Critical, but not Serious: Latvian Russophones in the Shadow of Ukraine

Ivars Ījabs

A few of my international friends have asked me about the attitudes of Latvian Russophones towards the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Do they support the Kremlin’s policy? What do they think about Putin? Would they support any similar action towards Latvia and other Baltic countries? The context of these questions, of course, is the political stability in Latvia. Taking into account the cultural proximity of most Latvian Russophones to Russia as well as their habits of media consumption, concerns about their behavior in a situation of geopolitical instability are quite legitimate. In this blog entry I will try to provide some answers about these attitudes on the basis of recent opinion polls. These answers do not sum up to any definite results about ‘loyalty’ or ‘disloyalty’ of Russophones towards the Latvian state. However, they provide some insights about how Russophones see the Ukrainian situation and about possible developments in the…

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Annonser

Россияне, заберите свою гражданскую войну из Украины

It’s hard to see the silver lining. It’s difficult to see the end of this ridiculous, good-for-nothing conflict brought into Ukraine by Putin and his blood-thirsty gangs. The terror we survive each day, in the middle of Europe, in 21 century when so many things were supposed to be so much better, people so much kinder and so much more aware of injustices… It’s hard to dream and wish for anything other than peace. To not dread the news each morning, to not cry over photos of dead Ukrainian boys who only a year ago knew no other violence than that in their video games… All the fathers, sons and brothers lost, fighting to keep their country in tact, their cities whole and families safe. Fighting against those we’ve always considered brothers and friends, still in disbelief that they could so easily stab us in the back… I pray for peace, for Ukraine, for Syria, for everyone who is suffering…

КРЫМский бандеровец

Небольшая подборка видеосюжетов за последние несколько дней, доказывающая, что войну в Украине развязали россияне на российские деньги с российским оружием и российскими солдатами и наёмниками. Вы пришли в мою страну убивать, грабить, пытать и насиловать. Пощады вам не будет.

Я знаю, что никому и ничего не докажу этим видео. Все давно всё понимают, а тот, кто не понимает, просто не хочет этого делать, ведь не в его дом ворвались ублюдки олигофрены убивать и мародёрствовать. Не его дом олигофрены расстреливают просто для картинки российского ТВ, чтоб потом обвинить бандер. НО! Никакое зло в этом мире не останется без наказания и расплата будет в десятки раз превосходить ту боль, которую вы принесли в мою страну. Это Божий закон, прочтите Библию, православные вы наши…

Будет уместным дать ссылку на письмо в моём блоге от беженки и моей постоянной читательницы из Енакиево (там тоже есть видеодоказательства российской агрессии против Украины) https://crimeaua1.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/%D0%BE%D1%82-%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE-%D0%B2%D1%8B-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%81-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B8%D1%89%D0%B0%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5-%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D0%B8%D0%B7-%D0%B5%D0%BD/

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Я хочу, чтобы ВЕСЬ МИР знал, как росия поступает со своими героями

КРЫМский бандеровец

Однажды президент соседей на одной из своих телевизионных встреч с избирателями сказал, что Вторая мировая война была бы закончена с тем же исходом и без Украины. То-есть, росия сама могла бы выиграть войну значительно быстрее, эффективнее и профессиональнее, если бы не мешала Украина. Вот такая героическая страна.
Сегодня путин обиделся. Лавров заявил на весь мир о том, что слова Гжегожа Схетыны « Первый украинский фронт и украинцы освободили Освенцим» являются циничными и кощунственными.
Росия уже давно пропагандирует, что упоминание того, что в Великой Отечественной войне участвовали Украина и Беларусь- кощунственно. И что в этой войне погибло больше всего украинцев- цинично.
Говорить о том, что 3 Белорусских и 4 Украинских фронта выигрывали эпохальные сражения- безнравственно по отношению к отсутствию хотя бы одного Росийского фронта. Были Брянский, Орловский, Дальневосточные, Ленинградский, Курский…. Но Российского не было ни одного. Наверное, потому что уже тогда Украина и Беларусь по значимости приравнивались к Курску или Орлу.

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‘A Letter in My Purse’: From Slain Poet Shaimaa El-Sabbagh

RIP to all the young talented people we seem to lose each day. Are the best ones leaving soonest?

Arabic Literature (in English)

Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, the activist who was shot dead at a rally in Tahrir Square yesterday, was also a poet:

A letter in my purse

By Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, trans. Maged Zaher
————————–
I am not sure
Truly, she was nothing more than just a purse
But when lost, there was a problem
How to face the world without her
Especially
Because the streets remember us together
The shops know her more than me
Because she is the one who pays

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A little prayer

My original plan for this blog was to write about all the things Ukrainians are good at, and while that is still my main wish, I find it hard to describe the great things, as I fear none of it might even exist considering the current situation. To save the world from another negative outburst, I’ve decided to write a little affirmation, a dream for Ukraine and her future.

This beautiful land of forests, steppes and fields, tall mountains, rivers and seas. Her wonderful life-giving soil, with plenty of patient hardworking hands to toil. Her perfect climate with clear four seasons to enjoy nature’s best features. Harmonious society with blooming culture, appreciation for history and traditions as much as for innovation and science. Different people living in harmony and appreciation of each other’s differences. Religious beliefs are merely a personal preference and have no influence on the society or politics. Ethical business practices, ecological production and innovation are the center pillars of the economy. The laws are just and simple to follow. Mutual respect and ethics are the base of the social order. An indisputable member of the European community with well protected human rights and high levels of social activism.

I pray for peace, for ways to find wisdom and forgiveness for those who’ve hurt us, and to move forward, no matter how painful or impossible it might feel in the beginning. I pray for people to stay impervious to hate and despair, to stay focused on the one main idea: prosperous, happy and peaceful Ukraine. Let it be so.

The long road to democracy and freedom

In view of current unending events in Ukraine’s eastern regions, I thought it would be fun to tell about one of the Ukrainian leaders, who happened to be the author of the first modern European Constitution. Pylyp Orlyk was a Hetman-in-exhile who devoted his life to establishing an independent Ukrainian-Zaporozhian state. He sided with the Swedish king Karl XII in order to free Ukraine from the constant attacks of its Eastern neighbor, Muscovy.

The Agreements and Constitutions of Laws and Freedoms of the Zaporizian Host  was the first of its kind as it clearly separated the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power in a state. In addition to delineating the clear limits on the executive powers of a Hetman (Head of state) this Constitution also established a democratically elected Cossack parliament called the General Council.

File:Pylyp-orlyk-constitution-1710.jpg

Peace and equal right to all!

The melting pot

Ukraine is wonderfully multiethnic, multinational, multilingual and multicultural, which is not at all strange, given her central location between the East and the West. This location, unfortunately, has ofter been the source of trouble for Ukraine and her people. Invaded by Mongol-Tatar, Polish & Lithuanian, Russian, Turkish, French, Swedish, German, you name it!, armies, it’s no wonder there is no such thing as a ”pure” Ukrainian ethnicity. Nevertheless, 78% of the population consider themselves to be Ukrainians, while Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Poles, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Jews comprising the main minority groups. All in all there are over 100 nationalities (ethnicities) represented in Ukraine, all living in comparative harmony, intermarrying, having lovely children and trying to make a living in the not so easy economic situation.

Being the result of such intermixing myself (Ukrainian-Polish-Jewish), I have always considered Ukrainians to be open-minded and accepting of other cultures, and I have luckily never encountered any events that would convince me otherwise. That said, I do realize Ukraine is not perfect and there are definitely idiots (as there are in every country), which make life unpleasant for those looking/acting/talking differently, and such acts should not be tolerated. I believe in treating people with respect until their attitude or actions tell me otherwise. The color of their skin or the language they speak, or the gods they pray to, have very little influence on my opinion of them. Their behavior and actions do.

Recent events in Ukraine, and especially the Russian involvement in the armed conflict currently happening in some parts of eastern Ukraine, have forced many of Ukraine nationals to reevaluate their understanding of who they are or wish to be. The result is an impressive upswing in the national idea with many forgotten or disregarded symbols getting a second life. This national idea is generally aimed at promoting all things Ukrainian, be it the language, the culture, the manufacturing and production capabilities, inventions, etc. It is NOT aimed at oppressing other cultures or languages, nor at diminishing any rights of the minorities in Ukraine. I find it important to state, that no matter how much the Russian propaganda might claim it,  there have never been any problems for Russian-speakers in Ukraine. Most Ukrainians are both fluent in Russian and still use it daily, myself included. Most of us believe that knowing more than one language is an advantage, and it is therefore both sad and mind boggling to see how far some Russian-speakers are willing to go just to avoid learning Ukrainian. The results of such narrow-mindedness have been all over the news for the past 12 months, with no end in sight…

I believe in happy endings, and I know Ukraine will come out stronger and more united in the end. And we will build a harmonious, just society, where everyone will feel welcome, where everyone can contribute and feel good about it. I know, that much we can.

Cheers, and may peace and inspiration be with you!

In the heart of Europe

Did you know that Ukraine is the largest country in Europe? It is actually larger than France and Sweden! (And no, Russia is not a European country, perhaps slightly geographically, but no). Ukrainian capital is Kyiv (the correct official spelling), but many still only know it as Kiev (I know, people need time to learn, it’s not like it’s been 23 years since the spelling was corrected, oh, wait…)

The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian (no, it’s not the same as Russian, sorry to disappoint, but it is beautiful, melodious and incredibly hard to learn, just ask any of the Russian-speakers born and raised in Ukraine…)

Kyiv is an ancient city with a very exciting history stretching for almost 1600 years. It is lusciously green, romantic and divided in two by the fourth longest river in Europe, Dnipro (aka Dnieper). It is said to have been established by three handsome guys and their beautiful sister from Scandinavia, and I can really see why they chose this spot!

I will round off for now and I promise to keep my anti-Russian rants to a minimum (although who can blame me, really?)

Cheers, may peace be with you!