Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ukrainian Election: Religion and Culture Wars


When Ukrainians speak of their yearning to join the European Union, what is their innate understanding of the west or “western values”?  Such questions are assuming greater importance as Ukraine’s presidential election approaches in March.  Though western leaders may have thought Kyiv was on track to embrace social tolerance and […]

Assessing Yulia Tymoshenko, Grande Dame of Ukrainian Politics


Champion of the underdog or pseudo-populist?  Ukrainian patriot or kowtowing to Russian interests?  Inheritor of Maidan’s legacy or channeling the oligarchs?  Love or hate her, Yulia Tymoshenko is one of the most controversial figures on Ukraine’s political scene and this grande dame will no doubt play a key role in […]

Anarchism in Berlin: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Can Berlin’s “rebel culture” survive in the midst of an inexorable march toward gentrification?  It may be a tough order, though anarchists and others are basking in victory after internet giant Google abandoned efforts to open a company “campus” in the trendy neighborhood of Kreuzberg.  The corporation would not say […]

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. […]