viewpoint-east.org

Night of Museums in Moscow

Category: by sophie engström, russia
Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday it was Night of Museums in Moscow and viewpoint-east.org went to Proekt Fabrika. I made an interview with Nick Ohkotin, independent book distributor Berrounz, owner of Proekt OGI bookstore and Interbok in Stockholm such as one of the team heads of Moscow International Open Book Festival. This interview will be published later.

Below you see a (very) short clip from the Black Market, that was situated at the yard at Fabrika. Wonderful atmosphere with friendly faces, tasty wine and many interesting books and other items for sale.

Share

Robbialac Stalinism stopped!

Category: guests
Tags: , ,

I received the information from the campaign Stop Robbialac today, that the company Robbialac has withdrawn their colour “Vermelho Estaline” (Red Stalin) from their catalog. viewpoint-east.org has previously published Stop Robbialac’s protest letter. Here is what they say.

Robbialac would like to clarify that it was never our intention to offend the victims of Stalinism.

Therefore, in order to avoid any doubts about the issue, Robbialac decided to withdraw suppress the color designation “vermelho-Estaline” and “vermelho Rússia”, from the colour cards where they were mentioned.
Robbialac operates in the Portuguese market for 79 years, and has always maintained a thorough respect for the consumers and employees.

TINTAS ROBBIALAC, S.A.
++++++++++++

Share

Stop Robbialac Stalinism now!

Category: guests
Tags: , , , , ,

This is an open letter from the blog Stop Robbialac.

Recently, a Portuguese painting company, Robbialac, has created a brand new color, with a name of “Vermelho Estaline” (Red Stalin). Decision of its own management and creative department can be verified in company’s Web products catalog (page number 8, right side, down of the page).

Personally, I have consider this decision as a cynic and sinister way to obtain commercial gains based on inhumane suffering, blood and tears of millions de citizens of Central and East Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus.

Also, I have deeply doubt, that Robbialac managements hasn’t no information about horrors of Ukrainian Holodomor, massacre of Polish officers and civilians in Katyn or about system of Soviet concentration camps, generically known as a GULAG.

Based in all this data, I assume me personal responsibility and duty to not buying any Robbialac products, till a company will take of the market this genocidal paint and will publically ask for forgiveness, to millions of victims of Stalinist tyranny in Europe or in any place in the World.

If you are agreeing with my position, please, contact Robbialac painting to show to the company your own civic position:
robbialac@robbialac.pt
Telephone in Portugal: + 351 21 994 77 00
Fax in Portugal: +351 21 994 77 94
Green Line in Portugal: +351 800 200 725.

Permanent address of this news
http://stoprobbialac.blogspot.com/2010/04/stop-robbialac-stalinism.html

Best regards,

Jest Nas Wielu,
Citizen & Blogger,
Maputo, Mozambique

Blog

About this civic campaign on CNN

Share

A brave new world with Konoplyana pravda

Category: by sophie engström, ukraine
Tags: , ,

When I was in Kyiv last I met some of the founders of the paper Konoplyana pravda. I was so fascinated by their project, so I decided to ask them some questions. Here is the answers from Zhenja Matirka, Sergio Azenberg and Taras Ratushniy. Enjoy!

How did it all start? When and who decided to start to make a paper?
We have every year during the Global Marijuana March (GMM) action in Ukraine tried to make a “paper appeal”, a kind of annual newspaper (but a bit unusual one, black and white made by RISO) with facts that one can not normally find in ordinary media . So the “start” was many years ago. Then we learned experiences from our close neighbors (from PL and CZ) also working with GMM in their capitals and their printed medias “Spliff” and “Konopticum” were convinced. That was our dream – a real (and legal) newspaper with real (and also legal) ADs. They had shown us how to realize our main goal, how to legalize ourself. So we started to work with our local crews, found the first advertisers and less then in 3 months our pilot, our first issue, was done.   

Could you describe the procedure? Like, how did you work together? Who did what, or likewise.
Hehe… During our work with the plot it was a real secret for everyone who exactly was responsible for what during the process. Konopljana Pravda has a virtual editorium – half of us has never met one another personally. Just nicks and short info in the google group. Graphic designer was sitting in Khmelnitski region, cartoonist in Vinnitsa, corrector in Minsk (BY) and also some of us were sitting in Kiev, Dnieoropetrovsk, even in India (like Dmitri Gaiduk, our editor). There was just one time we were working together in one room – four notebooks at one kitchen table. We’ll attach the photo : )

From where do you get your inspiration?
We get the inspiration from our readers. We are happy while they’re satisfied. We try to answer every e-mail and to publish the most interesting e-mails.

How do you survive economically? From sponsors or donations? Or both?
After working with i. ex. Global Marijuana March (GMM) for years, on our own expense, we don’t trust donors. Our project is therefor strictly commercial, we have ads. In our pilot the ads did look almost like sponsorship. That was because it was hard to be serious and to ask customers “We’re going to print newspaper in Ukraine? (Do you even know where’s it, Ukraine?) So do you want to buy some pages”. It was almost like selling air.
But when people saw our paper they called and mailed from all over Ukraine, and a lot of ad costumers said “Ok, we’d like to have a contract”. And a matter a fact, several new companies appears in every issue of “Konoplyana pravda”.     

Is the paper for free or people need to pay for it? Where can you find it? In Kyiv only? How do you solve distribution inside Ukraine?
Konoplyana pravda is for free. It can be found in smart-shops, bicycle- and roller clubs and on private parties. It is distributed by activist all over Ukraine – in Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Lviv, Donetsk, and other major cities.

How many readers do you have today? How many would you like to have?
Our current issue is 7.000 but there are at least 3 readers fo every copy of the newspaper. So, we think that about 20 000-25 000 people read it each month.

Do you believe that it is possible to legalize cannabis in Ukraine?
We prefer not to discuss the question of legalization. Firstly because everyone discussing it implies different things. Our standpoint is that the Ukrainian society needs to change its idea about cannabis. It’s not a black or white issue in reality. And after the experts discussion we have to establish the State Policy over the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Share

viewpoint-east.org in Moscow May 12 – 23

Category: by sophie engström, russia
Tags: , , , , ,

I will come to Moscow on the May 12. I have been invited to hold a seminar about “Social Media and Gender” at a workshop, that belongs to a joint venture project between IREX and FOJO. The workshop is funded by SIDA.


Moscow sky by me.

Share

My Quest of the City Council: Playing the rule-changing game

Category: belarus, by Olga Karach
Tags: , ,

[Part II of Olga Karach’s adventures in the local election in Belarus]

‘Off with her head!’ the Red Queen shouted at the top of her voice. 
Nobody moved. ‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, 
(she had grown to her full size by this time.)
‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’ 
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, 
and came flying down upon her.

Two cards from two different packs… Sorry, two members from two different commissions called me on Tuesday and informed me that they cancelled my registration for the coming elections to the City Council. The pretext they found was the distributing of green balloons to children. The balloons were given out outside my election precincts, and naturally they did not carry my name or any other names. Apparently, the commissions were running out of time (the elections are due in five days), so they were ready to declare a violation any action of mine. If not balloons, I could have been banned from the elections for a green scarf.


Vitebsk from 1912. From wiki commons.

The three persons who signed the petitions urging to punish me are not from my precincts. I also strongly doubt that they wrote the petitions themselves, not just signed the ready-made text. One of them is the Chief Manager of Municipality Branch #9 in Vitebsk.The second is a woman named Tatiana Tadeushevna Andreieva living at 68-4 Pravdy Street. As for the third person, we know only the last name (Starikovich) and partially the residence address (76 Moskovski Prospekt). However, in the court we will surely learn the full information about the signers and will publish it.

So now authorities consider me not eligible for the elections. But how much ‘elective’ the elections have become, how much of fair elections is left in this staged cricket game? The pro-governmental candidate, Mr. Bashmetov, has shamelessly been making use of his administrative position. Being the Rector of a government-controlled university, he used its premises for meetings and its faculty for organizing the meetings. The students were forced to go to the meetings, sometimes instead of classes. For high-school graduates Mr. Bashmetov was promising almost free admission to the university, if only he becomes one of the ‘deputies’. To crown it all, with the term exams coming many female students were ‘strongly advised’ to take part in concerts and cheer actions for Mr. Bashmetov’s promotion.

The government-staffed commissions reviewed his slanderous complaints against me practically immediately. At the same time only one out of my six complaints of April 14-20 was reviewed. The resolution signed by Mr. Miadelets, the Chair, read ‘a number of solutions have been found which now satisfy all the parties involved’. Besides the fact that no real solution was found, the resolution definitely implied that I am not a party involved. Needless to mention, the other five complaints of mine have never been reviewed.

‘That’s not a regular rule’, Alice remarked, ‘you invented it just now.’
‘It’s the oldest rule in the book!’ cried the Red Queen.
‘Then it ought to be Number One,’ said Alice.
The Red Queen turned pale, and shut her note-book hastily.

Why the officials are changing even their own rules so hastily? What are they scared of? I have no doubts the reason was the number of my representatives. Suddenly the packs (sorry again, the Commissions) got it right that our team will do everything necessary to properly monitor the counting of votes. Their hopes to reach their own goal set from the top were suddenly jeopardized. Fair elections would definitely mean failures of pro-government candidates.

I am addressing to all citizens who were going to support me: show your attitude to this staged game which officials call ‘elections’. You can do it in two ways:
1. You can just ignore the game. Do not come to the election precinct. Why waste time, if the result is fixed and forged anyway? To give officials an opportunity to give their decisions a label of ‘working people’s will’? To let them reduce social security, to raise taxes and utilities, to do nothing about real needs, and call it ‘fulfilling the working people’s orders’?
2. You can come to the election precinct and cross out all the names, then write ‘For Karach’, and put your ballot into the ballot-box. This way you will show the Red Queen and her packs that you are not a pawn in their games, where rules are being changed at will (maybe even as a result of a schizophrenic reaction). You will show that you are a human, and you demand the right to choice. Both ways are good, though they differ in openness, of course.
Continue reading…

Share

My Quest To the City Council: Beginning

Category: belarus, by Olga Karach, guests
Tags: , , , ,

‘Curiouser and curiouser!’

I love quests. Otherwise I would have never become a politician. At the same time I never play computer quests, because I am very positive they are quite dull if compared with real political life in contemporary Belarus. Can you get a puzzle to solve just at the very beginning, when you are just registering for the game? Unlikely. In most cases, for introduction you get a long text of the License of Agreement, written in regular Legalese.

Unlike in computer gaming, my quest for becoming a People’s Representative in the City Council started with a whole range of puzzling tasks even before I could get the official registration. When I was registering for candidacy, I was solemnly given a letter from the Tax Inspection office. Why at that very moment? Why only me? Why not via regular mail, but via personal delivery of the Election Commission Chair? The most plausible answer coming to my mind is that the authorities are trying to put pressure on me and the Election Commission members. However, a quest is a quest, so I also sent an official request to the Tax Inspection office and asked them the same questions. They are still keeping silent about their own official motives though. Evidently they are not so experienced in questing…

Just like Alice in Wonderland, I can only say that subsequent events are getting ‘curiouser and curiouser’. Now, Vitebsk region has the one and only independent newspaper, that of VITEBSKI KURIER (Vitebsk Courier), and the newspaper has never been in favour with the authorities. Actually, we will probably soon have to re-brand it as ‘Vitebsk Phoenix’, because the newspaper team now has a lot of skills in ‘rising from the ashes’ (is there a skill like this in WORLD OF WARCRAFT?). So the authorities never liked the newspaper, but with my registration as a candidate the repressions just rocketed up. The newspaper team has violated no law, from the Election Code or any other, but now it is being considered ‘enemy #1’, and the number of enforcers from the local police who are hunting it down can definitely make a bystander think that the police are dealing with nothing less like Professor Moriarty, Vitebsk City level. Why so? Again, the most plausible answer is that in the official scenario for the coming elections there is no place for independent sources of information. But what can be explanations from the police and the authorities? Anyway, VITEBSKI KURIER will be published and will be delivered to the readers no matter what. Just like before, we will outplay the authorities in this quest as well.

‘When I use a word,’ 
Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 
‘it means just what I choose it to mean—
neither more nor less.’

Last week the cars my relatives own turned out to be included in the Road Police list of vehicles reported stolen. How come? Another puzzle to solve. Apparently, when enforcers from Vitebsk police see a car, it becomes just what they choose it to become. Humpty Dumpty did the same with words, but never with private property. The culmination of this logic was the case when on April 7 the car officially owned by my husband was arrested and delivered to a Police precinct on the suspicion that it had been stolen. The fact that I myself was sitting in the car and the owner was personally driving it definitely was not enough to clear the suspicion. The sad thing is that while a police platoon was hunting down, arresting, and escorting my husband’s car, some real criminals could be stealing cars at will.

This new type of logic invented by Vitebsk police is sometimes incomprehensible even for their colleagues. When Mogilev Region police officers found a car from the official list of vehicles reported stolen, they also had their piece of quest. They could not figure out why there were 10 000 copies of an officially registered newspaper in there, neatly packed and ready for distribution. They had seen many things in stolen cars, but a complete circulation of a newspaper issue was really something very new. When they called Vitebsk police, Vitebsk enforcers solved their problem immediately. The ‘stolen’ car presented no interest for them, they just asked to confiscate the newspaper copies. Have you already guessed that the newspaper title was VITEBSKI KURIER? If yes, you are also beginning to collect points in this quest.

By the way, the issue reached the readers anyway. The newspaper team fulfilled the civil duty, is spite of the hindrances developed by the authorities and their enforcers. We never forget about our main quest and its mission: to provide people with free unbiased information.

‘Now, I give you fair warning,’ 
shouted the Red Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; 
‘either you or your head must be off, 
and that in about half no time! 
Take your choice!’

Arranging a meeting with my voters was a whole new part of my quest, and there I had to use a lot of my ‘skills and points’. On April 10 my representative sent an official letter to the Administration of Oktiabrski District of Vitebsk notifying them that on April 12-14 I was going to hold meetings with my voters on the territories near their apartment houses. Knowing how ‘creative’ the Red Queen can be in putting obstacles for people who want fair representation, we also sent another copy by registered mail. The royal reaction was fast and furious. The official reply #01-19/19В signed by Mr. V. A. Galanov, the first deputy of the Administration Head, read that ‘… based on the information above, you are not allowed to hold meetings with information and entertainment elements on the territories near the apartment houses of Klinicheski Election District #51… the only place you can use is the open-air scene located at 63-1 Pravdy Street.’

In my election precinct there are a lot of places fully suitable for an open talk with voters. Why didn’t the authorities mention them? Another puzzle… Anyway, I am a law-abiding citizen, so I answered that if it is ‘the open-air scene located at 63-1 Pravdy Street’, let it be so. Let us play there, and let us play fair.

My election precinct is special, because there are four candidates. In most precincts throughout Belarus there is just one. To make the election quest simpler? Well, I and my activists are sure that ‘no selection—no election’. The citizens’ choice must be educated, people must know their candidates, their backgrounds, their programs. The candidates must meet in fair verbal battles, so that people will see who is who now and who is going to be who after the elections. That is why on April 14 I personally called all my rivals and invited them to come to the meeting in the evening to the one and only ‘open-air scene located at 63-1 Pravdy Street’. All the other candidates confirmed receiving the information, and none of them said that they were organizing their own events at the time.

However, the Red Queen had her own views on how candidates must compete for votes. At about 6pm, just one hour before my arranged meeting with voters, I got a call to my mobile phone. A male introduced himself as ‘A. K. Kondratovich, a deputy head of Oktiabrski District Administration’, and then immediately revealed his true nature of being just a playing card in the authority pack. He said that they banned my meeting with voters because another candidate earlier applied for the same place and time, and the candidate does not want my presence there. I felt just like Alice again—I had to be off, and that in about half no time. Needless to say that the candidate was one of those whom I was calling at noon, and he said not a single word about his own ‘planned’ meeting. Had the Red Queen turned him into a zombie? Or was he a zombie from the very beginning?
Continue reading…

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share

%d bloggers like this: