Posts Tagged ‘culture’


Leaving the club – or several actually (Odessa)

October 30, 2014

As regular readers will have noted, the blog has recently become rather “Odessa-centric” – for good reason.  There are those that read this blog in Kyiv, Brussels and several capitals specifically to get a “feel” for what is going on in Odessa at certain times – particularly at times of unexpected incident, elections or “interesting developments” upon which it is felt necessary comment is made.

This, once again, is one such entry – prior to returning to matters more national tomorrow – now that (with a few exceptions) the results from the elections in Odessa have been announced and accepted.

Of note today, Odessa City Council has several decisions to leave international associations it considers ineffective and unable to justify regarding cost.  Membership fees, administration costs etc.

With effect from today, decisions were made to leave the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities of the CIS (Confederation of Independent States), the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, The International Black Sea Club, the International Coalition for Environmental Initiatives and the European Federation of Local Solidarity Association.

These decisions made in response to the Cabinet of Ministers Decree “On saving public money and avoiding loses to the budget” according to the City Council session today, after consultation with, and the deliberation of, the Department of International Relations of City Hall.

It appears, for the time being at least, all remaining official associations will be spared the administrative and budgetary axe.

What savings this will actually produce, who knows?  Perhaps a move to e-government rather than remaining on paper would save just as much if not more?

As to the historical benefits of any of these organisations and how the have manifested themselves in Odessa, that is perhaps subjective, although without doubt none have ever had much of a public profile.

Also of note is the apparent arrival of lustration in Odessa within both the prosecutors and tax administration departments first to be targeted – though clearly it currently seems to be superficial rather than confronting the deep and ingrained corrupt culture that runs within these institutions.

Whether serious inroads will be made remains to be seen.


A charm offensive in the offing?

April 29, 2014

Whilst The Kremlin is engaged in rewriting European geography through force in total disregard to international and regional legal instruments – and in doing so subjecting itself to some serious image damaging fallout – it seems that perhaps some attempt at mitigation may well be in the offing.

2014, the year of Russian culture – So what?  Russian culture cannot repair the damage caused by such irresponsible and reckless acts towards Ukraine today – and by extension the European and international order.

Quite so, it can’t – or at least it shouldn’t – but all things are connected even when they appear not to be in Russian diplomacy.

Currently the world is being reminded of the part Russian culture that creates dissidents, exiles, reactionaries and revolutionaries and a very wary neighbourhood – distinctly negative portraits.  A particularly prickly image and one not welcome on the world stage.

So how best to sooth or remove those barbs?

A partial tactical pivot in soft power employing the use of a very rich and globally renowned culture.

Time to roll out those historical greats across literature, philosophy, music and art – and combine them with the best Russian performers of the present day – projected at extravagant events and well choreographed celebration via the huge network of embassies and consulates across the globe.

Particular attention paid to influential nations naturally, ( but also a time to remind the domestic audience just how great a nation Russia is as the hardships mount up at home).

The international target audience – those who frame national argument.  Those politicians, diplomats, business leaders and media networks that attend such functions and will then leave with a far higher regard – and perhaps understanding – of Russia.

The message being that current Kremlin shenanigans should not colour the empirical view too greatly.

Pure nonsense of course – No matter how great a culture a nation may have, the deliberate and prolonged aggression and destabilisation of a neighbouring State because it has a different vision of its future than the one you would prefer, cannot be removed from the sharp focus the issue currently has on the international and regional stage by a little Tchaikovsky.

Or can it?  Poking around the Internet, there are no end of “useful idiots” great and small it seems.



Days of Ukraine 17 – 19 October – London

October 18, 2013

Well, today is the first day of the “Days of Ukraine” event in London. – A current advert for the event being shown in Ukraine.

An event designed to  ‘improve the perception of our country abroad, to promote a positive image of Ukraine as a European country with both a rich cultural heritage and vibrant contemporary culture” –  organised, sponsored by GF Group owned by Dmitry Firtash and The Firtash Foundation.

What can you say?

Nothing could possibly improve the image of Ukraine and promote a positive image more than a few days of Ukrainian culture and heritage, heavily and overtly sponsored by a Ukrainian oligarch with some allegedly very controversial associates.

Then again, what could possibly be more Ukrainian than such an event having such an “interesting” sponsor given the symmetry of  parallel attempts to distance themselves from murky pasts?

Europe, after all, since 1946, has been fairly good at rehabilitation – no reason why Ukraine and Mr Firtash would be an exception.


Odessa International Jazz Festival 19 – 22 September

September 15, 2013

Away from the world of Ukrainian politics and policy – briefly at least – I will draw your attention to the annual Odessa International Jazz Festival that takes place next week over a four day period.

Amongst this years performers are  Yuri Kuznetsov Honored Artist of Ukraine (Ukraine), Anatoly Vapirov (Bulgaria ), Anatoly Vapirov (a frequent guest at the Odessa Jazz Festival), Cuban violinist Omar Puente, German trio Benedict Yanelya (Germany – Spain – Canada), Lisa Henry & Oleg Butman Trio ( USA – Russia ),  Henry Fox, who will perform with a trio of Oleg Butman ( Russia ), Kuba Stankiewicz ( Poland), Dario Pinelli & Binario Swing ( Italy), Benjamin Faugloire Project ( France), Ahimsa ( India – Germany), Roman Tulei Trio ( Switzerland), FKP Trio ( Ukraine), Asea Sool ( Georgia – Ukraine), Samokhin Band ( Poland), Liberty ( Transnistria), Jam Band ( Ukraine), and Odessa’s Swing Dance Studio – to name but a few.

So if you plan to be in Odessa next week and are a lover of jazz – as long as the weather stays dry, as it opens with a concert in the City Gardens – you will undoubtedly have a good time!


Happy Birthday Odessa – С Днем Рождения Одессы

September 2, 2013

Today, 2nd September, Odessa, the city that has been my home for the past decade is officially 219 years old – and what a wonderful place to live it is.


And with that, no more blogging, or tweeting from me until 10th September, as effective immediately, I am off to watch my good lady try to rescue the Greek economy single handed during the course of the next week.


219th birthday celebrations – Odessa itinerary

August 18, 2013

For those readers likely to be in Odessa between 30th August and 3rd September, you will be present as the city celebrates its 219th “official” birthday – it is far older.

Anyway, the itinerary for those few days is as follows:

It includes rock fest, art & flowers exhibitions, music concerts, gala concert etc.
Traditional concert followed by a large firework will take place at Potyomkin Stairs in the evening.

In the network of the celebration, a range of traditional events will be held, including:
– International “Meetings in Odessa” Culture and Arts Festival;
– Gala concert of the XXII “Piqué Vests” Rock Festival in memory of I. Gankevitch at the Kulikovo Field (Chicherina and Skryabin are the headliners of the concert);
– Gala concert at at Potyomkin Stairs;
– open-air “Rakhmaninov by the Sea” concert by Alexei Botvinov by the Vorontsov Palace’s Colonnade;
– open-air “Jazz in Classics. Classics in Jazz” concert by Yuri Kuznetsov in the City Garden;
– flowers exhibition and the 2nd Arts and Crafts Festival;
– “Open-air cinema hall” at Langerone Descent;
– Yerzy Hoffman’s “Ukraine”movie presentation;
– meeting with the legendary Yuri Norstein, the author of bestseller “Hedgehog in Fog”cartoon;
– festive firework.

The traditional Gala-concert at Potyomkin Stairs will feature numerous famous artists, including In-Grid, Potap and Nastya Kamenskykh, BoomBox, Tina Karol, “X-Factor” Show winner Aida Nikolaychuk from Odessa, “Country’s Voice” Show winner Anna Khodorovskaya from Odessa and others.

As and when more details of who on what date and where become available, I will attempt to let you know.

I must admit I do fancy attending “Rakhmaninov by the Sea” and the jazz classics at the City Garden – both of which I hope will occur before the 2nd September when I shall be heading to Crete for a few days.


Гранты ЕС и финансирования – отсутствие информации в Украине/EU Grants and financing – Lack of information in Ukraine

July 25, 2013

После вчерашнего очень усталый и короткий вход, касающиеся грантов ЕС для культуры, в которой украинские лица могут обращаться к нации EaP партнерства, я получил удивительное количество писем с просьбой, что другие гранты ЕС предоставленные к которым украинские лица могут обращаться.

Сегодня я провел много часов, ища среди слишком многочисленных веб-сайтов для ЕС консолидированной и всеобъемлющих списоков грантов к которым украинские организации могут обращаться – без такого списка  на английском, немецком или французском языке. Поэтому не удивительно что  ничего на украинском либо русском!

Таким образом, вы удивляетесь, почему Есть огромное количество грантов, доступных для Украины как EaP нации, от культуры до малого и среднего бизнеса, инновации в образовании и т.д., ни один из которых не консолидируются в одном месте – или на языке, который большинство украинцев (и других стран EaP партнерства) поймет.

Разве что вина в ЕС? Это бездействие Миссии ЕС в Украину – часть, роль которого заключается обратиться к украинскому обществу содействия ЕС (и это должно быть сказано, он терпет неудачу)? Это провал украинского правительства не иметь всеобъемлющий список публично доступен на украинском? Украинское правительство, мы должны предположить, зная о том, предоставлять доступ ЕС сделать доступными для украинских предприятий.

Это проблема, когда все думают, что кто-то другой несет ответственность за распространение этой информации – и таким образом ему удается проваливаются трещины в асфальте?

Я должен тратить недели пройдя через все гранты ЕС и право финансирования для украинских организаций, писать краткий обзор каждого на русском языке (мой украинский просто не хорош для этого) и обеспечивать ссылки на соответствующие процессы приложения?

Возможно, я должен сделать это в сотрудничестве с другими в рамках гражданского общества и СМИ в Брюсселе  и Украины, с которыми у меня есть отношения, чтобы сократить исследования / следственных часа вниз, – но если она попадет к нам должны исследовать, собирать, подтверждать и распространять такую ​​информацию на знакомом языке для тех рамках EaP народов?

Совершенно очевидно, что спрос на такую ​​информацию там данный емеил ответил на очень усталый пост в России в области культуры гранты вчера

Following yesterday’s very tired and short entry relating to EU grants for culture to which Ukrainian entities can apply being an EaP nation, I received a surprising amount of emails asking what other grants the EU provides to which Ukrainian entities can apply.

Today I have spent many hours searching the far too numerous EU websites for a consolidated and all-encompassing list of grants to which Ukrainian organisations can apply – with no such list apparent in English, German or French.  Therefore unsurprisingly nothing in Ukrainian or Russian either!

You therefore wonder why there are a vast number of grants available to Ukraine as an EaP nation, ranging from culture to SME’s, innovation to education etc., none of which are consolidated in a single location – or in a language that the majority of Ukrainians (and other EaP nations) would understand.

Is that the fault of the EU?  Is it an omission by EU Mission to Ukraine – part of whose role is reach out to Ukrainian society promoting the EU (and it has to be said it is failing miserably)?  Is it a failure of the Ukrainian government not to have an all-encompassing list publicly available in Ukrainian?  The Ukrainian government, we must presume, is aware of what grant access the EU has made available to Ukrainian entities.

Is this an issue where everybody thinks somebody else is responsible for the dissemination of this information – and thus it manages to fall through the cracks in the pavement?

Should I spend weeks going through all the EU grants and eligible funding for Ukrainian organisations, writing a brief overview of each in Russian (my Ukrainian is simply not up to it) and providing links to the relevant application processes?

Perhaps I should do it in collaboration with others within the civil society and media bubble in Brussels and Ukraine with whom I have relationships to cut the research/investigative hours down – but should it fall to us to have to research, collate, corroborate and the disseminate such information in a familiar language to those within the EaP nations?

Quite obviously the demand for such information is there given the email response to a very tired post in Russian relating to culture grants yesterday.

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