Russia has invaded Ukraine
opening a second front to the south to open a land-bridge between Russia and Crimea
. The Southern Front Catastrophe – August 27, 2014
translated from Ukraine has military details. Map of Operations Aug 10-27
and detail Lugansk
pink/red is separatists). So far it's been a stealth invasion and slow escalation, today Russian troops, armor columns and artillery have openly crossed the border
). Thousands more Russian troops are amassed. Ukraine has announced a reinstatement of the draft to commence in the Fall, and is demanding EU military assistance
. An emergency UN meeting
is currently in session (the 24th). Russia claims "No Russian forces are crossing in any point the border of Ukraine."
The Sci-Fi Writers' War
. "A pro-Western, NATO-backed Ukrainian government faces a stubborn insurgency in the pro-Russian East. Fighting rages around Donetsk, with civilians dying in artillery fire and airstrikes, while Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border. The latest headlines? No, a two-novel series by Russian-Ukrainian science-fiction writer Fedor Berezin: War 2010: The Ukrainian Front
and War 2011: Against NATO
. In a startling plot twist, Berezin, a 54-year-old former Soviet Army officer and Donetsk native, is now living inside a real-life version of his own story: He is deputy defense minister of the embattled 'Donetsk People’s Republic.'"
Russia bans apples from Poland due to health regulation violations.
Ukrainian cornmeal and McDonalds are also on the hit list. Russia has a pattern of banning the products of countries it has disputes with — under the guise of sanitary violations — in order to impose political pressure. [more inside]
"...it's social media that has helped build the public case against Russia
" in Ukraine. One example is liveuamap.com
, who "gather information from open sources and put it on the [Google] map" using familiar Google Maps markers for a Reds (Pro-Russian) vs Blues (Pro-Ukraine) theater map. Shaded regions indicate the Donetsk People's Republic
(DNR; Red), Lugansk People's Republic
(LNR; Purple), the MH17
crash site (Yellow), and the MH17 ceasefire zone
(green). The posts linked to by each marker include a link to the source via a chain icon at the bottom of the post.
According to Malaysia Airlines
, they have lost contact with flight MH17, in Ukraine, near the Russian border. The plane is reported to have originated in Amsterdam, with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board
. Multiple news organizations are reporting that the plane was shot down in an area where "the Ukrainian government has been fighting pro-Russian rebels.
Britain will betray the United States and Ukraine to keep laundering dirty Russian money.
"The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest
districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs
and Qatari princes."
While you can still follow live events in the Ukraine, with either the compulsively complete live Reddit feed
or the constantly updated BBC feed
being good choices, there has been increasingly useful analyses of the history and politics of the situation. Yale Professor Timothy Snyder, an expert on the region, wrote a piece in the New York Review of Books
describing the roots of the recent uprising, with a great overview of how "people associated with Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Polish, and Jewish culture have died in a revolution that was started by a Muslim." Other history is provided by a detailed explainer
by the Guardian, in maps
by National Geographic, and the dueling arguments about the roots of the conflict from the the semi-official Russia Today
and the US State Department
Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine (NYRB)
An analysis of the Ukrainian revolt by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History at Yale and a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He is the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. [more inside]
Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov climb the 632 meter Shanghai Tower
, the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa. The video of their climb, Shanghai Tower (650 meters)
, is riveting.
was known as the liberator of serfs
, because under his rule, in 1861, serfs were granted the freedom to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to own businesses. In 1862, Alexander II signed off on the ethnic cleansing of Circassians
that began as a simple resettlement, and led to (by official Tsarist documents, more by other accounts) over 400,000 deaths. Circassians in fact protest the 2014 Olympics
being that it was the supposed site of their final expulsion. [more inside]
Are you still confused by Ukraine's 2007 Eurovision entry? [more inside]
"Far From Moscow
is a resource designed to promote, catalog, and consider new music from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, together with the Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)." Posts are frequent and extensive
and stuffed full of fantastic songs
. They also offer a dozen free sampler albums
; I'm listening to and loving Apples
and the more ambient Forest
. [more inside]
Nadezhda Korotkaya, 77, a widow who lives alone in her small wooden house on the edge of Stary Vyshkov, still remembers the World War II. "The Germans came and went," she said. "But Chernobyl came here to stay."
It was 25 years ago today that reactor number four at the Chernobyl power plant exploded, following an emergency shutdown (detailed recounting of the disaster on Wikipedia
). A memorial was held in Kiev, Ukraine
, this morning for the liquidators
who were the first human responders, with a bell struck at the exact moment of the Chernobyl explosion on April 26, 1986
. See also: a look back, with The Big Picture
. [more inside]
The Russian mafia and criminals have their own type of music
. It's called shanson
[chanson]. A couple of contemporary examples by Michael Krug- Kolschik
and Lesovopal- Sit Boy
l Arcadiy Severnyj
(1939-1980) was considered the king of street (prison-folk) songs. Shanson
MyRadio channel. [more inside]
In September of 2008, two Austrians traveled 13,000km by rail from Vienna to Pyongyang
- without asking permission and going through the official Koran travel agency. [more inside]
Newsfilter: It's that time of the year again
, though now it seems to be more serious. Russia stopped all gas supply to Europe
via Ukraine on Wednesday, January 7, 2009. The EU depends on Russia
for about a quarter of its total gas supplies, some 80% of which is pumped through Ukraine. At least seventeen countries
are affected, many of them severely as Russia is their primary or only source of gas. [more inside]
Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children?
More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
Bush the Dissident.
(WaPo) Background (and previously) here here here here
Be Warned: some very disturbing and NSFW
intravenous drug abuse images
from Eastern Europe
Government (by market control of Gazprom
company) reduces flow of natural gas to Ukraine.
According to a NYT
article "Russia is now asking for $220 to $230 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, up from $50 now" ending soviet-era years of subsidized price. Yet Russia is still subsidizing
other countries (selectively applying free market ?) while Pravda
blames Ukraine politicians rhetoric. Pay or not paying, Gazprom accuses
Ukraine of tapping into some of the gaslines (apparently 80% of Russian
pass trough pipes in Ukraine). Europe doesn't like not having is gas shipped as Ukraine agreed to the Energy Charter Treaty.
Why should we care ? Shock waves in free market have global effects, meaning you'remore likely to pay energy more...and it's winter.
Following up on a previous discussion
of the goings-on in Ukraine, it's now a CNN front-page story: Viktor Yushchenko was, in fact, poisoned with dioxin
"There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease has been caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin," Zimpfer said. "What we can say at this point is that this concentration constitutes an amount which is 1,000 times above the normal levels that you would find in blood or tissue... We have made a final diagnosis as well as an additional diagnosis, that we suspect a cause triggered by a third party. So there is suspicion of third party involvement... We can state that there has been an oral intake," he said, adding that it was not known if it was from eating or drinking.
I am currently smoothing the crinkles out of my tin-foil hat in preparation for its constant use throughout the rest of my life. (Or do you think it works better if it's crinkled?)
The Orange Revolution
-- A coup
is taking place right now
in the streets of several Ukrainian cities. Following the "election" of Viktor Yanukovych, an election that everyone
from the Ukrainian man-on-the-street to EU observers
and the US
say was marred by serious and obvious fraud, Ukrainians are turning out by the hundreds of thousands
their support for the opposition candidate, the pro-West reformer Viktor Yushchenko
. Individual cities
, not to mention heads of Ukrainian religious groups
, have even announced that they will refuse to recognize Yanukovych as the Prime Minster.
The problem is, Yanukovych is supported by the Kremlin. Russia's state-run TV stations had been broadcasting propaganda on his behalf, they called the election on his behalf
before the polls were closed, and their increasingly despotic President Putin even congratulated him on his "win", before backtracking slightly
. And now reports are trickling out
--from former American congressmen communicating via Blackberry
, no less--about Russian soldiers
being flown across the border into Ukraine, dressed in Ukrainian militia garb
, and set among
the protestors. Phones have been cut across much of the country, including at the embassies. A semi-covert Russian-backed military push against the pro-democracy protestors is feared. Will this be another peaceful Rose Revolution
, as happened in Georgia one year ago today, or more like Hungary, 1956
? Stay tuned to the Ukrainian bloggers
; this could get messy