Welcome to Awful Avalanche, I hope you will read and enjoy my posts!
Welcome to Awful Avalanche, I hope you will read and enjoy my posts!
We started with this piece about the recent Blinken/Nuland trip to Kiev, and how it was to involve a flogging. Then got stuck in a sidebar about one of the personages in this story, Andrei Kobolev. The reporter here is Oleg Tereshchenko. Please bear with me, we’ll get through this and hopefully learn something about current Ukrainian Office Politics At The Highest Level. The ultimate goal is to speculate, intelligently, about the purpose of Blinken’s blinkin’ trip.
Naftogaz vs Gazprom
Where we left off: Talented Oil and Gas Technocrat Andrei Kobolev and his right-hand man Yury Vitrenko enjoyed their biggest geo-political gas victory ever, when Stockholm Arbitration court, in 2018, awarded the Ukraine almost $3 billion dollars to be paid up by big bad bully Russia. This legal victory was sweet for the Ukrainian duo and allegedly saved the Ukrainian economy to limp by for one more year; but, like many sweet victories in life, quickly turned sour for everyone involved. This is the Ukraine, after all. Nobody is allowed to be happy for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Instead of playing the hard-working ant who puts the goodies away for a rainy day (or maybe, like, radical thought, special funds to help downtrodden Ukrainian consumers who can’t afford their gas bills), Kobolev behaved like the profligate grasshopper who simply wishes to spend his new wealth on shiny things. In the grasshopper’s case, a brand new fiddle, for Kobolev a flashy new car with bullet-proof armor; and other cool stuff. As top management of Naftogaz, soaking in the euphoria of victory, Kobolev decided that he and his buddy Yury deserved huge bonuses for their efforts. The ratio of 1% doesn’t sound like much, but when you do the math and take 1% against $4.6 billion…. [the latter being the amount they initially sued for, not the amount they eventually got…] Kobolev himself was to receive a bonus of $7.9 million for his good work, all at the expense of the Russian taxpayers, naturally.
Nothing illegal in any of this, of course (according to the rules of capitalist society), but the optics were not good. Kobolev drew a target on his own back. People with long memories started dredging up incidents from his past: his ties with corrupt oligarch Kolomoisky, and even his divorce. [In fairness, his ex-wife Zoryana took a lot of the dough.] Ukrainian media hounded the businessman and posted online videos showing him purchasing American dollars. Well, he needed to send some cash to his mom, who lives in the United States. Next, smelling blood in the water, Office Sharks started to swim in circles around him. At the start of 2019 Prime Minister (at the time) Groisman himself publicly criticized Kobolev, hoping to gain some political traction with his populist sallies against the obscenely rich. Other politicians, like Oleg Lyashko, piled on, demanding that the government annul Kobolev’s contract. In the end, though, Kobolev survived this onslaught and still got to keep the dough. One has to ask, though: Andrei, was it really worth the aggravation, just to have a pocket full of money and a few nice things? What price peace of mind? A public figure could live like Marat in his hovel and still be a fully contented man.
Anyhow, with a new government coming into power, Kobolev’s contract with Naftogaz was renewed until March 2020. However, the cosmic levels of the bonuses continued to agitate the political class, including President Zelensky. Zelensky to Prime Minister Goncharuk, in Jaunuary 2020, asking him to look into the situation: “They must be, not just pragmatic managers, but also human beings. Propose a way out of this situation. Either they will listen to you, or they won’t [nice demonstration of Aristotelian binary logic, Zel!], in which case they will listen to [our] lawyers.”
Soon enough, though, Goncharuk was also gone, and then the duty of sorting this out fell into the lap of the new Prime Minister, Denis Shmygal. Meanwhile, Kobolev’s path had also diverged from that of his oldest friend, Yury Vitrenko. Nobody knows the origins of the conflict between the two partners. But it flared up suddenly, like a bright hostile flame, as their former caring friendship suddenly turned to hate. In a series of interviews Vitrenko started to piss all over his old boss, accusing him of every mortal sin. Kobolev kept his silence, but sacked Vitrenko from Naftogaz. Yury left the building with steam coming out of his ears.
But then was reborn under the new government in 2021 when he took the post of Minister of Energy. Gaining access to Shmygal’s pointy ears, Vitrenko immediately started to bad-mouth Kobolev. Pointing out that Naftogaz lost money in 2020. With the government forced to raise service fees on the population, and all the bad press he had endured in the past, Kobolev no longer enjoyed personal immunity in this Reality Show that is Ukrainian politics.
And sure enough, last month, on April 28, Kobolev was voted off the Naftogaz Island. And — here is the juiciest twist of all: Within, like, 2 seconds, the government replaced his ass with Vitrenko! It was just like a remake of “All About Eve“, with Kobolev in the Bette Davis role; and Vitrenko as Anne Baxter.
Kobolev stayed classy and didn’t slime back, contenting himself with a tweet, in which he informed his followers that he had learned of his “change in employment status” only through Facebook. That’s rough. I bet his wife also texted him the news, when she filed for divorce.
What’s He To Hecuba?
We now leave the ideologically-charged world of Ukrainian reporter Tereshchenko, and return to our starting point with Russian reporter Lydia Misnik, who is sort of like Lois Lane, except without a superhero consort. Remember that this all started because, after interviewing several pundits, Misnik is convinced that Kobolev’s firing had something to do with Blinken’s trip. Well, indirectly, of course. Recall, once again, that Kobolev was fired on April 28. And just one day later, April 29, at his press briefing, American State Department Spokesperson Ned Price voiced his anxieties about the Ukrainian habit of “forcing respected experts out of top management of key state enterprises.” As if American officials felt they had any right to poke their noses into internal Ukrainian Office Politics. As Shakespeare might have said: “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?” Well, see, these Americans own Hecuba, and Ned has a valid concern: “This will complicate many years of efforts to reform the energy climate of the Ukraine and also improve its investment climate.”
And thus the arrival of Blinken/Nuland to Kiev, according to this theory. Which is supported by a pundit named Vladimir Bruter, who works as an expert at the International Institute of Humanitarian-Political Research conveniently located on Tverskaya Street in Moscow. Ethnic Romanian Bruter, sounding somewhat like Emperor Nero: “President Zelensky permits himself too many liberties, when it comes to Ukrainian internal politics. It was necessary to put him in his place.”
According to Bruter, it has not gone unnoticed in Washington, capital of the Roman Empire, that Zelensky has committed the following crimes: (1) attempted to subordinate to himself a series of revenue streams which Americans should be controlling; (2) has fired from their jobs a series of persons who were placed into those positions specifically by Washington. And when Washington puts a guy into a slot, it’s because they want him in that slot. So Blinken does not appreciate it when a clown (literally) like Zelensky second guesses his overlords: Bruter again: “They [the Americans] are continuing along the lines of using Ukraine as a tool to restrain Russia. Officially they will declare their full support for Zelensky. But this does not mean that they like him. In general, they are not happy with the way he is governing the country.”
[to be continued]
Today we get back to working our way through this Lydia Misnik piece. Trying to see past the glitz and glamor of the Blinken/Nuland trip to Kiev, the reporter is convinced that the trip was not really connected with any bogus “Russian threat” or military build-up; but rather, had much more to do with Zelensky’s internal politics and economic decisions. The reporter concludes that the American purpose of the trip was to put Zelensky in his place; and that all of this had something to do with a man named Andrei Kobolev.
According to this background piece, Kobolev was fired on April 28, 2021 from his job as Head of the state-run Naftogaz (Oil and Gas) Company. The piece is ideologically tendentious (refers to Yanukovych as “pro-Russian”, for example, and alludes to Russian gas “blackmail” of the Ukrainian government), but from it we extract a working biography of Kobolev. Born in 1978, in Kiev. His father was a scientist in the Soviet era and specialized in geophysics. In the chaos of the1990’s Kobolev-Elder was able to succeed in big business, as he undertook to seek out oil and gas deposits in the shelf of the Black Sea.
Thanks to his father’s acquired wealth as a businessman, Kobolev-Younger (Andrei) was able to get an excellent, and what was considered the most prestigious education of the time: He graduated from the Kiev Institute of International Relations with an degree in International Economics. While studying for his final year at the Institute, Kobolev also got a job with the Ukrainian filial of the prestigious auditing firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers. This job gave him the experience he needed to achieve the highest success in his career.
In 2002 Kobolev got a job in Naftogaz and became involved in the Byzantine Ukrainian politics of the era: He joined the team of Yury Boiko of the Party of the Regions, and also became good friends with the son (Yury) of Natalia Vitrenko, a well-known pro-Russian politician of that era. At the same time he became involved with Julia Tymoshenko’s Presidential ambitions.
The two young consultants, Kobolev and and his partner Vitrenko earned a good reputation as specialists in their field. This was during the time when importation of gas was a highly profitable business. This was the era when, to coin a phrase, the Ukraine was just a pipeline masquerading as a country. Many political careers, and not just those of the heavy hitters such as Julia Tymoshenko, rose and fell on that accursed pipe.
After a few years, Kobolev worked his way up to advisor to the Naftogaz Chairman, Oleg Dubina. Kobolev became a member of Dubina’s trusted inner circle, and the young technocrat conducted negotiations with Moscow regarding the gas deliveries. Kobolev was one of the managers who was forced to sign a blank agreement which Julia Tymoshenko took with her to Moscow, for her meeting with Putin. Julia returned to Kiev triumphant with an agreement (a 30% discount) that she believed would launch her into the Presidency of the Ukraine. Was disappointed when the voters ignored her feat and picked Yanukovych for Prez instead of her. Kobolev’s career took a downturn along with Tymoshenko, as the Yanukovych “Donetsk Clan” took over the sacred pipeline. At this point in the game of Higher Office Politics, Kobolev and Vitrenko were deemed “superfluous men“, also to coin a phrase. They departed for the private sector, but not without first successfully restructuring the Naftogaz debts, thanks to some dubious firms registered in Cyprus.
Kobolev/Vitrenko continued to work with offshores, under the brand AYA Capital. Which sounds like Ai-yai-yai-yai and God alone knows what these kids were up to. Something called “corporate finances”, which sounds like good old-fashioned clean business dealings. “To translate into human language and the Ukrainian realities of that time, this meant working with problematic assets, buying up debts of enterprises, but with significant discounts, and then the redistribution of the properties.”
The duo were honest, by the standards of the era and kept their good reputation intact. Hence, after the Maidan Coup [which this piece deems the “Revolution of Dignity”] Kobolev was able to return to a position in the government. But this time, as one of Yatseniuk’s people. On March 25, 2014 Kobolev returned to head Naftogaz, with Yury Vitrenko as his right-hand man.
Despite the war and the evil schemes of the “Russian Occupiers”, the work of this tandem should be considered successful. They kept the Ukrainian people from freezing their asses off during the long cold winters. The company was even able to show a profit while operating a business with honesty and transparency. Kobolev and Vitrenko were even considered as national heroes, and the media adored them. During the Stockholm Arbitration they were able to extract $4.6 billion dollars from the “Russian aggressor”, a feat that saved the Ukrainian economy during that tough winter of 2019-2020. And yet, paradoxically, this great victory for the “tandem” marked the beginning of the end of their successful partnership.
[to be continued]
We saw the anniversary of the horrific events in Odessa, Ukraine (May 2, 2014), when Ukrainian Nationalists literally burned people alive (something like 48 people, including a pregnant woman who was only there by accident) to prove their point. Their point being that they, the Nazis, own Odessa; it belongs to them and not to the local Russian population. Seven years later, and the Nationalists still own the streets of Odessa, marching triumphantly to celebrate their murderous victory. On various blogs the Ukrainian Nazis boasted of their bloody deed, claiming that they “saved” Ukraine from splitting up completely, with Odessa and Mariupol taking the route of Crimea and Donbass. In other words, it was a necessary, if unpleasant, means to a noble end. Plus, these Nazis just enjoy killing people they don’t agree with, the more brutality the better they like it.
Barely a day goes by, and the Nationalists, now on a roll, are once again salting Odessa’s wounds. I saw this piece yesterday, the reporter is Alina Nazarova, the headline reads:
Odessa Responds To Kiev’s Demand To Fix The City’s Anthem
Taras Kremin, who is in charge of defending the state language of the Ukraine, has declared that it is necessary to fix the city anthem of Odessa, which is sung in Russian. He says that it (the anthem) violates the Language Law. Odessa’s Mayor Gennady Trukhanov does not support this initiative.
Last week Language Ombudsman Kremin published his annual account. He is paid to enforce Ukraine’s Language Law, which attempts to
cram the Ukrainian dialect down people’s throats strengthen the use of Ukrainian as the state tongue. In his annual report Taras is concerned about a particular violation: namely, the fact that Odessa’s City Anthem, “Song of Odessa”, is sung in Russian. It’s not like Taras is trying to jam his boot into the faces of Odessans, not at all, he is just doing his job. Taras offers the City Fathers of Odessa three choices: (1) Write a new anthem in Ukrainian; (2) Translate the existing anthem into Ukrainian; or (3) use the existing anthem as just the “unofficial” one, but introduce a different, official one. In Ukrainian, of course.
Odessa’s Mayor, Gennady Trukhanov says he does not support the initiative, but will bring up the issue at the next City Council session: “I doubt if the City Council will vote to change the Anthem of Odessa. Everybody likes this song. There is a standard procedure for such initiatives. First there must be a public hearing, and then two thirds of the council must vote in favor. After I read Kremin’s report, I was reminded of the quote from [Soviet writer Isaac] Babel: My brain, along with the hairs on the back of my neck, rose up when I heard this news.“
Trukhanov can quote Babel until all the gangsters come home, he can joke around all he likes, making light of this latest Nationalist assault upon the soul and identity of Odessa as a Russian city. But the fact remains that this wily politician is up against a relentless foe. A foe who will never stop digging at the city’s wound until the final goal is achieved. And then the ghost of Babel can wander the streets of his native city watching Ukrainian Nazis celebrate their victory under the banners of Bandera and Hitler. On the other hand, maybe this will be the final straw, the time when Odessans finally say to one another: “It is time to remove the Bandera!” («БАНДЕРУ УБРАТЬ!»)
The Song In Question
“Song of Odessa” comes from the Soviet operetta “The White Acacia”. The operetta came out in 1957 and was turned into a popular movie. I can’t embed youtube videos any more, but here is a link in case anyone wants to watch it. I haven’t seen this movie, it is described as a romantic comedy about Russian Black Sea sailors and their girlfriends. In one of the scenes, a pretty young woman sings this dreamily nostalgic song about her native city Odessa, so here it is:
The Song Of Odessa
Когда я пою о широком просторе, О море, зовущем в чужие края, О ласковом море, о счастье и горе, Пою о тебе я, Одесса моя. Я вижу везде твои ясные зори, Одесса. Со мною везде твое небо и море, Одесса. И в сердце моем ты всюду со мной, Одесса, мой город родной! Когда я пою о любви без предела, О людях, умеющих верить и ждать, О гроздьях душистых акации белой, Тебе свою песню спешу я отдать. Я вижу везде твои ясные зори, Одесса. Со мною везде твое небо и море, Одесса. И в сердце моем ты всюду со мной, Одесса, мой город родной! Когда я пою о заветных желаньях, Что с детства лелеем мы, в сердце тая, О долгих разлуках, о кратких свиданьях, Пою о тебе я, Одесса моя! Я вижу везде твои ясные зори, Одесса. Со мною везде твое небо и море, Одесса. И в сердце моем ты всюду со мной, Одесса, мой город родной!
And here is my translation into English, not aspiring to preserve rhyme or meter, just to deliver the semantic content of the lyrics:
When I sing of the broad expanse, Of the sea beckoning to distant lands, Of the tender sea, of happiness and grief, I sing about you, my Odessa. [Refrain]: Everywhere I see your bright dawns, Odessa. Your sky and sea are with me everywhere, Odessa. And in my heart you are always with me, Odessa, my native city! When I sing of love without measure, Of people who know how to believe and to wait, Of the fragrant blossoms of the white acacia, I hasten to bring you my song. [Refrain] When I sing of cherished wishes, That we lull ourselves since childhood, keeping secret in our hearts, Of long partings, of brief visits, I sing of you, my Odessa! [Refrain]
Today we enter the rarified world of elite Russian figure skating, with this piece by reporter Elvira Ondar. The whole world went “Oooh!” when, just yesterday, Russian elite skater Alexandra Trusova returned to her old coach, Eteri Tutberidze. Like her colleague, Alyona Kostornaya, Trusova had previously jumped off of Tutberidze’s ship to join Evgeny Plyushchenko’s stable. A couple of months ago, in February, 17-year-old Kostornaya, in a panic, hastily returned to her old coach. Trusova waited until her contract with Plyushchenko expired on May 1, but she had obviously been planning her escape for some time. Now both girls are back with Mama Cat who had raised them up from tiny kittens and turned them into champions. Tutberidze graciously accepted back her “prodigal daughters” while, no doubt, seeing this as a vindication for herself and her coaching methods. Plyushchenko, on the other hand, hints at dark deeds afoot and a possible ulterior motive for Trusova’s defection.
Plyushchenko treated these two girls like royalty and gave them everything: personal cottages to live in, a skating rink just a five-minute walk away, almost unlimited ice time in uncrowded sessions, programs commissioned by the most expensive choreographers in the world, and anything else they needed.
But the magic just wasn’t there. Things weren’t clicking right for the girls. There is a strong psychological component in the bond between athlete and coach. In February, at the Cup of Russia, Kostornaya tanked. A virtuoso jumper, she suddenly found that she couldn’t complete one of her simplest combinations: A triple flip followed by triple toe-loop. A combination she used to be able to do in her sleep. It was after that catastrophic event that she decided, in a panic, to return to Tutberidze.
Trusova underwent a similar experience: She’d been knocking off quadruple jumps since the age of 12, and now all of a sudden — at the ripe old age of 16, at the World Championships in Stockholm, she also found herself unable to land her easiest triple-triple combination. What the heck was going on with “Plyushchenko’s Angels” ?
In November 2020, competing at the Grand Prix in Moscow, Trusova fell four times in the course of her program; and never made it to the medals pedestal. In explaining her failure, she stated that her coach asked her to triple her quad jumps, so as not to inflame an old injury. But she refused to tone down her jumps, stubbornly attempted all four quads, and fell on every one of them, thus completing the fiasco. Nobody blames Plyushchenko for this; he wouldn’t have been able to convince this stubborn little girl, who goes by the nickname “The Russian Rocket”. Even Tutberidze never could fully control her. Nonetheless, it appears that, after this disaster, Trusova and her family came to the conclusion that she would not be able to make any further progress on Team Plyushchenko. Skating analysts speculate that Plyushchenko, while a superb technical skater himself, was not able to provide these girls with the psychological preparation that they needed; a quality that is also a huge component of being an elite skating coach.
It wasn’t all bad, though: Critics point out that Plyushchenko set out with the goal of improving Trusova’s overall artistic presentation and flow [Russian скольжение, which could be translated in several ways, for example, “glide”, I prefer the more technical term “flow”.] And he succeeded in this, having set up a rigorous series of exercises and hired expensive choreographers who worked with the athlete; and she made quite a lot of progress in this area. Although, unfortunately, in the heat of elite competition, a slightly improved artistic presentation is not enough to compensate for botched jumps.
In such a subjective type of sport as is figure skating, the judges are snobbishly influenced by such factors, as, who is the coach? Tutberidze is currently the most influential and successful trainer in Russia (and, yes, even in the whole world). Plyushchenko is just a rookie when it comes to coaching: he’s only been doing it full time for 2 years. He also has a contrarian personality, and took it upon himself to challenge the skating establishment. He even openly accused the Russian judges of favoritism in regard to Tutberidze’s pupils. [yalensis: Plyushchenko has a history of being a poor sport sometimes. In the 2010 Winter Olympics, when he took Silver instead of Gold, losing to American Evan Lysacek, Plyushchenko was a bit of a bad sport and complained about the result, even though Lycasek won fair and square.] Plyushchenko also complained that the Russian Federation of Figure Skating did not give adequate financial support to his Academy, despite the fact that it included some top skaters of the country. Well, that problem solved itself when Kostornaya and Trusova left his Academy.
Will the Russian Rocket Defect to America?
At stake now is Trusova’s future career and whether or not she can make it into the Olympics. Under Plyushchenko — one may blame him or not — all of her scores have fallen, including the subjective scores for artistry, flow, program composition, creative selection of transitional moves. And even in jumping — her specialty — her scores for Grade of Execution have gone down. That is to say, even when she lands a difficult jump, she doesn’t necessarily get the bonus points that she would get if the jump is exceptionally high, or the landing exceptionally smooth, for example.
While she was studying at Plyushchenko Academy, judges started to notice that something had gone wrong with Trusova’s flip jump. Instead of taking off from a back inside edge, she was switching it to a back outside edge, as if confusing it with a lutz. [Most skaters, when they make a mistake with the edge, do it the other way around, since a flip is technically easier than a lutz!] All season, during the internal competitions, people were noticing, and buzzing about, Trusova’s incorrect edges. She would lose a lot of bonus points, even when landing her jumps. International skating judges also took notice, and started writing comments about this in their appraisals. Her coach Plyushchenko apparently never even noticed her incorrect edges, so they were never fixed, and she just kept doing it. Now, when it comes time for the Olympics, and there will be six Russian ladies competing for three slots, even the simplest mistake could be fatal. We’re talking the highest levels of figure skating in the world, folks. Trusova will be competing against the likes of Anna Shcherbakova, Kamila Valieva, Darya Usacheva, Alyona Kostornaya, Maya Khromykh, and — the Empress herself — Elizaveta Tuktamysheva! Never in all of history has any nation possessed such a deep bench of outstanding lady figure skaters.
The Beijing Olympics will be Tutberidze’s third, and she will proudly trot out her team, hoping they will repeat the flawless performances of Alina Zagitova and Evgeniya Medvedeva in 2018.
As to Trusova’s future plans: After the Olympics are over, many observers suspect that her ultimate goal is to train with Rafael Arutyunyan. Problem: this famous coach lives and works in the United States since 2000. The theory is, that Trusova’s family planned to move her to the U.S. last year to join Rafael’s stable; but had to delay due to the covid pandemic. So they signed her up with Plyushchenko instead, but that didn’t work out; so now she’s back with Tutberidize; but even that is just temporary, until they can achieve their final goal of getting her to Arutyunyan. It is even said that Tutberidze knows all about this, and there is a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” between Tut and the family. Plyushchenko also commented snidely on this possibility.
There is some hope that Tutberidze herself learned something from this bitter experience, and that she will be a nicer person now, not so harsh and demanding as before with her girls. [yalensis: Hey, don’t fix something that isn’t broken!] It will certainly be a learning experience for her, trying to navigate with finesse while tending a cooking pot full of six would-be Olympic champions, most of whom are teenaged girls, and all competing against each other!
The reporter ends by wishing well to all the personages in this story; with hopes that Plyushchenko’s Academy will succeed; that Trusova will do well at the Olympics; that Tut and her team will be successful; and, in general, that everybody should have learned a valuable life lesson and try to do better in the future.
The Galicia SS Division was formed on April 28, 1943. It recruited Ukrainian volunteers mostly from the Galicia Province, who were eager to fight on the side of the Nazis. They went on to commit many glorious atrocities and war crimes in the name of their Führer; and later folded their sorry remnants into the Ukrainian National Army. Which exists to this very day, heavily supported and curated by the Ukrainian diaspora, not to mention the American and Canadian governments.
So, yesterday was the 78th Anniversary of this glorious Founding event. RT America’s ace reporter Jonny Tickle reported on the celebrations in Kiev. [Jonny says it’s the 77th Anniversary, but I did the math and I think the number should be 78 ’cause 2021 minus 1943 is 78, no?]
Anyhow, regardless which ordinal number-th anniversary, the important thing is that it was celebrated in grand style on the streets of the Ukrainian capital. RT video shows the parade (of what they say was around 100 people] led by pretty young women carrying flowers. I believe these gals are costumed re-enactors of the original Ukrainian Frauen who welcomed Hitler’s troops into Kiev, handing them bouquets of flowers, along with plates of bread and salt shakers. The traditional Slavic “Welcome into our homes, beasts!” The years go by and nothing changes. Nazis are always welcome in Galicia. Oops, I forgot, this is Kiev we are talking about!
The lede of Mr. Tickle’s story is the discomfort of the German government and their Embassy in Kiev, at watching such pro-Nazi shenanigans taking place under their Teutonic noses. However, I found a slightly different sidebar to cover, which is the classic human-interest fable: The story of one brave man who stood up to these unregenerate Ukrainian Nazis.
I saw this piece in VZGLIAD, the reporter is Alexei Degtyarev.
In Kiev A Man Tried To Banish Those Nazis Who Were Marching In Honor Of the “Galichina” Division
In Kiev, on Wednesday, the march took place in honor of the SS Galichina Division. One of the city’s residents interfered and attempted to break it up, calling the marchers “Naziki“.
“Nazik! Get out of Kiev!” the man screamed to the proponents of the action. The video was published by vesti.ua, and sorry, Readers, I can’t embed the video unless I purchase the WordPress “premium” plan, I prefer to continue using their freebie plan, thank you very much, but you can click on the link above or also play the video embedded in the VZGLIAD piece.
Handily, the English translation of the Ukrainian word get’ is also “get out!” We note, by the way, that the brave old dude in question utters his utterances in pure Ukrainian dialect, even though most Kiev residents actually speak Russian.
[Caption underneath the video: “Nazik! Get out of Kiev!” — one elderly man at the gathering place in Kiev of SS Galichina Division fans, found within himself the courage to call things by their proper names. The police approached him immediately — and not to defend him.]
The man approached them [the Nazis] and declared to them that “Fascist symbolism is against the law,” therefore the marchers needed to conclude their action, on the grounds that the SS Galichinina served Nazi Germany.
Ukrainian press (strana.ua) [later] clarified that the Kiev resident in question was a man named Alexander Machaev. He called upon the parade participants to “clear themselves out of here and back to their Banderlandia” where they “could create whatever they pleased, even re-create the SS Division.”
“The laws of the Ukraine forbid this,” Machaev said. “If this had been a Communist march, it would have been quickly banned. But they don’t forbid these people, and even the Office of the President doesn’t ban it,” he added.
The so-called “March of the Embroidered Blouses” was planned to start at 18:00, the parade began at Arsenal Square, and the participants intended their final goal as the Maidan.
Various Nationalists joined the march [as it progressed], but initially there were no more than 50 people at the starting place. According to UNIAN, as more people joined the march, the quantity reached as many as 100, as they formed themselves into a column.
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop… (lyrics to famous Billie Holiday song)
The point of this blogpost, bluntly, is to ream out with a corncob the editorial crew of RT America (whoever or whatever they might be) for their persistent anti-black slant. This is toxic material by its very nature, so let’s rush through a few stipulations: (1) I think RT does a fairly good job in other pages, including foreign news, etc., (2) I also don’t mind at all that they de-bunk the Liberals and the Democratic Party, that needs to be done, the more the better, (3) I don’t believe in censorship of views I don’t agree with, and I don’t care what people say in their op-eds, they have that right to express their opinions, and commenters have the right to say whatever they want, as well. In fact, it’s good that RT offers air space to some people who otherwise would not be allowed, ever, to express their hideous views. What I am talking about here is balance and overall slant, when it comes to the America section of this tabloid on-line paper endorsed by the government of the Russian Federation.
Riddle me This: What is Blue And White and Very Un-Woke? RT America!
RT is funded by the Russian government, nothing wrong with that either, better they should be funded by a government than, say, a Jeff Bezos type oligarch.
According to the mast-head, the two chief editors are Margarita Simonyan and Alexey Nikolov. Personally, I don’t trust either one of these Liberals further than I can punt them; but I reckon they are the ones to whom I am addressing this Yaroslavna plaint: “Why, oh why, you be so mean to black folk…” I have my own personal theory, though: Back in the days of perestroika, these people, and types like them, absolutely adored the United States of America. To them it was the Shangri-La they longed for. Well, eventually disillusionment set in; mostly when they discovered that America was irrevocably hostile to Russia. But I think there is another reason too, and I was granted this insight by a recent discussion with an actual person I know, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union in the mid-1970’s: “We saw America as the land of opportunity, where we could live well and accomplish whatever we wanted to. They didn’t warn us about this whole racial issue…” In other words, like Rick in Casablanca they were “misinformed”, they were not aware that America had been built on the backs of slaves, nor that the grinding class/caste oppression was still a thing. For them, the sullen blacks they encountered on the street, were simply in the way of their American dream. And frankly, they wished these people would just go away so they could move into their ready-made Barbie Dreamhouses without having to worry about all that unpleasant stuff from the past that pre-dated their own august selves.
Okay, enough of the preliminary ranting, and let’s get down to a specific example of unfair and slanted reporting. And, no, I am not talking about a signed op-ed here, wherein some vaunted “intellectual” opines on race or crime or whether or not Black Lives Matter has been co-opted by the Democratic Party [News Flash: It has!]. This is an unsigned piece, which tells me it was written by whomever or whatever from RT America editorial staff. Whether it’s Margarita herself, or one of her flunkies, it don’t really matter. The buck stops with her.
The story is factual — which is a good thing, I’ll hand it to RT that, unlike American MSM, they don’t lie factually, they just put their own slant on the facts. The facts are, as the headline states, that a City Councilman in Charlotte, North Carolina, white middle-aged male name of Tony Collins, was removed from the Council after a mild altercation with a youngish African-American female, name of Doctor Carrie Rosario, at a routine council meeting. Rosario, whose Doctorate is in Public Health, insisted that Mr. Collins address her by her academic title, “Doctor”. Mr. Collins insisted on calling her by the more informal “Carrie”. When the meeting was over, other members of the Council kicked Tony off, citing his disrespectful attitude towards a member of the public. And granted, Doctor’s Rosario’s race did make this a sticky wicket in today’s nervous times.
Before reading the article, I want you to study the first illustration in the RT story. Is it just my imagination, or does the blue tassel on the graduation cap morph into black dreadlocks? Is this just a clever artsy composition, or are the editors trying to send some other kind of message here? Whatever message it is, the Racist Regulars on this forum (the ones who respond salivatingly to these RT dog-whistles) certainly got it — knee-jerk Hater Jim Beauchamp leaps to the bait: These people can engage in anatomically improbable sexual acts with themselves. We need to rub their ugly faces in their inferiority at every possible opportunity. Yup, for sure. A black woman with a PhD in Public Health from a certified university is definitely “inferior” to internet troll Jim Beauchamp any day of the week.
Pride And Prejudice Among the Hoi Polloi
Due to her insistence on being addressed a certain way at the meeting, RT editors took the liberty of labelling Doctor Rosario as one of those dreaded American “Karens“, you know the type, they are always causing a scene and returning food at the restaurant, screaming at the waitress, always chastising the little guy and demanding to “talk to your supervisor”, always demanding “respect which they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. Is Carrie Rosario that type of person? I don’t know her personally, so I can’t say. Just looking at her photo, she has a sort of impish smile, and I find her attractive, but that’s just me. And, while I grant that it is not all that common to refer to a person with a non-medical PhD as “Doctor”, it isn’t completely unheard of either. One of the commenters calls her “Prideful”, which sounds like one of the Seven Deadly Sins from the Bible. In the Old South of Jim Crow times, they might have called her “Uppity”. Now, I personally know a few young professional African-American women in my workplace, one of whom in particular I truly would designate as a “Snowflake Princess”. Which is not at all the same as being “uppity” or even “prideful”, since this person shows a gross insecurity about herself, despite being born with a giant brain. Like I said, I do not know this Carrie Rosario person. But I raise the question, why do people even bother with titles at all? Why can’t everyone just be “Joe” or “Bill” or “Susie”? Or “Carrie”? Why, when I walk into my doctor’s office, is his wall plastered with various diplomas, certificates, and favorable citations? Why is everyone supposed to stand up when a Judge enters the courtroom?
Don’t Call Me Shirley!
Just think for a moment what Doctor Rosario was attempting to accomplish at this City Council meeting. She was was an outsider, venturing into somebody else’s domain. She entered into debate against a zoning initiative favored by Collins. Collins is the person with the power, in this story. Not only is he a City Councilman, but also a partner at a construction firm, Collins & Galyon General Contractors. Power, authority, and possibly even wealth! Collins obviously stands to profit from the proposed zoning change. Doctor Carrie Rosario was opposed to the zoning change and took the time to show up at the meeting to argue her case. RT didn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the actual issue, but it sounds like Rosario felt the zoning change would be a threat to public health. Hence, her presence there.
Here is a thought experiment: Imagine that you are opposed to a proposed zoning law, you believe it will harm children in your neighborhood, and you believe it is your duty to oppose it, so you walk into the meeting. You introduce yourself as: “Hi, I’m just a worthless nobody off the street, but I want to make my position clear…” Nobody would listen to a word you say. Or you could walk in with: “I’m an authoritative intellectual with a PhD, and I really know what I’m talking about, so you should listen to me…” In Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, “Freedom Of Speech”, any average Joe has the right to speak at a Town Hall Meeting, and his opinion is worth every bit as much as the millionaires who sit on the Board. Yeah, right…
Now, why does Doctor Rosario believe that the development project is a threat to public health? We don’t know! Because RT completely dropped the lede on this story. Ignoring this, the actual real issue here, because it’s just way more fun to bait scum with anti-woke chum; than to engage in serious reporting on real issues of the economy and public well-being.
Three more bullet points, and then I shall be done with my rant, Dear Readers.
Firstly: Note the anti-intellectualism of the lizard-brain set, and know that this is a core component of the American Mentality. James Bomb: In today’s America, a PhD from a public university means basically nothing. It means you have successfully completed a course in revisionist history and racial justice. Other terms for nonsense. It is lovely to see some pushback, though. Commenter Tengmo ripostes cleverly with: Do you have some “nothing”? And commenter Mark A. Clark chimes in with: you haven’t got a clue as to what it takes to earn a phd. your “revisionist history” is what this country has been doing from the day it was founded. and what in the world would a phd in public health have to do with history? you’re just using this story as an excuse to belittle people you feel inferior to. a feeling which is well deserved, since you are in fact inferior, as are most of these other lizard brains on here siding with the nc Γĕdɳecĸ.
Secondly: There is the issue of power. Who has it, and who doesn’t? To kick up, or to kick down? “That is the question,” as Prince Hamlet might have said.
Well, RT America has made it pretty clear, in their body of work and editorial slant, that, when it comes to American issues, they kick down. They stand very solidly on the side of those … with power. The police. The City Councilman. People, both men and women, who have authority and money, and who wield power. Like a carnival reversal of Tom Joad, RT does not stand on the side of the little guy lying on the pavement with a cop’s knee on his carotid artery. Or a young professional woman who walks into a City Council meeting, armed with nothing else than her PhD, to debate against a man who has all the money and authority on his side. But RT America will pose this as a complete carnival reversal: In which the man, because he is a middle-aged white male, is oppressed; he is put to a disadvantage and punished, not for anything he said or did, but for just being what he is biologically: A white male. Commenter RonHess888: Clearly, this woman became a doctor in order to lord it over white men and get them fired. Hopefully, that last one ironic, but with RT forums you never know.
Thirdly: What ever happened to basic human politeness? If you call a guy “Bill” and he asks you to call him “William”, are you going to insist on calling him Bill? Not if your mother raised you properly, like mine did me.
[THE END] … [of all human civility as we know it]