August heat still covers most parts of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus (such as the rain pours down at the Swedish West coast), but as far as I have heard the rain and chill is on it’s way during this week (but a storm has already hit Northwestern Russia). I think, however, it’s time for a new hot recommendation: Taras 3000.
Taras 3000 is the alter-ego for Dmitri Yaponets, DJ, performer and producer from Moscow. I have never liked to label music so I refrain and let you decide for yourself what you think and feel.
My lastest visit to Kyiv, but hopefully not my last, was in January-February this year. Cold and dark, but even so, more nice, warm and friendly. Hopefully these pictures can share some of those feelings.
These pictures was taken during one of my visits to Kyiv. It is one of my own favorite albums, possibly because somebody managed to capture my face and because there are many faces in this set that I like. But even so, there are many faces I miss too. I have promised myself to try to be better in taking photos of friends. But still I am far too shy for that.
The shameful treatment of Ukrainians by the Schengen and UK visa systems continues to hit new heights, with at least two more atrocious stories emerging this week.
The UK’s Independent highlighted the rejections of visas for Ukrainian children who were due to spend a month away from the vicinity of Chernobyl. Whether these trips are healthwise still strictly necessary is open to question, but the point is that these summer trips have gone on for years without any problems. In just one example, only 7 out of 17 children due to spend part of the summer on the Isle of Wight were permitted to travel and, to make matters worse, they were in some cases informed only the night before travelling, with suitcases packed, that they would not be making the trip. The UK Border Agency tried to blame it on unsuitable host families in the UK, but the claims seem to be spurious.
Another case highlighted this week was of two PhD students bound for Italy who had their student visas rejected. There is an exhaustive list of similar cases, including the Ukrainian dance troupe which protested against their UK visa rejections by performing outside the British Embassy in Kiev. A folk festival in Bellingham had been deprived of the same pleasure. A recent article in the Kyiv Post highlighted an unfortunate Ukrainian student’s extended stay in the departure lounge of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport due to the Icelandic volcano. The fact that he had friends in nearby Paris and was on a US student visa cut no ice with the French authorities despite clear evidence in favour of the applicant. Another case brought to my attention by my father was a group of Ukrainian steam train operators which was prevented from attending a gathering of railway preservationist organisations in Hungary. The gathering was part of the process of trying to bring Ukrainians round to creating the kind of railway preservation projects which have grown tourism in myriad places across the continent. Such developments are fairly alien in somewhere like Ukraine, but these are good examples of how visa rejections will serve to reinforce the status quo.
One not to be ignored result of this policy is the stress that it has caused to EU citizens in each case. With cases of a more personal nature this stress is amplified. In such cases the inviting party is treated as irrelevant to the matter in hand or even worse, de facto made out to be liars. These rejections are damaging business, cultural, educational, family and personal contacts of EU citizens. Don’t we have rights too?
With the common thread here seeming to be the apparently arbitrary nature of many visa rejections, does it smack of conspiracy theories to begin to question whether there is a more sinister motive at work here? Are the EU and UK in fact telling Ukrainians in fairly blunt terms to ‘go back to Russia’? The line has been drawn and, sorry, you’re on the Moscow side. If this is not the message they wish to give out, they’re not doing a very good job!
Jonathan Hibberd recently completed post-graduate studies at Sussex European Institute, University of Sussex in the UK and has carried out research into questions of Ukraine’s European integration and the country’s relationship with NATO. He currently works with the British Council in Kiev.
These photos from Moscow in April 2008 are perhaps my own favourites. Possibly because this was the first time I used Ilford b/w 3200 and I was very stunned by the grain and the mystery the pictures got through using that film.
This is photos I took during my last stay in Moscow, in May. To take photos is only a hobby, and I try to avoid to have any clear ambitions, or goals with them. There are no hidden signs. Enjoy. Or of you don’t, just don’t enjoy 🙂
viewpoint-east.org will take a break during July and parts of August. I will however publish some photo sets from Moscow and Kyiv during the summer, and I aslo welcome new articles, picture etc. So contact me if you have any up your sleeve you’d like to publish at viewpoint-east.org.
I will move to Lviv in September and hope to be able to publish a lot of fresh and entertaining posts, such as I hope viewpoint-east.org will get a lot of new collaborators in the future!