Category: EuroMaidan

EuroMaidan Photo Inspires Europe

Ukrainian student Katherine Ozeranets won a prize this week in a European photography competition called ‘Inspired Impressions’.

The competition was organised by a UK charity called ‘Bite the Ballot‘ and students were asked to submit pictures that capture what being European means to them in the modern day.

The competition was aimed at students within the EU, but Katherine’s picture from Maidan Square in Kyiv captured the judge’s attention and was included in the list of winners.

Sadly Katherine couldn’t attend the award ceremony in Brussels, but Blue & Yellow were on site to capture the moment!

Congratulations Katherine!

EuroMaidan Video: Part V

EuroMaidan Video: Part IV



EuroMaidan Video: Part III

EuroMaidan Part Three


Thanks to for the picture. Whatever happens, that tree (and everything it stands for and against) will be remembered in Ukraine’s history.

EuroMaidan Video: Part II

“With every additional day of our gruesome winter protests, we will make you love us more and more!”
~: EuroMaidan protester quoted on Facebook.

Part II of my video series filmed in Kyiv in early December.

Dancing for their Dignity

Ever since the EuroMaidan protests erupted, my social-media world has been rocked by a hug wave of Ukrainianess. There are photos, cartoons, press clippings and academic essays. There are warnings, messages of support and others of indignation. There are pleas for help, rumors, official announcements, unofficial announcements and diplomatic statements. There is anger, disgust, shame but also hope, pride and a remarkable sense of pride, determination and optimism.

I wake up and Ukraine is on the radio. I go to the gym and sea of blue and yellow flags is showing on the news. I walk past the European Parliament and find people wrapped in Ukrainian flags.

It’s been  quite a spectacle, and like never before Ukrainians have shown that they are capable of anything. They have shown that Ukraine is, like always, a place where you can expect the unexpected and although it is exhilarating to watch, I have to admit, it is equally confusing and impossible to predict.

So, I decided to go.

Partly to show solidarity with my friends in Kyiv and partly for adventure, I had to see what was really going on in my favourite city. I couldn’t miss it.

Each day this week, I will post a short video to share what I saw.

PS, I apologise about the music. I’m still a ‘rookie’ video editor and these are my first projects.

PPS, It is not my intention to comment on the situation in Ukraine or to offer my opinion here. I have an opinion, and I’m happy to share it with anyone that asks,  but not here. That’s not what this site is for.

Dear EU citizens


On November 30, 2013, our president Viktor Yanucovich turned into a new Ceausescu when he dispersed a peaceful rally, breaking 19-years-old students’ heads to blood. Those students were standing for support of collaboration between Ukraine and EU.

Reading materials in your medias, having personal talks with some of you, listening to yours “why do you want to EU , EU is not good at all, EU is terrible , you do not understand where you’re aiming”, I came to the conclusion that you do not understand what’s actually going on here.

Let me to explain that to you.

It is not about EU. It’s not about your Schengen zone, not about European values and so on.

It’s about our freedom from Ukrainian mafia, proclaimed themselves a government. Mafia, who in 4 years succeeded to steal the motherland from 45 million of people.

Our so-called “president” was twice imprisoned for robbery when he was young. Our prime minister doesn’t speak national language.

The raids are all over the country.

You say we chosed this president by ourselves. No. Elections had a huge number of violations. People in the eastern regions of the country were threatened with dismissal if they do not vote for Yanukovych. In some places, people were forced to make a picture of their bulletins, and then checked to see whether the person voted for Yanukovych or not.

Our police rape women, kill people and never go to jail

Sons of our deputies and the deputies themselves driving drunk, kill people on the roads. And they never end up in prison

All the police on the roads take bribes:

This is what this bunch of oligarchs made with my country.

In Scandinavia, the kings sometimes used to use a city bus or metro, your ministers ride bicycles.

And that’s how our president and prime minister go to work:

All roads on their route are closed for 20-40 minutes . Other cars are pressed to roadsides and wait. This happens several times a day.

When they cannot block the traffic , the guards of our Prime Minister yell on drivers and beat their cars:

What does Ukrainians do? They honk from their cars protesting: Does this help? Of course not.

You say Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russia and its gas. Let’s count together.

Ukraine produces about 21 billion cubic meters of gas per year. For comparison, Poland uses less than 15 billion cubic meters per year. Ukrainian gas should be enough for Ukraine. Why do we buy more than 30 billion cubic meters of russian gas each year and where it’s all go, I dont know . Perhaps you should ask the monopolistic company “Naftogaz Ukraine” .

You say Ukraine is deeply dependent on exports to Russia. That s true. ¼ of all Ukrainian exports goes to Russia. Do you know where another ¼ of Ukrainian exports goes? To you. To the EU countries. This is why I am pretty sure, we can cope with the loss of trade relations with Russia. Especially since the trade agreement with the EU (which Yanukovich refused to sign) implies the expansion of trade with Europe. Poland coped with almost the same difficulties quite quickly.

Now, let’s check the prices in Ukraine(comparing with europe):
DRESS in Berlin – 50 euros –
the same dress in Kiev – 65 euros –

France – 2 euros –,-œufs/fromages/pointe-de-brie/id1/466/16839
Ukraine – 7 euros –

Poland – 0.70 euro –
Ukraine – 1 euro –молоко+незбиране&g=0

Do you want me to continue ?

And now, let’s talk about SALARIES:

The average salary of a surgeon in Ukraine is less than 300 euros per month. And how many your surgeons earn?

The average salary in Ukraine 320 euros, and what is your salary?

Now you will ask yourself “But Ukrainians are such a good workers, so where the hell all the money of the country go?” Let me show you where:

Among the many real estate of our president: the brand new, recently built house of Yanukovych not far from the capital. Several pools, lake, golf course. Area – 1.8 hectares:
+ 30 hectares of forest . From this house to Kiev our president has a dedicated lane on the road.

And this is a “forest house” of Yanukovych in beautiful Crimea –
Our president has bought more than 3 hectares of national park “Cape Aya” for only $ 800 000. Omit the fact that you. cannot. sell. the. National. Parks!, you ask yourself why is it so cheap? (for instance, 100 square meters apartment in the nearby city of Sevastopol costs an average of $ 70 000 ) Well, I think that’s because he is “president” .

All our courts are corrupted and work for the interests of the Mafia goverment of Yanukovych. Even now, when the whole world are looking of Ukraine, the power hits peaceful protesters and drag them to courts. Now the government is trying to put these people in jail for FIVE years. Just because they were present at the rally. Here are our courts.

And now Yanukovich tries to raid the country. The fight happened near President Administration was a provocation from our President and pro-russian Viktor Medvedchuk, they tried to escalate the conflict so that they could start the emergency state. People in masks were throwing the stones into the young policemen, and to those policemen someone “forgot” to give their shields.

We, the real protesters stood in a line between provocateurs and police to protect those young police guys. Provocateurs, who pretend to be a protesters, continued to throw the stones. Many of policemen suffered, provocateurs injured also some peaceful people. And when the wounded policemen were dragged away, the real special guard (Berkut) arrived, they pushed provocateurs out, and then beated up the people who remained, including journalists. ultra-right forces are trying to marginalize our peaceful protest. This is what is going on, when bandits in power try to win a throne.

This is only a small part of success of Yanukovych.

I will not talk about the way Yanukovych clan removes its rivals and former friends. Google Yevgeny Cherban, Yevgeny Kushnarev, Georgy Kirpa, Zinoviy Kulik. And check how they died. Can not prove anything, but I do not insist.

The point is; Yanukovych is not the KGB guy, not Lukashenko, not Putin or Gaddafi. Yqnukovych s a bandit. Behind him is his “family” – Yanukovych Jr., Rinat Akhmetov, Valery Khoroshkovsky, Sergei Lyovochkin, Firtash etc. All of them steal from the Ukrainian budget billions of euros each year. All they are doing business in Ukraine, stealing businesses by raids and changing the Ukrainian laws every half a year. They dont need to expand to the European market. Therefore, they do not care about geopolitics , they do not make a choice – Russia or EU. Their aim is isolation of Ukraine. Because in the isolated country they can do whatever they want .

Now Yanukovych set up Ukraine for an auction – the highest bidder, Russia or Europe, wins. Offering EU to invite Russia for negotiation of the Ukraine-EU trade association, Yanukovych actually admitted that Ukraine is not a sovereign state anymore, from now on it belongs to Russia, and Russia has to decide “how much”. For Yanukovych and his gang Ukraine – is not a country. Its a business project. Its a pump, pumping money into their pockets.

Now you are probably asking yourself how do we survive. As you can see, we are fighting. I am fighting. Received a European education and working in France, I decided to return to Ukraine, because I love my country. In leadership positions of PR in the cultural field, I have a good income (by Ukrainian standards) and live quite well. I visit your “terrible , terrible” EU several times a year, but I always come back, trying to help my Ukraine. And so many people do. We are educated, we are good at work, hospitable, and extremely smart, when we know English)). And, what is the most important, we are not going to surrender our country. Because for us, Ukraine – not a business project . It is not a pump. It is our Motherland.

Therefore we are protesting for these long days and nights to have your and the worlds attention.

Our petition to U.S. goverment, demandeing to arrest the Yanukovych bank accounts gathered 100,000 signatures in less than 4 days –

On Sunday, we had more than 100 000 people on the protest named #Euromaidan or #Євромайдан –

And the government has brought to the city police from all over the country. The government brought several thousand sporty marginals. Each of them was paid 20 to 100 euro. And their task was to provoke a fights or simply beat up people .
During the last few days they have beaten up lots of people including several journalists (particularly the Reuters correspondent) they even beated up two police officers who tried to protect the journalists.

This morning the Government, using extreme force, broke up a peaceful rally , most consisting of students –

Some people succeeded to escape to Monastery, but police have come for them, and now the unarmed people are trying to barricade from the hundred of special units –

This is the country where I live in. This is my Motherland. The country, where 45 million of people cannot get rid of a handful of thugs, who seized the power.

Our “president”, knowing that he would never win the election in 2015, now is struggling to usurp the power. His dream is to become the second Lukashenko. But neither Yanukovych nor Putin understand one simple thing: Ukrainians are not Russians or Belarusians. We don’t have an antiutopical fatalism as Russians do. We don’t have an excessive sufferance as Belarusians do. But, unlike Russia and Belarus, after USSR collapse, we were fortunate to experience a taste of real freedom. We knew what real liberty is, we won it once again in 2004 with our power of unity, and now we will not give up so easy.

Now, my european friends, tell me, is our protest because we want to be closer to EU?

No, my dears. We are well aware of all the difficulties in your countries. We know very well how hard it will be for us to integrate in Europe. But for us, the trade agreement with the EU, was not a visa-free Schengen zone, it was not about high salaries, not about good medicine and education. For us, the agreement with the EU was a sign of change of the criminal system. For us this agreement was first of all – CONTROL by EU politics of ukrainian crimrnal power. That is the thing our “president” so afraid of. And that’s exactly what we want so badly.

So dear Europeans, please, watch your language, when you talk about your motherlands.
And appreciate what you have – your freedom.


Singing for the signature

As thousands of Ukrainians descended on Maidan Square this weekend in support of Ukraine’s ‘European future’, the Ukrainian diaspora in Brussels gathered in Place Luxembourg to do their bit.

Unsurprisingly, this involved singing, smiling and lots of blue and yellow.

Sadly I missed the songs, but I catch some of the action 🙂

IMAG1991_1 IMAG1993_1 IMAG1995_2 IMAG1997_1 IMAG1998_1 IMAG2003_1

More on the main protests here:

Où est-ce?

Seventeen years ago I was convinced that learning to ask “où est la piscine?” and “Comment t’appelles-tu ?” was a complete waste of my time. Why, I wondered, was Mr Mutton wasting my time with lists of words which I couldn’t pronounce and would probably never use when I could be filling pencil cases with gas from the Bunsen burner and making them explode?

Well, today I was eating my own (English) words. Finally, some 70000+ days after I was forced to learn this phrase I got to ask “où est la piscine?”.  Now, I don’t want to re-ignite the why do we learn French? debate (see the comments) because this doesn’t significantly change anything, but I should at least be grateful to Mr Mutton and the UK educational system for preparing me for one small event in my future life.
Anyway, not only did I ask where the swimming pool was but I even swam in the thing! …and let me tell you this – asking where it is, is nowhere near a satisfactory level of vocabulary to prepare for the experience.

If you have 3.50 Euros, tight-fitting Speedo pants and a swimming hat, you too can swim in this pool. 

Firstly, how do you ask for one ticket to swim please? (swimming-pool, pis-cine, swim = pis?)  eh? maybe? …well, I wasn’t about to stand there shouting “moi piss”… so, I fell back on the much more useful “do you speak English?” (she didn’t) and then ‘sealed the deal’ by pointing at me and pretending to swim.
Proud of my achievement, I quickly made a nuisance of myself by getting lost and walking around the corner and directly back into her office which I thought was the changing room. She sympathetically rectified the situation and took me to the real changing rooms which were the strangest I’ve ever been to.   In fact, the whole swimming experience was one of the strangest I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot.
After changing in the very small personal cubicle, I ventured out, only to be promptly returned by the changing-room professional (great job) to borrow or buy myself some regulation tight-fitting swimming pants from the receptionist. You can imagine the sign language required to do this! …and there were school kids watching…
Then, having changed again, I made a second attack on the swimming pool entrance, but of course I still wasn’t looking ridiculous enough and the changing room guy stopped me again because I didn’t have a hat! A swimming hat! Seriously, wtf? I’m bald!  Well, thankfully, the guy (who was quite enjoying this) took pity on me and gave me a nice, bright-yellow spare and one and once I’d squeezed it over the least-hairy part of my bearded head – he let me through.

I went off to swim like some Linford Christie-Duncan Goodhew hybrid who’d escaped from a smutty 1950’s postcard… 

Anyway, I put in some good swimming (although I’ve no idea how long I swam for because there was no clock), rinsed myself down in the freezing string-operated showers and left feeling humiliated but healthy.

Now, for the benefit of humanity, here is a summary of my euro-swimming experience: The Ian Bearder guide to the pros and cons of swimming etiquette/rules in England, Slovenia, Hungary, Ukraine and Belgian.
Pros: You’re free to wear what the hell you like, you can choose if you cover your hair, warm showers are included in the price and you can be sure there will be two clocks in the swimming area. One to tell you the time and one to time your speed.
Cons: It can be expensive and it’s often over-crowded. If you go at the wrong time you’ll have to contend with an inflatable monster and you have to change and shower with everyone else. Also, you need to remember 10p for the lockers.
It’s basically like the UK except there aren’t any lockers …just a high degree of trust.
Pros: It is cheap and there’s probably a sauna near by.
Cons: The multi-stage shoe and clothing exchange system makes sense to nobody and there is a mandatory Speedo and swimming hat rule. However; if you’re lucky (and have a shaved head) they might let you go without a hat. If there is a sauna, it will probably be naked.
Pros: It is cheap and it’s quiet and you might be able to watch a film about how it was made.
Cons: You pay 1 Euro more if you’re not a local resident (surely that breaches EU law) and you must wear tight Speedos and a swimming hat even if you’re bald, it’s non-negotiable. Clocks are not provided so don’t expect to leave on time.
Pros: I never found out…
Cons: You need a health permit (yes I’m serious) to enter. This means you a) bribe a doctor and he gives you one, or b) you answer lots of questions about your sex life, pay 5 Euros and he/she gives you one.
Please feel free to add you’re country via the comments… maybe you’ll save me or anyone else reading some future embarrassment.  


PS, if you didn’t already know, I recently left Ukraine, bounced of the UK and now I’m in Brussels. I still say ‘da’, ‘horosho’ and ‘spasibo’ to everyone I talk too…
PPS, I have a new Belgian number +32477931967
PPPS, Guess who is writing nonsense about swimming pools when they should be re-working their thesis? …yeah, I know, I’ll get back to it…

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Democratic Communism Faces Extinction

“On 17 February 2008 Dimitris Christofias of the AKEL was elected President of Cyprus. This made Cyprus one of only three two countries in the world to currently have a democratically elected communist government, the other being Nepal…”

>> Give yourself 10 democratic points if you know the relevace of this post to today 🙂

Here’s a clue:

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