Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (presentation)

    1st March 2015

    Presentation about Ukraine

    • Goal: general introduction of Ukraine.
    • Target audience: German and international students, including PhD students.
    • Duration: approximately 25-30 minutes.
    • Presented: January, 16, 2015, in Canossa, Universität des Saarlandes, Campus, 66123 Saarbrücken, Deutschland, during the Ukrainian Evening (Landerabend Ukraine).
    • Presentation planning group: Dima Panfilenko (Landerabend organizer), Bogdan Tokovenko, Varvara Obolonchykova, Zarema Ibragimova, Ivan Pryvalov.
    • Slides: Dima Panfilenko (initial version of tourism slides and text), Bogdan Tokovenko (all the other slides/text and final tourism slides/text).
    • Useful feedback and criticism: Varvara Obolonchykova.

    Презентація про Україну

    1st slide
    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (v5 slides, PDF)
    1st slide with notes
    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (v5 slides with notes and extra information, PDF)

    You can also download slide notes as a text file.
    Original PowerPoint presentation file is available on request.
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    Posted in Kyiv, Life, Society, Ukraine | No Comments »

    Olaf Sundermeyer’s myth: right-extremists rule in Ukraine

    20th October 2014

    Note: this post was written on the 18th-23rd of May 2014, but was not published at that time. I am publishing it now, after minor edits of tenses used. I think that after Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of August 2014 it is absolutely clear that any prior publications regarding “right extremists” in Ukraine were either paid-for Russian propaganda, or simply insufficient analysis of the situation. It is still worth publishing this short text; consider this a cure for minds with only minor propaganda poisoning.

    On Sunday, the 18th of May, the sad 70th anniversary of Crimean Tatars deportation by the Soviet regime, in Saarbrucken journalist Olaf Sundermeyer was giving a lecture titled “Ukraine: Die rechte Freiheit – Nationalismus und Rechtsextremismus” ( http://www.a3wsaar.de/aktuelles/details/d/2014/04/15/ukraine-die-rechte-freiheit-nationalismus-und-rechtsextremismus/ , or as a PDF).

    I was unable to attend it, but looking at the abstract I felt the need to analyze and criticize the viewpoint Olaf presented. To do so, I went sentence by sentence through the abstract from the link above, picking items I cannot agree with, and providing my arguments.
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    Stopfake.org: journalists fight against pro-war, anti-Ukrainian propaganda in Russian state mass-media

    27th March 2014

    Since December 2013 Russian state mass-media were supporting the former president of Ukraine V. Yanukovych and his criminal, authoritarian kleptocracy.

    Manipulating and distorting facts, and even making up fictitious “events”, Russian state mass-media (and personally Dmitri Kiselyov) tried very hard to depict protesters in the least favorable light possible – as violent gangsters, thugs, fascists, attackers of innocent policemen. (Dmitri Kiselyov, apparently for his fervent propaganda services, was promoted by Putin to become the head of the newly-created Russian state news agency.)

    Russian state mass-media never reported about kidnapped and tortured and murdered protesters, protesters who lost eyes after being shot to the head with rubber bullets, heavily beaten protesters with broken ribs and internal organs rupture.

    They also somehow failed to notice that after the night of November, 30, 2013, the protests were no longer about the EU association treaty, but about the responsibility of those guilty of badly exceeding authority during the night beatings of protesters in Kyiv.

    Further escalation of the crisis and street protests was always the (delayed) consequence of authorities using illegally excessive force against the protesters. After the “Party of regions” tried to basically forbid the entire protest movement with a set of laws in mid-January (while the president-controlled police and prosecutors office were opening hundreds of criminal prosecution cases against the protesters), Euromaidan, out of well-understandable desperation, escalated into open fighting with the now-disbanded “Berkut” special police forces. The Russian propaganda machine was omitting causal events, while depicting the protesters’ response to (unrevealed) oppression, and this was probably the least disgusting technique used.

    Further Yanukovych actions made crystal-clear the primary reason for strong Russian media support: Yanukovych response to the protests was fully coordinated with (and, highly likely, suggested or even ordered by) Moscow. Multiple pieces of evidence support this claim, I’ll only mention two:

    • according to, if I remember correctly, Inna Bohoslovska (member of parliament, the former president’s “Party of regions” faction), every time after tension-decreasing agreements were negotiated and nearly finalized between the former president and opposition leaders (who were representing protesters), the phone call to Moscow followed, after which negotiations were aborted without finalizing any agreements;
    • when the EU officials had a night-long negotiation with Yanukovych, discussing ways out of the crisis, Yanukovych interrupted negotiations to call Putin.

    Clearly, Yanukovych was good for Putin because he was, in fact, a nearly-puppet “president”. Had Yanukovych survived the crisis, the 2015 presidential elections in Ukraine would be as clear and honest as the Crimean referendum, most likely extending Yanukovych presidency for the 2nd term. He could have then followed in the steps of the presidents of Belarus or Kazakhstan (who keep being presidents for many years and even decades). A controllable president of Ukraine was a clear win for Putin, and he didn’t care (and still doesn’t care, of course) about the citizens of Ukraine.

    But I digress, as there is indeed a lot to write on the subject. When the Russian military invasion into Ukraine started at the end of February, Russian mass-media kept generating propaganda; now it had the goal to help Putin gain support inside Russia, to brainwash the citizens of Russian Federation (and, to a certain extent, the Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens who haven’t yet realized that Russian mass-media are poisonous) into believing in (totally ungrounded) scary tales about the hardships and life-threatening conditions of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.

    To counter Russian propaganda, a group of journalists and volunteers created an anti-propaganda, anti-lies website StopFake.org, which collects lies from Russian mass-media and finds materials proving those are indeed lies.

    Rule of thumb: don’t trust Russian media.
    Especially when they are talking about Ukraine.

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    Posted in Society, Ukraine | No Comments »

    Tabachnik-inspired remake of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall

    31st March 2010

    tabachnik.net.ua

    Dmitri Tabachnik is the Minister of education in the new (Yanukovych team) government.
    He is well-known for his anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and for the denial of everything Ukrainian.

    The other day he canceled obligatory Ukrainian language university entrance exams, proving again with his actions that he does intend to enact his phobia of Ukrainian identity.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Posted in Society, Ukraine | No Comments »

    Ukraine hit by influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu)

    31st October 2009

    virusStarting October, 30, there is a 3-week quarantine in all primary and higher bodies of education in Ukraine – to limit the spread of the infection.

    A total of 80k people were registered with respiratory infections (not classified by flu type). Several small samples tested for A/H1N1 (which is the cause of swine flu pandemic) indicate that 30-50% of all cases could be swine flu (with other cases being “seasonal flu” – that is, previously known influenza types and subtypes). It is reported that ~37 died since Monday, with symptoms matching those of swine flu. Most of the statistics come from the Western regions of Ukraine, which were the first to face rapid daily temperatures decrease – which could have been the trigger of massive infections.

    Today I’ve seen a number of people in Kyiv’s underground railway wearing medical face masks (or just pulling their scarfs up to cover noses). Drug stores were literally stormed for anti-virus medications, immune system stimulators, medical face masks, vitamins, etc.

    If not the virus, then panic is definitely in the air. I do not recollect seeing something like that before.

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    Posted in Life, Misc, Society | No Comments »

    debian.org.ua: universal Ukrainian Debian mirror

    15th July 2008

    http://debian.org.ua/ and ftp://debian.org.ua/

    What is on offer (mirrors):

    • backports.org
    • cygwin
    • deb.opera.com
    • debian – stable, testing, sid
    • debian-archive (starting from 1.1!)
    • debian-multimedia
    • installation media (CDs/DVDs)
    • debian-security
    • even debian-volatile is here!

    All this goodness is only 3 hops away from my DSL modem…. (ISP UkrTelecom)

    Gone editing /etc/apt/sources.list :)

    P.S. For non-ukrainian IPs, access might be slow/bandwidth-limited; for Ukrainian IPs, speed might be up to 100MBit/sec.

    Update: some time after publishing this post, debian.org.ua was down for some reason. When it was up, it was serving me packages with a mere 3 kb/sec :( . I found that ftp2.debian.org.ua mirror is faster at the moment.

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    Posted in *nix, Links | No Comments »

    Death on the roads of Ukraine

    19th March 2008

    Ukraine is the most dangerous country in Europe. That is, in terms of road safety and driving culture (or, to be more precise, the lack of both).

    In 2007 in Ukraine, there were over 62 000 road accidents with over 9 000 killed and 77 000 injured.
    This is 20% increase comparing to 2006.
    And this is also almost two people dead from road accidents per 10000 of population, and 16(!) people injured per 10000 of population.
    Based on these numbers, every Ukrainian is (on average) at 0.16% risk of being injured and at 0.02% risk of being killed in a road accident.

    (An increase in the number of new cars sold in 2007 relative to 2006 was 46.1%: from 371000 sold in 2006, up by 171000 to 542000 new cars sold in 2007.)

    On average, road kill accidents take 3-8 times more lives in Ukraine, then in other European countries.

    If you visit Ukraine – watch out for reckless, drunken, stupid, blind, ignorant drivers and violating, unpredictable, dummy pedestrians.

    The further from the Kyiv’s downtown you are – the more watchful you should be.

    This post used the numbers from this press-release (in Ukrainian).

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    Posted in Life, Society | No Comments »