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:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ukraine flu epidemic slows

In the first two days of panic and hysteria, the main advisers and teachers of the people were politicians, including deputies, ministers, former ministers, but NOT DOCTORS. As soon as a doctor appeared on the TV screen, it turned out that politicians are better at talking. The apotheosis of panic was one presidential candidate’s declaration that Ukrainians are dying from lung plague. Another presidential candidate was loudly complaining that there is no oxoline ointment (a preventative drug produced in Ukraine), that the criminal pharmaceutical companies failed to import it. Unfortunately there is nobody to explain to the candidate that the effectiveness of this ointment is not proven, and it is imported by neither the United States, nor France, nor any other country. There are no doctors among presidential candidates, and it must be too expensive to keep a medical adviser on staff. Our lovely country of the rivers of milk and honey is still remains to be a country of bad roads and silly great talkers.

Now to some official numbers broadcasted recently by AFP news agency

KIEV (AFP) - An epidemic of flu and acute respiratory disorders has slowed down in Ukraine, officials said Monday, as the World Health Organization warned of a possible second wave of infections. "In the last few days, the number of patients falling ill per day has fallen," Ukraine's deputy health minister, Vasyl Lazoryshynets, said at a news conference. The number of new cases peaked on November 4 when more than 127,000 cases were registered. By Sunday, only 32,000 new cases were registered, Lazoryshynets said. Almost one million Ukrainians have been affected by the epidemic since it started in mid-October. Around 49,000 have been hospitalised and 155 have died, Lazoryshynets said. Among these, 65 cases of swine flu have been officially registered and 14 people have died of the A(H1N1) virus, a health ministry official tracking the epidemic, Mikhailo Golubchikov, told journalists. A World Health Organization delegation has spent a week in Ukraine and on Monday met President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A spokesman for the delegation confirmed the drop in new cases, but raised the possibility of a new wave of cases in the next few months. "At the moment, we can see it has slowed down, but we cannot say whether it has been overcome," Christian Lindmeier told AFP. "In general worldwide, we're thinking about three waves: one now, one in midwinter, in January and February, and one later," Lindmeier said. "In Ukraine, it's not clear how the virus will continue," he added.

On the first photo you can see activists of Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc handing out protective masks during pre-election campaign in central Kiev on November 9, 2009. Tymoshenko refuted that the epidemic may influence the date of the presidential elections. Another photo shows Ukrainian Prime Minister wearing a face mask as she visits a regional hospital in Lutsk, about 400 km (247 miles) west of Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creator of "Kalashnikov" turns 90

MOSCOW - The designer of the Kalashnikov, sometimes called the world's most lethal weapon, was named a "Hero of Russia" on Tuesday by President Dmitry Medvedev who lauded him for creating "the brand every Russian is proud of". "In our country, such phenomena do not happen every day," Medvedev told Mikhail Kalashnikov after decorating him with a gold medal at a lavish Kremlin reception dedicated to the assault rifle's creator's 90th birthday. "I mean not only the Kalashnikov rifle but also the national brand created by you, which makes every Russian proud, makes him feel he is part of history and inspires him to work for the future.""Hero of Russia" is the nation's highest honorary title. Dressed in a general's parade uniform decorated with two Soviet-era "Hero of Socialist Labour" gold stars, a frail-looking Kalashnikov clinked champagne glasses with Medvedev. Created in 1947, the Kalashnikov, also known as the AK-47, is known for its reliability and simple design. It is officially in service in 55 countries and adorns several national emblems. But many of the world's estimated 100 million Kalashnikovs are also used as the weapon of choice by paramilitaries and rebels as well as gangsters and drug traffickers. Millions of counterfeit versions are thought to exist around the world and the rifle is so widespread that it is often said to have killed more people than any other weapon. "This is not my fault that this weapon is not used where it should," Kalashnikov, his voice trembling, said at the Kremlin ceremony. "This is the fault of politicians, not designers. I made it to defend the borders of the fatherland."As a sergeant in World War Two, Kalashnikov was badly injured and pulled from a burning tank. He never finished school or went to university. Kalashnikov said in his memoirs that while inventing the rifle he was driven by complaints from other wounded soldiers that the Nazi Germans' firearms were often better.Russians, many of whom still mourn the Soviet Union's sudden demise, often swell with pride at what they see as the Kalashnikov's superiority over its Cold War rival, the M-16, although more modern versions of the U.S.-made rifle have appeared since then."I am waiting to see who will make a better weapon, and I will be the first to shake his hand," an upbeat Kalashnikov said in a documentary on Russian television on Tuesday, which also marked 60 years of the rifle's service in the Russian army.In the West his invention would have made him a millionaire. In Russia, he lives in a modest Soviet-era apartment in the town of Izhevsk, east of Moscow. After meeting M-16 designer Eugene Stoner in the 1990s, Kalashnikov said his rich American colleague was flying his own plane, while the Russian could hardly afford a flight to Moscow. Medvedev recalled that Kalashnikov had once said that if such a weapon had been created abroad, "the state would have paid much better for this work". The president said: "But you must not regret that you served our country, and the love of the whole nation is the assessment of your work."

News agency REUTERS

If you want to learn more about this unique man and his creature click on follow two links.
Russian film about Mikhail Kalashnikov
Film taken by Discovery Channel “TOP 10: Combat Rifles #1 AK47” (English language)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Capriccio written by Johann Sebastian Bach for the participant of the Battle of Poltava.

In 1703 famous German composer and organist Johann Sebastian Bach was invited to inspect and give the inaugural recital on the new organ at St. Boniface's Church in Arnstadt (see photo). The year after Sebastian's arrival in Arnstadt, his brother, Jacob, left Saxony to become oboist in the guard of Sweden's king, Charles XII. Within five years Jacob had accompanied king Charles into battle against Russia's Peter the Great, seen defeat at Poltava, escaped to Turkey, and returned again to Sweden. On the occasion of Jacob's departure Sebastian composed a capriccio. The several movements of Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother contain subtitles such as: "A coaxing by his friends to dissuade him from his journey," "A picturing of the various calamities that might overtake him in foreign parts," and "Now come the friends--since they see that it cannot be otherwise--and take leave of him." The Capriccio concludes with one of Bach's earliest known fugues.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Berlin Wall fragment to be erected near German embassy in Kyiv

A fragment of the Berlin Wall is to be put up near Germany’s embassy in Kyiv. "The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is marked this year. This event prompted big changes in Europe, including those of great consequence for Ukraine. In this connection, there’s an idea to put up a fragment of the Berlin Wall in Kyiv," German Ambassador to Ukraine Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth said as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine at a meeting with Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky Wednesday. Heimsoeth said Germany had proposed putting up an original portion of the Berlin Wall near the embassy’s building at 25 B. Khmelnytskoho St. in Kyiv. "The issue concerns an original fragment as a symbol of Germany’s freedom and unity," he said. Heimsoeth also said that similar fragments had already been put up in New York and London, and added that the embassy was planning to pay for the transport of the fragment to Kyiv using its own funds.

Friday, November 6, 2009

That is all about Russian gas and coming cold winter

Sweden downplays EU gas payment loans to Ukraine
WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The European Union is not responsible for loaning money to Ukraine to help the country pay for Russian natural gas supplies this winter, Sweden's Enterprise and Energy Minister said on Wednesday. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called on the European Union to help with Ukraine's gas problems by providing financial assistance. "That's not our role," Sweden's Maud Olofsson told Reuters TV in Washington. "The role for the European Union is to secure the energy supply for Europe," she said. Olofsson, whose country currently holds the rotating 6-month EU presidency, said Putin's warnings that Russian gas supplies to Ukraine may be disrupted if Kiev does not make its energy payments should be taken seriously. "But on the other hand, this is a matter of discussion between Ukraine and Russia," she said. Olofsson said the European Union is focused on developing its own energy sources "so we are more secure by ourselves." The European Union depends on Russia for its winter natural gas supplies, a big chunk of which is transported by pipeline through Ukraine. Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Western Europe via Ukraine in January 2006 and again in January 2008 because of a dispute with Ukraine over gas prices and payments. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

Sweden, Finland okay Russia's Nord Stream pipeline
STOCKHOLM (AFP) – After years of procrastination, Sweden and Finland agreed on Thursday to allow the Russian-led Nord Stream pipeline to pass through their waters in the Baltic Sea, a crucial step for the project destined to supply Europe with Russian gas. The breakthrough approvals come as new tensions have been playing out between Moscow and Ukraine, raising fears for a new row between the countries that could jeopardise Russian gas supplies to Europe.
By going under the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream's pipeline could free the European Union of the risks posed by disputes between Moscow and the Ukraine, through which 80 percent of Russian gas currently transits on its way to Europe. One quarter of all gas consumed in Europe comes from Russia. "The government authorises Nord Stream to build a pipeline in international waters inside the Swedish economic zone," Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren told reporters in Stockholm.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ukraine Stops Russian Missile Truck

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine, Nov. 3 Ukrainian traffic police Tuesday stopped a Russian truck carrying anti-ship missiles belonging to the Black Sea Fleet, military officials say. A spokesman for the fleet told the RIA Novosti news agency that it was unknown to them why the Ukrainian officers stopped a vehicle convoy traveling through the Crimea region, because they had the proper authority from Kiev to move the missiles as part of Russia's lease of the naval base at Sevastopol. "For reasons unknown to us, Ukraine failed to notify the police, in particular traffic police and security service officers", the Black Sea Fleet spokesman said, adding the traffic stop was the fifth such incident this year. The spokesman said the truck was taking the missiles to be decommissioned and asserted the convoy was in full compliance with Ukrainian safety requirements.
RIA Novosti noted that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has been calling for Russia to make preparations to withdraw the fleet from Sevastopol when the agreement on the base expires in 2017.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Only survived sword (saber) of Hetman Ivan Mezepa is preserving in the Russian State Hermitage (St.Petersburg)

Since the end of February 2009, the Ukrainian printed source «Blik» and Ukrainian USA Diaspora sources published the information about an Ukrainian relic, the only survived sword (saber) of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, «being kept in negligence in the cellars of the State Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg». The story beginning was several years ago, when some Ukrainian collector of antiques stated that the sabre of Mazepa, must be kept in Canada. It is known that it was presented by Count Perovsky to Emperor Nicholas I in 1849 and kept in the Imperial Armoury in Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar Village). American «Cossacks» started to study the archives, but only discovered that later it was preserved in one of the Polish museums up till 1945, and then vanished. The new research took one year more. It was discovered that the sword was taken from Poland by the Soviet secret services after the end of WW II. The Hermitage associates confirmed the fact that the Hetman’s sword is kept in their museum. It is in excellent condition and was thoroughly restored. The last time, when the relic was exhibited was at an exposition in Poland in 1990s. According to the reporters there is no hurry in returning the relic to Poland. Both the Hermitage and the Ukrainians decided that though the item will not be passed to the Ukraine, nevertheless, it will be exhibited in a temporal exposition in one of the country’s museums.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A new e-album dedicated to Dresden

Augustus II the Strong, the Elector of Saxony (1694-1733) and the King of Poland (1697-1706, 1709-1733), was well known among his contemporaries as a big connoisseur of fine arts and architecture. During his reign many palaces in baroque style with unique art collections were built in Dresden. Being a big fond of porcelain he founded the manufacture of fine porcelain at the Meissen and Dresden. Why don’t you browse some of pictures taken by me recently in Saxony’s capital Dresden by clicking at ?

A Swedish village in Ukraine.

Not everyone, even in Sweden, are aware of its existence. But in south Ukraine there is a small village Zmievka where some people still speak an old version of Swedish. Gammalsvenskby (Old Swedish village) is its another name. Stockholm News paid a visit to the village in late June this summer. Read an interesting article, printed in Stockholm on-line news by clicking at