Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Day in Ukraine

Ukrainians, like other nations, have many traditions and holidays. During the Soviet era, some of the religious based holidays such as Easter and Christmas were officially discouraged. The celebration of these two holidays was ignored for many years, but have made a resurgence in the post Soviet era. The New Year's Day serves as the Ukrainian equivalent to Christmas in the Europe and United States. It is a wonderful time for children as well as for grown-ups, and is often called the family holiday. On New Year's Eve, children decorate a fir or a pine tree with shining balls and toys. The mothers cook a festive dinner. On New Year's Day there is an exchange of presents.

Now the time is 23:15 and I have already filled my glass with sparkling wine. Happy New Year! Gott Nytt År!

Med hjärtliga hälsningar,

Oleg Bezverkhnii

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We are multiplying!

KYIV, December 29 /UKRINFORM/. A total of 486,519 births have been registered in Ukraine in January-November 2009, 1.16% up against the like period of 2008 (480,840), Justice Minister Mykola Onishchuk has announced this on Wednesday. The highest birth rate was seen in Donetsk region (332,000 - 8.28%), Dnipropetrovsk region (34,483 - 7.08%), Lviv region (28,259 - 5.8%) and the city of Kyiv (29,921 - 6.15%). As reported, more boys than girls are being born in Ukraine and this trend is being kept.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A long-awaited book has been published

A presentation of the collected papers from the International Historical Conference "The Battle of Poltava in the historical fate of Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries" (Poltava, June 11-13 2009) took place today in the newly opened Cossacks' Hall in the Poltava Battle Museum. Many teachers and students of Poltava institutes were present at the event. Larysa Semenyaga, Deputy City Major , said opening the presentation, “Such impressive international conference has never been held in Poltava before. All reports made by scientist from many countries were very interesting and represented all spectrum of points of view on the battle that undoubtedly was one of the most importants events in the Europe of the 18th century." The book also contains papers presented by Swedish guests of the conference: Einar Lyth, Bengt Nilsson, and Bo Knarrström. Newly appointed director of the Poltava Battle Museum Natalia Bilan has promised that all Swedish participants will get this book by post soon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A unique footage that was filmed in Poltava in 1909 now is available on YOUTUBE.COM

This footage was filmed on June 27-28 2009 when Russian Tsar Nikolay II arrived to Poltava to mark 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava that turned Russia into an important figure on the European scene. Russian Tsar was accompanied by Pyotr Stolypin , the Prime Minister of Russia from 1906 to 1911. On attached photo you can see inauguration of the monument to the commandant of the fortress of Poltava colonel Kelin. This inauguration is reflected in the footage. To see this unique footage just click at

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ivan the Warrior Church in Moscow

There is a church in the Moscow that in accordance with a legend was built to commemorate the Battle of Poltava. It was created by Peter I’s drawing and at his expense in 1709 in the Moscow district which name is Bolshaya Yakimanka. Because of frequent flood of Moscow River the church has fallen into decay soon after consecration. Then Tsar Peter I ordered to build a new church on rising ground. He donated 300 golden rubles and a lot of bricks that then were aloud to be used only for construction of a new Russian capital Sankt Petersburg. This church was not destroyed during Stalin time and now is in a good shape.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov called upon Russia “to eliminate” Georgia and Ukraine

Kyiv (UNIAN) Russia should follow an aggressive strategy and pass to the offensive. According to Svoboda radio in review, “Ukraine is a latent disease of Russia”, President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said this in an interview to western journalists. “Georgia, South Ossetia, Ukraine – all this will last and last. This is some latent disease of Russia. Why do we have to suffer all the time if we can eliminate it once and for all”, he asks. “We are a big state, we have everything – army, military equipment. We should pass to the offensive”, added the President.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The stamp that never been issued.

This stamp depicting Swedes throwing their flags and standards at the Peter I’s feet after the battle of Poltava was almost ready to be issued to mark the 250th anniversary of the Battle in 1959. But Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has scheduled his visit to Sweden for the summer 1959, so this stamp has never came into the market and turned into rarity. It is well known that this visit to Sweden, and to Norway and Denmark as well, was cancelled at the last moment. The reason was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s invitation to visit the USA received by the Soviet leader shortly before his scheduled Scandinavian trip. Later on Khrushchev recalled that “According to the etiquette, we had to visit the countries that had invited us earlier. But America attracted us more. The USA is the key capitalist power”. Khrushchev’s visit to Scandinavia was cancelled under an official pretext that a noisy anti-Soviet campaign had developed in those countries on its eve. Only five years later, on June 16, 1964 - Soviet Premier arrived in Copenhagen on first leg of an official visit to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Positive and negative impressions of prominent politicians have been published by USAID recently

Kyiv, Ukraine. Not to be outdone by Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's embattled president, Viktor Yushchenko, has indicated that Ukrainian "Democrats" may consider nomination of a single presidential candidate. As about Yushchenko's support rating, it has slumped to a low 3.5% and a recent survey conducted by U.S.-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems and financed by the United States Agency for International Development lists Yushchenko with the highest negative rating (83%) of all candidates. The report in the media gives rise that Yushchenko, with only 4 weeks remaining, may be seeking an exit plan, a way to pull out of the election before he faces total embarrassment and humiliation by losing in the first round of the election.

Ukraine's main New Year tree has been installed

Kyiv. Ukraine's main New Year tree lighting ceremony has taken place today (Dec 20th 2009) in Independence Square. According to the Main Culture and Art Department of the Kyiv city state administration, the 35-meter New Year tree is made of 500 small fir-trees and decorated with 1,200 flash-lights. The pattern of lights moves all the time. There are also 200 large toys and 40 toy tigers, as 2010 is the Year of Tiger under the eastern calendar. According to the first deputy head of the Kyiv city state administration, the designers have created a new light-emitting diode design of the tree. The Kyiv city state administration has decided to organize the celebration of the New Year on Independence Square from 19:00 of Dec. 31 until 02:00 of Jan. 1.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ukraine strikes $2.4 billion arms deal with Iraq

Moscow, Dec 10 (RIA Novosti) Ukraine will deliver a variety of military equipment to Iraq under a recent deal worth an estimated $2.4 billion, a Russian newspaper has reported. According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Independent Newspaper) daily, the deal between the state arms exporter UkrSpetsExport and the Iraqi defence ministry is the largest in Ukraine's history and could lift the ex-Soviet republic to the fourth or fifth place among the top arms dealers in the world from the current 14th. The new contract will ensure orders for over 80 Ukrainian firms, including the state-run Progress machine-building plant in Berdichev (Central Ukraine), which produced T-80UD tanks for Pakistan in the 1990s, the paper said in an article published Wednesday. Nezavisimaya Gazeta cited Sergei Zgurets, head of research at the Kiev-based Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS) as saying the deal could have been influenced by Washington as the US has allocated up to $3 billion in military aid to ready the Iraqi police and armed forces for the task of policing the country after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Sources close to the Ukrainian defence ministry told the newspaper that the deal included the delivery of an unspecified number of armoured vehicles, transport planes Antonov-124 and high-precision weaponry. Ukraine will also provide repair and maintenance services for the sold equipment. Although the Ukrainian sources refused to comment on the political aspect of the deal, the newspaper suggested it could have a negative impact on the relations between Ukrainian and Russian arms manufacturers because Russia was actively seeking arms contracts with Iraq. 'This deal will certainly cause concern in Russia as Ukraine, which has always been one of Russia's main competitors on global arms markets, is now re-establishing its position in this sphere,' Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted a source in the Ukrainian military as saying. On the photo below you can see President of Ukraine Victor Uschenko seeing round a new Ukrainian armoured vehicle Cossack (photo by UNIAN news agency).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vegetables and cannon balls

The prices of vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, etc) continue to remain high in Poltava region during winter time. That is why many families living in Poltava use their rented plots of land for planting vegetables. All yield they store in a numerous cellars. These cannon balls were found not far from the village of Yakovtsy, located in the heart of Poltava Battle field. Now they are preserving in Poltava Regional Museum.

Will get it or will not get it? That is a question!

Kyiv (UNIAN) Ukraine has made an urgent appeal to the International Monetary Fund for about $2bn in emergency loans to ease “an extremely difficult situation” in meeting its external obligations and avoid the danger of a “spill-over effect” on other economically vulnerable states.
“The next three months are crucial,” Hryhoriy Nemyria, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, told the Financial Times one day after returning from a mission to the IMF’s headquarters in Washington.
“Wait and see is not an option. The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action and may aggravate the situation in the wider region.”
Mr Nemyria’s warning seems aimed at putting public pressure on the IMF, the US and the European Union at a difficult time in financial markets. Concern about the stability of emerging economies has been aggravated by the turmoil surrounding Dubai, following Dubai World’s surprise decision to seek a debt restructuring.
Brussels is also worried about the security of EU natural gas imports from Russia, following last winter’s Moscow-Kiev dispute and supply disruption.
Mr Nemyria declined to say whether Ukraine would be forced into default without immediate fresh IMF support. But he said it would be “extremely difficult” for the government to pay state salaries and pensions or to cover foreign obligations, including, crucially, monthly payments to Russia.
“It would be a fatal mistake if we recreate the risk of destabilising the situation,” he said.
Ukraine is Europe’s most troubled large economy, with gross domestic product contracting 15 per cent this year. It has been in economic turmoil since mid-2008, when the global economic crisis struck, forcing the country to turn to the IMF and European Union for support.
The Fund has paid out $11bn of a $16.4bn programme, keeping Kiev financially afloat, but two months ago it suspended a fourth $3.8bn disbursement after Ukraine failed to implement key economic reforms, including a tough 2010 budget.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heavy snowfall and wind hit Ukrainian port Odessa

Heavy snowfall and wind hit Odessa on Wednesday. Icy roads forced numerous school closings. There were several reports of traffic accidents throughout the region, including a number of rollover accidents. No serious injuries have been reported. There were no reports of road closings, but traffic was reduced to a crawl. The city of Odessa did close some underpasses for a short time. The Interstate roads No10 and 20 were snowpacked and icy. About six inches of snow fell on the famous Ukrainian resort on the Black Sea cost.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Aren’t they are nice?

Unexpected cold weather and snowfall hampered daily life and traffic in Poltava on Wednesday. Today the day temperature fell down rapidly to -20°C. But most of all such a bad weather condition is dangerous for the birds that guard our orchards and fields during summer time. I joined those who have placed bird feeders outside and done it just in front of my window. Most of all these birds like sunflower seeds and unsulted lard. As a payment from birds (mostly tit (mesar)) I have got a permission to take a few photos that I would like to share with my blogg’s visitors. Aren’t they are nice?

History of Mazepa’s time. The Tempora Publishing House produces a unique two-volume edition

Nearly all outstanding historical figures, and Ukraine is no exception here, have one feature in common. People may curse or adore them, sincere honor or hate them, but they are never treated with cold indifference. The example of Ivan Mazepa or the perception of his deeds, ideas and life, to be more precise, is vivid proof of this regularity. No one feels indifferent towards him. For this reason, hardly anyone will be indifferent to the new splendid gift prepared for all admirers of Ukrainian history and culture by the Kyiv-based Tempora Publishing House, which has released the two-volume edition entitled Hetman (Vol.1 – Shliakhy; The Roads, Vol.2 Osmyslennia; Interpretation). This is a real encyclopedia of Mazepa studies, the first one of its kind in present-day Ukraine.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The site of the former Swedish fortress Nyenskans is in danger!

This artivle was written by Swedish historian Bengt Nilsson and published at

We must use every possible means to spread this information over the world. Only making public known could stop vandals! Look at attached photo, this skyscraper is about ot be built by Gazprom on the site of the former fortress Nyenskans in the center of S:t Petersburg.

Vi har tidigare skrivit om den ryska gas- och oljejätten Gazproms planer på att bygga en 400 meter hög skyskrapa just på den plats där den svenska fästningen Nyenskans (och dess föregångare Landskrona) låg. Den arkeologiska undersökningen av platsen har visat att det ännu dryga 300 år efter fästningens fall 1703 återstår remarkabla lämningar.
Motståndet mot exploateringen av området och byggandet av Ochta Centr har på senare tid tilltagit och det har inletts en process som, om den samlar tillräckligt stöd, kommer att utmynna i en folkomröstning om områdets öde. UNESCO har hotat att stryka S:t Petersburg från världsarvslistan om projektet genomförs, analogt med vad som hände med floddalen vid Dresden efter byggandet av en ny, fyrfilig bro. För inte länge sedan ifrågasattes lokaliseringen t.o.m. av talmannen i ryska duman Boris Gryzlov, en av premiärminister Putins förtrogna.
Det för en utomstående egendomliga är dock att arbetet på platsen fortgår, trots kvarstående såväl politiska som juridiska frågetecken. Det har redan genomförts ett par s.k. provgjutningar och fler är planerade under december månad. Enligt vad en av de ledande arkeologerna i S:t Petersburg skriver på sin blogg kommer detta i praktiken att leda till lämningarna förstörs.
Onekligen framstår det som ganska egendomligt att den historiska staden S:t Petersburg ska ”prydas” av ett 400 meter högt glasmonster. Ur svenskt perspektiv är det förstås extra sorgligt när detta kombineras med en förstörelse av lokala svenskminnen.

Ukrainian pistol Fort 12

The Fort 12 pistol is an attempt of the independent Ukraine (one of the former USSR republics) to develop its own police pistol to replace Soviet era, aging Makarov PM pistols. To accomplish this task, Ukrainian state-owned FORT factory purchased Czech machinery from CZ-Uhersky Brod factory, and by the late 1990s developed its first pistol, the Fort 12. Currently, this gun is issued to the Ukrainian police and security forces and also sold on civilian market chambered for non-lethal rubber ammunition or tear gas ammunition. early production Fort 12 pistols were reported as only marginally reliable, but at the present time most of the teething problems are gone, and Fort 12 pistol provides some improvements over the older Makarov PM in the ergonomics, accuracy and magazine capacity. The only visible minor flaw of the Fort 12 design is the lack of the safe decocking facility.

Top 10 most strange promises of candidates to President’s post

UNIAN news agency composed a rating of the most strange pre-election promises of the candidates to the post of the President of Ukraine. Particularly, this is a rating of promises, which, according to an opinion of edition, contradict to all economics and logic laws, and common sense. This rating includes:
1. Victor Yanukovych: “My aim is 50 million citizens of Ukraine in year 2020”.
2. Inna Bogoslovska: “Ukraine will make “Kyiv initiative” concerning carrying out in Kyiv the negotiations of the world community on new world order topic”.
3. Volodymyr Lytvyn: “Key task – is providing correlation of minimal and maximum wage in proportion 1 to 5”.
4. Petro Symonenko: “ The minimum share of salaries in the product prime cost will be set at 60%.
5. Victor Yushchenko: “A hryvnia will become the only payment means in Ukraine. There will be no foreign currency transactions and prices in the home market”.
6. Oleg Tyagnybok: “European Ukrainian-centrism – strategic course of the government”.
7. Anatoliy Hrytsenko: “I will make an official to speak with people in the language, he/she is addressed”.
8. Oleksandr Pabat: “The state monopoly on main land resources will be renewed and the state will take the land on long-term lease”.
9. Yulia Tymoshenko: “Immediately after the crisis we will resume a long term housing mortgage loans at 2-4% per annum for 10-30 years”.
10. Lyudmyla Suprun: “The schools will turn to multimedia scientific-cultural centers of education and development of personality”.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh, those Russians...

When the people of Tromso in Norway's northern reaches awoke to the sight of a giant blue and white spiral of light hanging in the still dark sky above them, they were understandably shocked. It didn't look like the northern lights. Was it a meteor? A UFO?
Calls flooded in to radio stations and air-traffic control towers. Astronomers were baffled. Extra-terrestrial enthusiasts got on their blogs. "It looked like a rocket that spun around and around and then went diagonally across the heavens," said Totto Eriksen, who saw the display while driving his daughter to school. And when an explanation finally came, he wasn't far wrong. It turned out to be a failed Russian nuclear-capable missile test launch.
The new Bulava missile was fired from the nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoi, the Russian defence ministry confirmed. The White Sea, close to Norway's Arctic region, is Russia's standard missile-testing site. This one failed at the third stage.

The Bulava can carry up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads and has a maximum range of 8,000km (5,000 miles). It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia's land-based intercontinental missile, which entered service in 2006. New Borei submarines were developed primarily to launch it.

See a unique video taken by Jan Peter Jorgensen at

Poroshenko and Clinton discussed strategic partnership issues of Ukraine and USA

Kyiv (UNIAN). Foreign Minister of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed strategic partnership issues of both countries. According to an UNIAN correspondent, their meeting took place in Washington during the working visit of the Foreign Minister of Ukraine to USA. Particularly, leaders of the foreign policy departments of Ukraine and USA discussed issues of American guarantees concerning security of Ukraine because of renewal of the treaty between USA and Russia concerning strategic arms reduction and also renewal of cooperation of Ukraine and USA in dismantlement of Skad missiles. Hillary Clinton thanked Ukraine for contribution into international peacemaking missions in Kosovo, Liberia, Sudan and also in Afghanistan. In his turn P. Poroshenko thanked USA for support of Ukraine and efficient dialogue in range of issues.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

President Yuschenko is not interested in the position of the Ukrainian prime minister

Kyiv (Ukrainian News Agency). President Viktor Yuschenko is not interested in the position of the Ukrainian prime minister should he lose at the presidential elections, he told the ICTV channel. "I won't be the prime minister. I'd like to calm down all those lying advertising campaigns," he said. Yuschenko said that he will never take part in the intrigues not aiming national interests of Ukraine. He confirmed his confidence in the victory at the presidential elections. As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Verkhovna Rada deputy of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc Valerii Kalchenko considers that Yuschenko is interested in the prime minister or vice prime minister's post for humanitarian issues should the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych win at the forthcoming presidential elections. Yuschenko considers that Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych would prefer the position of the prime minister to the post of the Ukrainian president.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Russia attempts to meddle in the process of election of the president of Ukraine

In an interview with a Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita President Viktor Yuschenko has highlighted Russia's stronger interference with the political situation in Ukraine. "Today Russia interferes with the political situation in Ukraine in a more outright and cynical manner then ever. Starting from critical letters and finishing with clearing-ups and explanations of who should or should not be supported in the Ukrainian elections," the Ukrainian president complained.
The head of state believes this to humiliate the Ukrainian people. At the same time Yuschenko emphasised, Russia's position cannot have much influence on the progress and outcome of the presidential ballot. As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Yuschenko is September said he anticipated Russia's attempts to meddle in the process of election of the president of Ukraine. Ukraine is electing its president on January 17, 2010.

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine has arrived in Kyiv

Kyiv (INTERFAX) Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft has arrived in Kyiv. Tefft presented copies of his credentials to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday evening. The U.S. Senate appointed Tefft as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on November 20, 2009. Tefft has been a career Foreign Service officer for 37 years, the White House reported. He most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Georgia from 2005-2009. Prior to that assignment, Tefft served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and was responsible for U.S. relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. From 2003-2005 Tefft was the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College in Washington, DC. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania from 2000 to 2003. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, and served as Charge d'Affaires from November 1996 to September 1997. His other Foreign Service assignments include: Jerusalem, Budapest and Rome. William Taylor was the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. His diplomatic career ended in May 2009. Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko decorated him with the order of merit of the third degree.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ukraine will remain NATO's reliable partner

KYIV, December 4 /UKRINFORM/. After the presidential elections, Ukraine will remain a reliable and consistent partner of the North Atlantic Alliance, Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko said during the Ukraine - NATO Commission meeting in Brussels Thursday.
In his words, this year was of a particular importance for relations between the Alliance and Ukraine, because NATO foreign ministers decided last December to open a new format of bilateral relations. Thanks to this decision, Ukraine launched the development of her annual target plan, and certain results of this work have been already summed up. “Implementation of the 2009 target program conformed to expectations of the Alliance. And we want to thank you for this. This result is also satisfactory to us. The annual target plan helped step up reforms in the military and civil areas, make relations with the Alliance more intensive,” Poroshenko said. He pointed out that the decision of the Bucharest summit and the following decisions by the NATO foreign ministers' meeting on Ukraine's future membership were correct and profitable for relations between NATO and Ukraine. On December 12 the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine decided to triple the strength of the Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The autumn 2009 conscription campaign in Ukraine is finished

Kyiv (INTERFAX) December 7, 2009. The autumn 2009 conscription campaign has ended in Ukraine, with a total of 26,450 people being drafted into the Ukrainian army in October-November, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press service reported on Monday.
The last groups of young conscripts were sent from the collecting stations of regional military commissariats to the armed forces and other military formations, the press service said.
A total of 19,500 people were sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is 500 less compared to this spring, 5,700 to the interior troops of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, and 1,250 to the state special transport service. A total of UAH 3.267 million was allocated from the state budget under a government decision to hold the conscription campaign.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ukraine, Brazil may sign deal about Oplot tanks supply by spring 2010

Kyiv (INTERFAX). November 5, 2009. A contract with Brazil about the supply of Ukrainian tanks may be signed by spring of 2010, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has said. "I believe that the contract will appear in few months, because they (representatives of Brazil) will send a task force to Ukraine by January 15, which will be working to prepare a relevant agreement, analyzing technical and financial aspects, and I believe that by spring we will have the contract signed," she said while addressing the workers of the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) in Kharkiv on Saturday, November 5. The premier noted that the Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, who was in Kharkiv during the visit of his country's delegation to Ukraine, saw the Ukrainian Oplot tank and took a great interest it. After this she was listening for half an hour for the minister, "who was excitedly telling her about the Oplot, as if it already had been his tank," Tymoshenko added.

A new accident in Russia

PERM, Russia (Reuters) - Russian investigators blamed management negligence for a blaze at a provincial nightclub on Sunday, December 6, 2009 that killed 110 people as relatives gathered at a central morgue on Sunday to identify the charred remains of loved ones. Eyewitnesses said sparks from fireworks set fire to wicker coverings on the walls and ceiling of the packed club on Friday, and that a stampede broke out as more than 200 guests rushed toward a single narrow exit. An initial investigation found the club was not equipped with automatic fire extinguishers and that fireworks should not have been used there, Marina Zabbarova, head of the Russian Prosecutor General's Investigative Committee for Perm region, said.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Izhevsky armament plant

The largest firearms producer in Russia joint-stock company "IZHMASH" was founded by the order of the Russian Tsar Alexander I in 1807. It is hard to overestimate the significance of the plant in Russian history. Almost all types of firearms were produced here. About 11.3 million rifles and carbines were manufactured during the WWII. This number exceeds the quantity of firearms produced by all German firearm plants taken together (10.3 million). Besides, IZMASH mastered the mass production of antitank weapons, aircraft automatic guns, pistols and revolvers. Every day and night IZHMASH used to arm 1 infantry and airborne divisions. The postwar period of almost two century history of the plant is connected with production of the Kalashnikov assault rifle AK-47, which is still adopted in Armed and Special Forces of 106 countries all over the world. On attached pictures you can see a main office building of the plant, Russian President Mikhail Medvedev visiting the plant, and Kalashnikov’s museum.
Presently the company produces:
- military firearms;
- sporting-hunting weapons;
- aircraft automatic guns;
- guided artillery gunning complexes;
- test vehicles for maintenance and repair of tank armaments;
- new models of bikes;
- cars;

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The exhibition in the Moscow Kremlin

More pictures about International Exhibition dedicated to the Battle of Poltava and hosted by Moscow Kremlin now are available at
Some of them are really very impressive.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tula Arms Plant

Tula Arms Plant is a Russian weapons manufacturer founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia in 1721 in Tula, Russia as Tula Arsenal. Throughout history, it has produced weapons for whoever controlled the Russian state. Its name changed from Tula Arsenal to Tula Arms Plant during the Soviet era. Tula was strategically important to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Significant ore deposits were situated relatively close to it and it had access to ample transportation routes like the Upa River and many rail lines coming into and out of the city. During World War II, the German army invaded Russia as part of Operation Barbarossa. By December 5, 1941 the German 2nd Panzer Division had advanced to within a few kilometers of Tula, forcing the Soviets to abandon Tula Arms Plant. As a result, far fewer weapons were produced there than at other Soviet factories such as Izhevsk Mechanical Works. Consequently, Tula weapons of World War II are considered more valuable by collectors. During the Soviet era, Tula Arms Plant produced other military rifles, including Mosin-Nagant Rifle, Nagant M1895 Revolver, assault automatic rifle AK-47, and semi-automatic carbine SKS (see foto)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A new wave of the rail war in Russia

An improvised explosive device caused the express train Moscow-St. Petersburg to derail on November 29, killing at least 26 people and injuring about 100. A total of 681 people -- 20 of them employees -- were on the Nevsky Express as it traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Friday night. The Nevsky Express is Russia's fastest train, equivalent to a bullet train. The crash happened at 9:25 p.m. (1825 GMT) when the train was 280 kilometers (174 miles) from St. Petersburg, Russian state radio said. At least three carriages carrying more than 130 people derailed and turned on their sides. Emergency workers freed people who were trapped inside. In August 2007, an explosion on the tracks derailed the Nevsky Express, injuring 60 people in what authorities called a terrorist act. About 27,000 passengers on 60 trains were facing delays Saturday as a result of the accident, Russian state TV reported.
Another explosion hit a railway in Russia’s Caucasian region of Dagestan on 30 November. "A railway was hit by an explosion before a train travelling from Tyumen to (Azerbaijan’s capital) Baku passed. The train did not derail, although the locomotive pulled the carriages about 150 meters along the damaged rails," a local police official was quoted as saying. “The incident took place at about 06:00, Moscow time on the 2354 kilometre of the Moscow-Baku railway not far from the Inchkhe station,” police official added. The train was stopped by law enforcement officers, and rescue workers were involved. There are no casualties

Read more and see more pictures at

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On the site of the fortress of Nynskans

Nyenskans was a Swedish fortress built in 1611 at the mouth of the Neva river in Swedish Ingria on the site of the present day St. Petersburg in Russia. On May 1, 1703, during the Ingrian campaign of the Great Northern War, the fortress of Nyenskans was taken by Peter the Great and renamed Schlotburg, "Neck-town", after the long narrow section of the Neva river where it was located. The last Swedish commandant of Nyenskans was Colonel Johan Apolloff, preceded by Colonel Alexander Pereswetoff-Morath (the son of Russian noblemen, who had entered Swedish service in the first decades of the seventeenth century). Having fallen into Russian hands the fortress functioned only for some weeks, and very soon the tsar founded the fortress and city of Saint Petersburg near the site. Nothing remains of Nyen above ground (as the land has been used for industrial development), but a few years ago a monument was opened on the site of the fortress, at the mouth of the Okhta river to a design by V. A. Reppo. In the early winter of 2007 remains of the fortress bastions were identified during archaeological excavations, which were necessitated by the threat of irrecoverable exploitation of the entire site.

Ukrainian Army Women:Figures and Picture

In 2008, about 70 thousand women were serving and working in the Ukrainian army system. Today’s stats are 50,000. Most positions are, of course, “peaceful”. Medical service, liaison, accounting are top 3 vectors. Many women are in technical operation & maintenance, administrative and paperwork, civil connections, translation, supplies, transportation, cynology.
119 girls are studying at military institutions of Ukraine. Under the Soviet Union, civil universities, in addition to professional education, gave basic military training and reserve ranks to the youth of both sexes. Many secondary schools still have defense lessons, both for boys and girls.
18,000 women are in the actual service (80% on contract, 12.6% warrant officers, 6.4% officers, among them 4 colonels). All branches are represented; prevalently, land troups (7,000 women) and air forces (6,500 women). Every day 300 Ukrainian ladies are on duty in air defense. In many divisions, instructors for operating / shooting / driving all sorts of equipment are female.

Moscow, Kiev agree to reduce gas supplies to Ukraine 35% in 2010

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) -- Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz agreed on Tuesday to reduce Russian national gas deliveries by 35% in 2010, from the previously contracted 52 billion cubic meters to 33.75 bcm.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Gazprom’s chief Alexei Miller and Naftogaz’s Oleh Dubyna. Gazprom also agreed not to use sanctions under a “take or pay” provision in the contract, whereby the buyer has to pay for the entire contracted volume. Instead of 40 billion cubic meters of gas, Ukraine will buy less than 25 billion in 2009. But Russia has said it will not fine Kiev for falling short of contracted volumes due to the ex-Soviet state’s difficult economic situation. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who met on November 19 in the Ukrainian city of Yalta with his counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko, reiterated that no sanctions will be used against Ukraine. Russia, which supplies around one quarter of Europe’s gas, briefly shut down supplies via Ukraine’s pipeline system at the start of the year amid a dispute unpaid bills and new prices. The conflict was resolved in January, when Putin and Tymoshenko reached a deal on imports and transit for 2009. Ukraine transits around 80% of Russia’s Europe-bound gas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A unique exhibition in Moscow Kremlin is open now

This exhibition, placed in the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, is dedicated to the 300th Anniversary of the greatest event in the Russian history of the XVIIIth century - the Battle of Poltava. About 160 unique items from the Kremlin collections, relating to themes of the battle and Russian glory, are on display. The project participants are the world-known museums, among which are the State Hermitage Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, Swedish Nationalmuseum and the Royal Armoury collection in Stockholm, Dresden State Art Collections. On the pfoto you can see one of exhibits delivered from Sweden, 18th century iron cavalryman's cuirass (No 4906) from Norrkoping. Terms of display: November, 10, 2009 – March, 10, 2010

Some of exhibits you can browse by clicking at following link:

Ukrainian diplomas to be recognized in Europe

Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science is introducing the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the European-style diploma supplement. This will simplify the recognition of Ukrainian higher-education diplomas in Europe and is expected to promote student mobility, the ministry’s press service reports. The innovation is being introduced to meet the requirements of the ECTS Users’ Guide approved by the European Commission on February 6, 2009. ECTS and the European-style diploma supplement are instruments to evaluate student’s academic achievements. They are of common use in all the European higher education space countries (Bologna Process countries) and make it possible to adequately recognize periods of study and higher education diplomas both inside and outside the country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One more blast killed eight servicemen in Ulyanovsk

MOSCOW, November 23 (Itar-Tass) One more blast that went off at an ammunition depot in Ulyanovsk killed eight servicemen and wounded another two on Monday.
“A shell exploded at 2.50 p.m. Moscow time when loading the ammunition found after the November 13 fire on an Ural truck at the technical premises of the 31st Navy ammunition depot in Ulyanovsk. Subsequently, the ammunition loaded on the truck to be delivered for further destruction exploded,” spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry Col. Alexei Kuznetsov told Itar-Tass on Monday.
According to the preliminary reports, eight servicemen from the ammunition disposal team were killed in the blast, another two servicemen were hospitalized. The truck loaded with the ammunition burnt down. “The Defence Ministry’s committee is working at the blast site,” the spokesman said.
On November 13, the major fire sparked up at the foresaid ammunition depot as a result of a breach of technology. About 120 tonnes of artillery shells burnt down at the ammunition depot. Two servicemen died in the fire-fighting efforts. A criminal case was instituted over the incident.

Monday, November 23, 2009

UKRAINE to consider possibility of sending peacekeepers to Afghanistan

KYIV, November 20 (UKRINFORM). The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine will consider in a closed regime the possibility of sending peacekeepers to Afghanistan, President Viktor Yushchenko said while opening a council meeting on Friday. The participation of Ukrainian peacekeepers in the work of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Afghan province of Ghor started on May 11, 2005 when a medical officer was sent to serve in a Lithuanian hospital. The current overall number of Ukrainian peacekeepers is ten servicemen.

Yushchenko attends Dubai Air Show

KYIV (UKRINFORM) Within the framework of his two-day state visit to the UAE, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has attended the Dubai Air Show on November 17, 2009. The Head of State highlighted the prospects of cooperation between Ukraine and the UAE in the fields of outer space and aircraft engineering, since ANTONOV class planes have long been present in that country's market. "New contracts are being considered, and tomorrow we may get good news from the Dubai Air Show where Ukrainian producers are represented. There is a great need in development of repair and service basis," the President Yushchenko said.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sweden may help Ukraine carry out EURO 2012 projects

KYIV, November 18 /UKRINFORM/. Ukraine hopes that Swedish firms and corporations will take part in implementation of a number of attractive investment projects, including those on the construction of hotels, roads and other infrastructure facilities for the UEFA 2012 European Football Championship.
Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemyria
voiced this hope in Brussels, during his meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, the vice premier's press service reported.
The parties also discussed cooperation in power industry. In this connection the vice premier noted that Ukraine views the use of alternative and renewable sources of energy, including thanks to Swedish knowhow, as an important component of the effort aimed at diversification of power industry.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Energy to top agenda for Putin, Tymoshenko Yalta conference

(MOSCOW) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet today with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko for talks on energy amid unease in Europe over possible cuts in gas supplies this winter, officials said. The two premiers, who have flaunted their strong relationship over the past months, are due to meet at the Livadia Palace in Yalta, the venue for the historic Yalta Conference in 1945 between Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, said a Ukrainian official. On Friday, Putin and Tymoshenko will join their counterparts from other post-Soviet states in an effort to ramp up cooperation in energy and create a joint air defense system, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman said. Energy issues are likely to top the Ukrainian agenda as Tymoshenko will seek better terms for Russian gas to help Ukraine's struggling economy ahead of the January presidential polls, in which she is a frontrunner, analysts say. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed gas issues will figure in the talks but denied that Putin and Tymoshenko would discuss the upcoming presidential polls in Ukraine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nothman’s bowl to go overseas

On March 20, 2010, Ivan Mazepa’s birthday, the Ukrainian Museum in New York will launch the exhibit Ukraine–Sweden: At the Crossroads of History. Almost half of exhibits will be provided by six Swedish museums and three Swedish collectors. Because of wars and ruination Ukraine suffered in the past centuries, many Cossack-era items have been lost forever, whereas part of them are still being preserved in Sweden’s archival funds. Among other unique items Swedish side has agreed to provide a unique church bowl. After the Battle of Poltava it was buried under the ground on the battlefield by regimental priest Georg Nothman. Soon after the battle the reverend father was taken prisoner and served a ten-year sentence in Siberia. Upon his return to Ukraine he went to the Poltava battlefield, found the bowl, and went on foot to Sweden via Russia. Today this relic is being preserved in Stokholm’s Museum of Swedish Army (Armemuseum).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Russia and EU agree on Early Warning Mechanism

The European Union and Russia agreed on November 16th to establish an early warning mechanism to shield Europe from potential energy supply cuts and protect consumers in the event of a repeat of last year's Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. The agreement requires both sides to notify the other of any likely disruption to supplies of oil, natural gas or electricity and to work together to resolve the problem. Third parties would also be allowed to participate, the European Commission said. "An energy crisis like the one the EU suffered in January is harmful for supply, transit and consuming countries alike," EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said after signing the agreement with Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko. "We need to do everything necessary to make sure that such a situation never happens again," he said in a statement.
Concerns are growing that the dispute could be repeated this January, when Ukraine holds presidential elections. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the country had struggled to pay its latest monthly gas bill to Russia.

Last winter, millions of EU citizens were left in the cold because of a gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine - a route that supplies a fifth of Europe's gas - were halted for more than two weeks in January due to a quarrel between Moscow and Kiev.

EurActiv with Reuters

Epidemy of influenza and acute respiratory viral infection in Ukraine (latest data)

According to the data of the Ukrainian Ministry of healthcare, as of 12 november 2009 the total number of cases of influenza and acute respiratory viral infection is 1 253558. Among them 65616 people have been hospitalized. There have been 239 casualties. 30 cases of A1/H1N1 virus have been confirmed.
The Government Ukraine along with the Ministry of healthcare of Ukraine and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine are taking measures to prevent the spreading of epidemy. Being forced to use masks in crouded places many have turned this ordinary protection mean into the real masterpiece. Look at the picture to make sure of it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Firebursts in the night sky

MOSCOW (AP) - Huge explosions and flames ripped through a Russian military arsenal for hours, killing two firefighters and sending personnel fleeing to a bomb shelter to wait out the worst of the firestorm, officials said. The dozens who took refuge in the shelter Friday were at first feared trapped in the conflagration, but later emerged safe dispelling initial worries of a high death toll. But a subsequent report said 11 others were unaccounted for. Russian TV broadcast footage of orange flames and thick smoke clouds rising from the naval munitions facility in Ulyanovsk, a city 720 kilometers (430 miles) east of Moscow. Frequent explosions set off firebursts high in the night sky. The blasts broke apartment windows near the facility and set off car alarms miles (kilometers) away, residents told Russian media. The blasts and blaze erupted while ammunition was being destroyed at the facility, according to the Federal Security Service branch in the province. Artillery shells and other munitions were stored at the site. Two firefighters were killed and seven military personnel were injured, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said. Some 3,000 civilians were evacuated from nearby homes, Ulyanovsk provincial governor Sergei Morozov said.
News agency Associated Press

Ukrainian-Swedish exhibition will go to United States

In March 2010, The Ukrainian Museum plans to mount an important exhibition – Ukraine-Sweden: At the Crossroads of History (17th-18th Centuries). The exhibition was shown to widespread acclaim in 2008-2009 at the National Museum of Ukrainian History in Kyiv to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Swedish-Ukrainian alliance, the Battle of Poltava, and the death of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden attended the opening of the exhibition in Kyiv.
Ukraine-Sweden: At the Crossroads of History includes more than 100 priceless historical artifacts from Ukraine and Sweden, Ukraine's ally in the Battle of Poltava, one of the most critical events in Ukraine's history. The exhibition promises to be a poignant reminder of an event that, to this day, continues to irk Russia. It will also demonstrate to the American public and to younger Ukrainian Americans that the battle to preserve Ukraine's independence was already being fought, by Hetman Mazepa and his Cossacks, 300 years ago. Learn more about it at: