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From SAGs to a Council – Reforming the reformers

Following on from the entry yesterday, wherein there is a paragraph or two that relates to the necessity to continue with undiminished energy regarding reforms in Ukraine, despite the issues in the east, perhaps a glance toward how that reform is progressing is in order, and more pointedly, the structures behind reform input. “…..The EU […]



Today sees another European Council meeting – the 28 Foreign Ministers of the EU – gathered to discuss and respond to Kremlin action in Ukraine once more. The meeting began with a minute’s silence for those who were murdered on flight MH17. We started the meeting of EU FM’s with a minute of silence for […]


When the doves begin to sound like hawks

There has been an enormous amount of criticism of Chancellor Merkel across the Ukrainian social media since the World Cup Final and her interaction with President Putin. Exceptionally wrong-head statements about “Frau Ribbentrop”  became the misguided theme for extremely irate and upset Ukrainians.  That they were and are extremely irate and upset is more than […]

International News & Commentary

game changer

After MH17?

There is no need to overly flog a horse that will undoubtedly be publicly and repeatedly flogged in lurid (and perhaps inaccurate) detail across the international media – so this entry will be as short as possible, as writing about the same headline subject as the MSM is not what most readers look at this […]


Kremlin tries to place Kolomoisky and Avakov upon Interpol wanted list?

Yesterday, The Kremlin claims to have put oligarch and current (but not for much longer) Dnepropetrovsk Governor Ihor Kolomoisky and Acting Defence Minister Arsen Avakov on the Interpol wanted list – being accused of organised crime, murder, the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare, the obstruction of professional activities of journalists, and abduction […]


Diplomatic rehabilitation opportunities?

If ever The Kremlin has the opportunity not only to partially undo, but also significantly rehabilitate itself on the global diplomatic stage, then June is the month for it to do so. This month Russia assumed the chair of the United Nations Security Council – a particularly good and headline grabbing time to score diplomatic […]

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EU & FSU News & Commentary


As suggested by mere mortals…..

Following this tweet of two days ago Tired thought – After #MH17, would putting the DPR on international terrorist org lists complicate things further for The Kremlin? — Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) July 18, 2014 And this entry yesterday morning, President Poroshenko came to a similar conclusion. “President of Ukraine urges UN to condemn acts of […]


Sector sanctions lite – An entirely pointless exercise

Writing this prior to any decisions from the European Council today relating to stage III sector sanctions, it will be a short post that will be either proven wrong and have a very limited shelf-life, or proven right with all the continuing disaster that will follow. Expectations of any meaningful sector sanctions are extremely low, […]


The Mistral contract – To deliver or not

Hardly mentioned whatsoever in entries thus far, has been the proposed and contractual sale of 2 Mistral Class amphibious warships by France to Russia.  There is a brief mention in this entry and that is it. Just how well fitted out these ships will be with regard to technology transfer of installed equipment is difficult to […]

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World War II Spotlights

poppy day image

No I didn’t forget and never would I!

The Axis Highwater Mark – El Alamein (AAR Turns 21 – 30)

Proceeding with Turns 21 – 30 for The Third Reich 42 – 45 North Africa. The screenshot doesn’t do justice for the whirlwind of fighting transpiring just west of El Alamein, Egypt. A mix of British armoured and infantry brigades continuously baited Rommel’s forces to advance toward Montgomery’s massive Eighth Army. Then, using one of […]

Back to the Game – Turns 11 – 20

Continuing the play test of “Third Reich 1942 – 1945″ under The Operational Art of War, we already up to Turn 34 with no major game issues, only minor details to refine. Instead of going turn by turn, I’ll switch to covering larger blocks of turns. Finland/Karelian Front – Historically, Arctic Cicle Lend Lease Convoys […]

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Around Ukraine


Adding to the international designated lists – Worth considering?

Following on from yesterday’s MH17 entry, would there be anything gained in doing the following? Tired thought – After #MH17, would putting the DPR on international terrorist org lists complicate things further for The Kremlin? — Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) July 18, 2014 The Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have – unsurprisingly – been designated terrorist […]


Outcomes of 16th July – Ukraine

Following on from yesterday’s entry – how did yesterday turn out for Ukraine on the international stage?  Was is as good or bad as expected? Firstly with regard the European Member States, by way of immediate sanctions there was nothing that wasn’t stated in the aforementioned link.  In short, no further EIB or EBRD lending, […]


Time Lines – (Ukraine against the clock)

One of the more interesting – and often overlooked – things about policy and strategy is its relation to time. A good policy can die through untimely implementation.  Likewise it can also cease to be good policy and indeed become a counterproductive policy over time. Ergo, it is perhaps pertinent to look at a few […]

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Odessa – Our Home Sweet Home…


Odessa City Hall getting far murkier again? Organised Crime

For those who find local matters in Odessa boring stop reading – unless you have an interest in organsied crime, the Odessa mafia and all that – in which case you may want to continue reading. For better or for worse, the Odessa Mafia has something of a particularly infamous reputation – even in Moscow […]


Beyond the limits of plausible election manipulation? Odessa

A short entry today after two entries yesterday – how exciting! This entry relates – once again - to the elections for the office of Odessa Mayor that had already been criticised by democracy NGOs.  Most readers will not find particularly interesting unless shenanigans draw your attention. In a somewhat Dickensian tweet yesterday evening, I tweeted […]

witch hunt

A (braided) witch hunt in Odessa or are the hounds on the right scent?

This entry will leave to one side questions about the individuals physically involved in the tragic events of 2nd May in Odessa.  Questions of where firearms came from or why there are so few in custody – or perhaps rather why there are so many still wandering about the city.  Those questions are for another […]

Odessa Rocks! Here's More:

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“Ukraine was the top improver” – You don’t read that very often!

“Ukraine was the top improver in 2012/13, implementing reforms in 8 of the 10 areas measured by Doing Business.” Blimey! It’s not often you read anything that states Ukraine was the most improved at anything – and yet it is there in black and white, front and centre, on Page 9 of the World Bank/IFC “Doing Business […]

Developing a Ukrainian Silicon Valley: Will It Be Odessa or Kiev?

The technology sector is becoming increasingly important in the Ukraine, and not just in the negative sense that has previously hit the headlines. Odessa’s share of this industry has been particularly focused on the more creative side, with many of the IT companies that operate in the country choosing to locate their research and development departments […]

Ukrainian Businesses Look West, Held Back By Russia

Attempts to improve the situation for businesses in the Ukraine have been focused on strengthening international relationships, particularly with the EU, but such attempts have been countered by Russian moves to hold on to the historic bonds between the two countries. Strengthening Links to Europe Businesses in the Ukraine have traditionally relied on strong trade links […]

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