Tag: Former Soviet Union

Tweet of the Day

Police detained a young man holding a blank poster in central square in Uralsk, Western Kazakhstan today. They released him shortly after as they couldn’t figure out what he would be charged with pic.twitter.com/nLtIneIsr6

— Dina Baidildayeva (@baidildayeva) May 6, 2019

I don’t know that is going on here, either someone has just went a little crazy, or they are being profoundly subversive.

I want to know the rest of the story.

H/t naked capitalism

And the Ukraine Elects a Comedian

Volodymyr Zelensky just just beat incumbent President Petro Poroshenko like an old rug, defeating him with 73% of the vote.

In large part, this was a rebuke to the Ukrainian establishment that is seen as ineluctably corrupt by the average citizen.

It should be noted that Poroshenko was largely stood up by the the West, particularly the US under the stewardship of Victoria Nuland, so, at least in (very small) part, this election could be seen as a rejection of Western meddling in the Ukraine.

I do hope that Zelensky takes move against the neo-Nazis like the Azov Battalion, the Svoboda party, and the Pravyi Sektor party, who, after want him dead because he is a zhid (Jew), but I do not expect anything to come of this.

Vote for This Guy

Stanislovas Tomas, who is running for a seat in the EU Parliament, kjust smashed a plaque commemorating Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika:

A Lithuanian lawyer smashed a controversial plaque honoring a Nazi collaborator in Vilnius, which a local court recently ruled may stay.

Stanislovas Tomas, a human rights lawyer running for election to the European Parliament, was filmed smashing the plaque honoring Jonas Noreika on Sunday and streamed it on Facebook. He reported his actions to police and waited to be arrested next to the plaque with a sledgehammer.

Last month, a Vilnius court dismissed an American Jew’s lawsuit against a state museum’s glorification of Noreika, citing the complainant’s “ill-based” intentions.

Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Eastern Europe director, for years has argued that Noreika became a mass murderer after his appointment in 1941 as head of Siauliai County under the German Nazi occupation.

The case is thought to be the first in which civil servants publicly defended in court the actions and good name of an alleged collaborator with the Nazis.

In documents submitted to the court, the center claimed Noreika’s actions could not be judged posthumously and that in any case there is no evidence to suggest he perpetrated war crimes.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and one of Noreika’s grandchildren, Silvia Foti, dispute this.

(emphasis mine)

The court ruled no evidence, despite the fact that one of his own grandchildren was a part of a lawsuit calling him a genocidal monster.

Here’s a hint for the people of Eastern Europe:  Just because the Soviets Union did bad things does not mean that Nazis, or those who enthusiastically prosecuted genocide for the Nazis, were good people.

This Sh%$ Is Getting REALLY Old

A man named Volodymyr Zelensky is currently leading the polls to be the next President of the Ukraine.

Some guy with an unpronounceable name running for President in a former Soviet Republic would normally not be worth of a comment, except for the fact that he is a comedian who plays the Ukrainian President on TV:

A comedian who plays Ukraine’s president on TV is running for president in the country and led in two polls conducted earlier this month.

Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, stars in “Servant of the People,” a TV show where he plays a history teacher who is elected president of Ukraine after his anti-corruption rant goes viral, NBC News reported.

Zelensky, who has no political experience, had the largest share of support among respondents in a poll conducted earlier this month by Ukraine’s Razumkov Center, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency said. The country’s presidential election is set for March 31.

Zelensky, also a lawyer and businessman, has a unique approach to campaigning. NBC News said he doesn’t hold rallies but sells tickets to comedy gigs in which he parodies his competition and shares “behind-the-scenes campaign videos” on Facebook and YouTube.

If he is elected president, Zelensky will face ongoing tensions with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, as well as a crumbling economy and widespread corruption, NBC News reported. Zelensky has also said he would speak directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the war in eastern Ukraine.

Enough already.

At the rate this is going, I expect an animated TV character to become the President of Belgium.

If Kiev Got a Football Team, I would Root for the Dallas Cowboys

Ukraine state glorification of mass murderers of Jews is accelerating ahead of elections. https://t.co/eXsLwcQxM1

— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) January 22, 2019

I don’t think that it is fair to blame the people of the Ukraine, or Poland, or Latvia, or Lithuania, or Estonia for what their grandparents, or great grandparents, did.

However, I do fault them for honoring genocidal Nazi collaborators from that time.

They Have Made a Desert, and Called it Peace

Latvia is presented as an EU success story.

Despite an economic downturn, they stabilized their finances, and entered the Euro.

What they neglect to mention is that nearly ⅕ of its population has left, and their remittances, largely from the soon to be leaving Britain, are the only thing keeping their economy afloat:

Atis Sjanits has an unusual remit for an ambassador. The Latvian diplomat is not responsible for relations with another nation — but with his own country’s diaspora.

Sjanits’ job is to respond to the exodus triggered by Latvia’s accession to the EU. Since joining the bloc, nearly a fifth of the nation has left to work in more affluent EU nations: The U.K., Ireland, Germany.

In 2000, Latvia’s population stood at 2.38 million. At the start of this year, it was 1.95 million. No other country has had a more precipitous fall in population — 18.2 percent according to U.N. statistics. Only Latvia’s similarly fast-shriveling neighbor, Lithuania, with a 17.5 percent decrease, and Georgia, with a 17.2 percent drop, come close.

Seriously, the fact that Latvia is considered a success by Brussels when it has become unlivable that 18.2% of its population have effectively become refugees positively boggles the mind.

This Business Will Get out of Control. It Will Get out of Control and We’ll Be Lucky to Live through It.

A Sh%$ Mess of Planes and Guns

Geography is a Bitch

Russia and the Ukraine are having confrontations over ship transits in the black sea, which has culminated in the Russians seizing 3 Ukrainian military vessels after a ramming, and a possible exchange of gunfire.

In response, the Ukrainian President is calling for martial law:

The Ukrainian president has proposed the imposition of martial law after Russian forces shot at and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Black Sea, injuring six crew members according to Kiev, in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.

On Monday, Ukrainian MPs will vote on whether to declare nationwide martial law in response to the attack following an emergency war cabinet held by the president, Petro Poroshenko. He said that the imposition of martial law would not imply a declaration of war and was only intended for defensive purposes.

The UN security council will also hold an emergency meeting on Monday about the incident following a request from Ukraine, the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley confirmed.

Sunday was a day of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with hostilities focusing on the Kerch strait, which connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. Russia has constructed a $3.69bn (£2.7bn) bridge over the strait following its occupation of Crimea to link the Russian mainland and the peninsula. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, officially opened the bridge in May.

The FSB, Russia’s principal security agency, said its patrol boats had seized three naval vessels from Ukraine and used weapons to make them stop, adding that the boats had entered its territorial waters illegally.

About the only thing that could make this worse is if the, “Very Serious People,” in the US foreign policy and defense establishments, aka, “The Blog,” decide that this should be a problem for them to fix.  (Which, of course, they will)

We are completely screwed.

Mom, the Ukraine is Being the Ukraine Again!!!!

BREAKING: Major law enforcement agency in #Ukraine caught out spying on main synagogue in #Kiev with bugging devices. Chief Rabbi of Kiev appeals to int’l community for help https://t.co/Hk5HtqrgVZ
This is just bizarre. Why would they be bugging a synagogue??

— Defending History (@DefendingHistor) November 2, 2018

Yes, these folks are our allies in the Ukraine.

How lovely.

Google translate of the page here.

The Ukraine is Being the Ukraine Again

It turns out a prominent Ukrainian politician is celebrating Cossack pogroms against Jews, because ……… the Ukraine:

A regional leader of the Svoboda far-right party in Ukraine posted on Facebook a picture of a Cossack beating a Jew with a bloody flail, along with a poem celebrating the “threshing.”

Yuri Gorbinko, head of the party in Fastiv, a municipality near Kiev, posted the picture earlier this month, Eduard Dolinsky, the head of Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote on the same social network.

It shows a man dressed in traditional garb of the Cossacks, a Slavic group that lived in Eastern Ukraine and some parts of Russia that was responsible for countless pogroms against Jews and other minority groups well into the 20th century.

The picture came with a short poem extolling agricultural work, including “threshing.”

The Jewish figure, dressed in Hasidic style, is on his knees looking up in horror at the Cossack. A second figure, a disfigured blond-haired man, possibly representing Polish people, is seen lying in a pool of blood. A third individual, possibly Russian, is holding up his arms defensibly.

For some reason, these are our allies.

A Commentary on Stepan Bandera

Today in Munich, I corrected the grave of Ukrainian Nazi Stepan Bandera, to comply with German law, which forbids shrines to Nazis.

Corrected.#Bandera #StepanBandera #Nazism pic.twitter.com/M6vH14NPEQ

— Graham W Phillips (@GrahamWP_UK) October 15, 2018

I am not going to discuss the legality of pulling down flags from the grave of Stepan Bandera, or the wisdom of such an action, but his sign was the truth.

Stepan Bandera was a Nazi sympathizer, and he was directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands Poles and Jews.

That he is considered a national icon in the new Ukraine is a blot on history and decency.

Tweet Stream of the Day

Comparison of Silicon Valley and the the Soviet Union is genius:

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union:

– waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it’s of poor workmanship and quality

– promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out

— Anton Troynikov (@atroyn) July 5, 2018

– living five adults to a two room apartment

– being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you

— Anton Troynikov (@atroyn) July 5, 2018

– ‘totally not illegal taxi’ taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet

– everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex

— Anton Troynikov (@atroyn) July 5, 2018

– mandatory workplace political education

– productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites

— Anton Troynikov (@atroyn) July 5, 2018

It goes on, but it is well worth the read.

If Arkady Babchenko Walks Outside, and Sees His Shadow, It Means 6 More Weeks of Winter

Roll Tape

This just in, Arkady Babchenko is still alive:

The assassination bore all the hallmarks of yet another contract killing carried out in the murky shadows of the conflict pitting Russia against Ukraine.

A photo of the victim, a dissident Russian journalist, showed him lying face down Tuesday in a vermilion pool of his own blood. He was found by his wife, and died on the way to a hospital from multiple gunshot wounds to the back, said the police in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.

Then on Wednesday, the journalist, Arkady Babchenko, to all appearances very much alive, walked into a news conference that Ukrainian security officials had called to discuss his “murder.”


The staged death, said Vasily S. Gritsak, the head of the Ukraine Security Service, was a sting operation aimed at stopping a real assassination plot against Mr. Babchenko. It was the latest twist — if an especially bizarre one — in the tortured relations between Ukraine and Russia, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and is fueling a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia constantly lob charges and countercharges accusing each other of various forms of skulduggery. And they often accuse each other of fabricating claims. The announcement by the Ukrainian authorities that they had, in fact, made up the Babchenko killing offered the Russians a rare chance to claim the high ground. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a blistering statement, saying Ukraine would be better off solving real crimes, like the killing of two journalists in Kiev in 2015 and 2016.

“Matters of life and death in Ukraine, as well as trust of the international community to its policy, are nothing more than a bargaining chip used to fuel the anti-Russian hysteria of the Kiev regime,” the Russian statement said.

Both the story of Mr. Babchenko’s death and that of his resurrection garnered enormous attention around the world.

Various voices, especially from the world of journalism, called the ploy a bad idea in an era when battling fake news has become a daily problem — and when real news is dismissed as fake news whenever politicians from Washington to the Kremlin find it in their interest to do so.

I am not entirely clear of how this all works, but it appears that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Why I’m Generally Inclined to Support Russia in Confrontations with Other FSU Nations

Because the other former Soviet Republics, when not glorifying genocidal Nazi collaborates, are hosting marches honoring Nazi SS veterans.

Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Each year on March 16, a macabre event unfolds on the square around this capital city’s most famous monument.

Known as the Memorial for Latvian Legionnaires, it is the world’s only march by veterans of Nazi Germany’s elite SS unit.

A handful of them, including nonagenarians in wheelchairs, lead the procession through the Old City to the monument. Some wear the insignia from their old units — the 15th and 19th Waffen Grenadier Divisions — as they receive flowers from young women flanking the procession.


The marchers, some of them skinheads wearing fascist symbols, also spark passionate opposition from Latvians who recall how some of the fighters honored were complicit in the murder of Jews. Equally ardent advocates of the march argue that the Legionnaires were either patriots seeking independence from Russia, forcefully conscripted victims of the German Nazis or both.

But throughout the 20-year-old debate over perceived perpetrators, no one had bothered to use the site to remember the victims of the Nazis.

To be fair, there is an attempt by some people bring up the actual history:

Until 2016, that is, when a non-Jewish Holocaust education professional from Riga — whose great-uncle fought for the Germans — started grassroots commemorations at the monument for murdered Jews, reclaiming the site from the far right.

“In order to make something that belongs to the whole of Latvia, it has to be at Freedom Monument,” Lolita Tomsone, the organizer, told JTA.

But the push-back, both social and official has been intense:

In Lithuania, hundreds of nationalists march each year with swastikas and banners carrying portraits of collaborators who helped murder Jews. There, Zuroff’s 2016 book about the Holocaust led to the first debate of its kind about local complicity in the genocide. Zuroff, the Eastern Europe director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, co-authored “Our People” with the popular author Ruta Vanagaite.

In recent weeks, though, a Lithuanian Cabinet minister submitted legislation that would outlaw the sale of material that “distorts historical facts” about his country – an echo of a similar and controversial bill recently passed in Poland. Vanagaite has left Lithuania amid a smear campaign against her: After she dared criticize a Lithuanian nationalist hero, her publishing house recalled and shredded all of her books.

If you live in a society where it is not only controversial, but unpopular, to say that Nazis are bad,  you need to fix your society, and your politics, and a lot of other stuff.

Why I Tend to Favor Russia in its Dispute with the Ukraine

Because as bad as Russian antisemitism is, the Ukraine has more antisemitic incidents than the rest of the former Soviet Union combined, and this has been so since the days of the tzars:

In its main annual report on anti-Semitism, Israel’s government singled out Ukraine as unusual in Eastern Europe for the alleged increase in attacks there, triggering protest by Kiev.

The allegation appeared in the anti-Semitism report for 2017 that the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs under Education Minister Naftali Bennett published last week, ahead of the Jan. 27 International Day of Holocaust Remembrance.
“A striking exception in the trend of decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe was Ukraine, where the number of recorded anti-Semitic attacks was doubled from last year and surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined,” the report said.

The report did not name the total number of incidents reported but a ministry spokesperson queried by JTA said that throughout 2017, more than 130 incidents of anti-Semitism had been reported, including violent assaults, in Ukraine. The data came from Jewish communities and Nativ, an Israeli government agency that used to be part of the intelligence services but today deals exclusively with issues connected to aliyah, or immigration by Jews and their relatives to Israel.

The report also said that 2017 was the second consecutive year that Ukraine had the largest number of anti-Semitic incidents of any other country from the former Soviet Union.

Note that current Russian government isn’t erecting statues to, naming streets after, and marching to honor dead genocidal maniacs who collaborated with the Nazis either.

While we are at it. f%$# the current Polish government for planning to literally making it illegal to acknowledge the historical FACT that there were large numbers of Poles who enthusiastically collaborated with the Nazis and helped execute the Holocaust, including some members of the Polish resistance.

Russia comes out as the best of an REALLY bad lot in that part of the world on issues of glorifying Nazis and denying the reality of what some of its populace did during WWII..

Our Friends in the Ukraine

There are now indications that the Ukraine is a major contributor to the recent rapid advancement in the North Korean ICBM program.

The only question is whether the technology transfer id the result of corruption or espionage.

My money is on the latter:

Pyongyang’s rogue missile-firing has evoked a commotion among its neighbours. But the anger has turned into threats after Kim Jong-un’s regime astounded the world on July 4 – Independence Day in the United States – with its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew almost 1,000 kilometers after being launched.

The Hwasong-14, which means ‘fire star’ in Korean, reached an altitude of 2,802 km and traveled 933 kilometers east into the Sea of Japan after a 39-minute flight.


The international community had previously been told that it could take more than 10 years before Pyongyang could come up with an ICBM prototype that might pose a substantial threat – until Hwasong-14 skirted across the airspace of northern Japan.


The Russian Defence Ministry initially believed the missile was merely one of the many makeshift “toys” that the Kim regime liked to parade, but the Pentagon confirmed shortly after that it was the real deal.

Russian missile experts who examined photos of Hwasong-14 were quoted as saying the North Korean ICBMs may be copycat versions of long-range missiles made by the Soviet Union, such as the SS-18 Satan, capable of carrying multiple warheads with independently targetable reentry vehicles, Kanwa Defense Review has said.

The Hwasong missiles bear all the hallmarks of the SS-18, and one telling indicator is its strikingly similar fairings.

An initial analysis of the known trajectory and payload of the Hwasong family has lent fresh evidence to conjecture that Pyongyang may have obtained key ICBM technology from the Ukraine-based Yuzhnoye Design Office, which was once a Soviet Union bastion for rockets and advanced weaponry research and development, but is now allegedly laden with debt.


North Korea’s ability to “skip grades” in missile technology, notably in regard to composite materials, solid fuels, and warhead thermo-protection, has spooked analysts, who now suspect the regime may have taken lessons from outside, given that Pyongyang is hard pressed to even feed its own population.

“Since 2000, Pyongyang has been sending spies to Ukraine, sometimes via Moscow, forcing the latter of tip-off Kiev to intercept [them]. But it appears that the strained ties between Moscow and Kiev are now playing into Pyongyang’s hand,” an observer said.

Or they are just paying money.

Even if Pyongyang got the plans for the rocket, getting the necessary manufacturing and systems expertise to make sense of those plans a non trivial endeavor.  (It’s probably more difficult for spies to get the latter)

That’s why my guess is that someone at the Yuzhnoye Design Office got paid for the information.

Speaking of Fascism………

The Ukraine has upped its slow-walked ethnic cleansing program, the Ukrainian parliament has passed a law banning non-Ukrainian language education after elementary school:

Timeya Leshko doesn’t see much of a future for her four children in Ukraine, where a Moscow-backed conflict still flares up in the east and economic opportunities seem few and far between elsewhere.

“There’s no way to earn a living here. Everyone knows that. All the young people are leaving,” Leshko told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in a recent interview. “And I don’t think it’s going to get better, only worse.”

The ethnic Hungarian in the sleepy village of Mali Heivtsi on Ukraine’s western fringes, not far from Slovakia and Hungary, is convinced that learning her native tongue is the ticket out for her kids.

But that may be tougher for Leshko and other ethnic minorities in Ukraine after the country’s parliament passed an educational-reform bill on September 5 that includes a clause making Ukrainian the required language of study in state schools from the fifth grade on.

Leshko is not a fan of the bill, which would roll back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages.

“I don’t like it. Why? Because, for example, I am a Hungarian. I was studying in a Hungarian school and I want my children also to speak Hungarian,” she explained. “Maybe they will move to Hungary or maybe they will go there to earn money. In that case, the Hungarian language will be more useful than Ukrainian, I think.”

They want you to leave.

This is what the Quebecois did in Canada, and they have been fairly successful.

While We are on the Subject of Abject Failure

Secretary of Defense James Mathis is trying to gin up support for US military involvement in the Ukraine:

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that the Trump administration is “actively reviewing” whether to provide weapons to Ukrainians who are fighting Russian-backed rebels.

“On the defensive lethal weapons, we are actively reviewing it,” Mattis said during a press conference alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“I will go back, now, having seen the current situation, and be able to inform the secretary of State and the president in very specific terms what I recommend for the direction ahead.”

There is a permanent war party in Washington, DC, AKA, “The Blob,” and they haven’t won a war, since 1945, and they haven’t made the world a better place, or had a diplomatic success in almost as long a time.

They were the ones, in the person of Victoria Nuland, who fomented a coup and a civil war in the Ukraine in the first place.

And now these idiots are back in command of our foreign policy.

What the hell, it’s just more blood and treasure sacrificed on the altar of pointless American hegemony.

What Part of Ukrainian Nationalist Don’t You Get?

The Ukrainian city of Lviv has decided to hold a festival to honor a collaborator with the Nazis who murdered Jews and Poles, primarily in Volhynia and Galicia:  (The article does not mention the massacres of Poles by Shukhevych)

The Ukrainian city of Lviv will hold a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city’s Jews.

Shukhevychfest, an event named for Roman Shukhevych featuring music and theater shows, will be held Friday.

Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, in a statement called the event “disgraceful.”

On June 30, 1941, Ukrainian troops, including militiamen loyal to Shukhevych’s, began a series of pogroms against Jews, which they perpetrated under the auspices of the German army, according to Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder and other scholars. They murdered approximately 6,000 Jews in those pogroms.

The day of the festival is the 110th birthday of Shukhevych, a leader of the OUN-B nationalist group and later of the UPA insurgency militia, which collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviet Union before it turned against the Nazis.

Shukhevychfest is part of a series of gestures honoring nationalists in Ukraine following the 2014 revolution, in which nationalists played a leading role. They brought down the government of President Viktor Yanukovuch, whose critics said was a corrupt Russian stooge.


In a related debate, the director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Remembrance, Vladimir Vyatrovich, who recently described Shukhevych as an “eminent personality,” last month defended the displaying in public of the symbol of the Galician SS division. Responsible for countless murders of Jews, Nazi Germany’s most elite unit was comprised of Ukrainian volunteers.

Displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Ukraine but the Galician SS division’s symbol is “in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine,” Vyatrovich said.

I would note that I am aware of my family history, and I am aware that there is some Galitzianer* in my background, (my dad prefers a sweet gefilte fish), so I do tend to not to be dismissive of efforts Nazi apologists from that part of the world, though I am not surprised by such efforts.

Ukrainian history is rather more virulently antisemitic than corresponding Russian history.

*My Grandmother also claimed descent from the Goan of Vilna (Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman) which would make us Litvaks (Lithuanian) Nas well, so I span both major divisions of Eastern European Jews. There is also some Yekke (German/Western European) Jewish background in the family tree, so we’re mutts.
Note that the division of Galitzianer, Litvak, and Yekke only vaguely correspond to the current or historical boundaries of these regions.