Ukraine War Day #386: True Crime + Ice Dancing

Dear Readers:

Today I have this rather odd story from, the reporter is Stefan Braun, who covers the Figure Skating beat. Readers who are not familiar with this particular subculture may be surprised to learn that, when it comes to elite athletics (and figure skating is, yes, an athletic sport), some of the normal geopolitical rules simply don’t apply. But let’s just get to it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Zhuk (far left), Svinin (far right), with two of their students.

The hero of this story, Daniil Semko is a Ukrainian figure skater, hails from Odessa, trains in a skating team led by Russian coaches Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin. Pay no attention to their funny names (“zhuk” means “beetle” in Russian; and “svinin” is, well swine), these two individuals are some of the best Ice Dancing coaches in the world, probably, and both former Silver Medalists themselves in the sport.

Daniil’s ice-dancing partner is a Russian girl Maria Ignatieva, who hails from the city of Yekaterinburg.

A couple of days ago, Daniil suddenly showed up in a Moscow Hospital, in pain and bleeding. The story he told the doctors: He had accidentally collided with a random stranger in the middle of a crowd in Petrovsky Park. Feeling a sharp pain in his leg, he suddenly noticed that he was bleeding. It became clear to him that the unknown man had stabbed him. The perp quickly disappeared in the crowd.

Daniil Semko: Knows how to sweep a lady off her feet!

A limping Daniil was able to make his way, on his own, to the Botkin Hospital. The doctors, quickly looking him over saw that it was not his leg, but one of his right ribs that was bleeding, from what was clearly a stab wound. The doctors were able to patch him up and stop the bleeding. Happily, it was not a life-threatening wound.

While Daniil remained under observation in the hospital, the doctors called the police. However, by the time the latter arrived to investigate a possible crime, Semko had changed his story. He told the police that he himself, being clumsy, had accidentally bumped into “somebody’s bag” and cut himself in the rib with something sharp. He assured the cops that he had no intention of pressing charges against anyone and didn’t want them running off on a wild goose chase trying to find the perp.

[yalensis: Clearly, in those minutes or hours between his admission to the hospital and the arrival of the cops, Daniil had some time to think about the consequences of his original story, be that the true one or not.]

Now Russian media is reporting that Semko plans to leave Russia as soon as possible even though he not only trains in Moscow, but also has his own students there, whom he coaches.

Suspiciouser and suspiciouser…

Back To Hungary?

Daniil and Maria, despite him being a Ukrainian citizen, and her a Russian citizen, actually compete, in international competitions, for the Hungarian skating team. They have been skating together since 2021. According to their online profiles, they switch back and forth from training in Budapesht and Moscow. When they are in Moscow, they work with Zhuk/Svinin who are specialists. This past season they have also worked with Russian choreographer Maxim Stavisky, who has created some programs for them.

Choreographer Maxim Stavisky

Stavisky himself is a two-time world champion in Ice Dance, and is a well-known Russian media figure, appearing regularly on the TV show “Ice Age”.

The duet Ignatieva/Semko [yalensis: In figure skating it is customary to name the woman first, as Ice Dance is a chivalrous sport which considers the female more important, and the male simply presenting the female, just like in ballet] are considered promising competitors. They won silver medals at the Volvo Open Cup series during the 2021-22 season, and also took the bronze in the Hungarian National championships. This season they worked they way into the Top 10 of the European Championships, which is considered a fantastic result and shows how much progress they have made.

In 2021 Semko also graduated from the Ukrainian National University of Physical Culture and Sports, which certification allowed him to earn money as a coach. Besides skating, Semko is also a musician: He plays the guitar and harmonica, composes his own songs; and has performed in various “underground shows” in Budapesht.

That’s Daniil’s story, and the mystery remains: Who stabbed him, and why? Or was it just a random accident, like he said?

This entry was posted in Breaking News, Celebrity Gossip, Figure Skating, True Crime and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Ukraine War Day #386: True Crime + Ice Dancing

  1. countrumford says:

    Oddly reminiscent of Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Tanya facing a near peer competitor in the international arena sought to weaken her opponent to improve her own position in the competition. She (Tanya) hit her (Nancy) in the thigh causing enough injury to keep Nancy from competing.

    The USA seems to have a Tanya Harding strategy in place visa-vie Russia. We want to hurt Russia so that it cannot do again whatever it is doing now in Ukraine ever again(Lloyd Austin). To wit, Joe B is committed to supplying “Tanya Tappers” to Ukraine as long as it takes and in whatever quantity we can muster to bleed Russia. Yep that’s the plan, mess around with Russia and hope they collapse or bleed out before we do.

    Are there multiple words in Russian describing snow and its qualities. We are getting to the end of skiing season and the curious want to know. We ski on groomed corduroy and with increasing temperatures it turns to mashed potatoes. Have Ukrainians decamped to the transcarpthian mountain ski resorts to wait out forced conscription? and how are the skiing conditions near Ukraine?


    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, one of my theories about this incident (I have several) is that it could be an ice-dance competitor who stabbed Daniil. And maybe Daniil know who it was, but didn’t want to rat him out.
      Another theory: maybe Ukrainian terrorists trying to punish Daniil for training with a Russian coach (?)
      Whatever happened, I doubt it was a random accident!

      Anyhow, regarding snow – it is a pleasure to meet another Alpine skiing enthusiast! My big accomplishment this season was learning proper technique to get through “mashed potato” snow. (Because we had some warm days.) You can’t carve on edge like you do on corduroy, you have to be a bit flatter and skid your turns a little while pressing on the balls of your feet (freeing up your tails to swivel, like you would when traversing a moguls field).

      I don’t think Russian has all that many words for snow.
      The basic one is снег (sn’eg), “snow”
      Then there is метель (metel’), “blizzard”

      Probably there are more, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. But it’s not like there are 100 words, each for a different consistency, LOL!


  2. S Brennan says:

    Ice dancing is a little out of my league but, I do have an interesting tidbit to follow onto yesterday’s comment on how the war in Ukraine has benefited China in unprecedented ways. In the closing moments of Judge Napolitano’s podcast with regular, Col. [Ret.] Macgregor, the good Colonel threw out a clay pigeon, he said, “he’d be surprised if Biden was still in office in ninety days”.

    Very odd and…Col. Macgregor did not elaborate. So, like a hound-dog on a scent I scoured today’s news and here is what I came up with:

    “DC is abuzz with speculation over which Biden family member got a cut of a $3 million wire transfer to Hunter Biden associate John “Rob” Walker, just weeks after Joe Biden left the office of Vice President in 2017…House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) – said that there is strong evidence of CCP money flowing to the Biden family- this from bank records obtained via a subpoena…a “business associate” of Hunter Biden, received a $3 million wire from two individuals tied to the Chinese Communist Party, which he then forwarded to Biden family members…the day after that wire was received, the Walker account started transferring money into three different Biden family members’ accounts, involved in the influence-peddling scheme,”

    So, in an odd twist, those who lust for a war with Russia are the very same people taking payola from China. Which strongly implies Russia-phobes ≠ China-phobes. Indeed, it appears that China-philes = Russia-phobes if…one watches who benefits. Now why would China do a thing like that, send money to bloodthirsty Russia-phobes? Cui

    Back to our good Colonel’s clay pigeon; if true, this is evidence for a serious set of felonies and with what’s already available, it’s more evidence than anything produced against Trump’s during the multiple impeachment attempts by 3LA, 3LA-D/R-apparatchiks and 3LA media-whores. Oh course, does it matter when Biden’s replacement is the ill-prepared “heels-up-Harris”…Willie Brown’s very..very public mistress, oh dear, I miss those years. And don’t blame Willie, he told American’s they’d be fools to let Kamala near the White House.


    • Daniel Rich says:

      @ S. Brennen,

      if…one watches who benefits. Now why would China do a thing like that, send money to bloodthirsty Russia-phobes? Cui”

      One should never wield a single brush to pain an entire nation, but to me, China very much cares about its own benefits/future first and foremost [like most countries tend to do], so, China will refer to these money transfers as ‘lobbying,’
      like everyone else in DC does…


      • S Brennan says:

        I stand corrected, I said China when in fact I meant, the leaders of China. In my defense, it’s common mistake to not specify the leaders of a nation when addressing a nation’s foreign policy; I wrote extemporaneously which probably explains why I pursued a degree in science..not art.

        To your point, lobbying people to start bloody wars may be business as usual for some observers but, for this American, the wholesale slaughter performed by the Clinton/Bush/Obama/Biden administration [singular intended], for the entertainment of the monied crowd is every bit as sociopathic as any of the 20th century’s killing fields.


        • yalensis says:

          I think I have to agree with Daniel, in the sense that the Chinese government (like most governments) would consider it just “normal cost of business” to bribe foreign officials or pay money out of the budget to buy influence. They would do it without any pangs of conscience, accepting that the other government is simply corrupt. As the American government is.

          Lobbying = bribing. And what the Chinese government were potentially lobbying for might just be some mundane perks for their trade, tariffs, etc. Not necessarily anything to do with Russia.


          • S Brennan says:

            WARNING: Per and in-spite-of criticism above, I have, for brevity*, used the term “China” as a substitute for “Chinese Government Officials Responsible for Foreign Affairs”. I understand that this rhetorical convection may smack of “racism”/”hate-speech”/”paternalism”/and-other-isms for more sensitive readers, if you find yourself in this group please bypass this comment.
            *[I found it unwieldy to follow my critic’s recommendation and write in a non-formal/extemporaneous style. ]


            It’s normal to bribe pols. I agree with that statement but, if you follow the money, China only bribed those in DC who wanted to start this God-awful-war in Ukrainia and never those few in DC opposed? That’s not normal, unless you are a US Defense contractor hell bent on war and in that case, nobody has a problem indemnifying the motive…yes? Clearly, war is good for their bottom line…no?

            Ordinary citizens of both Russia and Ukrainia/US are competing in a gladiatorial ring for the wagering pleasure of a third party. Yes, the “elite” denizens of DC started this bloody-war but, it’s important to note that they’re bought & paid for step’n fetch-its of China. This war in Ukrainia is a crime against humanity, in fairness, Russia’s was forced into this war, they are not willing participants but, this war was started by Beijing’s hand-puppets in DC.


            Whether you can discern a cause and effect, the fact remains, China bribed ONLY the pols in favor of this destructive war, the few peaceniks are left are all completely outside China’ largess. Clearly China was pressing on the scale for this war, therefore, just like the aforementioned US Defense Contractor it’s fair to assume a motive. Definitive proof? No, indeed you could not say anything about the human condition if that is the standard applied. Stop the presses everybody, no-news, no more internet…we need 1] DEFINITIVE PROOF or, it’s MISINFORMATION !!! Or..we can apply 2] reasonable supposition.


            • yalensis says:

              Hi, S, I don’t mind if commenters just use, say “China”, as a shortcut for the Chinese government or leadership; and I certainly wouldn’t insist that people have to constantly stipulate to the effect, “love the people, hate the government” – LOL. I don’t think anybody here is a racist anyhow, so we all get it.

              As for your theory that China (=the Chinese government) instigated this war: Well, that’s pretty serious. I never heard that theory before, and I certainly hope it isn’t true, because that would be really evil. Plus, I have always been a supporter of a Russia-China alliance against the U.S.

              Having said that, I don’t expect you, or other commenters to treat this forum like a scientific publication and footnote every assertion. It’s enough that the assertion is out there, and then people can carry out their own investigations if they want. At the very least, it should stimulate an interesting discussion.


    • yalensis says:

      “Très intéressant!” as Bonaparte might say.


  3. Daniel Rich says:

    When one believes/beliefs in ‘coincidences’ everything’s possible. However, when one believes in actions and reactions, with the additional logic thrown into this mixed bag, one might arrive at a different conclusion.

    My money’s on a deliberate attack.


  4. He got into a fight.

    They’re both cover stories.


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