People of Ukraine Shouldn’t be Forced to Speak Ukrainian

This opinion was expressed by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Lamberto Zannier in an interview with RIA Novosti. 

He said that he respects the aims of the Ukrainian government to increase the role of the Ukrainian language as the language of state. However, Ukraine should remain a space with diverse nationalities and diverse languages, which they should be able to use. Ukraine has in fact vowed to protect languages of minorities and regional languages in international treaties.

Lamberto of course thinks within the discourse of those international treaties, and probably sees the practice in his home country Italy as an example to follow. In Northern Italy, there are areas that have French speakers, German speakers, Slovene speakers, which get protection and rights on a local level. Likewise, regional Romance languages like Sicilian and Venetian are being protected, and developed. I don’t think he fully comprehends the desires of forces within Ukraine to conduct a policy that was last seen in Italy under Il Duce.

European Values Chief Did Gay Porn

“European Values” is a Czech think tank, financed among others by George Soros, which aims to promote “European values”, which they allege are under attack by Russian propaganda. I wrote about it on this blog before…

Jakub Janda is the CEO of the “European Values” think tank, and he did gay porn. His Czech language Wikipedia entry literally says nothing else about him. The other information is, Jakub Janda comes from České Budějovice, which coincidently is where I live, and that he studied in Prague’s Charles University. He was forced to quit university due to accusations of plagiarism.

A compatriot classmate of mine in London told me a story about his cousin from South Bohemia, who did gay porn to pay rent in Prague. It specifically involved masturbating in front of a camera, which is what Janda has done. My classmate also allegedly has homosexual proclivities, and he owes my brother money. But that’s off topic…

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against provincial boys doing gay porn to make it in the city. But he is a public face of Russophobia now, at a think tank called “European Values”, and I cannot help but find this funny. Screenshot 2018-11-29 at 15.48.38.png

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Ukrainian Alpha Sea Wolves Get Busted

Vzglyad reports…

The sailors, who were arrested near Crimea turned out to be “stars” of the Ukrainian internet.

Among the Ukrainian military men arrested in the Kerch strait was the commander of the Ukrainian armoured speedboat “Berdyansk”, Roman Mokryak, who earlier promised on air in Ukrainian media to destroy Russian ships with the help of the “Wolfpack” tactic. (somebody likes the German navy here)

According to a Crimean blogger, Aleksandr Talipov, it turns out the commanders of arrested ships were Bohdan Nebylitsa and Roman Mokryak (funny surname, fitting for a sailor, means: “Wet one”). According to him, they were “stars” of Ukrainian media and the Ukrainian segment of the internet.

“The commander of the small armoured gunboat “Nikopol” is Bohdan Nebylitsa. Do you remember the students of the Nakhimov academy, who sang the Ukrainian anthem [in defiance of the Russian flag]  (see below)? Bohdan is one of them.” 

He added that Nebylitsa underwent training in USA, after which he was appointed a commander on “Nikopol”

Mokryak really was one of those that explained in detail how the Ukrainian navy will sink Russian ships.

“When the “Wolfpack” will attack, the Russian ship will be unable to aim at six, five, or even four targets simultaneously. And that means that at least one these armoured “wolflings” will hit the enemy. So now we will see who is better.”

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Poroshenko Wants to Prolong his Time in Office

Following an altercation between Ukrainian navy and the FSB coast guard (seen in the video below), caused by Ukrainian vessels crossing into Russian territorial waters, which led to the arrest of about 30 Ukrainian crewmen, and 3 Ukrainian vessels, (my numbers are likely wrong here) Poroshenko convened the National Security Council (NSC), which recommended to the parliament to vote on a 2 month martial law today, which the parliament is likely to do because they rubber stamp anything that comes from the Presidential Administration or the NSC.

Let me get this straight, the so called “Donbass Cauldrons” of 2014-2015, where thousands of Ukrainian servicemen and patriotic volunteers have met their Lord, was not a reason enough to institute a martial law? Nobody on the Bankova Street (the seat of Presidential Administration in Kiev) misses those nazi volunteers I guess. However this, albeit dangerous but non-deadly altercation in the Sea of Azov is a good reason for a martial law? Now, 4 months before the presidential election?

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Mustafa Nayyem (MP from Poroshenko’s party): If the martial law happens, it will last the entire December and January. And this means, that even the decision to begin registering candidates for the president could be postponed.

Number of people have suggested that Poroshenko might impose martial law to avoid an election that he is likely to lose. In July, election’s favourite, Tymoshenko suggested  (hat tip Anatoly Karlin) the Presidential Administration plans to abort the elections by imposing martial law. She said Poroshenko is in talks with the Donbass rebels in order to start war.

They have already been heard that a “martial law” does not mean a declaration of war…

Poland’s Chances to Recruit Ukrainians are Dropping

Anita Błaszczak in Rzeczpospolita writes…

This is the last bell to struggle over for workers from Ukraine, who are already being recruited by the Germans. They are also being picked off by the Czechs and Slovaks, who are luring them with higher salary and a two year contract.

Already now, the Czechs are taking increasingly more Ukrainian workers from us, and soon the time will come for Germany, where a large part of professionals can leave, warns Marian Przeździecki, director of the Ukrainian branch of the “Work Service” employment agency. He says, despite huge demand from domestic companies, it is increasingly difficult to make work in Poland attractive for Ukrainians.

First, staff shortages are growing in Ukraine, especially in Western regions. Second, this year competition for Ukrainian citizens has significantly increased from the Czechs and Slovaks, who have liberalised entry procedures. This was confirmed by other agencies that specialise in recruiting Ukrainians. Krzysztof Inglot, head of Personnel Service, which already has three companies in Ukraine, admits that this year Czech and Slovakian companies are recruiting on a much larger scale than before.

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60% of Ukrainians think of work abroad; 26% want to work in Poland for several years; 22% want to work in Poland permanently; Germany is the second most popular destination for Ukrainians after; Treatment of Ukrainian with insurance at ZUS has grown from 59.8 thousand in 2015 to 425 .7 thousand in 2018; 3.2 million Ukrainians work abroad.

CZECH OFFENSIVE

Michał Wierzchowski, is director of the employment agency EWL, which this year wants to bring over 15 thousand employees from Ukraine. Recently, the company also opened an office in Prague, Czech Republic. It wants to take advantage of the boom of Ukrainian employees there. [He says:]

“Despite the announcement of liberalisation of procedures for Ukrainians, nothing is happening. We are standing still, while other countries are beginning to open to them.”

In the Czech Republic where salaries are one third higher than in Poland (and in automotive industry even 50%), Ukrainians can now easily obtain a visa for 90 days, and then an employer can employ them on a 24-month work card, which is part of a government programme “Režim Ukrajina” (see here at Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The card pool has been doubled to 20 thousand this year. Next year it should be doubled as well.

Although, Ukrainians have to wait up to a year for such a long term visa (just like it is with work permits in Poland). However, a system of “informal accelerations” can shorten the procedure to 2-3 months. In addition, after one year you can bring your family to the Czech Republic.

Czech Minister of Labor and Social Policy Jaroslava Němcová has visited Ukraine twice this year and during the last September visit announced the introduction of a fast administrative path for employees in selected occupations, including babysitters. Already now, Ukrainians can more easily get the right to a two-year stay in Slovakia, where wages are around 20 percent. higher than in Poland.

Competition from Germany can soon become a greater problem. Since January 2019, the labor market for non-EU labor migrants, including Ukraine, has been to open more widely. From January 2019, the labor market for non-EU labor migrants, including from Ukraine will be been open more widely.

NEEDED STABILISATION

Marian Przeździecki claims that Poland ceased to be the leader of openness to employees from Ukraine. He explains:

“We fell to the last place in the region. In addition, we lag behind competition in terms of pay, and the housing conditions of employees are often worse.” 

According to him, the main problem is in a limited, six months working time in Poland according to the simplified visa procedure for the so called permit. Declarations by the Ministry of the Family Labor and Social Policy that they will longer it to a year in autumn have not been implemented.

Marian Przeździecki says:

“If we do not do it, if we do not introduce facilitations that encourage permanent work and the settlement of workers from Ukraine,, we will soon lose them.”

He points out that the current system of statements supports the inflow of unskilled seasonal workers from the East, and discourages the arrival of specialists in Poland, who care for stable employment and settlement with their families.

Krzysztof Inglot says:

“We should extend the work to a license of up to 18 months and give Ukrainians incentives to work legally and bring families.”

As the head of Work Service in Ukraine says, Ukrainians or Belarusians seeking a long term residence in Poland do not have any preferences…

“They are treated the same as visitors from Bangladesh or Nepal, even though they (the Ukrainians) are culturally close to us and they adapt fast. If they could live in Poland for longer with their families, they would be more motivated to increase their qualifications. They would not change work so often from 1 or 2 zlotys of hourly rate increase, which has become a nightmare for companies, particularly in construction.” 

OPINION

JACEK PIECHOTA, president of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce

Our advantage in competition for employees from Ukraine is geographical and cultural proximity, and the fact that many [Ukrainians] are familiar with living conditions in Poland.Despite this, competition from countries where wages are higher is a real threat. Despite this, competition from countries where wages are higher is a real threat. In addition, our country’s migration policy is not very clear, the waiting time for residence and work permits is not being shortened, and some politicians combine labor migration with the migration threat. An open government declaration is needed that Ukrainians are welcome in Poland. It is also worth showing positive examples of their employment and integration, which we do in the social campaign “Partnership and employment”(„Partnerstwo i zatrudnienie”).

WORK AND SUPPORT THE ECONOMY

Transfers of money from Ukrainians working abroad has risen to $11.5 billion and is expected to increase in 2018 – estimates National Bank of Ukraine. Last year, Ukrainian migrants sent over $9.3 billion back to the country (about 9 percent of the GDP). As is estimated by the Ministry of Social Affairs of Ukraine, 3.2 million citizens of this country work continuously abroad, and another 9 million seasonally. A large part of both groups goes to Poland, where the number of employees from Ukraine is estimated at 1.8-2 million. As the Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers warns, the outflow from the Polish labor market of even some of them (in a moderate variant – 500,000) may lower our GDP by 1.6%, which was 1/3 of its growth in the previous year. For several years, employers’ organizations and economists have appealed for a coherent Polish migration policy. It was not ready in summer and in autumn it was returned for inter-ministerial consultations. The ministry of investment and development explains:

“The migration policy touches upon many topics, and their reconciliation takes time.”

***

Earlier this website already wrote about the volumes of Ukrainian labour migration to the EU, about staff shortages in Western Ukraine, and about Ukraine rapidly losing her human capital.

A Train That Couldn’t: What Happened to the “Silk Road” Train?

Ekonomichna Pravda reports…

Russia has prohibited transport of Ukrainian goods and Ukraine tried to establish a road around [Russia]. However, the “Silk Road” project did not work. What happened?

After the introduction of transit embargo on Ukrainian goods by Russia in early 2016, Ukraine has joined the international project “Silk Road” -a route circumventing Russia.

Not long after that, the first, experimental train, which included both a railway and ship across the Black and the Caspian sea, was launched along the route out of the port Chernomorsk, through Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and into China.

Highest rank officials have taken part in the launch ceremony: the Minister of Infrastructure, Andriy Pyvovarskyi, the Minister of Economic Development, Ayvaras Abramovichus, Deputy Prime Minister, Hennadiy Zubko, and also the head of Odessa Regional State Administration, Mikheil Saakashvili.

The first train attracted attention in Europe and Asia. A special map was published on the website of Ministry of Infrastructure, with the help of which one could track online the movement of the train.

It was mentioned that the train will start working in a business regime within several weeks. However, from the beginning something went not according to plan. Subsequently, all the people involved in the launch have mentioned this project less and less, and then the project completely disappeared from the information field of Ukraine. What happened?

Test train

On 15 January 2016, Ukraine launched an experimental freight train to China, along “the Great Silk road”, circumventing Russia by going through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

After the launch, then Minister of Infrastructure, Andriy Pyvovarskiy, said the train could start working fully starting March 2016.

The train was composed of ten cars and twenty 40-foot containers. The cars were partially empty, and partially loaded with metal products* to be offloaded in Georgia. The empty cars were to be loaded with products in China.

It was expected that the duration of the route to Dostyk, on the border of China and Kazakhstan, would be 11-12 days. Back then, the Ministry of Infrastructure informed us that the test train was launched to workout the route, and for operators of the train to establish mutual working relationships in the participating countries.

The demonstrative train went through the Black Sea, and through main stations, the port of Batumi, Alyat, Aktau-port, Beyneu, Zhezkazgan, Balkash-1. After 15.5 days the train arrived in its final destination, to the Dostyk station, which is on the border of PRC. After that, the cargoes should have gone to the large industrial cities of China. 3bce305-1.jpg

After that, problems began. The train has been stuck at the Chinese border, and it could not return for a long time over the absence of clients. Only on 7 April the train was dispatched empty out of the Dostyk station, and it arrived in Chernomorsk on 19 April.

The Ukrainian Railways have said the regularity of the train would depend on market demand. The company said in April: “At this time, the potential traffic flow is being studied, which can be reoriented into a transport train. We are looking at making this a regular service.”

A train that couldn’t

Questions about the way have already appeared during the preparation phase of the project. The experts talked about a significantly longer delivery time in comparison with the habitual route through Russia, and about the regularity of trains, which prevented businesses to schedule loads.

Doubts have also risen around the two maritime stages of the route: the train was exported on ferries across two seas. That is four entries into a port, ride on a specially equipped ferry, and a high probability of adverse weather.

According to an expert in river and maritime transport of the Ukrainian Logistic Association, Oleksandr Lysenko, first they should have studied the demand for this route.

Was this done?

The Ministry of Infrastructure said domestic producers of carton, stone, ceramic tiles, rubber products, metal constructions, furniture, food and agricultural products are interested.

Judging by the fact that the train did not become regular, there did appear any demand.

After two and a half years, EP (Ekonomichna Pravda) asked Ukrainian Railways what is going on with the project since nobody announced its closure.

It seems nobody is engaged in it. We received the same answer from the company which was publicised already in April 2016. [Exactly] word for word:

“At this time, the potential traffic flow is being studied, which can be reoriented into a transport train. We are looking at making this a regular service.”

During this time, the company only determined the single comprehensive cost of transport on the route: Slawkow (Poland) – Altynkol’ (Chinese-Kazakh border) for a 40 feet container. It is $4281, and the journey takes 15 days. We did not receive any information about a commencement of regular work of the project from the company.

For the future

Experts the EP has asked say the project has failed because it could not compete with other variants of transporting cargo from China to Europe.

Oleksandr Kava says:

“Other routes had been more attractive than the so called Transcaspian route, since it has many intermodal moments: [that is] reloading from the railroad to one ferry in the beginning, then another ferry. The number of container trains on the Eurasian route through Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus is increasing. While the Transcaspian corridor has stagnated.”

Ivan Ous, an expert of the Institute of Strategic Studies also acknowledges the economic bankruptcy of the plan:

“The project had political pluses. It was a period when Russia began to restrict our export. Back then it was important. However, it is more expensive, and the business did not immediately agree with it.” 

Former Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Volodymyr Shul’meyster says:

“The first question is cost, the second is regularity. The Businessmen cannot make orders if they are unsure whether the train will run.”

That is a one important aspect, which has to do with marketing. According to Shul’meyster:

“Problem was in how to correctly “sell” this route. The Ukrainian Railways have a weak marketing policy that’s why they cannot sell normally, even though there is a demand for such a train. Finding a cargo on both sides is a major problem. The more full [the train] will be, the cheaper it will be.”

Does this project have a future? Opinions on this differ. Kava said:

“It doesn’t have any future. Even after the route got cheaper, the dispatchers prefer the Russian option because in that case the cargo moves on the railway the whole time. They increased the speed of traffic and the Transcaspian route with two ferry lines lost in the competition.”

Ous says:

“I would not abandon this idea. It is an expensive option but one that allows not trading through Russia. Moscow has created a significant problem for us, we have a choice, either expensive or nothing. I think we will use this option.”