Category Archives: Uncategorized

Uzhgorod: Welcome to Moorish-Style Synagogue


One of the highlights of my trip to Uzhgorod was a visit to the old Moorish-style synagogue, which now serves as a local concert hall. I climbed up on a hill of gravel, and beyond it looked like there was some type of construction or restoration going on. Returning several […]

Reflections On The War With Russia


Walking around Kyiv, I came upon a rather incongruous site: Czarist-era military fortifications designed to keep outsiders from intruding upon the town. In light of the fact that Ukraine now finds itself in a war with Russian-backed separatists, such fortifications take on a somewhat ironic twist. Ukrainian soldiers, who are […]

Uzhgorod: Welcome to Rusyns, Hutsuls and the Ethnographic Museum


Around Uzhgorod in the Carpathian Mountains, one may encounter the Rusyn people.  One of the Rusyn clans, the Hutsuls, have their own traditional clothing.  In Kyiv’s National Historical Museum, one display showcased a folkloric Hutsul vest. In Uzhgorod, I went to the ethnographic museum for a peek into rural life. […]

Lviv: Welcome to Thorny Nationalist Politics


From a cultural perspective, Lviv is considered to be one of the strongest centers of Ukrainian nationalism.  To the outside observer, such local expressions of nationalism seem to range from the benign and folksy to the somewhat jarring. Embroidered dresses can be found for sale in the tourist center of […]

Voyage to Lviv: Echoes of Central Europe


The western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which was formerly known as Lemberg when it formed part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, feels more akin visually to central Europe. Lviv prides itself on its cosmopolitan coffee shops and chocolate.  Art deco or art nouveau buildings peek out here and there.

Ukraine: Welcome to Air-Brushed Civil War


How will people ever become aware of the political legacy of Nestor Makhno, an anarchist leader during the Ukrainian Civil War?  Not by visiting Kyiv’s Museum of the Ukrainian Revolution, that’s for sure.  As an attendant explained to me, the museum’s intention was to simply showcase the Ukrainian Republic as […]

Yalta European Strategy: From Bono to Pinchuk to Zakaria to Spaceships


One thing’s for sure, Ukrainian magnate Viktor Pinchuk never fails to disappoint.  Hosted once again in the grand Kyiv Arsenal Museum, this year’s Yalta European Strategy (or YES) meeting featured the usual defense hawks and conservative commentators (for a rundown of last year’s YES conference, featuring my extensive commentary on […]