Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two videos - one of Marta and one of myself.

Marta is making up some weird and pretty gloomy stories that she calls poems, songs and fairy tales, which involve fallen trees, bespectacled people and napkins. She mentions drowning a few times - but that's because we were sitting by the lake when I shot this video. Maybe one day I'll translate some of it and add subtitles :)

And here's me, talking to David Sasaki, my wonderful colleague at Global Voices/Rising Voices, who is currently in Ukraine - and who describes me this way on his blog:

[...] ...the once mysterious Central and Eastern European Editor for Global Voices. (No one had met Veronica and there were vicious rumors that she was in fact a cyborg replicant planted by Google to demonstrate that a few good scripts could curate the world’s online conversations even better than humble human beings.) [...]


Anyway, here's the video - thank you so much, David!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two recent pictures of Marta that I am somehow very fond of - Marta in the context of Kyiv and Ukraine, so to say... :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sat next to some American expats at a bar tonight, reading up on the child rape scandal, while they were talking about Ukraine and Russia this and Ukraine and Russia that: Ukraine stealing Russia's gas, Ukraine pissing Russia off with its pro-NATO stance, etc. Not that these issues don't matter - they do, in many ways. But somehow this reminded me of how surprised I was once by the amount of local coverage in the Washington Post - drugs, crime, etc.: a universe away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other hot topics of the time. As for Ukraine's child rape story - I wish I had access to more info and were able to figure out what and who to believe. But I also wish I didn't know anything about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oct. 4 wedding at the sanatoriy:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gorenka locals:

Monday, October 12, 2009

I was tuning in to random radio stations today, and caught the following exchange (RUS) about Ukraine on Radio Echo of Moscow:

К. ЛАРИНА: Юрий Иванович, большое Вам спасибо. Напомним ещё раз. Это Юрий Иванович Шаповал, наш гость из Украины. Видите, как я себя веду! Когда Вас тут нет, я говорю «на Украине». А когда Вы пришли, мне неудобно так говорить.

Ю. ШАПОВАЛ: Вы почаще меня приглашайте.

В. ДЫМАРСКИЙ: Кстати говоря, здесь единственный упрёк Юрию Ивановичу могу сделать – то, что я считаю, что не должны мы менять русский язык в угоду, извините, соседнему…

К. ЛАРИНА: Должны! Надо уважать друг друга! Что, тебе жалко, что ли? Ну-ка скажи – в Украину!

В. ДЫМАРСКИЙ: Ну, мы же Париж…

К. ЛАРИНА: Скажи – в Украину!

Ю. ШАПОВАЛ: Но заметьте, я на вас не давлю. Разговаривайте, как хотите.

К. ЛАРИНА: Спасибо большое, Юрий Иванович.

It's a wrap-up of a rather interesting talk about Crimea, and the hosts and their Ukrainian guest are suddenly discussing the correct way of saying 'in/to Ukraine' in Russian - 'на Украине/Украину' vs. 'в Украине/Украину.' We use the latter, they prefer the former. It's a bit like the English usage debate: Ukraine with or without the definite article.

Ksenia Larina, one of the hosts, tells Yuri Shapoval, a Ukrainian historian, that in his presence she doesn't feel comfortable saying it the Russian way, while the other host, Vitali Dymarsky, says that he doesn't think they should be changing the Russian language to please the neighbor - that's his "only criticism" of his Ukrainian guest. Larina tells Dymarsky we should respect one another and teasingly urges him to say it the Ukrainian way. Shapoval, however, doesn't really care how they say it: "But please note, I'm not pressuring you. Talk in whatever way you like."

It's a very telling little exchange, I guess.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mood swings.
Can't get away from this song - been playing it non-stop for two days, and hearing it in my head, too...

It's a 1968 Ukrainian love song, performed by Kvitka Cisyk, lyrics and music by Volodymyr Ivasyuk:

«Я піду в далекі гори»

Я піду в далекі гори
На широкі полонини,
І попрошу вітру зворів,
Аби він не спав до днини.

Щоб летів на вільних крилах
На кичери і в діброви
І дізнавсь, де моя мила —
Карі очі, чорні брови.


Мила моя, люба моя,
Світе ясен-цвіт,
Я несу в очах до тебе
Весь блакитний світ.

Я несу любов-зажуру,
Мрію молоду,
І сади цвітуть для мене,
Як до тебе йду.

А як вітер з полонини
Полетіти не захоче,
Все одно знайду дівчину —
Чорні брови, карі очі.

Перейду я бистрі ріки,
І бескиди, і діброви,
І шляхи мені покажуть
Карі очі, чорні брови.

While I'm at it, here's a Ukrainian poem I also can't get out of my mind - by Ivan Malkovych (1992):


Краєм світу, уночі,
при Господній при свічі
хтось бреде собі самотньо
із янголом на плечі.

Йде в ніде, в невороття,
йде лелійно, як дитя,
і жене його у спину
сірий маятник життя, —

щоб не вештав уночі
при Господній при свічі,
щоб по світі не тинявся
із янголом на плечі.

Віє вітер вировий,
виє Ірод моровий,
маятник все дужче бухка,
стогне янгол ледь живий…

А він йде і йде, хоча
вже й не дихає свіча,
лиш вуста дрижать гарячі:

янголе, не впадь з плеча.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Two villages right next to Kyiv - Gorenka (pop. 5,358) and Moshchun (pop. 794). The first one is adjacent to Pushcha Vodytsya, which is officially part of Kyiv's Obolon District. The second one is some 3 km away from Gorenka. Both still have streets named after Lenin - unrenamed streets. This is embarrassing. The usual excuse - lack of funding - doesn't seem convincing: in the past five years, we've seen tons of money wasted on too many election campaigns, and I'd rather see some new street signs on the fences, among many other things, than the faces of those idiots and their promises of change and what not. It is different, of course, if it's the locals who prefer to keep the old street names. Different, but no less embarrassing.

Here is Gorenka's Lenin St.:

And here's Moshchun - Lenin St., Lenin Lane, and Zhovtneva - October - Street, named after the 1917 revolution:

This one is my favorite - extremely schizophrenic...

P.S. Some info on Gorenka & Moshchun - here (UKR). Soviet-time info mostly: lots of cow-milking kolkhoz stats, for example... :)