Ukraine’s Capital Descends Into Chaos

Ukraine’s Capital Descends Into Chaos

I found this article about Ukraine and thought I would share. How can this happen? Where is a solution? It is an obvious political crisis. Putin loaned 15 billion to Ukraine. Is there another solution besides money and military might? Must people suffer the same way they had to in Sarajevo? ( I realize it is a different problem but this did make me think  of the bombed out Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo.)


Searching for photos, there are so many of the protests. Human drama.

Ukraine Protest. Protesters clash with police at Presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine

I read a bunch of the recent reports. I liked this one the best as it puts you in the problem better than the other reports.

The biggest nation in Eastern Europe is rapidly sliding into anarchy as the world watches from the sidelines. In Kiev, Ukraine, political activists are disappearing, journalists are being shot at and government-paid thugs are hunting down protesters.

Events escalated after the Ukrainian parliament, seeking to end protests over the government’s decision to scuttle an association pact with the European Union, passed a set of harsh laws last week clamping down on the freedoms of speech and assembly. The draconian measures enraged a motley crew of soccer fans and right-wing militants, who engaged in a sustained battle with police attempting to bar entry to the government quarter. The police used tear gas, rubber bullets and noise grenades, sometimes tying stones to the latter to inflict more damage. Rioters countered with sticks and makeshift shields, and before too long with real shields seized from the police. Both sides threw Molotov cocktails and stones.

Eyewitnesses said that police seemed to be intentionally shooting at cameramen and photographers. No exception was made for pro-government publications and TV channels: The goal appeared to be to prevent footage of the fighting from finding an audience. Some journalists, like this brave Polish TV reporter, nevertheless managed to document the street war.

It was only a matter of time before someone got killed. On Jan. 22, riot police fatally shot two protesters, Sergei Nigoyan and Mikhail Zhiznevsky, on Grushevsky street in downtown Kiev. One well-known activist, Yuri Verbitsky, was found dead in the woods outside the capital. He and a colleague, Igor Lutsenko, had been taken to the woods from a Kiev hospital as part of a broader action in which police and plain-clothed thugs rounded up wounded rioters. Lutsenko, who says he was severely beaten, made his way back to the city. Police say Verbitsky died from exposure, not from the obvious injuries found on his body.

Normally a safe, friendly city, Kiev is now terrorized by groups of thugs, who freely admit they are being paid about $25 a night to scare and beat people who look like protesters.

It’s hard to imagine all this happening in a 21st century European city. The Western reaction? A few angry statements from U.S. senatorsand concerned noises from EU bureaucrats. Yanukovych, known to be free with his promises, told European Commission President Manuel Barroso that he would not introduce a state of emergency. Even without this formality, the Ukrainian capital is a city at war. I have seen angry townspeople wearing motorcycle and bicycle helmets carrying tires to the site of the clashes to build stinking bonfires, which have submerged the area in a gray fog.

From a purely financial perspective, Russian President Vladimir Putin should be unhappy with Yanukovich. Russia has pledged $15 billion, $3 billion of which it has already spent on Ukrainian bonds, to bring the government back from the brink of default and calm the political situation. Yet Yanukovich has only further provoked the protesters and threatened Ukraine’s solvency, spending the money to shore up his support by paying the salaries and pensions of poverty-stricken public sector workers, troops and police. Nonetheless, the Russian government is preparing to release another $2 billion to Ukraine this month.

In a column for the Moscow daily Vedomosti, Vladimir Fedorin, former editor of Forbes Ukraine, speculated that Yanukovych would try to quash the protests by Feb. 7, when the Sochi Winter Olympics are due to open. “That wouldn’t be a bad gift for his Moscow patron,” Fedorin wrote. “The man who, with his Ukrainian colleague, bears responsibility for turning peaceful political protest into a street war, will have to answer a lot of questions from Western leaders who do not pass on going to Sochi.”

That is something of an idealistic view. The West does not care enough about what is going on in Ukraine to engage Putin, who has laid claim to the country by financing a rogue, oppressive regime.

(Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View contributor. Follow him on Twitter.)




Cat fight in aisle 3

Andrea and Jenna are co workers no more. Over the last 2 months they have been waging war. One pitted against the other. No one is really sure what started it but as the days passed, their relationship got progressively worse.

The work relationship started by the pair sharing job duties in the department they were assigned to. Both began working in a men’s department in a famous store. Whether it was a natural competitiveness or something else, the pair looked like they could work together. Most of their job duties were centered around maintaining a department. Their merchandise needed to be sorted, put back and organized in a very presentable fashion. A lot of effort goes into recovering a department. It looks great to the customer. The associates make that happen with almost a continuous effort to keep it looking good.

The pair’s work relationship started to unravel. On each other’s days off, one would accuse the other of leaving things untidy.  Andrea would complain to the Merchandise Manager that Jenna just left the work for her to do. A few days later when Andreas was off, the complaints repeated. Jenna would say that Andrea wasn’t pulling her weight.

Rumors were flying. The two were not getting along and co workers were starting to notice. The break room was the new battle ground. Break rooms are notorious for scuttlebutt. With the entire store coming and going, stopping for lunch and just plain shooting the bull. The problems Andrea and Jenna were having found an audience. Before long everyone knew about their troubles. Fellow associates wondered if they would ever talk it out and no one could really put their finger on  why they couldn’t get along. Jenna was new in town and besides her job in retail, was pursuing modeling. Andrea had her own opinion about what exactly Jenna was modeling. The backbiting never stopped.

Then something happened that ended it for both of them. Jenna happened to know that Andrea liked to leave her cell phone in her coat pocket and that she sometimes left her coat on the rack instead of in her locker. One day, while Andrea was on the sales floor, Jenna fished  Andrea’s cell phone out of coat pocket and texted the word “bitch” in reply to the last text message on Andrea’s phone.

As it turns out. Jenna texted to Andrea’s Aunt. Andrea and her relative were is a pretty serious disagreement over a family matter. They were texting  back and forth about it over the last couple of days. Andrea’s Aunt of course did not know that the “bitch” text actually came from Jenna. Andrea found herself and tears in the break room. A co worker got HR involved. She walked the crying Andrea to the HR office where Andrea dumped the problem on the HR Manger’s desk. Not news to the HR department since they had heard rumblings about the two and their problems. The break room cameras were checked and actually did not show Jenna with the cell phone. Jenna had her chance and back and forth it went. Things died down a little over the next few days. Andrea came in to resign citing a hostile work environment. About a week later, Jenna was up for her end of probation review. The review didn’t go well and a day later, Jenna came in to say she was moving on.

The HR Manager commented, “This was quite an episode. Two people who didn’t get along working closely together and their problems never got solved.”