My contact at the archives isn’t answering the phone. I look their number on the internet.
The first number doesn’t work. The second rings and rings without an answer. An old woman answers the third number.
“Is this the archive?” I ask.
“Oh, no, she replies right away. Their number is 2-6 and you dialed 0-6.”
I’m surprised that she knows this, and glance again at their webpage.
“Do you know that your phone number is on your webpage?”
She says something I don’t understand. Her voice is old. Maybe she doesn’t know what a webpage is.
“They are advertising your phone number. They are saying it’s the phone number of the archive.”
“It doesn’t do any harm,” she says.
Her indifference makes me angry. “Maybe you should call them and tell them to change it so that people stop calling you.”
“Oh, I don’t get that many calls,” she says.
I thank her and hang up.
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“Unlike administrative resources, thugs and cynical rhetoric, imagination was lacking among those who thought up the 18 May “antifascist demonstration” in Kyiv. It also lacked credibility. It was difficult not to suspect that the police had received prior instructions when they estimated the number of “antifascists” brought out by the ruling Party of the Regions as 10 times higher than the participants in the opposition “Rise, Ukraine!” rally (44,000 vs. 4,000). Another worrying incident occurred when an “antifascist” lout beat up a female journalist and cameraman.
Even if those in power were not actively trying to provoke trouble in Kyiv – as well as at the recent memorial events in Simferopol to mark the 69th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars – they showed an irresponsible indifference to people’s safety and an inability to use democratic methods when faced with diverging views.
The execution was also extremely poor.
The “antifascist” card has been part of the current administration’s line ever since Yanukovych came to power. But it really took off after the right-wing Svoboda party gained over 10 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. The obvious mileage the Party of the Regions has been extracting from that victory, and from Svoboda’s coalition with the opposition Batkivshchyna and UDAR parties, can only fuel suspicions that Svoboda received tacit support. There is a cynical logic to such support since at the very least votes for Svoboda steal votes from other opposition parties, not from those in power. Moreover, with support for the ruling party falling ever lower, Svoboda’s rising popularity at least gives the Party of Regions the chance to cast themselves as the champions of moderate, non-nationalist ideology.
While Svoboda’s ideological consistency does not make its bigoted views any more palatable, the Party of the Regions is still a loser in terms of message. The old Soviet rhetoric being regurgitated was once part of a need to concentrate on the War and “fight against fascism,” because reality had stripped all communist myths of any credibility.
The Party of the Regions does not really have any ideology and even with near total monopoly over the media, the series of “anti-fascist” rallies around the country from May 14 and ending with Saturday’s rally could not convince anybody.”
This made the rounds a few years ago, but it remains absolutely fascinating. Notice how late in European history the lands of Germany remained in political anarchy. Pity it ended.
As part of my ongoing coverage of Ukrainian toilets, I want to share with you how much I enjoy the bathrooms in L’viv’s restaurants.
The “Restaurant on the Ridge” has the door to the bathroom disguised as a big wardrobe.
The “House of Legends” has a television inconspicuously fixed to the inside of the bathroom door. There’s some trigger which causes it to suddenly turn on — usually while you’re doing your business. On the screen, two men slide open a window, laugh drunkenly, and ask you to hurry up because other people are waiting. It was quite startling and funny on my first visit.
Here’s another example:
In the bathroom of the Italian restaurant Delpesto, there is a window instead of a mirror, and everything is built identically to look like a reflection. They also keep a turtle named “Love.”
First of all, please excuse the vulgarity of this post. I’m making a point. I took this picture a couple months ago at a bus station.
I had walked past an empty desk when a babushka came roaring out of some back room, gruffly demanding one hryvnia (12 cents) for the privilege of relieving myself amongst this sanitary beauty:
How is this travesty possible? Shouldn’t paid toilets be of better quality than the free toilets which businesses (McDonalds, among many others) make available throughout Ukraine?
Not so. Not at all. You see, the babushka is not a private owner. She’s not the innovative, risk-taking sanitation entrepreneur you might mistake her for. She is a bureaucrat squatting (no pun intended) on dilapidated, neglected Soviet era infra structure. What’s even more pathetic is the possibility that she paid a bribe to rise to her current position.
Oh, the humanity…
Here’s the Powerpoint presentation I gave: https://jumpshare.com/b/Mr2kxNoatIyyUe4SAfwK
It went really well. They seemed riveted. There were ten people including a local entrepreneur and the local leader of Plast, a youth organization.
I pretty much gave the whole presentation again in a bar to a couple other people.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, miners in the east homesteaded abandoned mines. Their efforts grew into a complex operation, but sadly, gangsters eventually took over (with considerable help from local bureaucracies which were — and are — indistinguishable from the gangsters).
The article references “anarcho-libertarianism”.
Again and again and again: Half Ukraine’s problems would vanish overnight if everybody owned a gun.
Americans who favor restrictions on guns are the spoiled inheritors of a private law culture that evolved with the frontier where people owned guns and found private solutions to the problems of security and justice.