And Still Another Ukrainian Hero: Alexander Semchenko – Part IV

Dear Readers:

With some of the back-story out of the way, and now that we know more about the cast of characters, we can proceed to Semchenko’s actual rant on live TV, on a talk-show called “Veresen’s People”.  Recall that Mykola Veresen no longer has his show, his boss Muraev fired him after this debacle.  Veresen lost his temper and tossed a glass of water in Semchenko’s face.  Semchenko looked unhappy, like a doused cat, but barely flinched.  In the context of Ukrainian politics, it could have been fists or even bullets instead of water.

Semchenko reacts without flinching when Veresen tosses water on him.

Semchenko told us himself (in his later interview with Elena Bojko) that he is the kind of guy who doesn’t like being pushed around and told what to do, and how to think.  This independent quality is a good thing, especially in a society such as Nationalist Ukraine, which values conformity of thought over critical thinking.  In the past 3 years, ever since the coup, the Ukrainian public has been brainwashed daily, by an increasingly totalitarian media, that Russian aggression is the cause of all their problems, and that everything Russian is bad.  This is the back-drop to Semchenko’s performance.

“Do you enjoy the results of this man [Poroshenko] over the past 3 and half years?” Semchenko challenged Ukrainian Nationalists Veresen and Poyarkov.  “Do you like this war?  He promised to finish the war in the matter of just a few days.  Instead, it has stretched out even longer.  Do you like the fact that the GDP has fallen?  The volume of industrial output has fallen by 3 times, since Poroshenko became President.”

Veresen reacted angrily:  “And you?  Do you like the Russian aggression in Ukraine?  Do you like the aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine?  You like the Russian aggression in Ukraine?”  [repeated 3 times]  “Well, do you?  Ah, shut up!”

A few minutes later, the fighting resumed, this time  between Semchenko and Sergei Poyarkov, a “patriotic” guest on the show.  “The people who are being killed [in Donbass],” Semchenko stated, “they are residents of the Ukraine.”

Sergei Poyarkov, artist and Auto-Maidan activist.

“Stop this shit!  Stop this shit!” Poyarkov screamed.  “Let me finish my thought!  You don’t let me either start or finish a thought.”

After some more scrabbling, this was the moment when Veresen tosses the water on Semchenko and orders him to leave the studio.  Instead of complying, Semchenko responds with a “3-letter word” and tosses water back at Veresen.  “I will not leave,” he announced stubbornly.  “Because this is a tribune, which allows me to speak the truth.  And all the nonsense that you spout on the air, the rudeness that you permit yourself, so be it, but I will not retreat.  You turkey!”

Poyarkov, who has gotten spoiled over the years and expects everyone to lavish him with adoration for his “Auto-Maidan” exploits and his lousy art work; and who is clearly un-used to people actually contradicting his ill-formed thoughts, still tries to get in the last word:  “Everybody understands now, why psychologically ill people should not be invited onto the air.”

But Semchenko still gets the last word:  Pointing at Veresen:  “It is precisely because of people [like you] that the people of Donbass rose up, and why the people of Crimea walked out of the Ukraine and fought for their own [self-determination].”

And, in conclusion, that is Semchenko’s feat.  That he sat and told the truth to those who are too deaf to hear it.  And, as far as I know, Semchenko is still alive. Vivat!

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And Still Another Ukrainian Hero: Alexander Semchenko – Part III

Dear Readers:

Continuing the story of Alexander Semchenko,with a slight detour into the biography of Evgeny Muraev, the Ukrainian Oligarch/politician who has temporarily banned Semchenko from appearing on his talk-show.  And Ukraine is a country, by the way, where even the President owns his own TV channel.  If that isn’t the definition of an Oligarchy, then I don’t know what is.  We have all seen those dystopic futuristic sci-fi movies where a single Company owns the entire planet, has its own army and controls all the media; and the few remaining non-Company humans are herded into the uranium mines to work as slave labor… Well, if capitalism proceeds along its current course; and if Ukraine is any indication — this will surely be our future, so enjoy all your freedoms now, while you still have them, Humankind!

Humanity has a bleak future.

In the meantime, we can rejoice that Semchenko is still alive, after his bold display of free-thinking on live TV last week.  Over the weekend Alex did what remains of the “talk-show”circuit in Ukraine.  It wasn’t exactly a Full Ginsburg, but he did at least appear on Elena Bojko’s show on the channel VZOR-TV.  Semchenko is a feisty guy.  He described how he had butted heads with talk-show host Veresen in the past, on a show devoted to the deportation of the Crimean Tatars.  There too, Semchenko refused to just go along with the “party line” on the Tatar issue, and also pointed out Veresen’s geographical ignorance in not knowing the location of the Russian city of Molotov.  When asked by Bojko about his linguistic preferences, Semchenko explained that he is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, he can switch back and forth at will.  Recently he has stopped speaking in Ukrainian.  Out of a stubborn resistance to being told what to do.   Recall that the Ukrainian government has launched a de-Russification campaign and passed laws that virtually amount to a banning of the Russian language, and this in a country that is majority Russian-speaking or bilingual.   “Right now I am feeling a certain spirit of Resistance,” Semchenko explained to Bojko.  “When people pressure me, then I resist.  And that is why I feel that contradiction within myself, which prevents me from speaking Ukrainian, just out of principle.”

Alexander Semchenko: Rebel with a Cause

Clearly Semchenko has a “Resistor” anti-authoritarian personality.  He doesn’t give in to peer pressure.  This is a rare quality in humans, who usually just follow the herd blindly.  If there were more people like Semchenko in the world, then perhaps we might still be able to avert that bleak future slaving away in the Uranium Mines of Altair XII.  But for now let us now meet our Future Boss in those Altairian mines, as we return to the biography of Ukrainian media mogul, Evgeny Muraev,

We already saw that Evgeny Vladimirovich Muraev was born to be a successful capitalist.  He grew up in a hard-working, educated family, got a good education.  In 1994 he graduated from the Physics-Mathematics Lyceum #27 in Kharkov and went on for post-graduate studies at the Economics Faculty of Kharkov State University, with a specialty in “Finance and Credit”.  The two pillars of modern Finance Capitalism.  Muraev graduated with a score of “Excellent”, since then he has gone on to acquire still another degree, this time in Law, at the National Law School named after Yaroslav the Wise.  He graduated in 2014, again with a score of “Excellent”.

Since 2000 Muraev has occupied various high positions in various companies.  Including General Director of an oil-trading company.  His positions involve his expertise in finance and the stock market.

Muraev’s Political Career

In the post-Soviet world, as I mentioned, businessmen and politicians are often one and the same person.  One of Vladimir Putin’s greatest accomplishments, as Russian President, was in pushing back (somewhat) this tendency, and thus giving the new Russian government a better chance of survival in this cut-throat world where Globalist cliques gobble up whole nations for breakfast.  Recall that Putin was able to kick several high-ranking oligarchs (such as Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky) out of Russian politics, an act which earned him the eternal enmity of the Globalist elites.  It is said that Putin made a back-room deal with the remaining Russian oligarchs, namely:  “You can keep the cash and property that you stole from the people during the Wild 90’s, but in exchange, you have to follow 2 simple rules:  (1) You pay your taxes to the government; and (2) You stay out of politics.”

Muraev speaks at the Rada

In the Ukraine there was no such social contract between Government and Business.  In fact, any self-respecting Ukrainian oligarch not only engages in politics, but usually owns his own political party and his own media channel as well.  It’s just comme il faut.  Otherwise, he is a nobody.

Muraev entered politics in 2006, as a Kharkov-regional Deputy of the party Viche.  He has served on committees involved in energy policy and public housing.  In 2010 he was elected as a delegate of the Party of Regions.  Appointed by the President as Chairman of the Government of the Zmievshchina Region, Muraev did such a good job as an administrator, that Zmievshchina rose in ranking from 17th to First in the sphere of social and communal services, including children’s health, education, physical culture and sports.  Muraev also implemented a program of recyling wastes and bringing clean drinking water to the public.

Viktor Yanukovych, former head of former Party of Regions

Everything that Muraev has attempted, he has done well.  He is a walking example of Excellence in life.  In November 2012 he was elected, by a stunning plurality of votes, to the Supreme Rada, representing the Party of Regions.  In October 2014 he switched parties to the Opposition Bloc and was re-elected to Parliament.  In March 2015 Muraev joined the Opposition Shadow Government as Minister of Economic Development.  In June 2016 Muraev announced that he was leaving the Opposition Bloc fraction, and this is also typical of Ukrainian politics, where people switch parties and form coalitions at the drop of a hryvna.

In the post-Maidan era Muraev has been critical of the Poroshenko government, and even, from time to time, employed sarcasm as his political weapon against the Ukrainian Nationalists.  As a result, his TV channel was a more comfortable place for free-thinkers such as Semchenko.  But now Semchenko has been banned even from Muraev’s show.  So, what did Semchenko actually say that was so shocking to everyone?

[to be continued]

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And Still Another Ukrainian Hero: Alexander Semchenko – Part II

Dear Readers:

Continuing the saga of Alexander Semchenko, the nerdy political pundit who risked his life when he sat in a Kiev TV studio and told the truth about what has been going on in Ukraine the past 3 years:  that President Poroshenko came to power via a coup, that the Maidanites have destroyed the country, and the people in Donbass are being attacked unfairly.  Here again is the link of the original story and video, from PolitNavigator.  Semchenko’s statements led to a heated 3-way argument involving himself, host Mykola Veresen, and one of the other guests, Sergei Poyarkov.

The following day there was a new development when the owner of the TV Channel (News One), man by the name of Evgeny Muraev, fired talk-show host Mykola Veresen for allowing such an egregious altercation to occur on his show.  Muraev also decreed that guests Semchenko and Polarkov are temporarily banned from appearing on the show again, at least until they cool down.

Today I wanted to focus on Muraev himself.  Muraev seems like a good enough egg, the problem actually is not with him.  It’s with a political system that allows a man to be simultaneously the owner of a major media outlet and also a member of the government.  Does anyone else see the problem with such a concurrence?  That it might create, er.. a conflict of interest?

And truly, this problem with Ukrainian politics did not begin with the Maidan.  Quite the contrary:   Some of the more deluded Casserole-Headed Maidanites, I guess you could call them the “useful idiots”, actually believed that they were battling against the corrupt Oligarchical system.  But instead of bringing down the Ukrainian Oligarchy they, in true Hegelian fashion, only strengthened it and gave it a new lease on life.

“Colander-Heads”, aka Useful Idiots of the Oligarchy

No, the Oligarchy actually was born in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Every post-Soviet nation, including Russia, went through a phase of Oligarchy, and some, such as Ukraine, got stuck in it.  By the laws of Nature, a nation which is stuck in Oligarchy for more than X years, will eventually die a horrific and spasmotic death.

The word Oligarchy comes from the Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “the few”, and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning “to rule”.  In other words, a political system where the few rule the many.  Well, that could describe just about any political system, I reckon, including representative democracies.  More precisely, in modern times, the term has come to be employed to characterize systems where the wealthy owners of major property assets also serve in the government.  Which also characterizes most systems of government from time immemorial, I reckon; except that now, in modern times, people expect to see a separation of political functions versus major property ownership — we’re not talking about owning a house or car, but, like, oil wells and gas fields — and to avoid at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

George Orwell prophesied the rise of the Oligarchs.

In the post-Soviet context, the Oligarchs were a group of men who rose to the top very rapidly — I guess you could also call them nouveau riche — and were able to buy up formerly state-owned assets for pennies to the dollar.  These guys became millionaires or even billionaires overnight.  These assets, by the way, included just about everything and represented a foundation of national wealth which was built up by generations upon generations of ordinary hard-working people.  People who labored like ants and saw very little in return for their sweat, other than the satisfaction of knowing they lived a productive and honest life.  Then the situation that arose, the era of national looting, was exactly as George Orwell had prophesied in the final chapter of his masterpiece Animal Farm.  How did these oligarchs succeed in taking such a huge chunk of the national wealth and sliding into their own pockets?  Well, that’s a complicated question, and too complicated to get into here, and I don’t want to start quoting Trotsky and upsetting a lot of people; suffice it to say that much of this drama involved simply knowing the right people.  Or being a member of the existing nomenklatura, for example.

Jew-haters, by the way, see a hive-type conspiracy here, they love to point out how many oligarchs (quite a lot of them, in truth) are Jewish.  I don’t know if anyone compiled a scientific statistic of this factor, so it may just be perception.  Besides Jews, there seem to be a lot of Armenians and Central Asians.  One could say that such ethnic types had a long history of being smart businessmen and good at money.  In which case, it is surprising that there aren’t more Gruzian oligarchs, since Gruzians always had a reputation for being good at business.

One of Russia’s first Oligarchs: Boris Berezovsky (on the left)

Anyhow, in this random crapshoot that we call Life, whether or not one is able to create opportunities for oneself, or is able to take advantage of opportunities that pop up out of the blue — well, a lot of that depends sometimes on just Sheer Luck, but more often on Connections.  Family connections, or somebody you knew as a child, somebody who belongs to the same club, the same Church (or Synagogue), a golfing partner, etc.  That’s how these things really happen.  Not because of some vast Zionist conspiracy, nor the purported instinctual drive of Jews to always further the interests of their own Chosen Tribe.  I mention these ridiculous ideas, only because they are proposed seriously out there, in the blogosphere, by the usual Haters.

Be that as it may, without ignoring the factor of ethnic contacts, cliques, or whatever contributed to success, one still is left with the fact that these individuals were able to do what they did, under the geopolitical conditions which arose at the time.  Why did such-and-such a man become an Oligarch?  It’s the same answer to the same jokey question, as why a cat licks his own b***s, namely because he can.

Evgeny Vladimirovich

Which brings us to Evgeny Vladimirovich Muraev, the owner of News One Channel.  Muraev represents one of the Kharkov Districts in Parliament, and is also a Deputy of the Upper House.  He serves on a parliamentary committee involved in questions of taxation and tariffs.  I am sure that he is very competent and very good at analyzing these issues.

Muraev is not Jewish.  (Saying this, I forgot to have his DNA tested for Slavic purity.)

In the past Muraev was a member of the Party of Regions (which has since been banned), now he belongs to a different party called “За життя” (“For Life”).

Evgeny was born in 1976, in a family of Soviet white-collar workers.  His dad, Vladimir Kuzmich, was the General Director of a Kharkov factory called “Rapid” which produced machinery and metal widgets, along with wooden crates and a whole bunch of other things, probably including kitchen sinks.  Evgeny’s mom, Olga Alexeevna, was the Dean of the Chemistry Faculty of the A.N. Beket Kharkov University of Urban Economy.

With such a pedigree and such parents, Evgeny, provided he keeps himself clean and doesn’t drink or gamble, is pre-destined for a successful career and a meaningful life, regardless of which political system he grows up in.

[to be continued]

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And Still Another Ukrainian Hero: Alexander Semchenko – Part I

Dear Readers:

Well, this has been the week for Ukrainian heroes, and they all appear to be named Alexander!   Ukrainians, in their dialect, say, and write the name, as Oleksandr.  Either way, the name, of course, derives from the Greek and spread widely all over the world due to the popularity of Alexander the Great of Macedon.  In classical Greek the name is Αλεξανδρος which derives [quoting a sentence from the source I just linked] from the Greek root αλεξω (alexo) “to defend, help” and ανηρ (aner) “man” (genitive ανδρος).  In short, “Defender of Men”, he’s our guy!

Well, our new hero is named Alexander Semchenko, in the photo accompanying my link, he’s the nerdy looking guy on the left wearing glasses.  According to the story in PolitNavigator, Alexander accomplished a feat possibly even more heroic than anything done by his namesake the King of Macedon.  Sure, the latter was forced to fight big battles, against a massive swarm of Persians, but Alex also had his own army behind him, not to mention cheering fans.

Semchenko: A Hero of Our Time — in turtleneck!

Whereas our Alexander walked out all by himself into enemy territory — no army, no fans, just himself — and told the Truth about the Ukrainian political system on live television.  I’ll get into more detail later about Semchenko’s brave rant.  For now, the abridged version:  Semchenko blasted President Poroshenko and defended the people of Donbass.  This may not sound like much to people who just take for granted freedom of speech and that people can express their views, even heatedly, without getting assassinated.  But given the realities of ever-increasingly totalitarian Ukrainian political life, this was a true feat of courage.  Semchenko must have balls the size of those giant globes on the roof of the Daily Planet.  Semchenko could have been literally beaten to death on live TV, instead of just having a bottle of water thrown in his face.  Even now, the day after, Alexander faces violent retribution from Ukrainian nationalists.  I fear for his life, and I hope he is wearing a flak jacket.  But back to our story…

A Profile In Courage

Semchenko is described, by profession, as a “polito-log”, which is a Russian word that doesn’t have an exact English translation.  I usually translate as “pundit”.  He’s a guy who writes newspaper articles, blogs, appears on TV, etc.

So yesterday, August 4, Semchenko appeared as an invited guest on a talk show in Kiev.  The host of the show is Maidan activist and Ukrainian Nationalist ideologue, name of Mykola Veresen.  If you want to see what happened on the show, the link I provided has the video embedded.  The host and guests chatter mainly in Ukrainian, and also partly in Russian, for those who know these languages.  If you don’t know the language, then you can still follow the action through universal body language.

Further Ramifications

The day following this high drama (which is actually today, August 5) there were some further ramifications,  Ukrainian oligarch Evgeny Muraev, who (in typical Ukrainian fashion) is a Deputy in Parliament, and also owns the television channel News One, decided to fire his news anchor Mykola Veresen.  Because of Veresen’s inappropriate behavior during the live broadcast.

Evgeny Muraev: When the Oligarch is the adult in the room…

In the spirit of “Fair and Balanced” Muraev also announced that Semchenko will be “temporarily” banned as a guest on the show.  Likewise, another one of Veresen’s guests, an “artist” and also a TV host, name of Sergei Poyarkov.  Poyarkov and Semchenko really went at it on live TV, it was the catfight of the century.  Here is what Muraev had to say about all of these shenanigans:

“Having seen what happened yesterday on TV, this is what I have to say:  All of his [Veresen’s] guests showed themselves to be uncontrollable and poorly-raised people, very distant from the concept of dialogue.  With regret I have to state an obvious fact:  The civil conflict in our country has long ago reached such a point where people have simply ceased to listen to or hear the opinions of others.  In the social media, all attempts at debate quickly transform into rudeness and banning commenters.  As a result of this, people have built bubbles and settled into small cliques where they only communicate with fellow-thinkers.  The very same thing is happening on the air, where guests arrive with formed and hardened opinions, which they seek to bombard upon the others, using shrieks and cursing.

“I understand this problem, but it does not excuse [the behavior of] neither Veresen, nor Poyarkov, nor Semchenko.  The management of this channel has decided to part ways with the host of the show [=Veresen]; and by the same token, these guests, who allowed themselves to descend into hysterics, will temporarily not be invited back onto the show.”

Next:  This story is actually bigger than I initially thought, and raises a lot of interesting questions.  I will continue next time with a profile of Muraev, and then circle back to the actual content of Semchenko’s brave rant.  In the meantime, everybody please cross your fingers and hope that nobody gets hurt.  Ukrainian politics can be fun, but it can also get quite ugly, when the Violent Sektor decide to involve themselves.

[to be continued]

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Ukrainian Hero-Pilot: “I look a lot like Lavrov.” – Part III

Dear Readers,

Today finishing my translation of the interview with Captain Alexander Akopov, the Hero Pilot.

Akopov got a chance to tell his side of the story on the Ukrainian portal Strana.UA.  As I mentioned before, the two interlocutors are Svetlana Kriukova and Anastasia Tovt, who spoke to Akopov over the phone and got quite a good interview.  Captain Akopov, a Ukrainian citizen hailing from Donetsk, spends much of his time in Istanbul, Turkey, where he is an employee of the Turkish airline AtlasGlobal.


Strana:  What is your opinion of the conflict in the Donbass?

Akopov:  I don’t feel I can even comment on that.  I feel very much [pain] for what is going on there.  Sometimes it makes me feel like I can’t even breathe.  The best airport [was there, in Donetsk].  The best football team.  Can you grasp what it means, to lose all of that?  In a word, War is War.

Strana:  Let me explain why I asked you that question.  Because of your Lavrov (photo) avatar, many people accused you of being sympathetic towards Russia.

Akopov’s social media avatar compares his own face to Lavrov’s.

Akopov:  People can say whatever they please.  Sympathy for Russia?  Yes, I feel sympathy for Russia.  Sympathy for Russian hockey.  But when it comes to football, I root for the Ukraine.  I live and work in the Ukraine.  You may not accuse me of being a Separatist.

Strana:  Do you consider yourself to be a hero?

Akopov:   I am a simple, normal person.  I was just doing my job.

Strana:   Tell us how it was.  What goes through the mind of a pilot whose plane has just been pounded by hail?  How were you able to land it?

Akopov:   I was nervous, of course.  People like yourselves, who are not familiar with aviation, of course will have a hard time understanding exactly how this looked.  Try to imagine yourself behind the wheel of an automobile faced with an imminent accident.  You’re driving along, and you realize that something isn’t right.  But improvisation is not a possibility here.  There are instructions, there are monitoring systems which kick in.  But at a certain phase you have to make command decisions.

Strana:   What decision did you take?

Akopov:   There could be no hesitation nor second-guessing.  I understood that I had to land the plane.  The sooner the better.  The situation was extreme and I did everything that I needed to do.  I have been learning my pilot trade for a long time, therefore I was able to let my professional instincts kick in.

Strana:   Had you ever experienced anything like this before?

Akopov:   Yes, but not as serious as this case.  Once I had an engine catch fire on a Yak-42.  That happened, I think, in the year 2000.  We were flying out of Vienna and we successfully landed in Lvov.

Strana:   When this was happening on this flight, to Istanbul, how did the passengers react?

Akopov:   I didn’t personally have any time to interact with the passengers.  But I did hear some screams [coming from the cabin], there was some panic, apparently.  But our senior flight attendant conducted herself very well in this situation, she was able to calm everyone down.

Strana:   Did the passengers express any gratitude to you?

Akopov:   Only in the social media.  Because as soon as we landed, they [the passengers] were led away into the waiting room, therefore I wasn’t able to communicate with them.  But now — yes, some are writing to me, saying thank you.

Strana:   Did you get any calls from any officials?

Akopov:   Yes, the Minister of Infrastructure Vladimir Omelyan, called me.  And also President Petr Poroshenko himself.

Strana:   And what did he say?

Akopov:   That was a personal conversation, so I shouldn’t disclose it.  And I am personally grateful that this event did not go unnoticed.  All I can say is that the photo of Lavrov was not mentioned [by the President].  At that level people don’t — excuse me for saying so — bother themselves with such nonsense.

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Ukrainian Hero-Pilot: “I look a lot like Lavrov.” – Part II

Dear Readers,

Today continuing the saga of Ukrainian citizen Alexander Akopov, the Hero Pilot.  I decided, for the sake of fairness, it was necessary to translate Akopov’s entire interview, instead of just paraphrasing or excerpting sound bites.

Recall that Captain Akopov was awarded with a “Medal of Valor” by Ukrainian President Poroshenko.  Very soon thereafter, Ukrainian Nationalists discovered that Akopov possibly has “incorrect” political views, and they began to clamor that his medal be revoked.  There was even talk of putting him on Avakov’s infamous “Mirotvorec” (“Peacekeeper”) hit-list.  Which is a website maintained, in Orwellian fashion, by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, and contains the names and addresses of political dissidents targeted for assassination.

Arsen Avakov targets dissidents for assassination.

Ironically, Avakov and Akopov (apparently) share some Armenian DNA, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.  All three men hail from the Soviet era, where the various nationalities got along fairly well and there was lots of inter-marriage.  Hence, all have similar facial features.  But it is telling that Hero-Pilot Akopov chose Lavrov’s schnozz and not Avakov’s as the avatar for his Facebook page.

That was the very first thing that jumped out at the Nationalists, as well as the fact that Akopov hails from the city of Donetsk – gasp!  Inside that thuggish mush that passes for their “brains”, they determined that Akopov is not really one of them.  And they are probably correct about that.  Akopov claims to be non-political, but one thing about him really stands out:  He is an outstanding professional, intelligent and highly skilled.  Those traits alone separate him from the general herd.

Akopov:  “I am not a Separatist.”

A few days ago (July 31) Akopov got a chance to tell his side of the story on the Ukrainian portal Strana.UA.  The two interlocutors are Svetlana Kriukova and Anastasia Tovt.  Akopov himself is currently residing in Istanbul [a wise choice], and the interview took place over the phone.

Strana:  When you heroically landed the hail-battered plane in Istanbul, everybody applauded you, and the President gave you a medal.  And then people began to bay about “zrada” [=”betrayal”], because of your profile in the social media.  Have you been following the things they write about you?

Akopov:   I don’t really follow it, but certain things were brought to my attention.

Strana:  And how do you feel about this?

Akopov:   It is very unpleasant, of course.  But this is how I see it:  You can’t place a napkin over every mouth [yalensis:  Russian rhyming proverbна каждый роток не наденешь платок].  In the times in which we live, this is a normal phenomenon.  Once they call a man a hero, then they have to criticize him.

Strana:  Among other things, they accuse you of being from Donetsk.

Akopov:   I was actually born in Borispol, near Kiev.  But I do actually reside in Donetsk, yes.  When I was 13 my father was transferred to Donetsk.  He is also a pilot, we are actually a dynasty!  And I lived there (in Donetsk) until I was 21.  And then I continued to fly out of Donetsk.

Strana:  Tell us some more about yourself.  Where did you learn to fly?

Akopov:   I graduated from the Krasnokut Aviation School for Civil Aviation, in 1987.  Then the St. Petersburg State University for Civil Aviation.  I worked in the Donetsk Unified Aerial Unit, and then for the [private] company “Rose of the Breezes”.  And after all these events happened in Donetsk, I started working for the Turkish company AtlasGlobal.  I have been working there for 3 and a half years already.

Akopov’s social media avatar compares his own face to Lavrov’s.

Strana:  What is your level of seniority in aviation?

Akopov:   I have been a pilot since 1987.  Hence, as it turns out, 30 years!

Strana:  You’re saying that when the Donbass conflict began, you left Donetsk?

Akopov:   Yes.

Strana:  And that profile in the social media, the avatar with the photo of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov – that belongs to you?

Akopov:   Yes, that’s mine.

Strana:   Just one question:  Why Lavrov?

Akopov:   One of our flight attendants took my photo [that I used for the avatar].  I simply look very similar to Lavrov.  We have the same facial structure, the same features.  Yes, I placed [these photos side by side] on my avatar, but that was a long time ago, before the war broke out in Donetsk.

Strana:  But you didn’t change it after the war started.

Akopov:   No, and I do not intend to change it.  Although, after I landed that plane, and people started to write about me in the social media, various people began to advise me to change my avatar.  But I understand that these are mercantile interests.  I am not connected in any way with politics.

[to be continued]

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Ukrainian Hero-Pilot: “I look a lot like Lavrov.” – Part I

Dear Readers,

Recall from a few days ago the thrilling story of Alexander Akopov, citizen of the Ukraine.  Captain Akopov blindly landed a plane, fully loaded with around 128 passengers and crew, at Istanbul Airport in the middle of a hailstorm that had knocked out all his front windshield, and all the electrical and guidance systems!  Akopov’s expertise on the icy runway won the day and saved the lives of all.  The entire airport broke out into applause, and Akopov instantly became an international celebrity.

Akopov: “My friends tell me I look a lot like Sergei Lavrov!”

Akopov was rightfully hailed as a hero, although some nitpickers feel that this term is used too widely, and they are probably right.  For example, a football player who scores a goal is technically not a hero.  Technically, a hero is somebody who knowingly gave or at least risked his own life in order to save or help others.  By that token, Akopov is not exactly a hero, I would call him more, like, a virtuoso, since the giving of his own life on this occasion would not have furthered the cause of the others on board.  Quite the contrary!

Be that as it may, Akopov definitely deserved the medal that Ukrainian faux-President Poroshenko slapped onto the pilot within hours, possibly minutes of the event.  See, Ukrainian Nationalists, after pissing away a third of their territory, ruining the lives of the remainder, and losing every battle on the battlefield, are so desperate for heroes that they desperately needed Akopov.  See, within the subclass of Aviation Heroes, just like America has Captain Sully, so Ukraine should have Captain Akopov.

Russian Media Is More Fair and Balanced And Less Propagandistic Than Westie Media

Along with the Ukrainian blogospere, the international (Westie) media also exploded with compliments directed at Akopov.  Just google it and you’ll see.  It was like Westies were just bursting with pride over the exploit of a favorite child.  With the words “Ukrainian pilot” repeated over and over.

Atatürk Airport in Istanbul

The Russian media also reported on the event when it happened, in stories focusing on the hail storm and the feat of the pilot.  And without any kind of propaganda overlay or tendentiousness.  (And this was before the Russian media learned that Akopov is pro-Russian!)  I can prove what I just wrote.  Here is a piece from July 28, fresh off the front page, and including a Vesti News vid.  The headline reads:  “Ukrainian Pilot Landed His Plane, Damaged By Hail, in Istanbul.”  The piece reports on the basic facts known, with a focus on the hail, described to be “the size of eggs”.  There is no snarkiness or ideological overlay.  No cheering or sneering at the fact that the pilot is Ukrainian.  And this is typical of much Russian media, by the way.  Which tends to be more factual, less ideological and less biased than most Westie media.  Westies always try to glean the geo-political angle to every story, and never miss an opportunity to bash Russia.

The Twist

Sergei Lavrov: “People tell me I look a little bit like Alexander Akopov.”

Then, like every good reality show, this one had a major twist right in the middle.  Ukrainian Nationalists learned that Akopov is not one of them, after all.  He is a Ukrainian citizen, but politically he’s more like, er.. pro-Russian.  Having the wrong politics (not to mention, the wrong ethnicity) instantly disqualified him from hero-hood, in their eyes, and not just on technical grounds.  Ukrainian Nationalists discovered that Akopov’s Facebook avatar is a photo of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whom the Ukrainian Nationalists consider to be the handmaiden of the Devil himself.  Nationalists called for President Porko to revoke Akopov’s hero-medal.  They fussed on Twitter:  “People should spend a little time researching a person’s political views, before they start awarding medals.”  The Ukrainian Nationalist blogosphere is actually even more furious with Poroshenko than they are with Akopov — but that’s nothig new, either.

Akopov’s Side Of The Story

In today’s installment of this reality show, Akopov gets to tell his side of the story. Here is the piece from VZGLIAD, well, it’s actually from 2 days ago, Monday, but I only saw it today.   This piece in turn cites material from a Kiev portal called “Strana”.

Akopov commenting on the blogosphere attacks against him:  “It is unpleasant, naturally.  But this is how I see it:  на каждый роток не наденешь платок  [Russian rhyming proverb that translates, roughly, as: You can’t put a napkin over every mouth.]  In the times that we live in, this is a normal occurrence.  Once they dub a man as a hero, then they have to criticize him.”  Akopov went on to explain why he refused to cave in to pressure to delete his Lavrov avatar:  “I look a lot like Lavrov.  We have the same facial structure, similar features.  I put up that avatar a long time ago, long before the war in Donetsk.”  Grilled by the highly ideological Ukrainian reporters, the pilot added that he is not connected in any way with politics and is not a Separatist.

[to be continued]

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