Mar 062014
 

For a few days I have been absolutely shocked by what was happening in Ukraine and couldn’t do much apart from looking at my news feed. Now, when I am starting to come back to the world of living, I feel some need to say what I think about the reasons for the present conflict. I don’t know too much as I’ve been in the UK all the time, but I am both Russian and Ukrainian, I’ve grown up in Moscow with one of the very common Ukrainian family names and visited Ukraine many times.

  • Russian Government or shortly Putin is to blame for steering people’s fears and for invading Crimea. What saddens me the most is the dishonesty of it all. Soldiers hiding their nationality (but in obvious Russian uniforms!)  Blatant denial and lies in the media. Also the fact that there was a treaty in the 90s over the Ukrainian borders which is now Russia is trying to break. And blaming America all the way for intervening in others business. The fact is that all powerful counties do this and it is time for people of the word to stand up to this disgusting pretence.
  • Western media. When the riots in Kiev started they were so happy on British channels to shout “Ukrainians are against Russia now!” How do you think this would make Russians feel?  I’ve met an artist who said to me something like “How great, Ukrainians are rebelling against your lot now” – almost instead of hello. It felt horrible. People, especially being in minority and living abroad, often perceive the view of they country as the way the locals look at them. Initially BBC and Channel 4 made me totally believe Russian propaganda: that Ukraine is full of neo-Nazis hating everything Russian (and therefore me too).
  • Idiots who proposed to get rid of the second state language. Western Ukrainian language is from the West of the country, it never been spoken by natives of many other regions, including the Crimea (which was given to Ukraine in 50s without any consent of its inhabitants – mind you, it didn’t matter so much as this was just a part of one country). The threat of abolishing their language caused great anger among Russian speaking Ukrainians and you can’t really blame them.
  • Violence during protests. Protesting is fine and in many cases great but why some protesters expect again and again the police to throw chocolates and flowers in return for bricks and Molotov cocktails? Violence leads to even worse violence, situation escalates. I am appalled by the scenes of rioters beating up the police or pushing each other through angry striking crowd, or making people kneel. This is medieval barbarism.
  • Nationalists on all sides. They are always in the wrong. It is limited, primitive view of the word in which one nation is more important than another. This has no future. The only good thing that this conflict may produce is that any government will stay away from Far Right as much as possible, scared by Russia’s over the top reaction to some nazis who joined the riots. There are plenty of nationalists in Russia too: I know because I lived under constant pressure to join them in the 90s. Rather than getting outraged at the idea that “our lot is being beaten up” (as nationalist do) humans should get outraged when anyone on this planet is beaten up.
  • Ambiguity of the international law on regional independence. Why some allowed referendums and some are not? Personally I think splitting countries only increases bureaucracy and nationalistic feelings. But this really should be for locals to decide, isn’t it?
  • Clergy on all sides blessing the guns, calling people martyrs and promising heavens. This divide people by religion and leads to more violence. Remarkable exchange of words happened between Ukrainian and Moscow branches of Russian Orthodox church. Ukrainian side asked Russian one to influence their government in preventing bloodshed. What Moscow church PR person Chaplin (not funny one) said was almost word to word from Hitler speech on annexing Austria. Nation, separated by borders, under threat have right to unite. Ukrainians, do not resist and you won’t be harmed… What this has to do with religion? Or is the church truly inseparable from the government in Russia now? Dark ages are back.

With all the screaming and emotions it is difficult to know what is really going on. I recommend following several different media channels, but also ordinary people in the midst of it. I put more trust to the opinions of wise and educated people.

It is all so sad because normally there is not much barriers between Russians and Ukrainians. There is often a feeling that we should not even belong to different countries. After all, Kiev was the first capital of Russia! But then all humans are brothers too, who left their motherland in Africa some time ago and we all separated to tribes who often don’t want to listen to each other…

What are the lessons? I think the only way to better future is away from nationalism, violence, mass media brainwashing and state-level dishonesty.

The brightest moments of the last few days were when Russia Today presenters expressed their honest views among suffocating propaganda. We do watch this channel from time to time, normally it is full of weird conspiracy theorists but presently it feels like the most aggressive brainwashing I’ve ever seen. Somebody from Ukraine recently said that their propaganda channels are full of lies too…

I do hope the situation de-escalate before it is too late.

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Feb 022014
 

Многие люди, особенно интроверты, предпочитают не ввязываться в ожесточенные дискуссии. Сидеть в уголочке и наблюдать. Но всегда ли должно идти легким путем?
Что, если одно из высказанных мнений вы считаете несправедливым или опасным?

Каждый раз когда мы общаемся, мы посылаем друг другу сигналы. Услышишь один раз: “Ты поступаешь плохо” или “к добру такое не приведет” – и пропустишь мимо ушей. Услышишь десять раз – и задумаешься. Конечно, позитивная реакция, поддержка того мнения, которое вы считаете правильным, тоже помогает. Мы все можем ошибаться, однако человечество в целом стремится к лучшему взаимопониманию и более стабильному оптимальному сосуществованию, поскольку оно выгоднее большинству. Жестокости и неравенство постепенно уходят в прошлое. Можно надеяться, что статистически “правильные” советы возобладают.

Когда разговор идет о вещах серьезных, важно преодолеть себя и высказаться. Будь той каплей, которая может переполнить океан. А то потом будет совесть мучить…

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Jan 302014
 

An art group I’ve helped to create is being treated now as a hunting ground by a religious fundamentalist.  He had patiently waited, he had checked us, he had thought he’s found the most vulnerable one. He made his move. A bible is given, a meeting in his church is arranged.

He has swallowed the bite. He didn’t realise he has been hunted by a serial fanatic-teaser! The game is afoot 🙂

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Jan 062009
 

In Newtown I sometime see mothers taking kids to the Primary school swearing loudly among other parents and kids. I guess its supposed to be OK. Maybe its something wrong with me, but when I hear a person swearing I just feel like they cover themselves in horrible dirt and also are trying to spread it on others around them. I’ve heard in some places of the world you could be fined for swearing in public. Lucky them!

Today me, my kids and their friend were walking back from school when a couple of 11-13 year old boys started swearing at my kids’ friend who walked first and then at all of us. Its third time on the same spot! (awesome view of the valley BTW) The kids from our hill of the High School age must be from those families where they start teaching kids “manners” at Nursery! Curiously, every time this verbal harassment had happened I was caring my kids guitar or violin. Maybe the local children just are feeling jealous because they parents didn’t bother with they music lessons busy drinking & spending on themselves (sorry for harsh words)?

Anyway, that’s not very important. We had snow in Newtown these holidays, hurray! Its only a centimeter but its been here for a couple of days (!) and the landscape looks really great, wintry, although its so slippery to go up and down the steep hills! And the snow sounds so great crunching under the feet – just like I remember it from my childhood.

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 January 6, 2009  Posted by at 16:43 kids, legal issues, moral issues, music, Newtown, winter, xenophobia Tagged with: , , , ,  2 Responses »
Dec 152008
 

Here it is:
http://www.drlaurablog.com

I can’t say I agree with everything she writes but I certainly appreciate how this modern very conservative American “Mary Poppins” tells mothers to return home and take care of it. And I’ve seen her name in some MBTI description of ESTJ! (double benefit for me in reading her blog then). Anyway, she doesn’t like people spending too much time on the Net, so I better go and do something real 🙂

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 December 15, 2008  Posted by at 06:50 good life, kids, moral issues, socionics Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 112008
 

If somebody deliberately tries to offend you, this person puts a burden on his or her conscience and has to live with it for the rest of the life or do something with it (eventually). Not YOU! You walk free. Just try to look at it as a page from a novel you read. And no hard feelings. Just another lesson.

It is obvious the body can’t function well without physical exercise or hard work. Same is the soul. It needs its lessons and exercises too, to grow stronger and better…

Violence will undermine any good course. Look at the rebellious Greeks. Maybe they have a bad government. It doesn’t matter now. People starting violence are always wrong, in my opinion. If you like democracy, you vote for somebody else. Or peacefully propose another solution… If you throw stones at police cars, don’t expect them throw chocolate bars back at you. And this (like protests in Thailand) will damage your country’s economy in bad times thous making everybody’s life even worse. So, it’s very strange to hear about people violently protesting against job cuts or low salaries in such times…

Speaking of so called democracy, its looks like the poor people of tiny car-free island of Sark don’t have any free choice to live their traditional way anymore: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/european-feudalism-finally-ends-as-sark-heads-for-democracy-1061281.html
Billionaire newspaper magnates got their way. Heaven is still the Kingdom, I hope…

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Dec 082008
 

There is a house not far away from ours. Just one more of the simple 70s dwellings. It is the only one (as far as I know) having solar water heating system in the area. And it is BROKEN. I don’t know what had happened but it looks like somebody had thrown a stone at it from the street, breaking this expensive piece of technology and the owners couldn’t afford to (or just didn’t wanted to) replace it. Some people don’t forgive you for being different, be it an accent or solar panels…

Another sad thing, I’ve noticed quite a lot of desperate messaged from artists on the net like “this recession kills me”, “I have to lower my prices for a time being” and so on… Well, somebody actually told me that people may invest in art during depression as its price ought to go up eventually. So, lets hope for the best!

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Bag

Dec 062008
 

She is sitting here in front of me but I can’t see her eyes. I suspect they are triumphant. She’s got the window seat by the table and she put her handbag on the seat next to her. Dark glasses surrounded by unhealthy looking folds of skin, headphones on and knitting something green. Must be in her fifties. And pitiful me trying to find seats for a family of four with two kids so we can have our lunch on the train. No chance here, dear! The bag stays. I see her muttering to herself something. Yes, she is triumphant. How on Earth do I expected to love people? Her, or that rebellious youth, empty eyes, feet on the seat, horrible telephone music as loud as the device can play. I don’t know. Maybe if they told me about their life, they struggle, their hopes, I would.

I think I’m growing to be like that “bag” lady. She is like my mother, full of old scars. Hatred for old, hatred for young. Oh, dear… I really want to be better that this. But is it possible?

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Dec 042008
 

I don’t think free speech exists. We hear from time to time, that it didn’t existed in the Soviet Union, or it doesn’t exist in modern China. Well it doesn’t exist anywhere. Its just a pretense. Lets be honest. If you forbid saying anything offending – that is it. Any strong opinion on important matter can offend the opposite side. So governments, organizations, etc forbid some allegedly “bad” groups of people or individuals to speak on their own behalf. And what does that do? It turns them into martyrs for indecisive people. It shows to those who didn’t make heir opinion yet – the government is afraid that if “baddies” speak, they will take over, that they may actually have Truth on their side. Its so easy to wave your sword at somebody who is not allowed to do so in our “civilized” society. For me its strange, how on Earth you can convince somebody what’s right and what’s wrong if you don’t let other side publicly defend itself?

Of course no viable government will allow open propaganda against itself on the prime time TV. Its understandable. Of course children should be protected from unappropriated content. But why not have a web site (or a radio station) easily accessible for all adults where absolutely anything could be said, any opinion discussed, and where any crazy lunatic could explain his or her point of view (and being praised or remotely”beaten” for that). And then, we WOULD have freedom of speech.

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 December 4, 2008  Posted by at 20:30 Britain, legal issues, moral issues, politics, radio, religion, Russia, tv, USA Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Nov 152008
 

I’ve stumbled upon an interesting photo from 2 or 3 years ago in my archive. Its from a medieval Robin Hood Pageant in Nottingham where different times and cultures meet. Not at all that I am advocating for this but I think people often forget that there was a tradition in Europe for women to cover their heads with scarfs and hats.

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Nov 122008
 

Right, me and my children were… I think its called “verbally abused” for two days in the row by a couple of local high school teenage girls. I almost didn’t noticed them yesterday. As we were passing them by on the way home from school they were asking each others in unnatural loud voices “How to say f… in Polish”. Not actually being Polish I just thought “what a sad life the local girls have” (me and my family, we don’t swear and are trying to keep the kids away from this).

Today in the morning, when we just have leaved our entrance door, they unmistakably shouted at us something like “Polish scum” & f. word (a lot). As I started taking pictures of them, they got scarred and walked quickly away towards the Hope Church. I should admit it was the first time I actually almost went to report somebody to the police. As I citizen of this country I feel responsible. People shouldn’t be abused based on their nationality, Polish or not (they probably heard me speaking Russian to my kids & I guess Poland is the only Eastern European country they know at their age of about 15-17 years). And I think, nobody should swear in public, especially with kids around. But I stopped just before the police doors. Lets give them another chance, I thought. They looked frighten enough when I pulled my camera from the handbag! But any other incident like this, and I’ll do it. As an artist I’ve got a good visual memory (and my kids too), I know they live on Treowen and go to the Newtown High School. My children immediately told everything to their teachers & friends, so, its looks like incident will be known in town.

I had a bit of a shake because all that – always happens to me in similar situations – part of being an INFJ, I suppose. I’m so easily deeply offended but after that I get to such heights of inspirations and revelations, so, thank you, girls, for that!

Well, I should admit, growing up in a major capital city, I’ve been a bit xenophobic myself. Sadly, its seems to be natural for human beings. Its more understandable, if immigrants misbehave or form some sort of mafia. As far as I know, its not the case here. Maybe the condition the two girls live in or a family situation are really bad and they just jealous, maybe they have been brought up with hatred, without a slightest idea about moral and legal norms. Maybe they have been offended by somebody from Poland and now think all foreign-born people are evil. If by any chance you, girls, read this, please came forward and explain your point of view!
When we lived in the USA one of our American friends told me: “Don’t move to Britain, they don’t like Russians there, but we do”… I have been wearing this Russian scarf for 4 years in Virginia and DC. Then, about five years ago, we moved to Long Eaton near Nottingham. I went to a charity shop as usual. It was winter and quite chilly, so I had my scarf on. Exiting the shop I’ve been asked by two boys about 12 years old “what’s the time”. I told them and went forwards. Suddenly they started shooting me from their DIY blow guns, passing by Christmas shoppers looking at this with empty eyes. I absolutely froze and couldn’t do anything. Well, I understood they had asked time to be absolutely sure that I had an accent. Maybe they even though I’m a Muslim, wearing scarf. Later at home my relatives instructed me that I had either get my telephone and (pretend) to call police, or take some photos of the offenders. So I am prepared now… 🙂 But I don’t risk wearing scarfs on the streets of Britain any more… I also probably should be much more careful speaking my native language (or speaking at all!) : -( Mind you, if people want to hate, they will find a reason for this anyway.
PS. Just can’t stop imagining. Years pass, times change, our rude girls are trying to earn some pennies in Poland and Polish teenagers mock them for not being local… Sorry. I’m just being taking myself too seriously. “Educated, sophisticated, but shouted at and hated by some absolute zeros just because I’ve got a wrong kind of an accent in this part of the word”. I really should learn to get ride of my pride… Sorry…
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Nov 122008
 

I watched a program yesterday on Newsnight Review
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/

I think the animal rights people should opt out of the National Health Service and stop using all medicines which were developed using tests on animals (and that should be marked on the packaging). That would be really honest. Scientists don’t want to torture animals. They want to save human lives, that, in my opinion, is higher priority than animal welfare. Of course, torturing is bad. Even if kids are torturing a dolly it is bad because the crime is in the mind.

No good scientist would want to make animals suffer unnecessary. Do animals suffer? I think, C.S. Lewis wrote that if you can’t understand “I am (suffering)” you can’t really suffer, as humans do. Well, that’s a point of view. I often think that cats and dogs are suffering living in cities and towns and really should be kept only at the countryside where they don’t get run over by cars so often & don’t stay in little dirty pens all the time, they have good natural supply of herbs & maybe allowed to hunt (they are hunters after all!), plus can run as much as they want.

Who is really an animal torturers, in my opinion, its creators of wild nature films & programs, who watch and film animals (especially little ones!) suffer and do nothing about this for the sake of “nice” picture. The duty of a human being is to help animals. Obviously we can’t stop all the animals hurting each other. But I sometime think, maybe we were meant to. Maybe in an ideal evil-free world all animals would be happy, domesticated and vegetarian (or scavengers)?

Instead of sabotaging research and by this harming lives (both animal and human), the animal rights activists should sponsor the research to gradually reduce and eliminate animal’s suffering. Full stop.

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Nov 082008
 

There was a nice firework display in town yesterday. A big official one with jolly Star Wars and Superman music and lots of DIYs. People gathered to watch at their favorite spots. Hilly landscape really helps with the viewing.
I know some people would like to ban fireworks completely because they dangerous and frighten animals. My opinion: people of all ages should be allowed to have fun. Especially kids. On the left a child is trying to reach the falling stars – they looked so close…
I think fireworks are banned in Israel but I’ve heard from friends, youngsters still do them. Illegally.
The best display I’ve seen was in 1990s in Geneva (below), over the lake, with music. Mind you, the DIY part went a bit crazy, with people (silly young me uncluded) blowing their fireworks in the crowd, scarring poor tourists… Moscovites too go mad with fireworks on the New Year night for the last few years. Regulations needed but please, don’t throw the baby with the water!
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Nov 012008
 

I’m actually not opposed to mobile phones & talking everywhere – I believe its good when people communicate & can understand very well that there maybe important, urgent matters to discuss or somebody can just feel lonely. But force strangers to listen to your music on transport or on the street! Its just violation of personal freedom! I want to listen to what I want and when I want.

They say there is a “Mozart effect”, but I think there is also a “trash music effect” – lowering ones IQ & eliminating kindness & empathy. So beware what you put on when your child is around! Amazingly, some people have headphones which work just like loudspeakers… Makes you wander what they do to owners hearing & brains.

Also i don’t trust drivers putting their music very loud – they mute one of their senses & their concentration probably suffer. Some people say “well you’ve got noisy children so we’ll have music on.” We can’t switch them off! I remember my baby crying hard all the way through overnight flight once… I’ve got plenty of “looks” that nigh…

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Nov 012008
 

Guess what – we met yet another example of horrible behavior on a train between Norwich & Peterborough an hour or two ago. Two gloomy teenage looking boys with a newborn baby (?!), dirty feet on the seats opposite, put their brain- & soul- damaging music so loud that whole carriage could hear them. I complained to the ticket collector and he told them to put their headphones on. And they replied “we won’t”. And that’s it. He’s not allowed to do anything else, passengers are scared or don’t care… Something has to do be done!

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