Italian Ukrainians

One of the most popular TV channels in Russia showed footage of protesting Italians and presented them as Ukrainians engaged in a pro-Russian manifestation.

Of course, Italians don’t look much like Ukrainians but one could always assume that the evil Ukrainian government forced citizens to wear disguise to make them look different from Russians.

Bad Words

At the spinning class today, everybody was older than me. This is important for the story, so please keep it in mind.

Music is very important for spinning. There is no spinning without a good soundtrack. Today’s instructor, however, was not letting us hear any music. The moment we would get into a groove, she’d say, “No, we can’t listen to this. There is a bad word in this song.”

So she’d interrupt the song and start searching for a new one only to discover that the new song had two bad words.

This torture continued for 20 minutes in spite of every student’s insistence that at the age of 50 (48, 42, 38, etc) we could deal with a few bad words.

Finally, a student decided enough was enough.

“Fuck!” she yelled. “Here, I said it! Fuck! Can we just listen to the fucking music already?”

Who Will Win Ukraine’s Elections?

For now it seems that the uncontested favorite of the presidential election in Ukraine is Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire and industrialist.

Poroshenko used to be close to the ousted corrupt President Yanukovich. He is also in favor of re-establishing a dialogue with Russia and avoiding an approximation with Europe (he doesn’t support the idea of seeking NATO membership, for instance, which will make Putin happy).

None of these things would bother me because a politician who’s to lead Ukraine needs to look for ways of pacifying Russia, that’s just reality.

However, there is something about Poroshenko that disturbs me a lot. On paper, he sounds perfectly fine, but then I watched several interviews and debates where he appeared and what I saw doesn’t bode well for Ukraine. Psychophysically, Poroshenko is a person from “back in USSR.” He speaks, moves, entones, explains himself, and inflects his sentences exactly like a soporific Soviet apparatchik from 1981.

This isn’t good because rigidity and hearkening back to the Soviet past are the last things Ukraine needs. Poroshenko is very young (he’s 48), but he looks like he stood next to Brezhnev on the Red Square back in the 1970s.

There doesn’t seem to be any likelihood of Poroshenko losing the election because se is said to have the support of 53% of Ukrainians, while the next most popular contender has 7%. Of course, polls coming out of Ukraine can never be trusted completely but, for now, this is where things stand.

Food Shortages in the Crimea

These photos were not taken back in the USSR. This is what grocery stores in the Crimea look like today.

The Russian authorities have forbidden the entry of Ukrainian meat, milk, eggs, chicken, baby food, frozen foods, etc. into the Crimea. This is done in order to allow Russian companies to sell their products at exorbitant prices to the desperate Crimeans. This is the only way Putin has to repay his faithful “capitalists” for the loss of profits they have experienced as a result of American sanctions.

To silence the voices of the Crimeans who are unhappy about being used in this way, the Russian government has issued a statement that the Crimeans are all drug addicts, anyways. I guess the point is to persuade everybody that these empty shelves are a product of drug-induced hallucinations on the part of the people of the Crimea.