Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Egypt

Ukraine has so far failed to prosecute any of Yanukovych's criminal gang.  They may be arrested but are allowed to go free "on bail" or have their case dismissed and even allowed to leave the country.  However Korban, oligarch, leader of the new UKROP party, and an ally of oligarch Kolomoisky, both bitter enemies of Proroshenko has been arrested for embezzlement.  Shokin, the Minister in charge of such shenanigans is the main block in reforming the judicial process but he is supported by Proroshenko and Yatseniuk.  Mostly the loud noises about fighting corruption are just that and both the IMF and EU are getting irritated.

Ukraine has a long way to go to reach the 21st century.  Admittance to the visa-free Schengen zone is high on Ukraine's wish list.  However they have to meet certain requirements not necessarily related to visas but certainly to civilized behaviour.  One of them was legislation preventing workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference (or race and colour).  When it came to the first vote in the Rada, deputies were conspicuous by their absence and it received about half the votes necessary.  Some of the speeches opposing it came right out of the dark ages which is kind of where Ukrainian culture is in so many respects.

Russia continues down its anti-Ukrainian path in more than the war in eastern Ukraine which is still ongoing, of course.  The Kremlin has determined to send back to Ukraine from Russia as many Ukrainians as possible just at the start of winter.  Only those fleeing the war n eastern Ukraine are "exempt" but some are afraid to identify as refugees as they will she shipped east to Magadan and dumped in the middle of nowhere with no support.  Others are being told to go home as "the war is over".  So much for the claim of protecting Russian speakers.  Oh, I think young Ukrainians dodging military call-up are also exempt from being sent home but that may be changing too.

The head of the Ukrainian Library is under arrest for "running a library" which apparently had "extremist" material in it.  That is what libraries are supposed to do - house all relevant materials related to in this case Ukraine.  She also says some of the titles they "found" were planted.  And the Tretyakov Art Gallery has removed Ilya Repin's famous Zaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan (wherein they essentially tell him to get stuffed).  Such ideas of Ukrainian independence are considered seditious these days, I guess, even in art galleries.

Turkey had its election last Sunday and Erdogan's party has its majority.  Not enough to alter the constitution to give Erdogan the executive powers he so desperately wants or even enough to take the changes to the people, both of which require more than a 50% plus 1 majority. It is unlikely it will make much difference to Erdogan who continues to abuse his figurehead position as president.  It is also likely that the crackdown on all opposition and the war against the Kurds will continue.

It looks more and more like the plane full of Russian tourists returning home that disintegrated in mid-air and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday,  killing all on board was downed by a bomb. Security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport was pretty lax at the best of times apparently and for 20 GBP could be bypassed entirely.  It wasn't even necessarily a tourist that took the bomb on board.  It was more likely one of the baggage handlers.  This will not do the Egyptian tourist industry much good which was likely the intent as much as it may have been aimed at Russia as well.  Kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

THIS just came in from WaPo.  Both Russia and Egypt have a vested interest in denying that is was a terrorist attack.  However as the article notes, both are more adept at lying than investigating.  And the trolls are all over it in the comment section

Here is a modern version of Victor Vasnetsov's "The Knight at the Crossroads". The painting reflects a scene from Russian folk tales, where the hero arrives at a crossroads and finds a inscription in a stone that says “If you go left, you will lose your horse. If you go right, you will lose your head”


  1. The modern 'crossroads' indeed - very cute! I think if I was a knight confronted by those choices I'd seriously consider 'back the way I came'.

    1. Not an easy choice, is it? Honour would dictate to go right. I will have to lok for the story some time to see how it turned out.

  2. "The Knight at the Crossroads"

    Cool gif.

    1. I thought so. Don't know who did it. It likely has passed through many hands before I stole it.

  3. I'm with Diane on the crossroads choice.


Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself. Trolls will be deleted