25 August 2006


Fulfilling the terms of his Ray-Ban endorsement deal during the festivities.


Target in USA

Target in Kharkiv

If the corporate identity elements are a knock-off. I wonder about the stuff inside.

Reasons to Check My Life Insurance Policy

The recent Tupolev Tu-154 crash (169 dead) in Donetsk, and the recent increase in frequency of my one-day hops to Oblast centers around Ukraine has got me reviewing my life insurance policies. Above is a picture of part of the avionics equipment of an AN-28 (sticking out of the rear of the cockpit) during my flight to Odesa Tuesday. I've always felt flying in Ukraine is safer than driving. Is it?

Z Mynulym!

That's yet another thing I really like about Ukraine. One get's to greet people during three days for a one-day holiday. "Z Nastupayuchym" ("with the upcoming"), "Z Sviatom" ("with the holiday"), and "Z Mynulym" ("with yesterday's"). I hope everyone had a good Ukraine 15-yr celebration.

24 August 2006

Ukrainian Business Law Axiom 02

If you (honest company) are being sued by some party, and that party fails to show up for the court date (without notifying the court), expect the judge to set a new hearing date next week. If you (honest company) are suing another party and don't show for a legitimate reason (like not getting the date announcement until after the date), expect the judge to throw both your legitimate reason and the case out.

Holodomor Archives (Cont'd)

Not in the Holodomor archives, but submitted by my brother, a poster from the past:

Ukrainian Business Law Axiom 01

If your honest company in Ukraine sues someone, expect a court date no sooner than 10-12 months away. If it is your company that gets sued, expect a court date early next week.

21 August 2006

Holodomor Archives Open and Online

Incredibly, the following was released on August 18th:

Ukraine`s national intelligence agency the SBU on Friday opened up formerly-secret state archives on brutal Soviet era-famines causing the deaths of millions, according to Deutsche Press Agence (DPA).

SBU historians after four years of reviewing old KGB records made public more than 3,000 pages of 130 official state documents.

It was the first time any former Soviet republic had released to the public archival information concerning the mass starvations, said Vasyl Danielenko, an SBU spokesman.

The entire formerly-classified archive of the former Soviet republic Ukraine was now available for viewing in paper or digital format, or at the Internet web site www.ssu.gov.ua, he said.

The Soviet government in its early years of existence presided over three deadly and wide-reaching famines - in 1921-22, 1932-33, and 1946-47.

Between six and ten million Ukrainians died of starvation in 1932-33, after Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the forced confiscation of food from the Ukrainian countryside.

The first page of the archive is here. The scans are .JPG and each one has a zoomed in version.

Uzbek & Armenian Food with a Playground

Nothing like sitting in a open-air eating besydka with your kids enjoying a playground 10 meters away and plates of mushroom, veal, and chicken shashlyk (30 uah each), wrapped in lavash and onions, spread out in front of you. Not the cheapest of restaurants, Sim-Sim usually has available seating and excellent service. It's on the Velyka Okruzhna (Ring Road) heading east after exiting from Prospekt Peremohy. About 20 minutes from the center. The playground area is well-lit and staffed. Most importantly, our kids enjoy it.

If you like spicy soup try the "Lahman" (33 uah). It is a hearty vegetable and beef soup with noodles accompanied by a small dish of pasty red stuff that is really spicy when mixed into the soup or spread on a piece of grilled veal. Spicy enough to make one's eyes water and makes the ice-cold Paulaner Hefe-Weiss (24 uah) taste all the better. Worth a try.

Sim-Sim Restaurant
Uzbek and Armenian Cuisine
Velyka Okruzhna (Ring Road)
Closest Metro: Sviatoshyn
Tel. 406-4625, 459-5951

18 August 2006

Sand Castles at Blue Lake

A great way to spend the day is on the clean sand of Blue Lake on the Obukhivska Road. Driving south on Naberezhna, continue past the exit for Pivdenyj Mist (Southern Bridge — the one that you would take to go to Borispil) and when you see the big UkrAvto Mercedes dealer on the left take the exit to the right. Once you take the exit the road splits for the Okruzhna and for Obukhiv. Follow the Obukhiv signs and proceed south for approximately 10 minutes. Sidenote: you will pass a big bluff (in the distance) on the right where hang-gliders are often spotted jumping off the hill. On the left you will see a gated entrance. There is a small fee, and one can rent chairs for a small fee as well. Enjoy!

Justice in Small Town Ukraine

The following is a true story. My colleague Yevhen (not his real name) visits his family in his hometown. He gets hit over the head and his mobile phone is stolen. After being assisted by a random couple that passed by, he immediately went to the bazaar, still populated by his old friends, and explained his mishap to them asking them to be on the look out for his phone. Sure enough the perpetrator showed up, a kid that everyone new, the son of the local pig farm owners, and the bazaar guys took the phone from him. The kid ran away. Now Yevhen, happy to have his phone back, but still resentful for having been hit over the head, heads over to the police to file his report. The police brush him aside and tell him to drop it. Hmmm... the son of pig farmers thinks Yevhen. Through family source he confirms that yes, the police have been taken care of. Then, still working his family network Yevhen discovers that this kid is actually in military service in a unit whose commanding officer is none other than Yevhen's uncle. His uncle informed him that there is little he can do in terms of punishment, but he CAN make sure the kid is transferred to the most miserable post in the country.

Biking In Kyiv

Took the leap and bought a couple bikes yesterday.
Recommendation: Bike Pro Sport
Talk to "Sasha" about their selection of Schwinn and Scott bikes.

Rode around in Holosivskyj Park and ended up at that cafe that looks like Captain Nemo's Nautilus by the willow trees. The service was excellent, there was a festive aura (the tables were packed) and the prices were very reasonable.

13 August 2006

Hamsters and Mouse Poison

I am not one of those animals in the house people. I don’t have a lot of experience with Vets. None actually. Last Sunday night that all changed.

In the last expat exodus, among the tearful goodbyes with our good friends of the last three years, came the seemingly unending pet offers. These offers, voiced out loud in-front of the all-absorbing ears of our children, caused a significant amount of conversation in the family to say the least. The usual techniques of badgering and begging were mercilessly employed by our children who outnumber us 3:2. In the end our crew now consists of two adults, one boy, two girls, two hamsters, and a turtle from Odesa.

On the third day of owning the hamsters we realized one had escaped through a missing crossbar in the top of the cage. We searched the first floor and found the little creature in the guest room sniffing around with his whiskers next to half-munched mouse poison. Oops, forgot about our little mouse problem last fall. Now what? She seemed active and alert but “Google” research recommended an immediate visit to a Vet. 21:30 on a Sunday night, Kyiv business directory in hand, I call the Vet and what’s this? “Sure come on in, we’ll be waiting for you” they say on the phone. Great service. I take the whole cage, strap it to the passenger seat and wonder, as I careen down Prospect Peremohy to the Vet, what would happen if the airbag went off? Now the Vet is on Saksanskoho, but the only problem is that Saksahanskoho is one big dug out pit from the train station intersection all the way to Horkoho St. So here I am, after 10pm, marching down Saksanskoho with our hamster cage in search of the Vet. The hamsters loved their little city stroll. I had never been to a Vet and didn’t know what to expect. The service was excellent. I don’t know if I agree with the treatment, which consisted of five injections, but I have no basis for knocking it either. The following day, Ola and kids took her in and she received five followup shots. It’s been a week now and the hamster is still running around and looking good. So if you ever have hamster trouble in Kyiv call: 289-7744 Fauna Servis

04 August 2006

VR Hall Interior Design

Anything in the budget for interior design changes in the VR Assembly Hall? Perhaps we should bring the Stalin statue back? Just to make sure we unite the country some more.

Meeting of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Kyiv 1940 (Courtesy of Narodnyj Deputat Magazine)

Our New Leader

The following is a concise summary of Victor Yanukovych's background for your reading displeasure: http://abdymok.net/pm-again

03 August 2006

Yulia Scolded During Round Table

The afternoon round table, organized by the President, for the purpose of signing the "Universal of National Unity" was aired on national TV. Each party head had their say, and then they signed the document, except for Yulia. The communist added several pages of handwritten qualifications while the nation watched. Yushchenko had to tell him to hurry up since the country is watching and he's going on his merry way scribbling his party's position. Yulia in her speech called the signing of the document an act of treason against the national interest of Ukraine. Yushchenko couldn't contain his calm demeanor and ended up scolding Yulia, complete with gesticulations and finger pointing, with regard to her unwillingness to even discuss any of the points of the "Universal". When the president was doing his scolding, Yulia looked like this:

PORA Camp Update

A PORA representative, in a TV interview explained that PORA attempted to convince the President to dissolve the VR. Having failed to accomplish this, they are taking down their tents, delivering them to Bankova as a gift to the President, and will carry on their fight by other means. Sidenote: nothing from Yulia, except that she's shocked.

A Clause from the "Universal"

This is the way the language clause is written in the current version of the "Universal". I am not sure how to interpret it. It doesn't make the Russian language an "official" language, but it does say that for all of one's "life needs" free use of the Russian language is guaranteed.

The Morning After: No Activists in Sight

What a bizarre morning. It starts with an SMS just before 7 am from cousin D. in New York. I quickly turn on the T.V. and sure enough there is the President, in a 01:56 recorded address explaining that he will confirm the nomination of Victor Yanukovych.

"I decided to nominate Victor Yanukovych to be the Prime Minister of Ukraine. I understand all the complexity of this decision, for both the East and West of Ukraine. I appeal to the nation to accept this with an understanding that we have a unique chance to unite people on both sides of Dnipro. Ukraine has a polarity which cannot be resolved with another election." Channel 5

I decide to leave a little earlier for the office and swing by Maydan etc. On my 20 minute ride to the center, radio ERA is not even covering Yushchenko’s announcement. They are actually playing a song: “…obla-di obla-da, life goes oooon…ohohoh life goes on…”. I flip through all the radio stations: nothing. Back to radio ERA where the newscaster is now going through the morning’s press headlines. Of course nothing. The printing presses were well into their run when Yushchenko made his announcement. Now a story about a German putting together a soccer team comprised of elephants. Still nothing about Yushchenko. Finally at the hour mark a brief casual announcement that Yushchenko will confirm Yanukovych and that Moroz, Regions, and Nasha Ukraina have signed the “Universal Agreement”.

Arriving at Maydan I see no one. Not a single activist. All tents quiet at 8am. Bankova: nothing. Cab Min: nothing. A few black Mercedes with VR plates escorted by cars with flashing blue sirens pass me on the streets but no activists. At the VR: nothing. No one out. Nothing on 5TV but a recurring story about some Japanese Xylophone musician. Finally a couple re-runs of the 2am address. Then Ukraine appears, at 09:30, on CNN immediately after the Isreal/Lebanon headlines, and before Mel Gibson’s drunk driving charges. Now it’s 12:44, it appears Nasha Ukraina, has yet to sign the agreement, and it has been announced that at 16:00 Yanukovych will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Ukraine. Ukraine is now the top story on Google News, above Israel. BBC has a nice chronological recap:

21 Nov 04 Yanukovych declared winner of presidential election - protests begin
03 Dec 04 Election annulled
11 Jan 05 Yushchenko declared winner of re-run election
08 Sep 05 Yushchenko sacks Tymoshenko government
26 Mar 06 Yanukovych party wins most votes in general election
03 Aug 06 After four-month deadlock, Yushchenko agrees Yanukovych can be PM

In the bottom, bottom line, instead of being placed in jail for crimes against the people of Ukraine. The same individuals are now given control of the government.


Please let me wake up and realize it's all a nightmare. I did not just receive an SMS from my cousin in the U.S. with the news that Yanukovych will be prime minister. I did not turn on the T.V. to see the 5TV guy casually mention that the president has confirmed the nomination of Yanukovych. It must be a nightmare. Yushchenko would face the nation with his decision, not issue a recorded statement at 02:00 in the morning, right? Wake me up.

02 August 2006

Tension Mounts

Ukraine is waiting for President Yushchenko's address which will in any case be historic. No time has been announced and it's already 21:31. Rumor (unconfirmed) is that it will be just before midnight. At around 17:30 Yushchenko spoke to the T.V. cameras, in a voice strangely reminiscent of Marlon Brandon in Apocalypse Now, stating that the political forces did not reach an agreement and the "Uhoda" is not signed.

The Verkhovna Rada is in session and announced a "break" until the President's address which they agreed to watch in session. Apparently there is a fairly sizeable turnout on the streets. I'd like to see it for myself and may go there soon.

Finished Fort & 2x4's In Odesa

Our Fort made of 1x5.5's is standing strong! And my friend spotted a large shipment of 2x4's at the Port in Odesa. Could of used a few of those.