Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Historical seminar has taken place in the Poltava Battle Museum

January 19, 2018 Historical seminar dedicated to the connections between Ukraine and Sweden in the first part of 20th century has taken place in the Poltava Battle museum on January 19th. A few scholarly papers were presented at the seminar. Among them:
1. Swedish painter Carl Peter Mazer and Ukraine.

2. Exhibits from the Museum of the Battle of Poltava that were delivered from   Sweden since it was opened in 1909.

3. Vladimir Korolenko, a short story writer, journalist, and human rights activist of Ukrainian origin, and his visit to Sweden in 1893.

4. Alfred Anton Jensen (Swedish historian, slavist, writer, poet, and translator) and Ukraine.
My report was dedicated to the Ukrainian version of the diary written in 1708-1709 by the priest of Småland Cavalry Johan Siöman. I also presented a brief report about my visit to Halden (Norway) and the fortress of Fredriksten. I was very pleased to pass a few special gifts on behalf of Mr. Magne Rannestad, head of the Fredriksten fortress friends’ society (Fredriksten festnings venner) to the Poltava Battle Museum. By this post I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Swedish Society of the Military History (SMB) for the kindly provided possibility to visit Norway, and to my Norwegian friends Magne Rannestad and Stig Østling for their outstanding hospitality.

 Handing of a small copy of the monument on the place where Swedish king Charles XII was killed in 1718 and the emblem of the Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliotek to Mrs. Natalia Bilan, director of the Poltava Battle Museum.

Handing of a piece of shrapnel that was discovered during the excavation on the place, where Swedish king Charles XII was killed in 1718, to Mrs. Natalia Bilan, director of the Poltava Battle Museum.

This nicely designed book dedicated to the fortress of Fredriksten is another gift of Mr. Magne Rannestad to the Poltava Battle Museum.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Poltava celebrates Ukraine’s Unity Day

January 22, 2018 Today our country celebrates 100th anniversary of the Forth Universal. Universals of the Central Council of Ukraine are legal acts-declarations issued by the Central Council of Ukraine in 1917-18. These documents marked the main stages of the development of the nascent Ukrainian state, from the proclamation of its autonomy to the declaration of full independence. The First Universal (   June 10, 1917) declared the announcement of Ukraine national autonomy as part of Russian Republic. The Second Universal made an attempt to set a compromise with the Russian Provisional Government announcing that the final form of Ukraine autonomy will decide the Russian Constituent Assembly. The Third Universal Announced Ukrainian People's Republic: Ukraine did not completely brake away from Russia. On January 22, 1918 the Forth Universal declared independence of Ukraine as the Ukrainian People's Republic. It also condemned Bolshevik aggression.
So today we celebrate two holidays: 100th anniversary of the Forth Universal of the Central Council of Ukraine and Ukraine’s Unity Day that marks the anniversary of the unification of eastern and western Ukraine in 1919. Many wreaths and flowers were laid today to the monument to Taras Shevchenko – an outstanding Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, as well as folklorist and ethnographer.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A new urban art entering Poltava

January 20, 2018 A few years ago this kind of pop art was a head ache for Poltava City Council and its municipal services. They were doing their best to erase all graffiti everywhere. It took them some time to latch on the message sending by this new kind of pop art. 

Many things have been changed since that time and by nows graffiti has turned into integral part of our urban life. That is why I decided to bring to your attention a few examples of Poltava graffiti. May be you’ll find them of some interest.

Reference: Graffiti are writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view. Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and they have existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.

  Railway bridge over Vorskla river not far from the Poltava Battle field.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What can happen if do not respect military history

January 16, 2018 Pretty strange posters of ideological orientation have started to appear recently in some Russian cities. Most probably, those, who designed them, are pretty good in Photoshop but definitely not in the military history. As a result, such posters and billboards have been decorating streets and parks in the Russian Federation until they were pictured by vigilant bloggers. Look at them and smile! 

Russian patriotic billboard saying “They fought for the Motherland!” contains picture of Luftwaffe Ju-88 bomber’s crew. You may compare billboard picture with original one discovered in some German archives.
The Stielhandgranate (eng. “stalk hand grenade”) was a German hand grenade of unique design. It was the standard issue of the German Empire during World War I, and became the infamous issue of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II. But how this German soldier, throwing hand grenade got into Russian billboard saying “May 9th. Happy Victory Day!”?

Can you easily recognize Wehrmacht soldiers on the Russian billboard saying “The victory of my grandpa is my victory!”?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?

Janyary 1, 2018 If some day you will have some spare time to roam the streets of old Poltava, you definitely will run into such concrete construction almost in every back yard of apartment houses that were built in Poltava in the time when USSR was under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev and later when Leonid Brezhnev came to power. So what this strange back yard concrete decoration for?  Before I will give an answer, I would like to return to the time when the cold war between USSR and USA was in its top. 

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?

It is well known, that the Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but a common timeframe is the period between 1947, the year the Truman Doctrine, a U.S. foreign policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansionism, was announced, and either 1989, when communism fell in Eastern Europe, or 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

Former shelter with visible traces of an air and water supply systems

Civil defense is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks of the potential enemy. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized. That time all building projects created in the USSR had to presuppose the existence of a bomb shelter equipped with air filter system, water supply system, emergency food supply, etc. All such shelters were also equipped with emergency exit located no close to the building than a half of its height.

 On this picture you can see the remains of air filter system

The doctrine of the civil defense supposed that even if some building is destroyed, those who were in the shelter will leave it through the emergency exit. Thus this small concrete construction you can see at the picture is nothing more than emergency exit.   Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 all shelters mentioned above have fallen into neglect and were turned by dwellers into the ordinary closets. As about emergence exits, spared by the time, they still remind us of the Cold War times.