Sunday, January 31, 2010

Victor Yanukovych not to take part in television debates with Yulia Tymoshenko

Kyiv (UNIAN news agency) Jan 29, 2010 Lawmaker from the Party of Regions Ganna German says that candidate for the post of President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych did not change his decision and he will not take part in the television debates with Yulia Tymoshenko. According to an UNIAN correspondent, she said this at the news conference today. At the same time G. German underlined that this is own decision of V. Yanukovych. According to her words, “when I hear that I can influence this, it makes me smile”. G. German said that everybody, who knows V. Yanukovych, understands that it is impossible to have an influence on him.
“If in any country a presidential candidate refused to take part in officially scheduled debates, it would be a scandal that would never allow this candidate to become president. That is why, as a law-abiding person, I will come to debates envisaged by the law and scheduled by the national state television,” Tymoshenko stressed.
“I have a strong conviction that the debates between the two candidates will become the final argument for those Ukrainians who haven’t made their choice yet. I invite Yanukovych to a debate, if he has anything to tell these people,” she added.
Many ordinary Ukrainians hold that Victor Yanukovich simply dreads to show his low intellect to the general public. His inability to hold public debate is well known. He also has a serious problem with speaking Ukrainian language he is still not familiar with.
It seems that we unfortunately will never see this undoubtedly admirable show....

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Russian stealth fighter makes first flight

Jan 29, 2010 MOSCOW (Reuters news agency) - Russia test-flew a long-awaited new fighter aircraft on Friday, determined to challenge the United States for technical superiority in the skies and impress weapons buyers.
The "fifth-generation" stealth fighter -- Russia's first all-new warplane since the collapse of the Soviet Union plunged the defense industry into poverty and disarray -- flew for 47 minutes, planemaker Sukhoi said.
"It's a remarkable event," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his cabinet, but he suggested the plane still needed work.
"There is very much to be done, in part as regards the engine," Putin said. "But the fact that the plane is already in the air is a big step forward."
Russia's main television networks led news programs with reports of the flight and showed footage of the needle-nosed, camouflage-painted plane taking off from a snow-lined airstrip at a Sukhoi factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia's Far East.
"The plane performed very well. All our expectations for this first flight were met," Sukhoi spokeswoman Olga Kayukova said on Rossiya 24 television. "The premiere was a success."
Foreign journalists were not invited.
Fifth-generation aircraft are invisible to radar, have advanced flight and weapons control systems and can cruise at supersonic speeds. The new plane is Moscow's answer to the U.S.-built F-22 Raptor stealth fighter -- the world's only fifth-generation fighter yet in service -- which first flew in 1997.
Putin said the plane would first be delivered to the Defense Ministry in 2013 and serial production would start in 2015. Analysts have said it would probably be five to seven years before Russia's military gets to fly the new fighter.

Eyewitnesses of Viking Age in Poltava

Polovetsky stone women (babas) are found on a huge territory from Southwest Asia to Southeast Europe. They are regarded as monuments of the sacral art of tribes of Polovtsy (Kipchaks or Cumans) of 9-13 centuries. Such babas were mostly left on mounds, where they buried. Scientists are not sure whether the sculptures are portraits of the dead, or they are idols of paganish gods (or rather goddesses, as most figures found in Ukraine are female). During the 9th century Vikings penetrated deep into Russia. Their development of trade, particularly down the Dnieper River (a route which becomes known as Austrvegr, or the “Great Waterway”), laid the foundation of the Russian nation. So, probably these babas have been seen by your valiant forefathers going downstream Dnieper River. A few babas shown in the picture are preserving in the back yard of Poltava Regional Museum.

Learn more about Cumans at

New big TV in Poltava.

Not long ago poltavities got a new big TV set in Poltava. It is located close to the City Council. During weekends it shows cartoons for kids, movies and news for adults, but now when we are getting close and close to the second round of Ukrainian Presidential race it operates as a BIG supporter of Yulia Timoshenko. That is why this place is not so crouded now as usially.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Masterpieces created by craftsmen from Poltava region in the mid 19th century were shown to the public in Poltava.

From January 10 to January 20, 2010, at the Poltava Art Gallery, folk art lovers were offered the rare opportunity to view a small portion of the Gallery's extensive collection of Ukrainian handicrafts and folk art mostly dated after mid 19th century, including many fine examples of costumes, embroidery, ceramics, wood carving and weaving. These exhibits of traditional Ukrainian art have been created mostly by skilled craftsmen lived in Poltava region. Because of lack of halls for the temporary exhibitions many unique exhibits are preserving in Gallery’s storerooms and not accessible for the visitors. This exhibition attracted many visitors including foreign tourists.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Steeling popcorn. Can Pavel Lazarenko hurt Yulia Tymoshenko's bid?

Here is a citation taken from Article written on December 3, 2009 by Peter Byrne for the Ukraine's leading English-language newspaper Kyiv Post

“…Behind almost every successful politician and businessperson is a mentor who helped put the person on the path to fame and fortune. Yulia Tymoshenko had one too: Pavlo Lazarenko, convicted U.S. felon. Lazarenko served under ex-President Leonid Kuchma as prime minister from 1996-1997. He is now serving an eight-year prison sentence in America for laundering money, part of the ill-gotten fortune he amassed in the nation that he allegedly ran like a mafia boss. In the early 1990s, Lazarenko helped make Tymoshenko, the current prime minister, a big-time player in the lucrative gas-trading business and also gave the rising star a political boost. Now, as Tymoshenko is one of two front-runners in the Jan. 17 presidential election, the question is: Can the ex-prime minister hurt the current prime minister politically?....”
In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. awarded Mr. Howden and five other attorneys the Attorney General’s Award for their 2006 prosecution of Pavel Lazarenko, the ex prime minister of Ukraine. Got intrigued?
Now you can see an extremely interesting documentary “Steeling popcorn” about Yulia Timoshenko available in English at
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

The film web site
On the photo by UNIAN news agency (1997) you can see Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s current prime minister, is in the background with then-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who is currently serving an eight-year sentence in an American prison for laundering millions of dollars of ill-gotten mon
Be amazed, puzzled, and (probably) enjoy it!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Swedish telephone of the Russian Tsar Nakolai II

Lars Magnus Ericsson opened a telephone plant in St Petersburg in 1900. The Russian factory became Lars Magnus Ericsson's baby. At one time, he even considered transferring core operations from Stockholm to St Petersburg. When Czar Nicolas II made an official visit to Moscow, Ericsson supplied a special switch to the Kremlin, to which a number of telephones in the palace were connected. The Czar himself used telephones in the shape of a dachshund with ornamentation in gold and ivory. Ericsson's Russian operations experienced strong growth and were normally profitable, particularly during World War I. During the October Revolution, however, all of Ericsson's Russian assets, which together with accounts receivable were estimated at SEK 20 million, were nationalized. The assets included not only the telephone plant in Petrograd (as St Petersburg was renamed), but also the newly established Telefonbyggnads AB in Moscow. Several attempts by Ericsson to negotiate with the Soviet authorities proved fruitless.
Written by Jan Kruse for
Photo 1. Telephone, the 1892 model, specially designed for the Russian Tsar. Here together with a Dialog with keypad. Archive: Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Photo 2. Ericsson’s plant in St. Petersburg. Early 1900s. Archive: Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson

Monday, January 25, 2010

Photos of the Poltava Battle Museum.

The Poltava Battle Museum was officially opened on June 26th 1909. After the Revolution of 1917, the Poltava Battle Museum, as so many other historical sights, was left unattended. As a result, thieves broke into the museum several times and stole items from the exhibits. To prevent further looting, in 1921 all of the remaining exhibits were transferred to the city’s Regional Museum and the Poltava Battle Museum was closed. After World War II the Council of Ministers of the USSR resolved to resurrect the Poltava Battle Museum. In 1950 the museum was reopened in a late 19th century building that had been used as a hospital for disabled veterans of Russian-Turkish war. In 2009 museum's exposition was renewed thoroughly. Many nice photos taken in the museum recntly are available at the virtual album at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Arrival of new Ambassador of Russia in Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov threatens to develop into a diplomatic scandal.

Kyiv(UNIAN news agency) Jan 22, 2010. Arrival of new Ambassador of Russia in Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov threatens to develop into a diplomatic scandal. According to "Komersant" newspaper, the Secretariat of the President is about to advise the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine not to accept copies of the credentials from Mr. Zurabov, because, according to information of Kyiv, the credentials do not specify the Ukrainian President’s name, whom they are to be presented to.
According to the diplomatic practice, on arrival in Kyiv Mikhail Zurabov is to visit the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine first of all and present the copies of the credentials. After that he is allowed to get down to work of Ambassador de-facto. But he becomes the Ambassador de-jure after presenting the credentials to the President.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ukrainian author of the one of the first state constitutions in Europe

Pylyp Orlyk (1672–1742) was a Zaporozhian Cossacks’Hetman in exile, diplomat, secretary and close associate of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Pylyp Orlyk was born in a family of Czech origin. Orlyk first studied at the Jesuit College in Vilnius and until 1694 at Kyiv Mohyla Academy. In 1698 he was appointed secretary of the consistory of Kyiv Metropolia. In 1699 he became a senior member of Hetman Ivan Mazepa's General Military Chancellery and 1706 was appointed general chancellor and at that position he was Mazepa's closest aide, facilitated Mazepa's secret correspondence with the Poles and Swedes, and assisted Mazepa in his efforts to form an anti-Russian coalition. After the Battle of Poltava in 1709, he escaped together with Hetman Ivan Mazepa and Swedish king Charles XII to Bender in the Principality of Moldavia, where Mazepa soon died. Pylyp Orlyk was then chosen as a Hetman in exile by the Cossacks and the Swedish king Charles XII. While in Bender Orlyk wrote one of the first state constitutions in Europe (preserving in the National Archives of Sweden, see photo). This Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk was confirmed by Charles XII and it also names him as the protector of Ukraine. Between 1711 and 1714, together with Crimean Tatars and small groups of Ukrainian Cossacks, Orlyk carried out unsuccessful raids into Right-bank Ukraine. Afterwards, Pylyp Orlyk now together with several other Cossacks followed the Swedish king Charles XII to Sweden via Vienna and Stralsund. Orlyk with his wife Hanna Hertsyk and six children arrived in Ystad, Sweden on the new year's day of 1716. They now lived in the city of Kristianstad for some years. Orlyk and his family left Stockholm in 1720 but as late as 1747 his widow and children received financial support from the Parliament of Sweden. Orlyk wrote numerous proclamations and essays about Ukraine including the 1710 Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk.
Orlik’s son Yakiv was born 1711 in Bender, Ottoman Empire. His fate is unknown but it is known for certain that his godfather was king Charles XII of Sweden.
Orlyk’s daughter Anastasiya married the Swedish nobleman and officer Johan Stenflycht (1681–1758) in 1723. Their son Carl Gustaf (b.1724) served as a captain in the French regiment Royal Pologne.
Orlyk’s son Hryhor was born in 1702 in Baturyn, Ukraine. His godfather was Hetman Ivan Mazepa. He studied at Lund University 1717–1718. After leaving Sweden in 1720 he first lived with his mother in Krakow, Poland. He later became a Lieutenant General in France where he called himself comte d'Orlik. Although he kept the contact with Sweden and in 1742 he also visited Stockholm. He was killed in 1759 at the Battle of Minden in Germany where he also is buried.
Learn more about Pylyp Orlyk at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ukrainian Skansen

The National Museum of Folk Architec­ture and Life of Ukraine is situated on the edge of the ancient forest of Ho­los­i­y­iv, near the village of Pyrohiv. Here, on the picturesque hills towering over the Dnip­ro river, which absorbs forests, valleys, gullies, ponds and mounds, the ancient sites still remain: Feofaniia, Pyrohiv, Kytaiiv, Tser­­kov­shchy­na, Siriakove, Ho­­­ro­dy­sh­­che, Khotiv, Yarivtsi, So­­lo­vio­ve, Doh­tiarka, Lytvy­nove, Fial­ko­ve. Histo­­rians claim that a church and ca­ves ol­der than even those in the Pecher­ska Lav­ra can be found here.
The Museum (also referred to as “Pyrohiv”) was designed as an architectural and landscape complex, that is to say an open air museum. According to the general layout, 400 architectural objects should be able to function on its territory, representing a complete cross-section of folk constructions from all regions of Ukraine. Today the exposition possesses over 300 monuments to folk architecture: dwellings, households, industrial and religious buildings... Its collections boast over 70,000 pieces: national wear, fabrics, furniture, working tools, pottery, casks, barrels, carpentry, work by blacksmiths, folk paintings, musical instruments, children’s toys, etc. This is one of the biggest museums in the world, and perhaps Ukraine’s most potent center for research, conservation and popularizing monuments to folk culture. It is a complex and multisectoral enterprise, as well as a research center integrated into the network of Ukraine’s National Aca­de­my of Sciences.

The first attempt to organize an outdoor museum took place in Norway in 1867, with a few village houses and a church being brought to specially allotted plot near Oslo. In 1891 the Swedes established a big park-museum Skansen in their capital Stockholm. The idea caught on, and there are now over two thousand open air museums like it in Europe alone. In the former Soviet Union there are as many as 40 of them. In Ukraine out­door museums were established in Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhhorod, Pereiaslav-Kh­mel­­nytskyi, Chernivtsi, the village of Kry­los (Halych raion, Ivano-Frankivsk ob­last), and in Sarny (Rivne oblast).

Goodbye, Viktor Yushchenko. Thank you!

So, here we are – Ukraine, yet without Yushchenko. We are without defense and finance ministers. Ukraine has dire finances and no budget for 2010. What it does have is an empty treasury, horrible debt and a legally validated annual tribute to the Russian Federation, remnant of the gas war. Many hold that he simply trampled the hopes of millions, who believed in changes for Ukraine, reverting to the same old story.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meissen porcelain in Poltava Art Museum

Meissen porcelain is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Being a big fond of porcelain Augustus II the Strong, the Elector of Saxony and the King of Poland founded the manufacture of fine porcelain at the Meissen and Dresden in 1710. This manufacture attracted artists and artisans to establish one of the most famous porcelain manufacturers, still in business today as Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH. Its signature logo, the crossed swords, was introduced in 1720 to protect its production; the mark of the crossed swords is one of the oldest trademarks in existence. It dominated the style of European porcelain until 1756. In Poltava Art Museum there is a small collection of Meissen porcelain (shown on the photo) that survived two-year German occupation (1941-1943).

Gap between Yanukovych, Tymoshenko is almost unchanged

Jan 18 ( Interfax-Ukraine) With 98.61% of ballots counted at the polls, Viktor Yanukovych has received 35.3% of votes, Yulia Tymoshenko 25.05%. The data was announced by the press center of the Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC) early on Monday evening. Sergiy Tigipko has received 13.02% of the vote, Arseniy Yatseniuk has 6.97%, Viktor Yuschenko 5.49%, Petro Symonenko 3.55%, Volodymyr Lytvyn 2.34%, Oleh Tiahnybok 1.44%, and Anatoliy Hrytsenko 1.2%. A total of 2.2% of voters voted for none of the 18 candidates.

Monday, January 18, 2010

These numbers could be close to the final ones.

Ukraine. Presidential Election 2010.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yanukovych and Tymoshenko reach runoff – exit poll results

January 17 20:39 Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko have reached a February 7 runoff of the presidential election, say the results of the exit polls conducted on Sunday. The two frontrunners are followed by Sergiy Tigipko.
The results of the National Exit Poll show that Yanukovych scored 31.5% of votes, Tymoshenko 27.2%, Tigipko 13.5%, Arseniy Yatseniuk 7.8%, and Viktor Yuschenko 6.0%. Petro Symonenko garnered 2.8% of votes and Volodymyr Lytvyn 2.4%. A total of 2.7% did not support any of the presidential candidates. A total of 12,349 people participated in the exit poll.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Western Experts Discuss Ukraine Election

Voice of America, Ukrainian Service Washington, DC14/01/2010
The upcoming presidential election in Ukraine was the topic of a round-table discussion conducted by the Voice of America Ukrainian Service. Participating were Damon Wilson of the Atlantic Council (seated on the right in the video); Nadia Diuk of the National Endowment for Democracy and David Kramer of the German Marshall Fund. The round-table was hosted by Myroslava Gongadze.

Look this video at

Probably it will get you closer to what is going on in Ukraine!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ukraine, a nation divided ahead of vote

BILOGORSHCHA, Ukraine — It is an unlikely location for a major monument and debate over national identity. A field next to a quiet road outside Ukraine's western city of Lviv where only the crows disturb the peace. But it was here on March 5, 1950 that Ukrainian nationalist leader Roman Shukhevych, perhaps the single most controversial Ukrainian figure of World War II, was shot dead by Soviet secret police after years in hiding. In March 2009 the local authorities opened a statue of the rebel commander (1) that has served not just to commemorate his death but also to create another symbol of deep divisions that still fracture Ukraine. And its east-west divide will be shown up again on Sunday when Ukraine goes to the polls to elect a new president. Commander of the Nazi-trained Nightingale Battalion and then of pro-independence Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Shukhevych is regarded with adulation in Ukraine's west and equally impassioned dislike in its east. He led a rearguard insurgency against the Soviets after this region -- the former Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia -- became part of the USSR after the war. Costing tens of thousands of dollars, the statue shows Shukhevych in military uniform emblazoned with Ukraine's trident symbol and draped in a cloak like a Roman Emperor staring out over the hills.
Inhabitants of the western region's main city of Lviv, whose beautiful civic architecture betrays its Austro-Hungarian past, boast that it was the first Soviet city (aside from the Baltic states) to dismantle a statue of Lenin. Rather than Lenin, Lviv can now claim a new statue of Stepan Bandera (2), another wartime nationalist leader whose controversial legacy is underlined by the 24-hour police guard the monument receives. By contrast, a larger-than-life statue of the USSR's founder still proudly dominates Lenin Square in the centre of the eastern city of Donetsk, the heartland of Ukraine's coal mining industry.
"There will always be regional differences in Ukraine. This is a peculiarity of the country which has both its negative and positive sides," said Ilko Kucheriv, director of Ukraine's Democratic Initiatives Foundation. "What now is one of the main tasks for Ukraine is to formulate our national identity, to formulate our interests as a nation and what the Ukrainian dream is.

By Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accused her rivals of planning to rig Sunday's vote

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leading candidate in the country's presidential election, on Wednesday accused her rivals of planning to rig Sunday's vote and called on the West to help prevent any fraud. "I would like to address... the heads of diplomatic missions in the country... and inform the international community that the state's key leaders are covering up a simple disruption of fair polls and arrangements for a large-scale fraud in Ukraine," the premier told a government meeting. Tymoshenko and incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko came to power after a peaceful popular revolt fueled by a fraudulent election in which former Premier Viktor Yanukovych was initially announced a winner. Ahead of January 17 election, Tymoshenko is running second among the 18 candidates behind Yanukovych, the leader of the opposition Party of Regions. According to a December opinion poll, 33.6% of the respondents said they would support Yanukovych, with 19.2% supporting Tymoshenko. Yushchenko trails with a mere 3 percent. Tymoshenko hit out at the "voting-at-home" scheme being developed in the country which she said could be used as an instrument for fraud, specifically referring to the activities of the Party of Regions in eastern Ukraine. She instructed the Foreign Ministry to give foreign diplomats information about vote rigging so they can appeal to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to intervene "as soon as possible." "I would like to turn to the country's president, who still remains the guarantor of the Constitution, to react to the situation as soon as possible... before the country loses the last characteristics of a civilized democratic country," Tymoshenko said. The prime minister also demanded that all international observers have access to the polls. On Monday, Ukraine's Central Election Commission, which has registered 3,149 international observers, denied registration to 2,011 official monitors from Georgia. Under a Kiev court ruling any protests will be banned in the capital's central Independence Square from January 9 through February 5. Although the main candidates have vowed to protest if they lose, analysts say a repeat of rallies is unlikely as Ukrainians have grown tired of the past few years of political infighting, which has been aggravated by the economic crisis.

Over 3,000 international observers registered for Ukrainian presidential election

Jan. 12 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine news agency). The Ukrainian Central Elections Commission had registered 3,149 international observers to monitor the Jan. 17 presidential election in Ukraine. Another 461 international observers from foreign states and international organizations, including 20 observers from the European Parliament, 232 observers from the CANADEM non governmental organization, 20 observers from Denmark, one from ENEMO, two from the CIS Parliamentary Assembly, 169 from the OSCE, one from the International Republican Institute and 16 from the Canadian Ukrainian Foundation, were registered on Monday. The registration period expired on Jan. 11. The commission will consider a request from Georgia for the registration of 2,000 election monitors later today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kyivan Cave Monastery Icon Painting Studio

Kyivan cave monastery icon painting studio was a main centre of Ukrainian icon painting for many centuries. Its founding at the end of the 11th century was connected with the painting (1083-9) of the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyivan Cave Monastery by Greek masters and the Kyivan artists Master Olimpii and Deacon Hryhorii. The studio developed a distinctive style that is evident in its frescoes, icons, and book illuminations. From the late 16th century, collections of prints by western and local artists and of student drawings were kept for educational purposes. The studio's finest masterpieces of the 18th century are the mural paintings of the Dormition Cathedral (1724-31) and the Trinity Church (1734-44) above the Main Gate of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, which were done by Ivan Maksymovych, T. Pavlovsky, Zakharii Holubovsky, and A. Halyk. Many noted icon painters and engravers were trained at the studio. Towards the end of the 18th century the studio gradually lost its importance in the development of Ukrainian art.
Unfortunately many wonderful icons were brutally destroyed in 1930s when Josef Stalin launched antireligious campaign. On attached photos you can see a view of Kyivan Cave Monastery and unique icon depicting Mother of God (12th-century, Kyiv) attributed to Master Olimpii.

A nuclear fuel production plant should be built in Ukraine by 2012

KIEV, January 11 (Itar-Tass) A nuclear fuel production plant should be built in Ukraine by 2012, Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said. “I am convinced that we will build a nuclear fuel production plant with all components and all supply enterprises,” the prime minister said at a meeting on the development of the nuclear industry on Monday. “We have already received Kazakhstan’s confirmation of Ukraine’s admission to the unified interstate uranium enrichment centre,” she said. Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said Kazakhstan had given its consent to Ukraine’s participation in the international uranium enrichment centre at the end of last year. “Prior to that we received Russia’s consent. At the end of the year we received a note from Kazakhstan,” he said, adding, “We will not start completing all organizational procedures.” According to the government’s target program “Nuclear Fuel of Ukraine”, the construction of a nuclear fuel production plant should be completed in 2013.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The pearl of the Western Ukraine.

Lviv (German: Lemberg; Latin: Leopolis) is a major city in western Ukraine. Lviv was founded in 1256 in Red Ruthenia by King Danylo Halytskyi of the Ruthenian principality of Halych-Volhynia, and named in honour of his son, Lev. Together with the rest of Red Ruthenia, Lviv was captured by Kingdom of Poland in 1349 during the reign of Polish king Casimir III the Great. Lviv belonged to the Kingdom of Poland 1349-1569, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1772, the Austrian Empire 1772-1918. The 17th century brought armies of Swedes, Hungarians from Transylvania, Russians and Cossacks to its gates. However, Lviv was the only major city in Poland that was not captured by the invaders. In 1672 it was besieged by the Ottomans, who also failed to conquer it. Lviv was captured for the first time by a foreign army in 1704, when Swedish troops under King Charles XII entered the city after a siege. With the outbreak of WWII the city of Lviv with adjacent land were annexed and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic 1939-1941. Between July 1941- July 1944 Lviv was under German occupation and was located in the General Government. In July 1944 it was captured by the Soviet Red Army and the Polish Home Army. According to the agreements of the Yalta Conference Lviv was integrated into the Ukrainian SSR again. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the city remained a part of the now independent Ukraine, for which it currently serves as the administrative centre of Lviv Oblast.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ukrainian embroidery

Ukrainian embroidered cloths, called ryshniki, are wonderful souvenirs from Ukraine. The Ukrainian embroidery tradition has its roots in pagan beliefs of protection and ritual. Ukrainian embroidery can decorate ceremonial towels, table linens, and, of course, Ukrainian traditional garments. Like many other folk art practices throughout Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the Ukrainian embroidery tradition is one that is passed down through families, and regional variants in symbols and color combinations are part of what make this tradition so rich. Traditional Ukrainian costumes for women consist of long skirts, blouses or tunics, head wraps, scarves, or other decorative headdress, and sashes. These items are richly embroidered with traditional folk motifs. Red is a prominent color in folk dress of Ukraine.

Bell-ringers to be trained in Lutsk

The Volyn Seminary (Western Ukraine) has launched a bell-ringing group, which was blessed by the Bishop of Lutsk and Volyn Nifont. The classes take place in the ancient Lutsk castle. The teachers are the clergyman of Lutsk Holy Virgin Intercession Church, hierodeacon Anapit (Shpyniak) and Volodymyr Hrynko, the head priest of St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church in Velykyi Omelianyk, Lutsk region. According to the Volyn eparchy press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the churches started using the bells at the end of the fourth century. First, they were applied in Western Europe to gather believers for praying and to mark solemn parts in church service. Nowadays, in Rome, which is considered the Christian world’s capital, there are around 600 churches but the bell-ringers were replaced by recordings of melodies. New churches are often built without bells. It known that the bells were used for community needs, like guiding lost people in bad weather, informing citizens about disasters like fire, or for gathering the nation to defend its motherland. People also used bells to announce victories and welcome the triumphant troops from battlefield.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Cradle of Ukrainian Cossacks

The island of Khortytsya, in the Dnieper, was headquarters (sich) of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks from the 16th to 18th cent. (The word Zaporizhzhya means "beyond the rapids," i.e., of the Dnieper.) For nearly three centuries the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks served as the rallying point for Ukrainian struggles against social, national, and religious oppression. After the union of Poland and Lithuania in 1569, Ukraine came under Polish rule; but the Poles were too weak to defend it from frequent devastating Tatar raids. The need for self-defense led at the end of the 15th century to the rise of the Ukrainian Cossacks, who by the mid-16th century have formed a state, organized along republican lines and ruled by a hetman, along the lower and middle Dnieper. Although they formally recognized the sovereignty of the Polish kings, the Cossacks, for all practical purposes, enjoyed complete political independence.
In 1654, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnitsky persuaded the Cossacks to transfer their allegiance to the Russian czars. By the Treaty of Andrusov in 1667, the left bank of the Dnieper and Kiev were ceded to Russia. The Russians proceeded to encroach upon Cossack privileges much as the Poles had, thus engendering revolts in what was left of the Zaporizhzhya territory. When Hetman Ivan Mazepa joined Charles XII of Sweden against Russia in the Northern War, he shared in the Swedish defeat at Poltava (1709). Many Zaporizhzhya Cossacks fled to the khanate of Crimea, but in 1734 they were allowed to return to their old territory and to establish a new Cossack headquarters.
The Dnieper Hydroelectric Station located very close to the island of Khortytsya is the largest hydroelectric power station in Ukraine and was the largest in Europe at the time of its construction. Construction began in 1927 and the plant started to produce electricity in October 1932.
Many delegations of SMB members have visited Museum of Ukrainian Cossacks (Foto 2) and Ethnographical Museum (Foto 1) located on the island of Khortytsya and the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (Foto 3). It is a really unique place where Cossacks’ history joins with the present day Ukraine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Merry Orthodox Christmas!

January 6, 2009. Tonight as the first star appears in the sky, Ukrainian families will gather to celebrate Christmas Eve. The Christmas Eve Supper is steeped in tradition and features a humble and reverent 12-dish meal in honour of the twelve apostles spreading food for the soul throughout the world. The dishes contain no meat or dairy products to show respect for the animals that shared their place of shelter and were present for the birth of Christ.

The Christmas Eve Supper begins with the oldest member of the family offering guests a piece of bread dipped in honey as a sign of plenty and family unity. The supper continues with courses introduced one by one starting with kutya, which is cooked wheat sweetened with honey and dressed with poppy seeds symbolizing prosperity, peace and good health, and concluding with dessert featuring "uzvar" - a compote of stewed fruit. Ukrainian Christmas carols ("koliadky") are a part of the rich Ukrainian oral tradition and through them one can trace the Ukrainian historical experience to antiquity.
Khrystos rodyvsia! (Christ is born!) "Slavite Yoho!" (Let Us Glorify Him!) - Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vägen till Poltava - slaget vid Lesnaja 1708

Pavel Konovaltjuk och Einar Lyth är två militärhistoriker som efter sju års forskning har skrivit boken "Vägen till Poltava - slaget vid Lesnaja 1708". "Vägen till Poltava" är resultatet av en källkritisk forskning av högsta klass. Författarna har också utnyttjat tidigare outforskat material, ock slutsaster och analyser är nyanserade och innehåller inga övertolkningar. Boken är illustrerad med samtida bildmateriel tillsammans med nya teckningar av Alf Lannerbäck och kartor av Samuel Svärd.
Nerikes Allehanda 5 Jan 2010

Two portraits of the Swedish King Charles XII

The first Poltava Battle Museum was officially opened on June 26th 1909. After the Revolution of 1917, the Poltava Battle Museum, as so many other historical sights, was left unattended. As a result, thieves broke into the museum several times and stole items from the exhibits. To prevent further looting, in 1921 all of the remaining exhibits were transferred to the city’s Regional Museum and the Poltava Battle Museum was closed. After World War II the Council of Ministers of the USSR resolved to resurrect the Poltava Battle Museum. In 1950 the second Poltava Battle Museum was opened in a late 19th century building that had been used as a hospital for disabled veterans of Russian-Turkish war. On the picture you can see Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko standing before the ugliest portrait of the Swedish King Charles XII ever painted. This portrait was transferred to Poltava regional museum from looted first museum of the Battle of Poltava. A few years ago SMB has donated a high quality copy of the Charles XII’s portrait from Gripsholm Art Gallery to the museum.
Learn more about Poltava Batlle Museum at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Soviet fighter MiG-3 in second life

The Aviarestoration company of Novosibirsk has reconstructed a MiG-3 from parts of many recovered wreckages; the work was commissioned by the Russian firm Rusavia. That MiG-3 was found near Kandalaksha, Murmansk region in 2000. It kept safe a center-section, a chassis and some metallic fragments of tail. The second MiG-3, whose parts are used in reconstruction, was found in Loukhi region, Karelia in 2001. Morover, there are parts of four airplanes, which were found in various times. Most of equipment is original, including the engine Mikulin AM-38 that is under recovering too; this is not the original AM-35A engine of MiG-3, but it is extremely similar in shape and size, and its installation on a MiG-3 was already experienced in 1941. The airframe has about 40% of its original parts. A new book has been published by "Rusavia" in 2003: "MiG-3 Fighter" by A. Medved, D. Khazanov, M. Maslov. (ISBN 5-900078-24-8). Basically, the book (see photo) is dedicated to combat usage of the aircraft and contains a lot of beautiful photos; it has a part dedicated to this restoration work too. At the photo above you can see MiG-3 on MAKS 2007 International Aviation and Space Salon.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was a Soviet fighter aircraft used during World War II. It was a development of the MiG-1. It replaced the MiG-1 on 20 December 1940 and was built in large numbers during 1941. On 22 June 1941, at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, some 981 were in service with the Soviet Air Force, Anti-Air Defense, and Naval Aviation. The MiG-3 had been designed for high-altitude combat. It was also pressed into service as a fighter-bomber during the autumn of 1941, but it was unsuited for this role.
General characteristics
· Crew: One
· Length: 8.25 m
· Wingspan: 10.20 m
· Height: 3.30 m
· Loaded weight: 3,355 kg (7,415 lb)
· Powerplant: 1× Mikulin AM-35A liquid-cooled V-12, 993 kW
· Maximum speed: 640 km/h
· Combat range: 820 km
· Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,400 ft)
· 1 × 12.7 mm UBS machine gun
· 2 × 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns.
· 2 × 100 kg bombs

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An English flintlock blunderbuss in Poltava Battle museum.

The blunderbuss is a muzzle-loading firearm with a short, large caliber barrel, which is flared at the muzzle, and used with shot. The blunderbuss is an early form of shotgun adapted to military and defensive use.
The blunderbuss was an early form of shotgun, and served in similar roles. While various ancient accounts often list the blunderbuss as being loaded with various scrap iron or rocks, this would result in damage to the bore of the gun; it was typically loaded with a number of lead balls smaller than the bore diameter. Barrels could be made of steel or brass. The muzzle was flared not to increase the spread of the shot, but rather to funnel powder and shot into the weapon, making it easier to reload on horseback or on a moving carriage. The flared muzzle is the defining feature of the blunderbuss, differentiating it from large caliber carbines; the distinction between the blunderbuss and the musketoon is less distinct, as musketoons were also used with shot, and some had flared barrels. Blunderbusses were typically very short, with barrels under two feet (60 cm) in length, at a time when a typical musket barrel was over three feet (90 cm) long. The blunderbuss was typically issued to troops such as cavalry, who needed a lightweight, easily handled firearm. An English flintlock blunderbuss shown in the picture is preserving in Poltava Battle museum.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko: Demarcation of border with Russia to start in 2010

December 31 2009 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko said in his final press conference in 2009 that the demarcation of the land and sea border with Russia may start in 2010, UNIAN reports. In particular, Ukrainian proposals on border demarcation will be positively accepted by the Russians, and the commission may get down to demarcate the Kerch Strait, once a knotty issue, allowing Russia unimpeded access to the waterway. Ukraine FM officials confirmed. In a related move, the Belarus parliament will soon ratify an agreement with Ukraine on border demarcation, Poroshenko reminded.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gazprom: Ukraine contract to avert New Year gas war

MOSCOW, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom does not expect a New Year gas war with Ukraine after signing a 10-year contract to regulate supplies, the company's chief spokesman said on Thursday.
"We have signed, in our opinion, a good contract with Naftogaz Ukraine. Therefore we can mark this New Year at home," Sergei Kupriyanov (Gazprom spokesman) said during a live broadcast on Ekho Moskvy radio station. Kupriyanov said the risk of fines on Ukraine for low gas consumption in 2010 were close to zero. He also said Gazprom had suspended lawsuits against Ukraine's state firm Naftogaz in a Stockholm court related to the January 2009 gas crisis.