-is-ukraine/

    I don't really have anything to say about this, except

    1. it's supremely ironic that this is happening under Yanukovych, previously dismissed as a "tool of the Kremlin"; and
    2. Mead's point about the rise of Germany and decline of everyone else in Europe looks accurate to me.
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  7. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    There's a really in-depth discussion/running commentary on it at my blog between @Alexander Mercouris , AP, and Leos Tomicek. The story is a bit more complicated, and less dramatic.
  8. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Here is a link to Anatoly Karlin's blog which sets out the debate/commentary on the Ukraine Leos Tomicek, AP and I are having.

    http://darussophile.com/2013/09/27/what-is-ukraines-game-plan/

    As of the writing of this comment the prospects of the Ukraine signing the EU association agreement this November appear to be in jeopardy though it is too soon to write them off completely.
  9. owenpolley

    owenpolley Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    Alexander Mercouris likes this.
  10. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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  11. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The Moscow Times head-banger-in-chief reckons there are a million protesting in Kiev and compares their numbers with that of her buddies in Moscow which, she now admits, maxed at 100,000:

    "It turns out that 1 million [my stress - ME] Ukrainians have no qualms about taking to the streets in protest if they find their president's actions insulting — and that's even after riot police had broken up earlier demonstrations. In Moscow, a city of 14 million, even generous estimates put the maximum number of demonstrators during the peak of the protests in December 2011 at 100,000. After that, a turnout of 30,000 or 40,000 at subsequent protests in 2012 was the most that organizers could muster."

    See: "Yanukovych's Russian Gambit"

    I don't recall her playing down the Moscow white-ribbonist figures at the time of their protests, however.
  12. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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  13. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I am a Ukrainian appeal video gets 6+ million views already.



    Apparently it is linked to a guy at the Council of Foreign Relations.

  14. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Why is no one talking about all the recent events in Ukraine?
  15. Robert

    Robert Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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  16. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

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    Interesting street interview in Odessa by Graham Phillips. Check out his other YouTube videos and his web site here: http://grahamwphillips.com/

  17. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

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    I'm sure you all have heard this already:

    Officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich have hacked phones of Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and leaked their conversation to the web. The officials discuss their impressions of what's happening in the country after the revolution. The gist of it is that Ukrainian people have no trust in any of the leaders of Maidan.
    However the most striking thing of all is the fact which concerns the use of force during the revolution, particularly the snipers who killed both protesters and officers of the riot police. Mr. Paet reveals astonishing information which confirms the rumours that the snipers were employed by the leaders of Maidan.




    Will revealing the conversation have any effect? I suspect these events will be firmly swept under the rug.
  18. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Fire in a depot in Ukraine's 17th Armored Division in Dnepropetrovsk:
    http://vz.ru/news/2014/3/20/678235.html
    Apparently the tanks were fully armed with live rounds. I wonder if it was sabotage or just the results of bad maintenance.

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