Thursday, December 28, 2006
There was more news about the power plant this week. Earlier this week Nestor Shufrych, Minister for Management of Emergencies, denied rumours that one of the sarcophagus' walls had collapsed. And two men were arrested on Tuesday for stealing radiators (what's in a name?) from the exlusion zone.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
The music is a 1930s Finnish song called Ievan Polkka, performed by the Finnish band Loituma. It is completed by a popular manga anime featuring Orihime Inoue from the Bleach series.
And of course there's a lot on YouTube: Ievan Polkka unplugged, Loituma dance, a cheap fake, an accelerating version, the commercial Jamba ringtone version, a home video and finally the real thing.
UPDATE: Check out Pippi Långstrump med purjolöken.
I am expecting a re-release of the 1991 hit single by L.A. Style - James Brown is Dead shortly.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I had been looking for one already since summer, but I had no clue what would be a suitable price. Before my trip, I had asked friend Oleg in Moscow. According to him in Kyiv $40 ought to be enough for a functioning camera. Having no time to contact Oleg's friend in Kyiv, I almost forgot about the whole thing.
When one of the team members decided to buy an old grey (East?) German dial phone, I suddenly remembered. I asked one of the Ukrainian counterparts. He had a friend who revives old Soviet cameras. 30 minutes later he could meet us. The man offered a working 1970s Zenit-E with two working objectives: one Industar 50-2 and one Helios 44-2. When the man told me the price (UAH 150 = $30) for the camera and the two objectives, I had no incentive to bargain for a better price.
The Zenit-E was produced by the S.A. Zverev Krasnogorsky Zavod, the former Krasnogorsk mechanical plant (KMZ) between 1965 and 1980. It was the single most produced type, with an estimated 8,000,000 produced.
The first results of my photography are expected by next week :) Not sure when I'll have time to scan them and share them with you here!
Monday, December 25, 2006
St. Nicholas is celebrated with dances, sketches, poetry, food, music, jokes, drinks - in any possible order.
The municipality of Romny had invited the foreign guests, the pensioners from the school and school children to the town's vocational school for celebration. The typical food consisted of typical autumn and winter stuff like roasted pumpkin, new wine, and Guelder-rose berries (Kalina). The latter was not as much enjoyed by most guest as by the hosts.
After the performances and fortune telling were over, a rich dinner was served, consisting of delicious Ukrainian food, and nice drinks. And as the tradition has it, the partying, singing, drinking and dancing continued until late at night...
... some of the foreign guests were even tempted into joining the music and other local habits...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
De Fûke ('de Fuik') gaat over een Fries vissersgezin tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog. In de kwartierstaat van auteur Rink van der Velde (die in 2001 overleed) lees ik: De koarteoarlochsroman De Fûke út 1966 is fuortkommen út fraachpetearen dy't er as sjoernalist mei âldere minsken út de feanterijen hân hie yn kombinasje mei werklik barde foarfallen út de oarloch en in lokaasje oan 'e Tsjûkemar dy't him ynspirearre. De Fûke wie it earste boek fan Van der Velde, dat him yn Fryslân ôfspilet.
Friday, December 08, 2006
(History of Polonium - from Wikipedia)
I am somewhat undecided on this issue. The poor lads simply had no mandate that would enable them to truly protect the Bosnian civilians. Furthermore they never received air support form the higher NATO echelons. But giving them an isignia for bravery is still something else I'd say. In a way this diplomatic riot diverts from what the international community should really do: force the ones truly responsible for the massacre - Mladic and Karadzic - to stand trial at the ICTY in The Hague. Only justice would eventually lead to reconciliation over this issue.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Op 23 mei 1938 werd in Rotterdam de Oekraïense nationalist Jevhen Konovalets omgebracht. Hij had in Hotel Atlanta in Rotterdam een afspraak met wat hij dacht dat een vertrouwde Oekraïener was uit de door de Sovjets overheerste linkeroever van de Dnjepr. Hij nam van de vertrouwde persoon een doos chocolade aan. De persoon verliet het hotel. Even later gevolgd door Konovalets. Op de Coolsingel aangekomen ontplofte de doos. Zijn lichaam werd uiteengereten.
Na enige tijd sloot de Rotterdamse politie de zaak onopgelost. Men vermoedde dat Konovalets het slachtoffer was geworden van een Sovjet-agent die Waluck heette.
Pas in 1994 krijgt dit verhaal een vervolg bij het verschijnen van de autobiografie van Pavel Soedoplatov. De agent van de NKVD (later KGB) - en vertrouweling van het hoofd van de geheime dienst Lavrentii Beria - bekende in opdracht van Stalin Konovalets te hebben vermoord en de roemruchte moord op Trotski in Mexico stad te hebben voorbereid. Na de dood van Stalin in 1953 ging Soedoplatov uiteindelijk ten onder met zijn beschermheer Beria.
Het verhaal is ook in 2006 nog niet afgelopen. Konovalets is destijds begraven op begraafplaats Crooswijk in Rotterdam. Sinds de onafhankelijkheid van Oekraïne in 1991 gaan er stemmen op om de overblijfselen van de nationalistenleider over te brengen naar zijn vaderland, waar hij verenigd zou worden met Stepan Bandera, Andriy Melnyk en andere leiders uit het begin van de twintigste eeuw. Een maand geleden kondigde de gemeenteraad van L'viv aan dat er eind 2006 op de Lytsjakivski begraafplaats in de stad een laan met eregraven wordt ingericht waarnaar de graven zullen worden overgebracht.
Maar wat zijn nu de parallellen tussen Konovalets en Litvinenko? Ze waren natuurlijk beiden de leider van het land onwelgevallig. En in beide zaken werd vrijwel meteen naar de Russische geheime dienst gewezen als verdachte. Maar een plot waarin Poetin zelf een decreet zou hebben uitgevaardigd om Litvinenko uit de weg te ruimen, gaat zelfs de meest cynische Kremlincriticasters te ver. En dat was precies wat met Konovalets wel is gebeurd.
UPDATE: zie ook het herdenkingsboek uit 1938.
The Scripture seems clear:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Rev. 13:17-18)
But is it? The number 666 is thought to refer to Nero according to ancient numerology. But more than 100 years ago other indications were found: here you can see a fragment papyrus 4499 from Oxyrhynchus fragment. It seems clear that the number is χιϛ (616) and not χξς (666).
But if it's not 666 it cannot be Nero. And if it's thought to be 616 it could be Caligula. Too bad for all those RFID critics, Metal bands, George W. critics, etc.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Apparently Remco had an interview this morning, while Coen is investigating the connection between the persons who allegedly murdered Litvinenko and the ones who freed the Dutch MSF aid worker Arjen Erkel in 2004. He has reason to believe they are the same KGB veterans. Coen is supposed to know: he wrote a book on the Erkel case and talked to the KGB-veterans.
UPDATE: Klimov is tired of life too...
It appears that a university in US and A has scientific interest to make benefit of the glorious nation of Kazakhstan:
Few recent works of literature or film have made Eurasia as central and, perhaps, as flagrantly irrelevant to the American experience as Sacha Baron Cohen's hit film, Borat. In many respects this movie touches on key aspects of our discipline and expertise, and it also marks the distance that "Eurasia" has traveled in the American mentality since the appearance of other epoch-defining films (From Russia With Love, Doctor Zhivago, The Manchurian Candidate). Slavic Review invites its readers to submit contributions for a cluster of scholarly essays on Borat. Contributions may use the methodologies of any discipline so long as they relate in some substantial way to Borat and to interaction between Eurasia and the West.
Length should not exceed 5000 words. Contributions will be peer reviewed and must be received by the end of March 2007. If you have questions, please contact the editor, Mark Steinberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Slavic Review: Call for Papers: Borat: Eurasia, American Culture, and Slavic Studies)
With such friends, who needs enemies?
Friday, December 01, 2006
The President and Parliament are still quarreling over the legitimacy of this last move. This will lead to case in front of the Constitutional Court when the President challenges this decision. During the Orange Revolution a compromise was reached were key Ministers in the government are appointed by the President and approved of by the Parliament.
Meanwhile the Revolution's Jeanne d'Arc, Yuliya Tymoshenko, MP, tries to initiate a referendum on the dissolution of parliament.
Куди йдеш, Україно?
That corresponds with my narrow view on the subject. Of course I remember 1999, when I could witness the defacing of some Nato websites and later the retaliation of the Chinese for the 'accidental' bombing of their embassy during the Kosovo crisis. But cyber terrorism is different league.
Some hours ago the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) supposedly warned financial institutions for an upcoming attack on their systems. Al-Qaida would carry out cyber attacks on the U.S. financial industry to retaliate for abuses at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
Would there finally be an attack this winter?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I usually like Koolhaas design. But why would he want to build a giant (more than 300 m. high) game of Tetris on the Neva?
Of course much is still uncertain, but it seems to seriously harm Russian-British relationships. It may turn out to be a cold winter in Britain...
Friday, November 24, 2006
Usually this should be good news. But not now, since they already found a (headless) body in 2000. After a cover-up of the case under Kuchma, it became a theme during the Orange revolution. It is a test case for president Yushchenko, in which he could prove that he really can cope with corruption and do away with the old regime. Many people believe, however, that the Gongadze case was as such included in the round table talks between Yushchenko, Yanukovich and Kuchma that ended the Orange revolution almost two years ago. In that scenario Kuchma would go free. Time will tell.
Some interesting questions remain. If this second body belongs to Gongadze, whose body was found in Ukraine then?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The words he uses most often are Polish (Jagshemash = "Jak się masz") and (Chenquieh = "Dziękuję"), but apart from that he appears to speak colloquial Hebrew (actually slang if I should believe the comments from those who understand it). And Azamat Bagatov speaks Armenian - the actor (Ken Davitian) actually is Armenian. (Please note that богатый means wealthy in Russian).
The answer to the quiz was: Gagarin. He is the only one I did not spot in the movie. In case you saw it, here's where to find the other three: There is a green box of Belochka behind the windscreen of the van throughout the movie (it's on the left if the windscreen is seen from the front.) The other two images, the girl from the Pinguin commercial and the image of Aliyev appear when the movie is over (by far the most hilarious part).
Aliyev actually appears there as the president of Kazakhstan (pause) ...NOT!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Dus tijd voor een lesje googelen voor gevorderen :)
Stap 1: We weten hoe hij heet: иван зайцев of зайцев иван.
Stap 2: Daar zijn er teveel van (~700) dan even Poetin erbij en dan zie je in artikeltjes uit 2002 dat hij in Погост woont.
Stap 3: Lees de eerste resultaten van de zoektocht op de trefwoorden "Иван Зайцев" Путин Погост vluchtig door. bingo!
Je ziet daar zijn eigen reactie:
Иван Зайцев Jun 7 2004 1:56PM
Я,Зайцев Иван Сергеевич, тот самый оком написана эта немного лжывая стать.Я конечно несобираюсь её коментировать.Скажу лишь одно,я был тогда не сумашедшым ,а был я политическим заключённым.После того как меня освободили я написал книгу ПУТИН КЛОН ГИТЛЕРА , читайте её в интернете на сайте zis.h12.ru
Stap 4: nu wordt het ingewikkeld, want het gaat immers om een site die uit de lucht is gehaald. Niet getreurd, daar heb je wat tools voor: http://www.archive.org/.
Stap 5: Als je daar bovenstaande invult en een beetje klikt, zie je dat zijn site is overgegaan naar www.zisa.ru,
Stap 6: omdat die site ook is verwijderd, gebruik je nog een keer archive.org: presto!
Maar die man heeft serieus hulp nodig zo te zien... Боже мой...
Saturday, November 11, 2006
This brings together some intersting features. First of all Olga Krasko's voice. She was born 25 years ago in Kharkiv, which now lies in Ukraine. She plays the character Varvara in the movie Turkish Gambit after a novel by Akunin.
The poem that was used for this song is Песенка Изабеллы (Дождик осенний) by Bulat Okudzhava, one of the USSR's most celebrated bards:
жаркий огонь полыхает в камине,
тень, моя тень, на холодной стене.
жизнь моя связана с вами отныне -
дождик осенний, поплачь обо мне.
сколько бы я не бродила по свету,
тень, моя тень, на холодной стене.
нету без вас мне спокойствия, нету -
дождик осенний, поплачь обо мне.
все мы в руках ненадежной фортуны,
тень, моя тень, на холодной стене.
лютни уж нет, но звучат ее струны -
дождик осенний, поплачь обо мне.
жизнь драгоценна, да выжить непросто,
тень, моя тень, на холодной стене.
короток путь от весны до погоста -
дождик осенний, поплачь обо мне.
It seems to have been used as such in the 1980s Soviet movie "Капитан Фракасс" (Le Capitaine Fracasse, after the 1863 novel by Théophile Gautier) by Vladimir Savelyev featuring the young Oleg Menshikov as Fracasse and Anna Isaikina as Isabella. The movie was shot at the Dovzhenko film studios in Kyiv. I wonder what the song sounds like in that movie.
I found the modern version of this song on the Turkish Gambit Soundtrack, which was done by Goran Bregović, one of my favourite composers or "one of the most recognizable modern composers of the Balkans" as Wiki calls it. (you'll hear more of him when you visit the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".)
It is strange that it took me almost a year to find the album. I have been looking for it in Kyiv at least twice (March, July) but no result. I finally found it here.
If you want to listen to a short clip, please copy and paste the following URL in the media player of your choice: http://www.freewebs.com/muumifoto/Dozhdik%20Osennij.mp3
Tijdens de slotbijeenkomst op 8 november had Отрада een van haar eerste optredens. Volgens de site betekent het vreugde, hartelust, troost, weldaad. De groep is nog te nieuw om nu al te bepalen welke van de vier betekenissen het meest toepasselijk is...
En natuurlijk was er na afloop tijd voor een hapje en drankje, want без бокала нет вокала* :)
* vrij naar Верка Сердючка
Hierbij past maar een woord, een welgemeend честитам! Ga vooral zo door!
Het is een initiatief van Deutsche Welle dus ik sluit een complot vanuit huize Bossmann niet uit... :)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
When I saw that text, it seemed lightyears away when Russia would print such verdicts on works of art, artist impressions or literary work. Of course the Soviet Glavlit was notorious, but things seemed to move into the right direction. That was, until I read the verdict on "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".
Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores.
Friday, November 03, 2006
I just wondered about the image. It is the "Imago mortis" taken from the 1493 Liber chronicarum or Nuremberg chronicle by Hartmann Schedel (p. CCLXI). The image is an allegory of death, also called Danse Macabre.
(what is sort of funny is that the name seems to have the same 'mistake' as the ambulance that was sent to Ukraine recently)
Monday, October 23, 2006
A prominent Russian art dealer was recovering last night after being attacked by youths who smashed his gallery and destroyed paintings by an ethnic Georgian artist.
Russian television showed a video of paintings by Alexander Dzhikia that had been ripped from their frames, torn up and scattered around the gallery
This story gives me a very strange feeling. I am not in Moscow now, so it's difficult to judge. But after officials apperently started deporting Georgians from Moscow and asked schools in the capital to provide them with a list of pupils with Georgian surnames and then questioned the children about where their parents lived, for an outsider it really seems things are getting out of hand. This is scary. Where did we see this before?
In the meantime I wonder what the effect of this wave of anti-Georgian sentiment is on the warm relationship between Zurab Tsereteli and Yuri Luzhkov.
(On the image: Death in the museum (1997) by Alexander Dzhikia)
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Sta reiziger! Wees wellekom
Hier treedt ge Brabant binnen,
Doch weet, dit trotsche hertogdom,
Heeft Háár tot Koninginne.
Stand, traveller! Be welcome
Here you enter Brabant
But know, this proud Duchy
Has Her as its Queen
In 1947 the same movement also ordered for a Brabant hymn to be composed (Lied van Hertog Jan). The Society did not survive into the twentieth century, but the discussion on the hymn is still vivid...
De winter van 1944-'45 betekende een periode van stilstand voor de divisie, waarbij ze aan de zuidoever van de Maas een sector bewaakte, van Tholen via Moerdijk tot bij 's-Hertogenbosch, lees ik op de pagina over de Poolse 1ste Pantserdivisie .
Hier nog links naar meer graven (Pools) en monumenten (Pools en Nederlands).
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
De Stentor: Provocerende Borat zet Kazachstan op de kaart
de Volkskrant: Borat beledigt Kazachstan weer eens
AD: Smullen van beledigingen door Borat
radio.nl: Borat slaat 'vrouw' aan de haak in homobar
RTL: Borat: amper verschil tussen Kazachstan en Nederland
NOS: Borat bezoekt Amsterdamse Wallen
A majority of EU countries seems to have the opinion that vodka can be made of anything that contains enough starch. Of course Russians - like some EU countries - would argue that genuine vodka should contain grain only. An espert group met in Brussels this week to taste the difference.
Meanwhile the Russians had other concerns about spirits.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Welcome to the EU-campaign pages of Amnesty International in Finland. During the six months that Finland is holding the EU-presidency AI Finland with help from all other Amnesty sections works in different ways to influence the Finnish government to make sure that the EU proactively does things to defend human rights worldwide. Amnesty demands not only words, but also deeds from the EU.
At the moment our main public campaign on the web is about getting the EU to demand changes for the better in Russia’s human rights record.
Amnesty International has serious concerns regarding a number of human rights problems in Russia. Here is a brief list of some of the issues, which we are closely following:
- Arbitrary detention, ”disappearances” and torture continue in Chechnya and neighbouring areas
- Violence against women in the family is a widespread problem in Russia.
- Last year at least 28 people were murdered because of their race in Russia.
- The new NGO law, which came into force in April this year, poses a number of problems for both local, foreign and international organizations operating in Russia.
Read more here...
Monday, October 02, 2006
While most of Central Europe was facing important elections, Netherlands was just preparing, having the party conferences last weekend. The mud-throwing has started.
But what worries me most, is that among the three elections mentioned, the most significant ones for the future of Europe (namely the elections in Bosnia) were not mentioned in the Dutch newspapers. Still the collective shame over what happened 11 years ago?
There are more significant things happening in the area. "Serbia Asserts Its Sovereignty Over Kosovo in Legislation" according to the NYT.
It's going to be a hot autumn on the Balkans...
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Today Russian President Vladimir Putin called it "a sign of the political legacy of Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria" - carefully chosen words.
Georgia-born Beria was responsible for a number of notorious deportations and political murders under Stalin.
I hope Coen can comfort his previous compatriot. Already looking forward to his reports from the state in turmoil.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I do not expect answers like "this is a Dutch ambulance with Ukrainian striping", "why does the Dutch embassy in Kyiv need an ambulance?" or "since when is Ukrainian medicare sponsored by a Dutch car magazine?".
No, it's much easier....
As there is no horilka available here, the prize is a bottle of kvas.