Saturday, December 08, 2007

Here are a few more flashbacks from 2003...

This United Russia ad across Nevskiy Prospekt from Moskovskiy Vokzal in St. Pete seemed way huge then - but compared to this campaign ad by Yuri Lutsenko at Livoberezhna this year, it looks pretty modest now...

"The President's Party" - not much has changed since then, they've just taken it one step further...


Although I already had this blog at the end of 2003, I wasn't really using it. I was on instead, and here's a tiny entry that I did on Nov. 28, 2003:

So I decided to buy myself roses today, and I asked the woman at the store not to bother with fancy wrapping; a newspaper would do. At home, I glanced at the paper and realized that there was no way to escape politics: it turned out to be a campaign newsletter of Vladimir Yudin, one of the local candidates.

I saw his name before, sometime in October, when the whole YUKOS thing had just begun. "Yudin, hands off Khodorkovskiy" - read the writing on the wall then.

The paper is full of Putin vs. Khodorkovskiy stuff, and other oligarch-related issues. It also touches upon the problem of communal apartments and offers ways to spend some 240 billion rubles, together. It's in my garbage can now.

The roses are doing great.

And here're two pictures from the set that I posted that day - both have to do with this Yudin guy and Khodorkovsky:


Looking back at this, and at the 2003 notes that I posted yesterday, it sort of becomes clear that in this part of the world it hurts a lot to be an optimist - and it hurts somewhat less to be a pessimist.


  1. It IS sad. I bet you would probably like it to be all faster - all that political progress of Ukraine that is. I have never been to your country but I am catching on various news available here in Poland and am personally - how else - optimistic and in admiration of progress you have made in recent years. As long as you keep free media you are bound to get more democratic and therefore able to solve so called "real issues"
    I am myself sad of the fact that Ukrainians would soon have it even harder to travel west (Schengen enlargement) and I would take freedom to travel without hassles as important in transformation your country goes through.

  2. The other interesting thing about that huge United Russia poster is that the building that it's hanging from has been torn down. The new Stockmann superstore is being built there.

    Robert - I don't know how it's being viewed in Ukraine, but my Russian friends who like to travel see the Schengen enlargement as a positive development - instead of having to get lots of different visas to travel in Europe, they only need one. Did Ukrainians use to have visa-free travel to the new Schengen countries?

  3. Hi,
    Ukrainians had enjoyed a cost free visa to Poland and Slovakia. What is important visas were given to virtually every applicant. Schengen visa has Brussel implemented price tag of - if not mistaken - 60 euros, and procedure to obtain one would be much tougher - as it is universal to the whole EU.
    I am afraid Poland would now demand applicants to fulfill all those extra requirements as we are having a sense of responsibility for other member states (illigal immigration scare)
    It might soon be easier to get Schengen visa via France or other embassy then polish one.
    I am also suportive of this local border trade economy developed on many border crossing point between Poland and Ukraine.Tourism from Ukraine would suffer,too. For many Ukrainians visas were simply easiest to get. I agree that for those willing to travel to Europe on visa would be convinent. Now they need one vist to any ambassy of member state.