Update: Yulia Kharlamova, a Russian "agent", is claimed to be the driver behind the uprising of the Kiev soldiers. Good job, děvuška, and I must say that this and other images suggest that the Ukrainian soldiers' reaction was totally appropriate! ;-)
Last night, hundreds of soldiers from the Ukrainian National Guard – which was founded (again) half a year ago – gathered in front of the president's office in Kiev. Russia Today.
I have watched the rally for some time. Some of the bitches who would scream at the soldiers that they are obliged to risk their lives for her bogus pride were disgusting. Why doesn't the fascist lady go to fight over there instead?
They demanded demobilization, compensation, and winter gear, among other things. Many of them protested that they have to work long after their contracts have expired. It is very clear that most of them consider the civil war to be a stupid enterprise. Their material conditions are really stunning; some of them have been getting less than $12 per month for half a year.
(Update on Tuesday: you may watch tough battles between police and thousands nationalists in front of the Kiev parliament now: live. The demonstrators throwing stun one stun grenade each 3 seconds are upset that the deputies won't recognize anti-Soviet nationalist warriors as war veterans.)
The total number of active personnel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces is below 130,000. Because something between 1,300 and 13,000 soldiers – between 1% and 10% – have paid with their lives after 6 months (when the total compensation was about $72), it is not hard to calculate that the current Ukrainian regime quantifies the value of the human life to be between $720 and $7,200.
The standard "international price of [formally priceless] human life" is between $50,000 and $130,000, depending on some details in the methodology, and it's pretty clear that the value is much higher in the wealthy Western countries. And even Russia is providing its soldiers with much better conditions.
Current rulers in Kiev claim that they are leading their country towards the goal of joining the family of Western nations but these figures describing the treatment of the troops seem to tell a very different story. The very bad conditions of the soldiers are troubling; on the other hand, they are understandable, too. Ukraine is a nearly failed state that simply can't offer them a better deal. It is a country whose leaders are currently amplifying all kinds of hatred and looking for scapegoats instead of managing the business.
Life is very different for the Ukrainians just a few hundred miles to the West. Czechia differs from a paradise in many respects; however, the differences from the paradise are minor if one compares both with Ukraine.
The Ukrainians are actually the largest ethnic minority in Czechia, with about 120,000 legally registered Ukrainian nationals plus several tens of thousands of Ukrainians (the number is not known accurately) without all the expected paperwork. With these numbers, Ukrainians even beat Slovaks (70,000) and the Vietnamese (60,000) who are, for certain historical reasons, the largest non-Slavic (and non-European) minority in Czechia. All these three top minorities are problem-free.
Most of these Ukrainians come from Western Ukraine and they seem more educated than the Ukrainian average. Many of them have college degrees and boast some experience as physicians etc. in Ukraine. However, they mostly work as construction workers here. Some employers like to talk them down because it's fashionable in some corners – and of course, no one is successfully trying to impose political correctness over here. On the other hand, if you listen to a representative number of managers, especially in the construction business, you will become very sure that the Ukrainian workers are almost essential and many companies could close their business if those people left. The Czechs are just too lazy and expect too many extra advantages in the job package, some managers would tell you. The Ukrainians have minimal problems with assimilation and the language barrier is significantly reduced due to the shared Slavic cultural roots.
And indeed, they are leaving. It is still often imagined that the Ukrainian workers are great because they are much cheaper – like the Mexicans in the U.S. and Turks in Germany and so on. But statistics shows that this is a hugely oversimplified picture. Many of these Ukrainian workers actually earn much more than the average Czech workers – sometimes twice as much. The average monthly salary is $1,200 or so but they may be getting $2,400. But maybe the amount of work they do is three times the average, who knows.
Many of those Ukrainians recently received a recorded delivery letter from the Ukrainian authorities telling them that they were drafted. Some of the clever ones have refused to pick the letter at the post office, pretending that the delivery process has failed. In that case, they have some chance to remain "innocent" when they avoid the suicidal-murderous business of the Ukrainian army. Numerous Ukrainian people have left in order to be with their loved ones, others came to fight on the side of Novorussia. The chaos that the construction companies have to swallow is substantial.
On the other hand, lots of other people want to flee Ukraine. This is also true for many families of the Volhynian Czechs. Those are descendants of 16,000 Czechs who emigrated to the Russian Empire sometime in the mid 19th century (1868-1880) because the tsar would promise them extraordinarily good conditions if they became farmers. It may sound counterintuitive today but the motives powering this emigration weren't too different from the emigration to America. Now, the Russian Empire doesn't officially exist and those ethnic Czechs are citizens of Ukraine where Volhynia belongs, after many random twists of the history.
So far, there have been two waves of repatriation to the Czech lands, after 1945 and after 1989. Now, about 250 Volhynian Czechs asked President Zeman – who is understanding their situation – to convince the other Czech authorities to quickly repatriate them. They think that the current nationalist regime in Ukraine doesn't treat them as full-fledged citizens and they're simply afraid of the war and misery, too. Zeman has criticized our embassy in Ukraine that seems to have bad relationships with the compatriots in Ukraine. The minister of foreign affairs, Mr Zaorálek, is a distasteful social democratic jerk who has declared to prefer any help to the fascist regime in Kiev over any action that would help the Czechs. He literally doesn't want to help the Czechs because it could "suggest" that he has doubts that the life under Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko is a paradise on Earth.
Well, it's surely not a paradise. It's close to hell.
Meanwhile, some "limited civil war" is continuing in Ukraine. Thank God, the fights got reduced after the September 5th ceasefire which is really just a "flavor of a ceasefire", not a full-fledged ceasefire, but it is still helpful. Aside from the basic civil war, there is a lot of infighting in both camps – Western Ukraine as well as Novorussia. The minister of defense in Kiev Mr Geletey (who was previously claimed to have said that Russia had already nuked Ukraine) was fired two days ago and replaced by Stepan Poltarak who is probably an even tougher guy. The pro-Kiev "governor" of the Donetsk, Mr Sergiy Taruta, was also fired, perhaps just because of a satirical (but not really loyal) letter he sent to Putin; he was replaced by a hardline general. Meanwhile, someone attempted to kill Mr Pavel Gubarev, the Novorussian governor of the Donetsk region, in his car. Gubarev is in serious condition – avoided the bullets but not the car crash. The fights around the front lines may explode every minute; they often did after an important U.S. official visited Ukraine and Victoria Nuland just returned from her Ukrainian trip.
The winter is coming and Ukraine may find itself to be without gas. I hope that this extra pressure will make the Kiev rulers behave more sensibly. Russia clearly isn't obliged to sell gas to Ukraine under any conditions, especially if Ukraine were a country that is both hostile and nearly insolvent. Like sex, trade depends on two consensual sides. It seems pretty clear that Russia is willing to reduce the delivery even to much less hostile countries such as Czechia and Slovakia if those help Ukraine to get the gas from the Western side (Czechia has enough gas for the winter). I sincerely hope that the Ukrainians will start to behave as poodles in coming months and thousands of people won't have to freeze to death (a thermodynamic phase transition) before this political phase transition takes place.
A song about soldiers who don't like to fight in a civil war:
orig. Czech country song by Michal Tučný and George Fallada,
version by The Taxmen
When the North is fighting the South and the country is going to war,
and thistles instead of cotton are growing on the fields now.
In the shadow next to the road I see soldiers from the South,
they are slacking with their rifles and cracking the peanuts.
Hey how, hey how, why go to war?
It's better to sit at home and crack the peanuts.
Hey how, hey how, why go to war?
It's better to sit at home and crack the peanuts.
The colonel sitting in the saddle screams: the Yankees are coming.
However, the troops are still lying and whining that they can't go on.
The colonel turns his head and what he sees at a distance:
His famous militia is cracking the peanuts.
When this war ends and we will live again,
we will kiss our lovers and wives again.
They will ask you: Hero, what did you do during the war?
I was cracking with a rifle and cracking the peanuts!