Russia is becoming increasingly a Muslim country. Out of a total population of over 146 million (including two million in annexed Crimea), it counts about 15 million people of Muslim background—even if not all are believers and even fewer practice Islam. Given forthcoming demographic changes, by around 2050 Muslims will represent between one third (according to the most conservative estimates) and one half (according to the most ‘alarmist’ assessments) of the Russian population. This ‘Islamization’ of Russia—not in the sense of radical Islam but of a rising number of citizens self-referring to Islam—will impact both Russia’s domestic situation and its foreign policy options in the medium and long term. Islam’s growing importance in Russia will shape the future of the country in at least five main directions: the overall demographic balance of the country; the strategy of ‘normalizing’ the regions of the North Caucasus; Russia’s migration policy; Russia’s positioning on the international scene; and the transformation of Russian national identity.
Just shy of six months old, our son has broken his mother’s heart, probably for the first of many times. Today, he demonstrated an ability and willingness to fall asleep without her assistance.
The third of three novelettes about the Iraq War:
Ukrainian Americans organize retreat for children of deceased Ukrainian soldiers
I’d like to welcome into the world, Danylo Skaskiw Romanovych.
Thanks for all the good wishes.
Everybody is healthy and happy. Yulia and I are delighted.
After about two hours of contractions, delivery took just an hour, surprising the nurses who initially thought it was too early to call the doctor. Yulia said about delivery the same thing she said about pregnancy — much, much easier than expected.
Danylo seems calm and narrowly focused on his work of sleeping and eating. He doesn’t cry much, and has yet to do so for more than a couple minutes. He’s also able to sleep through conversations being held right beside him, which seems like a good life skill.
Medicine, and especially prenatal medicine, is largely the practice of trading very small risks for even smaller ones. Mothers exercising their imagination can feel enormous stress. I found myself often reassuring my better half that it’s really hard to get many decisions wrong, because everything will almost certainly be fine either way.
I like when doctors demonstrate the limits of their understanding. You know it’s a good conversation when they don’t shy from explaining their level of certainly. In the US, I’m pretty good at getting doctors to talk to me this way, like scientists. In Ukraine, they are generally more authoritarian. For one thing, I’m less fluent, and worse at signalling my capacity for understanding. For another, there’s a lingering authoritarianism in post-Soviet societies. Certainty remains a popular way to signal authority.
We are quite pleased with Kyiv’s Isida Medical Clinic, where I encountered only a little bit of what I mention above. I can imagine American clinics being more refined, but Isida was very professional, clean, friendly, and deferent to our needs.
Today (day 5) Yulia trimmed Danylo’s nails and took off his mittens. Within an hour and a half we could see a remarkable improvement in his dexterity. It was really cool.
Yulia says he sleeps exactly like I do, and took a picture to prove it. I don’t see it.
We bought an array of chairs, bed, and strollers, but so far, the thing we use most often is a cardboard box that Yulia, fearing for his reputation, painted and sewed with cloth and lace.
From what I understand, getting US citizenship is a simple matter done through the US embassy. Should I wait until after the presidential election?
I just met this amazing young women and was complete astounded by the fantastic work her organization is doing to for veterans. I had no idea she was still a teen. Amazing people here. I’m blown away. It was Ukraine’s civil society that defeated Russia’s invasion.
Prior to building the veteran’s organization Probratymy, she was delivering supplies to the front.
Ukraine’s security service the SBU envisions three scenarios towards which Russia is working: the so-called “Somalia Scenario,” “Little Trojan Horse,” and “Big Trojan Horse.”
The first, and most extreme, refers to the theoretical Russian aim of reducing a pro-Western Ukraine to a failed state. Oleksandr Tkachuk, the SBU’s chief of staff, told VICE News: “This would involve creating political instability, causing the gradual disintegration of government structures, emphasizing different grievances among the population, and disrupting all aspects of political, economic and social life.”
Under the “Little Trojan Horse” scenario, rebel-held territories would be re-absorbed into Ukraine’s political sphere, allowing them to influence policy in Kiev and block Ukraine from further integration with European and Atlantic structures. Such a veto “could make Ukraine a grey zone between Europe and Russia,” said Tkachuk.
“Big Trojan Horse” refers to a restoration of the political regime of former President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted during the Maidan Revolution in 2014. “There is a risk that the pendulum could swing the other way,” said Tkachuk. “Some politicians that were close to Yanukovych are still quite active. A proportion of the population sympathizes with these people and there is growing dissatisfaction with current leaders who are unable to deliver what they promised before the revolution. Russia wants to restore these politicians to power and install a regime favorable to the Kremlin.”
The International Crisis Group uncovered similar evidence. It carried claims from a number of separatists that their Russian counterparts had cited “a ten-year plan to regain control over Ukraine,” combining “continued destabilization of the east” as well as economic and political pressures. . . .
The report, which VICE News has seen, suggests that a network of top rebel chiefs and high-ranking Ukrainian officials had joined forces to run a fuel-smuggling cartel operating across the frontline. Lyamin also names a number of Ukrainian fuel companies which, he says, have been granted access to these black market energy supplies. . . .
Surkov, a shadowy figure and Kremlin ideologue, often characterized as the Rasputin of modern-day Russia, oversees Ukraine’s rebel regions on Putin’s behalf and is said to refer to Moscow’s separatist proxies there as his “wards.” According to an LNR insider, Surkov’s secret visits to Luhansk in the past have been accompanied by city-wide cellphone blackouts, serving both as an extreme security precaution and a means of preventing leaks of confidential information. . . .
I think I just played for the first time with my soon-to-be-born son. He kicked in response to my voice about ten times. Then took a break, then resumed the game a little later.
ps – Is it okay to post something so innocent and sincere alongside the caustic political and philosophical stuff I usually post? lol.
The Kremlin accused Germany of “covering up reality in a politically correct manner for the sake of domestic politics” the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl identified only as Lisa.
The student from Berlin-Marzahn was reported missing on January 11. She resurfaced 30 hours later and filed a police report claiming to have been abducted by three men at a railway station in eastern Berlin, Russian government officials claim.
Lisa, the child of Russian immigrants in Berlin, says she was taken to an apartment where she was “beaten and sexually assaulted” by men speaking “broken German”.
Russia, as is frequently the case, is on both sides. What Russia wants is conflict. It doesn’t matter between whom. Here is a story about Russia security services pushing migrants into Finland: http://yle.fi/uutiset/russian_border_guard_to_stt_russian_security_service_behind_northeast_asylum_traffic/8620174