sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 6, 2015

Gay Marriage As Foreign Policy Weapon

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:10 pm

When in November 2013 I first started following the events in Ukraine, I noticed that Maidan supporters were reassuring their reluctant countrymen that no, Eurointegration doesn’t equal gayification.  “Look at Georgia,” they said. “They broke off with Moscow, but when local homosexuals tried to stage a Pride Parade in Tbilisi, it was attacked by vigilante patriots”.  They were referring to the failed Pride attempt in Georgia’s capitol earlier that year.

A few months later President Yanukovich fled to Russia and a new government was established.  That government, lauded in English-language media as “pro-Western”, is ostensibly eager to establish Ukraine’s European credentials.  What better way to do it than to show tolerance towards sexual minorities?

Unfortunately for the new Ukrainian leadership, they are ruling a country where attitudes towards gays are not very different from Russia’s.  My readers recall that a few years ago the latter caught a lot of grief, deservingly, for it’s anti-gay anti-free speech laws.  Putin became quite a bogeyman for both the Left and the Right, and in 2014 The Advocate even made him villain of the year.  Not sure why, because, as heinous as the new Russian laws are, they are no match for sharia-sanctioned homophobia.

Can we please go easy on Hitler comparisons?

So, naturally, when the Kiev protests made headlines, the Right sided with the protesters because of Putin’s authoritarian expansion, and the Left sided with the protesters because of Russia’s homophobic sentiment.  Lets set aside the small issue of Ukraine’s own history of totalitarianism and look at homophobia.

In June 2013 the country’s first LGBT “Equality March” ended without an incident, but last year’s Pride was canceled out of security considerations. When in October 2014 promoters attempted to show a gay-themed film in Ukrainian capital, the theater, oldest in the city, was set on fire.  Perpetrators were never found, but homophobes are naturally suspect.

This year Kiev decided to hold the LGBT parade, albeit to make things interesting Ukrainian military command announced that draft papers will be served to participants during the march. (See my previous post on draft dodging in Ukraine). Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of “far right” Right Sektor, the group instrumental in bringing down Yanukovich little more than a year ago, threatened to call up troupes from Azov Battalion stationed in east Ukraine to prevent Pride Parade from happening. If one has any questions about the nature of that military organization, take a look at one of their pictures below. The flag in the middle reads Azov in Cyrillic. Can’t say I like them holding that NATO flag.

Which Azov Battalion? Why, this one!

The LGBT march did take place June 6 in a Kiev suburb, a location held in secret until the very start, and it lasted about a half an hour.  300 modestly dressed participants marched 500 meters before being stopped by police when dozens of the Right Sektor men hurled petards.  Skirmishes between the Right Sector and residents of the neighborhood also took place.  Several policemen were wounded (out of hundreds deployed) and tens of people were arrested.  It should be noted that the Kiev police chief is also a Nazi.

Since Ukraine did get the pictures of rainbow flags in Western media outlets, the march can be considered a success.

This brings us to gay flags being flown by US embassies and John Kerry making LGBTBBQ issues a US foreign policy priority.  Ukraine today is a moribund state kept together by IMF loans co-signed by the United States, but all they could produce for our viewing pleasure is 30 minutes of a gay pride.  Can’t say I’m impressed.

I am very much in favor of gay marriage for ISIS; in fact, I think we should force them to adopt it.  Unfortunately, the only places where we have leverage with this issue are the ones who depend on us, and ISIS doesn’t.  As for the basketcase called Ukraine, it should really have other priorities.

June 24, 2015

Dear Good Ole Boys, Please Fly The Rebel Flag

Filed under: California, Confederate — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:05 am

The object commonly referred to as the Confederate flag means many different things to many different people, but we can safely say that it didn’t inspire the deranged, evil weirdo who shot nine people dead at a black church.  Personally, I would never wave the Confederate flag because a) it’s not my heritage and b) it’s connected to slavery.  That its symbolism is larger than that connection is something that politicians, Obamka included, appeared to have known until a few days ago — otherwise why would they use it in their campaigns?

Now we have the misguided South Carolina Republican governor and the two US senators demanding the removal of the flag from the SC capitol grounds. Misguided because, as Rush said this morning, if South Carolina cleanses itself of its Confederate symbols, the left will not stop there but, emboldened by the victory, they will demand more and more concessions.

We already have retailers, sensing cultural change, banning the sale of rebel flags; lets try to imagine what lies ahead.  Rejecting the Dixie flag is tantamount to concession that everything and everyone that ever came into association with it is racist, including, of course, the Tea Party.  Prepare for your third grader to learn the “fact” that Capitalism is racist.

In her remarks about the flag SC governor and [former?] Tea Party darling Nikki Haley stated:

“This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” she said.

Future Nikki?  Unless you hold on to your traditions, California will be your future.  The Confederate flag is not the only offensive banner around here — earlier this year UC Irvine banned Old Glory because it “could be interpreted as hate speech”.

Earlier this week the University of California banned what was left of the free exchange of ideas on the grounds of “microaggression”:

“America is the land of opportunity,” “There is only one race, the human race” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” are among a long list of alleged microaggressions faculty leaders of the University of California system have been instructed not to say.

These so-called microaggressions – considered examples of subconscious racism – were presented at faculty leader training sessions held throughout the 2014-15 school year at nine of the 10 UC campuses. The sessions, an initiative of UC President Janet Napolitano, aim to teach how to avoid offending students and peers, as well as how to hire a more diverse faculty.

At the gatherings, deans and department chairs across the UC system have been instructed to be careful using (read: instructed not to use) phrases such as “America is the land of opportunity” or even use forms that provide only “male” and “female” check boxes, among a long litany of supposed microaggressions listed in a document underlying the “Faculty Leadership Seminars.”

The document has drawn little scrutiny until now, when a professor in the UC system pointed it out to The College Fix. The professor chose not to attend the seminars, but myriad materials on the UC Office of the President (UCOP) website give indication as to what sort of lessons were taught there.

Other sayings deemed unacceptable include:

● “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

● “Where are you from or where were you born?”

● “Affirmative action is racist.”

● “When I look at you, I don’t see color.”

These phrases in particular are targeted because they promote the “myth of meritocracy” or represent “statements which assert that race or gender does not play a role in life successes.” Others are said to be color blind, apparently a bad thing that indicates “that a white person does not want to or need to acknowledge race,” according to the handout, “Tool: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send.”

Read and weep.

What else?  The drought, which is perfectly normal in our climate.  Because our infrastructure is of Republican vintage, created a half a century ago for a much less populous state, we lose most of the water from the Sierras.  (Leslie Eastman had been covering Cali drought over at Legal Insurrection). Developing infrastructure for 21st century would require getting off our high horse and doing something productive.  We are more interested in compelling fellow Californians to behave in a politically correct manner, like drink processed toilet water (now, that’s power!)

A helicopter hovers over my parents’ Sacramento area neighborhood keeping a watchful eye, making sure, God forbid, they dare water their lawn.  In our East Bay Area no such expenditure of effort on the part of government is necessary: I fully expect my neighbors to turn me in.  California Uber Alles is upon us.

Dear Southerners, we will be all seeking asylum in your lands twenty years from now when California officially becomes Aztlan.  Some of you might be thinking racist thoughts, but we think racist thoughts too, white people even.  You, on the other hand, don’t live in a police state.  So please, for our sake, don’t give up an inch, hold on to your guns, flags and religion.  You have my full support.

May 8, 2015

Will The Great Victory Fade Away?

Filed under: politics, Russia — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:28 am

UPDATE: Many thanks to Professor Jacobson of Legal Insurrection for linking.  Ditto Citizen Tom.

Over the past half a century the three major American holidays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas, have been continuously marginalized; emerging in their place is non-committal nonsense like Halloween, which I enjoy, and various festivities celebrating drunken minorities.  One such holiday has, thankfully, just passed.  And yet right next to it, hiding in the shadows, is a half-forgotten occasion which, I think, is not only worth remembering, but can bring us together as a country.  It is, ladies and gentlemen, VE Day.

If we need to refer to an ethnic minority to confer authenticity on the occasion, refer to Russia.  Yes, Russia.  I know, Putin is the blue-eyed devil these days (never mind that Gaza treats gays far worse than the Russians) but if there is one thing they do right, it’s that they still remember WW2, or, as they call it, the Great Patriotic War. Victory Day, celebrated on May 9, is a major holiday, commemorated with marches, parades and a general flurry of WW2-related activity.

Now, the holiday is so ubiquitous, it causes a fair share of teenage eye-rolls, which is only a minor problem.  A major problem these days is the ongoing deification of Joseph Stalin, the dictator who presided over the victory.  This is a recent development: when I was growing up in the 70’s and the 80’s, Stalin’s name was all but dissociated from the war, May 9 was celebrated, but He was an unmentionable.

General Secretary must be rolling in his grave as this Russian lady carries his portrait with a halo. Marrying communism to Orthodox Christianity is the it thing these days

Moreover, any questioning of the manner in which the Soviet Union conducted the war is near-verbotten.  Technically it’s not prohibited, but dissenting voices are marginalized and maligned, the treatment of TV Rain for their discussion of the siege of Leningrad is a case in point.  Official insecurity has a reason: Russians should be asking questions pertaining to the heavy toll (24 million) Generalissimus extracted on them at wartime.

German soldiers in Stalingrad.  Powerful.  Yet many more Russian military men gave their lives in that war, and that’s not even going into civilian deaths

That said, the defeat of Nazi Germany is something to be celebrated and something to be remembered.  Even if it was achieved under a tyrannical dictator (who happened to be the free world’s wartime ally).  Almost every family west of Moscow was touched by the war, nearly every region has its war stories.  And while individual soldiers might not have been perfect, the manly valor of those who gave so much to defeat Nazism is to be recognized.

The Immortal Regiment march in St. Petersburg. Participants carry the portraits of their family members, now deceased, who fought in Great Patriotic War

I wish VE Day was a bigger deal stateside.  It’s not just that the greatest generation has earned their major national holiday, but in the general atmosphere of moral relativism it’s more important than ever to be able to talk about good and evil, and Nazism personifies ultimate evil.

Equally important in the age of Obama, as we watch our country being torn apart by race-bating, is to remember the time when our nation was united.  Was the United States a perfect nation in the 1940’s? No. Jim Crow was still the law of the land in the South, for instance. And yet, as late Samuel Huntington noted, WW2 was the point when people from different ethnic backgrounds, many first and second generation Americans, came together and defeated the enemy.  As we are so desperately searching for meaning, why not find it in a place where we can be brought together as a nation?

So please, enough with commemoration of minor victories of a foreign people.  We have our own victory over evil to remember.  Grab a bottle of vodka if you must.

April 20, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Filed under: parenting, politics, Soviet Union, the Holocaust — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:01 pm

We recently watched The Sound of Music with our kids, and, dear readers, I’d like to share our observations:

1. The songs, once they got into our head, seem to have permanently settled there, but mostly in a good way.  Even if Do Re Me gets a little annoying, I’m always able to chase it away with A Few of My Favorite Things;

2. Loved the film, but it’s strange, is it not, to march to the altar to a song that declares the bride “a problem”?

3. Loved the film, especially because it featured a lot of kids and the central story was that of a man and a woman meeting, falling in love and getting married, and their lives are better for that.  So quaint.  Contemporary Disney can’t get around princesses who are not ready, get entangled in relationships with trust fund babies or, worse yet, so obviously represent the frigid dead end of feminism.

4. Watching the movie I found it necessary to explain to my children, 7 and 5, about the Nazis.  I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I had to be explained such a thing.  I just knew.  VE Day, or, in Russian parlance,  Victory Day, was a major national holiday, every family was touched by the War and the media was saturated with War-related materials.

My husband, born and raised in San Fernando Valley, doesn’t remember being explained about Nazis either.  He does remember playing WW2 with his brother, though.  I’m quite certain I played the War a few times as well, even though I was a girly girl — because it was happening on the playground.  I’ve never seen American kids today playing anything violent with a reference to historical fact.

When we talked about Nazis being “the bad guys” my 7-year-old daughter promptly found an analogy: “Or, like they litter”.  Years ago I posted about a Soviet science fiction story where villains litter.  We can find faults with the Soviet story, but it’s my children who are living the life so overprotected, that they are unable to even begin to articulate the nature of evil.  (We shelter them from good, for a good measure, too, see number 3).

I recall, years ago, reading an article in local Jewish paper about teaching kids about the Holocaust.  It recommended waiting until they were 8 to explain that something horrible happened to Jews in Europe.  Perhaps I’ve forgotten some of the detail.  Maybe the conversation didn’t have to be postponed until 8, maybe the experts thought that parents need to wait until 5, but somehow I suspect a generation ago the issue was handled differently.

Granted, I didn’t know about the Holocaust until I was a teenager when my parents taught me about it.  I thought Nazis invaded our country and burnt villages, and my family, having no problem with this narrative, simply added on to it later.  Soviets weren’t big on Jewish issues, albeit there is the frequently played song about Buchenwald performed by Muslim Magomaev, but its subtext was by no means obvious:

My daughter shared her excitement about The Sound of Music with a girlfriend her age.  She told her not to worry, the movie is not that scary, although it has Nazis in it.  “So you get to learn abut the nuns?” inquired her half-Israeli friend.  Each year, Israel commemorated Holocaust remembrance day.

5. DH further researched 60’s musicals and found the following review of My Fair Lady:

No one younger than 50 will remember My Fair Lady. When it came out on stage and in movies it was wonderful. But now it just seemed dated. Radical lesbians will hate the thing.

But we are only interested in what gay men have to say about it!

6. Were The Sound of Music a Soviet film, Captain Von Trapp would be joining the Austrian partisans. Or at least the Italian ones.  And it would be no family fare.  Soviet and Russian WW2 films do not require redemption, are quite excellent, but very very difficult to watch.

April 1, 2015

Beyond Religious Freedom

Filed under: politics, whatever — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:00 pm

Is it just me or is the discussion of recently passed religious freedom legislature in Indiana and Arkansas thoroughly unsatisfying?  As the the state laws was explained to me, it just doesn’t go far enough.  So, allegedly, it enables the Christian businessmen who object to gay marriage to refuse accommodating LGBTQ weddings.  Conservatives are all wound up because the law that purports to protect religious freedom is attacked by liberals, some of whom are bent on violence.  Or depriving conservatives of their livelihood anyways.

I find the scope of the laws in question to be ridiculously narrow.  Our national conversation should be about freedom in general, not just religious freedom.  I know, we can make a strong argument around religious freedom, but why stop there?  Why should any business owner be compelled to serve anyone at all?  Say, an atheist DJ who feels that marriage is an outdated institution and refuses to put records atop of turntables at weddings [except for the gay ones], should he* be compelled to perform at such events or should the bride and the groom cue in an ipad?  Or a dressmaker who opens business to design clothes for his five best friends, should he drive to meet a client out of town simply because they are darker in complexion?

The great irony of the gays versus religious freedom debate is that gays created some of the most exclusive, glamorous and successful subcultures in the United States.  Take the enduring allure of the disco-era Studio 54, a club notorious for denying entry to revelers in last season’s shoes or insufficiently luminous eyeshadow.  Or try to hang with sharp-tongued queens.

Line to Studio 54: No shortage of orgy fodder

And please, don’t try to explain away this behavior by past incidents of bullying because for one it encourages the current bullying of Middle America.  And it’s bully’s bullying, too.  The cliques of ostensibly grown up men and women, like that at Andy Warhol’s Factory, can teach your junior high queen bee a lesson or two.  No surprise there because hard drug use, BDSM, fame and money make superficiality a must in this subculture.  Individuals who composed it are deeply flawed.  As much as I admire Warhol as an artist, his personal flaws, starting with him being a rotten friend, are undeniable.

Pre-fame Madonna at Studio 54. Amazing — I can almost see her humanity in her eyes

Fascism is another thing.  Gays joke about fashion police and dress up in shiny uniforms for their S&M sessions.  Punks took it to another level with actually wearing swastikas.  But really, who is searching for meaning in all the wrong places?

Another thing to consider: leftists complain that corporations are immoral, but if a businessman shows his morality, he gets boycotted by… the leftists!

I’m using he as a generic third person personal.

March 31, 2015

Who Will Obama Pardon?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:53 pm

Ukraine: bzzzz. I know.

A few days ago — and I’m always playing catch up with the news — the word on the street was that Bowe Berghdahl will be charged with desertion.  My first thought was “Well, if he’s convicted, Obama will pardon him.”

My second thought was “Who else is he going to pardon?”  Cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal seems like a good candidate because a) he’d been a far left cause celebre long enough and b) Obamster has an issue with police officers.

Who else? Another cop killer Leonard Peltier, maybe?  I’m sure there is plenty of lower profile “kids” who ended up in prison for shooting police officers and/or FBI agents.  And how about releasing everybody on death row?  O is transformative, after all, thus he needs to outdue Clinton who commuted sentences of FALN terrorirsts.

And how about Jahar Tsarnaev?  At the time of bombing he was just a babe, you know.  Umm… maybe not.  Tsarnaevs were basically white.

March 27, 2015

The Remnant of Ukrainian Jewry

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 9:15 am

When last September “far right” Ukrainian groups swarmed Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, and toppled the ginormous Lenin statue on central city square, Chabad reported that local Jews “watch and wait”.  Wait for what, an airlift?

In the 1880s the largest Jewish community in the world was in the Russian Empire’s Pale of Settlement with what is now Western Ukraine being the region with the highest density of Jewish population — up to 20%.  After more than a century of (and your Ukrainian nationalist friends will be able to fill you in on some of the detail) pogroms, segregation, breakdown of Jewish communal life and abolition of the Pale that followed the 1917 revolution, the Holocaust, official and unofficial Soviet anti-Semitism and the chaos that followed the USSR breakdown, Jewish communities in Ukraine are all but gone.  According to JDC 300,000-350,000 Jews were left in all of Ukraine as of February 2014, albeit the number is up for dispute because of the sky-high intermarriage rate.  The map of Ukrianian Jewish population looks very much like an ethno-linguistic map of the country.  Jews continued living in urban areas, primarily in the South-East, the capital of Kiev and, to much lesser extent, the city of Lviv.

The South-East is claimed for Novorossiya, so all Jewish communities there are potentially in the line of fire.  At the moment the hostilities between the Russian-led separatists and Ukrainian forces are down.  Yet both sides are said to be rearming and regrouping, so expect the next round of fighting to commence in… April?  The fighting might be a bit complicated this time around due to a feud between President Petro Poroshenko and the former Dnepropetrovsk governor Igor Kolomoisky — the latter “does not rule out” an anti-Kiev insurgency in his city.

Kiev, home to the largest Jewish community in Ukraine, is, like many other Ukrainian urban centers, going through reshuffling of police forces.  When on October 31, 2014 interior minister Arsen Avakov appointed Vadim Troyan the chief of regional police in the capital:

[t]he Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) has objected to Troyan’s appointment, describing him as a leading member of the Patriot of Ukraine organization, which some have described as neo-Nazi. Patriot of Ukraine is linked with the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine and has displayed symbols reminiscent of those used by the Nazis on its banners and other materials.

Troyan, who ran for parliament on the ticket of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front, is described on that party’s website as a member of the organization.

KHPG says Patriot of Ukraine espouses “xenophobic and neo-Nazi ideas” and engages in violence. It based its opposition to Troyan’s appointment on allegations by anti-Semitism researcher Viacheslav Likhachev, who is connected to the local Jewish community.

Both KHPG and Likhachev have admitted that there is no specific evidence pointing to anti-Semitic views on the part of Troyan, but both believe his links to the group make his holding such a sensitive position worrisome.

For some reason the last sentence is not very reassuring.

Tiny Jewish communities remain scattered through western Ukraine, the most numerous one is in Lviv.  Throughout the 1930’s Jews comprised over 30% of the city’s population, and after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the area was flooded with Polish Jews, many of whom were immediately deported by the Bolsheviks.  When the Soviet Army hastily retreated in 1941, about 10,000 managed to escape with them*, the rest were attacked in the pogroms, known as Petlura Days, that immediately followed the invasion, and perished in the Holocaust.  After the war some Soviet Jews returned to the city; a year ago 11,000 resided at this once important Jewish cultural center.

In happier times of Ukrainian neutrality unpleasant things were said about the city in mainstream media in the West.  For instance:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned a statement by the mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, in which he said that in his city “there has never been anti-Semitism and there will never be.”

Efraim Zuroff, Israel director for the Wiesenthal Center, told JTA on Monday that Mayor Andriy Sadovyi’s statement was “a hopeless attempt to cover up very strong manifestations of anti-Semitism.” Sadovyi made the statement Sunday at a news conference.

Zuroff noted a restaurant in Lviv that encourages patrons to dress up like haredi Orthodox Jews and haggle over prices. Another restaurant celebrates the legacy of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators led by Stefan Bandera who participated in the murder of thousands of Jews in 1941.

The Lviv municipality on June 30 is set to award a prize named for Bandera to individuals who “helped develop Ukrainian statehood.” Many Ukrainians view Bandera and his troops as anti-Soviet freedom fighters.

Nowadays Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi scolds the French on anti-Semitism.  You see, France has a “larger” problem than Ukraine.  Not exactly a high bar, and not true to begin with.

The monument to Stepan Bandera in Lviv was erected on the anniversary of creation of Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 2007.  Appropriately brown in color, the sculpture is made in best traditions of socialist realism.  Tourists and residents of this eastern Galicia town can flock downtown to admire the romanticized Nazi of Stalinist proportions — the arches of the architectural ensemble reach 100 feet in the air.  As you can see, western Ukrainians know what to build in place of their Lenins.

Surely on Novorossiya “to topple” list: Stepan Bandera monument in Lviv city center

Ukrainian nationalists like to point out that so far there had been no verified anti-Jewish pogroms in their country, and that Jews serve in the current government.  Just who Ukrainian nationalists are is no secret.  For a source of anti-Semitic sentiment during the Miadan riots one can look at this entry at Gates of Vienna.  Maidan alumnus (he was the coordinator of “self-defense” units) and co-funder of what was once called Socialist-Nationalist Party of Ukraine Andrey Parubiy has an impressive “far right” resume that includes translating of Goebbels into Ukrainian.  He is now a Rada member on Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front ticket.  Either Parubiy is going “mainstream” or “mainstream” is going Parubiy.

On the subject of Jews in Ukrainian governments, it’s worth remembering what happened during the pogroms in the 1918-1922 Civil War.  Back then Jews served in the very Ukrainian governments that were perpetrating and/or ignoring the pogroms and were more than ready to vouch for their comrades.

Some Eurointegrationist Jewish intelligentsia made an alliance with nationalists calculating that as long as the promise of the entry into EU is dangled as a carrot in front of Ukrainian people, everyone can get along.  But the European dream will remain a dream simply because a country as large, as desolate and as corrupt (and as Soviet mentality-wise) cannot be admitted into EU.  Then what?

The most prominent Ukrainian Jew who, until a few days ago was on the side of this current government, is the above-mentioned Igor Kolomoisky.  Ask the European Council of Jewish Communities what kind of Jew he is.  When in 2010 the oligarch decided to make himself the head of the organization, three members resigned calling his ascension “hostile takeover” eastern European style.

Kolomoisky is a populist demagogue, a proud self-proclaimed “Jidobandera”, who owns a of a large share of Ukraine’s mass media.  He is said to be one of the financiers of the Kiev riots and sugar daddy of Ukrainian National Guard as well as paramilitary units that until recently were patrolling the streets of Odessa.  He is widely believed to be behind Odessa massacre a year ago.  This former governor of one of Ukraine’s richest regions and helped keep the south-east in line since Maidan victory.  He is a chief benefactor of the IMF (umm, US taxpayer) Ukraine bailout, but was fired in a feud with Poroshenko over the ownership of a utility company.

A still from Kolomoisky’s “Turn in A Separatist [for A Bounty]” advert that went viral April last year. I first thought the video was an anti-Semitic fake, but no, it’s “Benya’s” sense of humor

With majority of Jews being Russian speakers who live in Party of Regions strongholds, one can find more than a fair share of prominent Party of Regions Jews.  For instance, in the last decade Kharkov was run by the Jewish governor and mayor Gennady Kernes and Mikhail Dobkin.  Last year Maidan-minded Kharkovites were circulating a video about Kernes’s criminality and corruption that was also oddly fixated on his ethnic origin.  On the issue of corruption the video didn’t exactly reflect the opinion of ordinary Kharkovites who agree that while Kernes is, like all other Ukrainian leaders, a thief, still, “he did so much for the city”.

A short survey of prominent Ukrainian Jews leaves an impression that perhaps Ukraine is left with the Jews it deserved. Or maybe it got the leadership it deserved, and as it always happens, upwardly mobile Jews are terribly conspicuous.  When the situation will become impossible they will walk into their private helicopters and head for Cyprus.  It is the ordinary Jews living in Vinnitsa and Odessa who are in danger of being turned into scapegoats for their country’s failings.

Right now the pro-Russian and nationalist sides in Ukraine are most concerned with fighting each other.  However, this will not last forever, and Slavic brothers will kiss and make up, like they always have.  In the meantime, the country is in a multi-party civil war vortex, just like 1918, and anti-Semitism is on the rise across the board.

If I were a Jew in Russia, I’d leave too.  Putin likes to sell himself as a protector of minorities, but I wouldn’t count too much on his protection.  Yes, he grew up among Leningrad intelligentsia, many of them Jewish, and is not an anti-Semite.  But he stays in power by pandering to anti-Semitets, most notably to those in the Russian Orthodox Church.  Russia will see some tough times in coming years, so things are not looking good.

—-

*My last entry was about the Soviet Jewish crooner Iosif Kobzon.  Kobzon’s biographers like to explain his loyalties by the fact that he was born in Russian-speaking Donetsk region of Ukraine.  Equally important, I think, is his lesser known his Lviv connection.  Kobzon’s parents moved to Lviv shortly before the war and managed to escape as soon as it started.  The singer narrowly cheated death at the hands of Wermacht and their Ukrainian henchmen.

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