The decision Russia made to send military force to Crimea worries many Taiwanese. Taiwan Explore, a blogger who devoted to introducing Taiwan, explained the parallels between Taiwan and Ukraine and why many Taiwanese feel worried about themselves when they watch the news about Ukraine these days.
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The popular Maidan Translations blog republished a Facebook post by Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Ukrainian Center for Military-Political Studies, that describes several alleged international violations and “irregular actions” since late February 2014. Tymchuk begin this run-down by saying:
For instance, on February 28, at 8.45 a.m. the flight of more than 10 military helicopters was monitored by the technical observation post located on the cape of Takil from the direction of the Russian Federation to Ukraine.
Three helicopters (two KA-27 and one Mi-8) landed at the Kacha airport and passed through the border and customs established procedures according to an application made preliminarily. The rest of the helicopters came down near the airport; herewith, there was no answer received on the border detail chief’s appeal concerning the necessity of passing the established formalities by these helicopters, which arrived without a preliminary made application in violation of relevant agreement.
The chief of the border detail of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine made a statement of Ukrainian border violation by aforementioned helicopters.
As anti-government protests that started on November 21, 2013, burden Ukrainian life today, a vintage photo blog takes a look back on another harsh period of the country's history – through 52 amazing color photographs [photo] of everyday life in Ukraine in 1942.
In 1942, like many other European countries, Ukraine was under Nazi occupation. As InfoUkes reminds readers:
Hitler appointed the Nazi philosopher Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1946) head of the Ostministerium (East Ministry) in charge of administering the territory of Ukraine. Before the war Rosenberg was pro-Ukrainian and anti-Muscovite (Russian). He planned to establish a Greater Ukraine state taking territory from Western Russia. However, Hitler had a different idea. He thought Ukrainians should get no preferential treatment and personally appointed Erich Koch to rule Reichskommissariat Ukraine (eastern Ukraine) with an iron fist.
Koch, as a member of the superior German Herrenvolk master race, started a reign of terror and oppression in Ukraine. Koch often said that the Ukrainian people were inferior to the Germans, that Ukrainians were half-monkeys, and that Ukrainians “must be handled with the whip like the negroes.” He once said that “no German soldiers would die for these niggers [Ukrainians].”
The photos on Vintage Everyday, however, show a different side of the story. However cruel the times, people have a tendency to do everything in their power to lead normal lives, even in a Nazi-occupied Ukraine and with World War II raging on all fronts.
Ucrainica Marginalis published an overview of the four largest misconceptions about #Euromaidan, written by scholars Sofiya Grachova & Stephen A. Walsh. What this overview points out is the vast gap between how international media and outside spectators view what is happening and the message that Ukrainians involved in Euromaidan protests are trying to get across to their government and the world.
Listed as the largest misconceptions are:
Misconception #1: Ukraine is divided between east and west.
Misconception #2: Ukrainian protests are about joining the EU.
Misconception #3: Protest forces in Ukraine are dominated by the far right.
Misconception #4: The protests should cease immediately and give way to negotiations between the regime and the leaders of opposition political parties.
In Ukraine, several filmmakers united to produce a video chronology of the events that came to be known as the Euromaidan protests. “BABYLON'13″, named after a bar in which the filmmakers came up with the idea for the project, is a collection of short documentaries reflecting the development of the mass protests and particular incidents during the rallies.
On January 16, 2014, Ukrainian Parliament adopted a series of bills with a severe violation of the voting procedure. Nevertheless, on the eve of the same day the bills were signed into law by President Yanukovych.
Below is an infographic by civic movement CHESNO [uk, en] outlining the major legislative initiatives valid as of January 17, 2014.
Scholars and researchers of the Russian Internet can rejoice this week, for Russia's leading search engine, Yandex.ru, is now the second website in the world, after Bing in the United States, to gain access to Facebook firehose data [ru]. This means that Yandex can now search Facebook's streaming API and provide live results for all public posts. The new deal with Facebook is limited to users based in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Currently, only Yandex's blogs-specific search feature is capable of returning Facebook results, but the company's spokesperson told TechCrunch on January 13, 2014, that Yandex hopes to incorporate Facebook links in its general Internet search results soon.
Vasyl Pawlowsky, an independent consultant and English-language curator of Maidan Monitoring, a website set up and maintained specifically for following events and news from Euromaidan protests in several cities throughout Ukraine, reports in a blog post that the crowdsourced site is not available due to a DDoS attack, allegedly organized by authorities wanting to stop such information flow regarding the protests.
Pawlowsky also tells of a recent two-day meeting in Karkhiv, dubbed the All-Ukrainian Euromaidan Forum, held by Euromaidan organizers to coordinate activities of the several protest locations throughout the country, but mentions the lack of structure in this coordination:
Форум закінчився . Через годину їдемо на Київ-Львів . Коротенько про головне . Жодної , наголошую ЖОДНОЇ !!! надструктури не було створено ( це принципово ) В Харкові зібралися представники Євромайданів для аналізу ситуації в Україні . Розробили питання безпеки ,координації, комунікації Майданів . Працюємо далі . Слава Харкову ! Слава Україні !
The Forum is over. In an hour we are driving form Kyiv-Lviv. Shortly about the most important. No, and I emphasize NO!!! overseeing structure was created (in principle). In Kharkiv the representives of the Euromaidans to analyze the situation in Ukraine. To develop matters of security, coordination and communication of the Maidans. We continue our work. Glory to Kharkiv! Glory to Ukraine!
One of many newly set up blogs following Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, which have entered their second month, has collected several graphic images of injured, bleeding protesters from the past several weeks of protests and speaks of the disturbing violations of basic human rights, such as beatings of citizens and journalists in Ukraine during the peaceful rallies. This blog post in particular calls attention to statements from several human rights watchdogs and the fact that, other than several violent police crackdowns on protesters, some participants of the protests are still being held in custody by police:
In December alone, according to Kharkiv Human Rights Group director Yevhen Zakharov, more than 50 journalists were assaulted – mainly by police – including 40 on Dec. 1 alone, when a large rally erupted in central Kyiv in response to a violent police crackdown on Independence Square the day before. [...]
Despite an amnesty law in force concerning EuroMaidan protesters, four activists remain in custody for taking part in rallies, according to Kharkiv Human Rights group member Halya Coynash. She identifed the four as Yaroslav Prytulenko, Andriy Dzyndzya, Viktor Smaliy and Volodymyr Kadura.
On December 18, 2013, American musician and composer Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono) shared a photo on his Facebook wall, depicting a pianist playing John Lennon's famous song “Imagine” to the rows of Ukrainian riot police. In a week, the photo has gathered over 16,900 likes and has been shared over 6,100 times.
The artistic action that took place in Kyiv, Ukraine, during ongoing EuroMaidan rallies. It was conceptualised and implemented by non-partisan activists of the group called Euromaidan's Civic Sector [uk].
According to her official website, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has officially joined the Maidan Civil Movement, a newly formed civilian organization stemming from the Euromaidan movement, just as the protest that began in Ukraine in November 2013 enters its second month.
Tymoshenko, jailed in 2011 for allegedly “exceeding authority”, is considered by many around the world to be a political prisoner, while Ukrainians are divided on their opinions of her. Most Ukrainian citizens condemned her imprisonment in 2011, some claiming that the current regime's only reason for doing so was to remove her from politics after current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych won the 2010 presidential election, with Tymoshenko as his opponent in the run-off round, by just 3.5 percent.
In a YouTube video posted by Ukrainian Channel 5 and released on Tymoshenko's official site, the founders announce the new Maidan Civil Movement's inception before thousands of protesters gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square:
Tymoshenko's photograph has been gracing many posters and billboards related to the Euromaidan protests in recent weeks, and the jailed former prime minister's daughter has recently, along with other supporters, demanded the immediate release of her mother amid the growing anti-government demonstrations in the country. Other protesters are requesting that Tymoshenko's image be removed from any Euromaidan-related visual materials, not explicitly against Tymoshenko's person and image, but rather as a continuous request by the civilian movement to keep the protests unrelated to any political party or figure.
A recent post titled “Yulia Tymoshenko Isn't Who You Think She Is”, Policymic.com explains Tymoshenko's role in the country and the on-going protests:
Ongoing protests are not about Tymoshenko. Although, how she was treated has further undermined people's trust in the president and his regime, and this is reflected in their calls to keep politics (existing slogans of political opposition) out of Maidan. As an example, a petition was recently started on Avaaz to remove her portraits from the infamous Christmas tree. Currently, people see existing political opposition, including Tymosehko's “Fatherland” party, as part of the political problem rather than its solution. However, as of yet, the civil society is unable to offer new leaders of their own. A workable solution will have to come from their collaboration, but an effective recipe has yet to be found.
Below is the English translation of the full original statement:
Digital Euromaidan Manifesto
We, the Ukrainian Internet users united by Euromaidan principles of non-violent resistance state:
In the digital age, when Internet becomes the main source of information for millions of Ukrainian citizens and no one is able to limit the users with physical borders, the attempts of Ukrainian government to prevent the development of the society and force us to live in the age of television are bound to fail. The development of our society outruns the burnout of current government with its derogatory treatment of citizens. In a digital age it is impossible to hide one’s incompetence, fraud and corruption. In a digital age using brutal physical force becomes one’s condemnation. We will keep reminding about it. We will remember.
- To encourage citizens to participate in the protests demanding the prosecution of those responsible for the brutal crackdown on Nov. 30 rally and the resignation of the government;
- To continue providing comprehensive coverage of protests and acts of civil disobedience in Ukraine;
- To counter information attacks by the Ukrainian Presidential Administration and the Kremlin against the participants and ideas of Euromaidan done through media outlets controlled by the government;
- To stick to ethical principles and avoid publicizing unconfirmed, provocative and sensational information.
We are convinced that:
- The future of Ukraine depends on the efforts of every one of us;
- Our strength lies in unity and openness to the world and innovations;
- Significant portion of Ukrainian Internet is in solidarity with the values of Euromaidan.
- The attempts of the government to turn people’s attention away from Euromaidan’s demands to prosecute those guilty of using force on Euromaidan;
- Any attempts to manipulate public opinion;
- Biased coverage of Euromaidan by some Ukrainian and Russian media outlets.
We respect different opinions and are ready to engage with our opponents by the way of facts and reason. We will continue taking part in the acts of civil disobedience both on Euromaidan itself and in the informational space.
Together till victory! Glory to Ukraine! #євромайдан
Kyiv. December 19, 2013
Amidst ongoing Euromaidan rallies throughout Ukraine, repeat elections have been held in five troubled single-mandate constituencies in the country, where results could not be confirmed during the 2012 Parliamentary election.
In order to increase the transaprency of the electoral process, a non-government organization, Civil Network OPORA [uk, en] is preparing to live stream the process of establishing election results at the five respective District Election Commissions. This is how the organization describes it on their website:
Attention! At 8:30 pm, online streaming from every of 5 district election commissions (223, 94, 197, 194, and 132) will be organized by Civil Network OPORA. Voters, observers, and journalists will be able to monitor the receipt of protocols of precinct election commissions in 5 problematic districts and record the results of count. [...]
The streaming will be available at the site of Civil Network OPORA: www.oporaua.org
What most media and people following the recent developments in Ukraine know as “pro-EU” or “anti-Russian” protests after the Ukrainian government backed out of a historical agreement with the European Union that was to bring Ukrainians one step closer to Western Europe, are in fact protests that seem to have been in the making for the past several years.
In terms of corruption, Ukraine ranks 144th out of 177 countries, tying with Nigeria, Iran and the Central African Republic on that list. Dissatisfaction and outrage runs deep among Ukrainian citizens, many of whom were, according to a recent study, ready to leave the country to improve their living standards. Sophia Opatska, CEO of the Lviv Business School, explains in detail on the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) Knowledge@Wharton website why the people of Ukraine are taking action and demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government:
In the last couple of years, Ukraine has been in a recession. Although the current government outlined plans to make improvements and reforms, only a small number of people close to the president’s family has experienced any benefits.[...]
Meanwhile, small- and medium-sized businesses have constantly felt intense pressure from tax departments, while reports have surfaced about corruption in state administrations and the courts. The country suffers from low levels of investment, a small number of new business projects and an out-of-date economic structure.[...]
At the same time, the system of social justice in Ukraine is in tatters. On the night of November 30, Ukrainian authorities used brutal violence against a group of students and young people who had been peacefully demonstrating against the government’s U-turn decision. This shows how Ukrainians’ personal security is not assured and citizens can easily be humiliated by the authorities. During the last 22 years of Ukrainian independence, there have been many political games, agreements and trade-offs between parties and politicians, but these social boundaries were not crossed.
On November 30, Ukrainians woke up in a new country. Social media and smartphones allowed us to see the cruelty and violence perpetrated by the authorities, and civil society reacted immediately, with nearly half a million people staging a peaceful demonstration in Kiev the next day. This enormous support came as a surprise to the authorities and opposition leaders.
Volunteer translators following the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine have organized on Facebook, setting up pages like Maidan Needs Translators and Euromaidan Translators where urgent news from the protests that require translation to reach a wider international audience are shared and Euro-Maidan As It Is, where translated content is published.
The translators also provide content for counterpart English-language pages Euromaidan in English, Euromaidan Updates in English and Euromaidan News and Analysis [uk, en]. The process is very decentralized with volunteers not only carrying out translations but also suggesting fresh content.
Description on Maidan Needs Translators page reads:
Looking for those who are willing to translate for us and native speakers to proof-read. All help will be appreciated!
The pages that coordinate translations gathered hundreds of likes in just the first two days. Throughout the mass Euromaidan rally of December 8, Facebook volunteers played an important role, offering real-time translations of important news and developments.
As anti-government Euromaidan protests enter their forth week in Ukraine, representatives of Ukrainian civil society are calling on leaders of the European Union, the US and their law enforcement agencies and financial institutions to investigate alleged incidences of corruption and money laundering by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son, Oleksandr Yanukovych.
The data collected by activists has been presented in infographics published recently on http://www.yanukovich.info/.
Their open appeal on the website reads [en, uk]:
We believe that authoritarian regime of President Viktor Yanukovych has been fueled by proceeds of corruption laundered via the international financial system through the network of shell-companies and professional intermediaries. We reckon as unacceptable the usage of the international financial system to support the Yanukovych regime, which violently disperses peaceful demonstrations, organizes bloody beating of armless people, and kangaroo courts, that throw them later in jail.
There has been a series of cyber attacks on Ukrainian government websites after police brutally dispersed peaceful Euromaidan protests in Kyiv in support of Ukraine's European integration on November 30. On December 1, many of the government websites in Ukraine were hacked and blocked [uk], including the official website of the President of Ukraine, Ministry of Interior of Ukraine and the official Government portal. As of 10:00 am CET, December 1, the Presidential website and the website of the Ministry of Interior's were still down, while the Government portal is accessible again.
As Global Voices reported, this is not the first time tech-savvy Ukrainian citizens have demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the Ukrainian government by disabling its websites or leaking government information.
It may seem to many that the #Euromaidan protests in Ukraine grew out of nowhere and overnight, but this is not the case. There is a long history behind the protests and the government's decision to back out of what was supposed to be a historical and significant move toward EU integration was only the last straw for the citizens of Ukraine.
A blogger based in Lviv, Ukraine, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the several elements involved in inciting the protests that started in Kyiv on November 21, 2013 and are now in their second week. In the post titled “Who is behind the Ukrainian protest? A letter from Lviv”, he summarizes:
So, what you should know .
1. Ukrainian market in depended of Russia and Russia wants to absorb such depended markets. So, to save sovereignty of Ukraine (at least more or less) we need to diversify this dependence. And this automatically means more collaboration with EU.
2. The protests are so massive because of real support and euphoria (people didn’t know they still can protest). But that time the opposition wants to use the protests to achieve its own profit.
3. Not all Ukrainians support EU-integration. Those who don’t support don’t know any truth about situation in Greece or in Spain; they just like Russia or they are afraid of homosexuals (Russian propaganda like to intimidate that EU means legal homosexual marriage etc). But frankly speaking those who support EU mostly don’t know much more (I mean about Greece etc).
4. This data: 44% for European Union; 33% for Custom Union.
5. The main interest of both Yanukovych and opposition leaders is victory on 2015 presidential elections.
Створив інтерактивну карту #Євромайдан з усіма містами які брали участь. Будь ласка поширте та давайте знати що упустив
[I] set up an interactive #Євромайдан map with all cities that participated. Please share and let me know what I have missed.
At the time of writing this post the map has grown substantially, with users adding protest sites across Ukraine, in the EU and the US.
As Global Voices reported, the protests dubbed “Euromaidan” [#євромайдан] erupted on November 21, 2013, after the Ukrainian government announced it was suspending the preparations for signing a EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, a historic deal that would secure the post-Soviet country's European integration.
Watcher.Com.Ua reports [uk] that hackers representing themselves as members of the Anonymous group have hacked into one of the servers of Ukraine's customs officials, leaking a number of documents pertaining to the operations of Danube and Black Sea marine customs. In particular, the group stated [en] the following:
Inside you will find much [fun information] related to illegal operations with oil and gas, corruption schemes and also much good edible [intelligence] all related to corruption in Ukraine government controlled marine cargo operations, bribes and [government] kickbacks.
Internet users have questioned the authenticity of the files since they are not electronic versions, but photographs of documents. Some have suggested that the server was not really hacked, but instead that someone inside Ukrainian Customs has leaked these files to Anonymous.
With unemployment and economic concern growing in the European Union, Hungary is among some of the EU member states being criticized by its Union neighbors for more lenient laws passed in 2011 for attaining Hungarian citizenship. Charles Richardson explains why on Crikey's blogs:
Hungary has been giving some grief to its neighbors with a new law that allows people to claim Hungarian citizenship if they have (a) a direct ancestor who was a Hungarian citizen and (b) a basic knowledge of the Hungarian language. Apparently the latter requirement is being leniently interpreted.[...]
Two things make this more controversial than it might sound. One is that substantial chunks of Hungary’s neighbors were, at times in the last century, Hungarian territory. That means that a lot of Serbs, Slovaks, Romanians and Ukrainians are potential claimants, and it may make some of those neighbors worry about whether Hungary’s leaders have really given up the dream of recreating the “Great Hungary” that existed prior to 1920.[...]
The BBC reports that more than half a million people have taken advantage of the new law since it came into effect at the beginning of 2011, with about 100,000 from Serbia alone.
“We are announcing the closure of the branch FEMEN Belgium. We took this decision unanimously because of different views upon the internal organization of the international movement FEMEN. We have no regrets, we conducted our actions with sincerity. We will continue the fight, there is no question about that, but we will do it in a different way. Vive la Révolution !”
This is the message the Belgian Femen group left on their facebook page on September 9th in English and French, and on the 10th in Flemish. For now the reasons of these “different views” seem unclear. What will be the next episode in the Femen quest to get a unified voice accross the globe?
FEMEN confirms its break with the Tunisian activist Amina Tyler because of differences of opinion on tactics in the Islamic countries (…) FEMEN calls for new heroines who are able to fight for their courage to shake the rotten foundation of Islamist world. Freedom for women of the East!”
Amina published another topless picture on the Femen's website on August 15th, before expressing her decision to leave the movement. All this turmoil does not really help a clearer reading of Femen's objectives.
On May 21, YouTube user Yevgeni Melnik shared this video of a group of four anonymous Georgian men doing an impromptu performance of traditional Georgian singing and dancing at Terminal F of Kiev Boryspil International Airport. The video has gone viral among Ukrainian Internet users: as of May 28, it has been watched 47,450 times.
Ukrainian blogger Olena Bilozerska's User Winner prize in the Bobs 2013 Best Blog Ukrainian nomination has been revoked, writes [ru] Mustafa Nayyem, the Ukrainian member of the Bobs 2013 jury, on his Facebook page, linking [ru] to the official statement [uk] posted on the Bobs 2013 website. The scandal (more on it in this GV text) seems far from being over in Ukraine, however, as many netizens are displeased with the decision. Nayyem's Facebook announcement has generated over 150 comments so far, many of them critical of the contest organizers in general and Nayyem in particular. In one of the few English-language comments in that thread, Andreas Umland, a Kyiv-based German political scientist, writes:
Reporters Without Borders condemns the sudden change of management at the opposition TV station TVi, announced three days ago, and is disturbed to learn that ensuing internal disputes have resulted in broadcasting being suspended. [...]
April 26, 2013, marks the 27th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Andriy Pryimachenko of peredova.com has created a video transcript [ru] of the audio recordings of the conversations that took place shortly after the blast between the dispatchers of the plant's firefighting unit and other firefighting dispatchers and officials. On his Korrespondent.net blog, Ivan Mateyko comments [uk] on this “most horrifying phone talk of the 20th century”:
[...] Hard to guess what these people were thinking back then and whether they knew how serious the situation and its possible consequences were, but the horror in their voices is evident. [...]
This month, Rob Martineau, Tom Stancliffe, and Guy Hacking are running 1,000 miles from Odessa to Dubrovnik, via Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Croatia, as part of the Run For Love 1000 campaign, whose aim is to raise funds for Love146, a UK charity that “gives care and hope to trafficked children, and to raise awareness of the scale of human trafficking across Europe.” Follow their run on the RFL1000 website, on Facebook, and on Twitter; support the runners by donating here (215 donations have been made so far, with nearly £12,500 raised).