‘What now for Ukraine’?

By Tuesday, December 3, 2013 1 Permalink

I confess I have a soft spot for Ukraine. It is a beautiful and awe inspiring country which has given both the world and me a great deal. My trip there was a turning point in my life. It is a complex nation and deserves a lot more than the current violent upheaval. The shocking protests in Kiev, which we have seen in recent days, highlight the huge chasm between the interests of national parties and those of its people.  Something which is quite apparent in many countries - Ukraine is not peculiar in this. The Eurosceptics have heralded the rejection of the agreement by President Yanukovich as a victory for their camp. It clearly isn't, and to me shows how people can protest so ardently in favour of joining and being part of the EU. Russia say it is a victory for them. It isn't. Threats to a former Soviet state are an unfair ...

‘Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting’!

By Sunday, October 28, 2012 2 Permalink

So, it is that time of year again when we humans see fit to manipulate the time and turn the clocks back an hour so the UK is on GMT. It is my guilty admission that I do have a bizarre mental block when it comes to changing the clocks, Papa used to go round the house before bedtime to ensure that all the clocks and watches had been changed, and would, year after year try to explain it to me. I could never even remember whether we turned them back or forward and it was Mama who would always say that little mnemonic to me,' Spring forward, fall back'. One thing we all agreed upon was, that it was madness and made very little common sense. Disproportionately dark evenings, beginning at 16h in the afternoon means higher energy bills for everyone lighting and heating their homes and workplaces. It causes danger to those ...

Ra Ra Rosneft, Russia’s greatest company!

However little faith I have for Britain's government I am at least safe in the knowledge they do not manipulate big business and have conflicts of interest which shape the entire economy and political system as Russia does. Though I am sure they wish they were that influential! Rosneft has bought out BP 's 50% stake in TNK-BP for a tidy sum of $27 billion. Nice for BP and nice for Rosneft, but is it good for Russia? It comes after months of wheeler dealing and chitter chatter amongst all parties and the Russian government but I am not so sure it spells good things for Russia as a whole. Modern Russia likes to portray to the world an economy ripe for investment and a nation ready to conduct legitimate business. The reality, if we look at this deal in particular, is far from that fantasy. BP's main reason for wishing to extricate themselves from TNK ...

Russians, knickers, crosses and pop-stars

By Sunday, August 12, 2012 0 Permalink

Well, that got your attention. As the comedian Sean Lock described Twitter once  'for people who can't shut up, even when they are on their own'! However, there has been a bitchy but somewhat understandable onslaught on the continuing embarrassment that is Madonna which all started on Twitter So here it is - As a pop star she is good enough, but like many of her ilk, she goes too far in political exhibitionism and interfering in matters which do not concern her. Dimitry Rogozin (Дмитрий Олегович Рогозин) one of the Deputy PMs of Russia is clearly not a fan. Take off your cross or put your knickers on was, I think a rough translation of his thought process after she backed the Pussy Riot defendants in the high profile case in Russia. I think it is a very apt way of trying to shut her up actually. The Pussy Riot trial in Russia has gained much media attention worldwide and to most outside Russia it seems an absurd ...