Another attempt to make some kind of sense of what's going on east of the Dniester. Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan come in for special attention.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Award for idiotic phrase

Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, this sentence (from The Economist, but not it seems by Edward Lucas) surely has to be an award-winner for stupidity:

"Medved means bear in Russian—and the worst way to respond to a bear is to display overt weakness or to scarper in different directions."

Brilliant! Does that hold true for the name Bush, as well, suggesting possibilities of lick, fuck, clip or burn?

Edward Lucas, Alex Stubb and NATO

A couple of weeks ago, The Economist featured, as part of its “Certain Ideas of Europe” blog and podcast, an interview by Edward Lucas (of New Cold War fame,) with Finnish Foreign Minister Alex Stubb. I urge you to listen to the podcast and tell me if it seems only to me that Lucas is doing his best to pull Mr. Stubb into his own, “Russia as inexorable menace” camp. I suspect that he was somewhat disappointed by Stubb’s reply on Dmitri Medvedev, to the effect that he is cautiously optimistic regarding the new Russian president.

The most fascinating exchange when Lucas asked Stubb whether the latter thought Finland should join NATO now, “because by the time you need to, it’ll be too late.”

Stubb replies:

“I don’t see NATO membership in the near future, but what we want is to have a
fresh NATO debate, and then draw our conclusions from that debate. But
what we also need is the support of the population, and if we are in a situation
whereby just … out of my…off the top of my head…25% of the population is for
membership and the rest is more or less against, it’s kind of a difficult
project to push through.”
He goes on to note that Finland is very much engaged on a non-membership basis with NATO and with the European Rapid Reaction Force, but ends saying:

“NATO has just always been a bit of an Achilles heel in the Finnish debate, and
that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”

Seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? “…that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”

However, while signing off, Lucas says:

“That was Alex Stubb, Finnish Foreign Minister…giving a cautiously robust
perspective of Finland’s chances of joining NATO; not now, but maybe sooner than
we think.”

How does “not going to join in the near future” becomes “joining…maybe sooner than we think,” without putting a rather unfair semantic burden on the phrases?

You can find the audio file here, listed under “Certain Ideas of Europe”:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stetskiv says it's all Russia's fault

Taras Stetskiv of NUNS says the recent troubles with 2 deputies (one from BYuT and one from NUNS) declaring their exit from the coalition are all down to the usual suspect: Russia.

He claims that But "is Moscow's agent," adding that this is not an accusation, but "an obvious fact," but failing to offer the proof upon which "obvious facts" are normally based.

He throws something of a stone into the garden of Lutsenko and Zhvania, saying that they drew up the party list, with the allegedly odious Mr. But in it, adding that neither BYuT nor NUNS vetted their candidates closely enough.

Stetskiv is very quick on the verbal draw, but one has to wonder whether his engages his brain first. After all, he recently accused Yulia Tymoshenko and BYuT of preparing to follow a plan "drawn up outside the bounds of Ukraine", i.e. Russia, again:

«Наскільки я чув, «бютівці» разом з «регіонами» хочуть проголосувати за
створення тимчасової комісії з питань внесення змін до Конституції. А це
означатиме, що у парламенті буде політична змова двох ніби непримиренних
супротивників. І, якщо БЮТ вже вирішив грати за таким сценарієм, то я
заявляю, що це є деструктивний сценарій, який є антиукраїнським за своєю
суттю. Тим паче, що цей сценарій написаний не у БЮТі, а за межами України. Тому
язакликаю БЮТ зупинитися. Реалізуючи цей сценарій, БЮТ вирішив втекти від
відповідальності за соціально-економічну ситуацію в Україні, і піти на
дострокові вибори, розділивши владу у країні разом з Партією регіонів», –
зауважив Т.Стецьків

I also have to wonder whether Stetskiv sees the abysmal results of NUNS in the most recent parliamentary and Kyiv City Council elections are yet another facet of the nefarious Russian plan.

Entertaining, as Ukrainian politics always are, but I think I'll be waiting for proof. And probably for quite some time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A new low in Ukrainian politics?

When reading this piece, you have to ask yourself, "Can Ukrainian politicians get any lower?" I have faith that the twit that is Zvarych can indeed!

So, Mr. Zvarych (he of the invented MA from Columbia) now demands that the SBU not only look into whether But received Ukrainian citizenship legally, but whether he is actually employed by the FSB!

The natural question that follow is, "If deputies [had] reason to suspect that But received citizenship illegally, why did they keep their mouths shut about it until now?" It seems altogether too much to believe that, on the day that But quit NUNS, the members of the latter had some kind of epiphany - "We're shocked...SHOCKED!" It doesn't wash and, despite the practice that Zvarych has had at lying, he can't pull it off.

And Zvarych himself doesn't even believe the garbage he's spouting, since he moves on to immediately talk about how unpleasant life will be for But in parliament. In other words, "We now there's nothing wrong with his citizenship, and we're going to have to see him in the Rada, so we're going to gang up and bully him." You don't have to like But to see this as the nadir of NUNS.

Angry or hurt by faring so badly in elections to the Rada and the Kyiv City Council, led by such idiots as Zvarych (who bald-faced lied about his academic qualifications), and thoroughly adrift in terms of policy and effectiveness, NUNS looks to lash out and sees "traitors" everywhere.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The ever-creepy Tiahnybok

From an online chat on

Алекс: Наскільки вдалим виявився ваш слоган "Стольному граду - українську владу"? Може, є сенс змінити його на такий:

"Краще кумедний Тягнибок, ніж остогидлий тягни-толкай!"

Олег Тягнибок: Шановний Апекс! Коли ми прийдемо до влади, думаю, так жартувати ти не будеш. Чи може ти думаєш, що в нас нема твоєї Айпі-адреси?

...and elsewhere...

Інтернет-конференція Олега Тягнибока на "Політичному дурдомі" (повна версія)

Алекс:Вопрос клону клоуна Тягнибока: как вам удалось так быстро перебежать с интернет-конференции на "Цензор.Нет" на "Дурдом". Или вы на велосипеде?

Олег Тягнибок:Алекс! Ти не жартуй! Я тебе вже раз попередив...

and one more...

PetroBlin : Олег, Вы действительно такой мудак или это Ваш сценический образ?

Олег Тягнибок:PetroBlin, Алекс вже знає, що буде з такими жартівниками, коли ми прийдемо до влади. Твою IP-адресу ми теж вже знаємо...

A novel way of winning votes that...

Fisherman"s Blues

Fisherman"s Blues
Ice-Fishing near Astana (when it was still Akmola)