“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”


In December 1922 the travel book “Alexandria” by E.M. Forster was published, shortly after the author received a regretful letter from the publisher. There had been a fire in the warehouse and the entire edition had been burned. Fortunately, it had been insured, and they got a substantial check in compensation. A few weeks later Forster received another letter from the publisher, the books had been found intact, in a cellar which had escaped the flames. This created an awkward situation because of the insurance money and they had taken the only way out, they burned the books deliberately.

No evidence of direct Russian involvement in MH17
. Russia supplied air defense systems to the separatists and sent crews train them. Putin moved from being an effective, sophisticated ruler who ruthlessly uses power to being a dangerous incompetent supporting a hapless insurrection with inappropriate weapons. MH17 likely shot down by pro-Russian rebels by accident.

European political experts think a strong neighbourhood policy and a new European sphere of influence that will provide more security in Europe. Not only airlines are at risk, also merchant ships in the Red Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, Europe should take the lead in the battle against the uncontrolled proliferation of missiles, a convention about anti-aircraft missiles should be agreed with regional powers.




The ‘Great Famine’ – known as the ‘Holodomor’ (Hunger) in the Ukraine – was based on the fear Stalin had that the peasants simply could not be trusted to support his government in Moscow and uphold the revolutionary ideals of the Bolsheviks, between 1932 and 1933 may have resulted in the deaths of nine million people. The famine affected the Ukrainian SSR as well as the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (a part of the Ukrainian SSR at the time).

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has announced it would cancel a price discount for gas supplies to Ukraine. The move follows the overthrow of Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych with whom Gazprom agreed the deal.

As Moldova prepares to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, Russia is stepping up attempts to keep the country in its fold. It has found some willing helpers in the country.

бойцовский клуб

boi2Russian people, on the last day of winter or the first days of spring,  like to indulge themselves in the activities called “mass fights”, burn things that look like crosses and eat pancakes. These activities are well attended, the girls sing and dance to encourage the guys, performers play balalaika and accordions and the local municipalities widely advertise and support it year after year.

The first rule of Fight Club(бойцовский клуб) is: You do not talk about Fight Club…

Next we invade Ukraine!

One though gang

Fifty years ago the rugby team of the Portsmouth Grammar School in Hampshire posed for a photo.

They went their separate ways, but all sixteen members survived the years and returned to update their picture.

They are not as badass as the russian granny who takes brides as hostages. Mock abductions of brides are part of marriage ceremonies across the former Soviet Union. :)




This crazy world

Tentman! He’s not giving much hope to save the world if the world needs it, but at least he’s trying.

The Swiss are asking themselves if the country abandons its status as a tax haven and starts accepting only clean money, whether their prosperity will survive or not.

An 82-year-old woman died after an attack by a toxic bear in Fukushima Prefecture. A Dutch minister was criticised for saying “death is a risk burglars run“. Newark has introduced a bill to require motorists to secure dogs and felines with a seatbelt-like harness if they’re not being transported in crates.

Can an irrational number raised to an irrational power yield a rational result?

= 2

After years of negotiations, Russia officially became a member of the World Trade Organisation. The business daily is particularly interested in the potential benefits for companies in the European Union, which are “Russia’s main trading partner”. More eagerly awaited than the reduction in customs duties, European business communities expect that Russian accession to the WTO will facilitate investment in the country. Russia’s pledge to adhere to more liberal rules could notably facilitate investment in the automobile sector, however, the same will not be true of other sectors that are considered strategic by Moscow, such as raw materials, metals, fertilisers and aerospace. In these business areas Russia will continue to insist that foreign investors can only hold minority stakes in Russian companies.

Big american and european banks are preparing for the worst: the exit of Greece from the eurozone, an army of management consultants and lawyers have been working for weeks on the infinite number of things to do in response to bankruptcy. Tasks range from how to manage riots in the crisis, where the safety of bank employees will be an issue, through to ensuring the stability of the hot lines for advising investors and preparing computer systems to reckon in drachmas.

Mathematically speaking, it can.

The Plastic People of the Universe

Back in time to September 1976, four long-haired youths in Prague and three in Pilsen were standing trial, accused of behaviour that in the judicial jargon of the time was called hooliganism. In truth, the “hooligans” had done quite banal things, but things that the communists considered “disobedience”. These included wearing their hair long, playing their own music, going out with friends for their own amusement and avoiding the rituals required to demonstrate loyalty to the totalitarian regime.

The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends did not put on a spectacular political provocation, and did not intend to remove anyone from power. Their concerts were held in secret, and if there was anything spectacular about them, it was their lack of interest in what was going on in the Czechoslovak state. They just wanted to live their own lives.

The judge the Pussy Riot trial used the same wording and arguments as the courts that tried the “hooligans” in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. This time it was not long hair but shamelessly short skirts.