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A rare public word of thanks for a gathering of minds

As regular readers will have noticed, there have been no entries at the blog for the past few days owing to your author being in Gdansk at a gathering of some exceptionally sharp minds (your author naturally excluded from that category). Being fortunate to have the time to attend many such events when invitations are […]


A more worthy suspect? SBU bombing, Odessa

Following this entry immediately following the bombing of the State Security Service (SBU) building in central Odessa, an entry that suggested caution when speculating as to offenders –  “Perhaps he is correct in where he apportions the responsibility for this latest terrorist blast, although “The fact that this crime – the work of the FSB […]


Naftogaz loses its monopoly (at last) – Ukraine

Legally, with effect from 1st October 2015, the opaque, budget burdening behemoth that is Naftogaz Ukrainy (theoretically) loses it monopoly within the Ukrainian gas market – and not before time. So many are the entries within the blog going back many years calling for the butchering of this monopolistic monstrosity that there are simply too […]


Privatisation Ukraine – A case of being half pregnant?

At the beginning of the month an entry appeared relating to the proposed privatisation of several hundred Ukrainian State owned enterprises in the near future. Despite the many questions raised in that entry, a core theme was that subsidies have to end post haste, along with the tradition of government bad debt write offs/forgiveness and […]

World News & Commentary


A quiet win for US diplomacy – (and a win for Ukraine by default)

For those that regularly get to meet the diplomatic corps and are offered the opportunity for one to one (rather than those awful round table/press events) the opportunity for “straight talking” in both directions presents itself. For certain there are no illusions that the content of these conversations have an agenda and either directly or […]


Promoting the UK in Odessa?

This afternoon some time was spent with the new Political Attaché to UK Embassy Kyiv.  If there is ever an interesting time to be given such an appointment, and a need to climb a very steep learning curve very quickly in an ever changing environment, being dropped into Ukraine now is probably one of the […]


Valeriy Chaly appointed Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA…..eventually

Since April 2015, Ukraine has had no ambassador to the USA, a nation that is currently a key, if the not key, ally of the country.  Certainly US diplomatic energy and will is the driving force amongst the diplomatic community.  Even if US Embassy Kyiv messages are getting lost, or at least diluted, within “the […]


NATO Partnership for Peace ratification – Ukraine

It is not often that this blog touches upon defence or security issues – or indeed the war in eastern Ukraine – despite the fact that every time it does readership numbers skyrocket. The simple fact is that so many others write about the war in eastern Ukraine, and there is much more to Ukraine […]

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EU & FSU News & Commentary


Setting the stage for the next “Normandy Format” meeting

Today Berlin will host an informal meeting of legal experts from the “Normandy Four” – also in attendance will be the Venice Commission – the aim is to explain to The Kremlin that the collective interpretation is that the proposed amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution regarding “decentralisation” fall squarely within the terms of the Minsk […]

Andrzej Duda

Another international peace format? – Ukraine

At the end of last month an entry appeared that briefly mentioned the activities of domestic and foreign intelligence/security agencies active within the Odessa Oblast. “Further, it gives the Ukrainian SBU, Moldavian SIS and Romanian SIE intelligence services all the more reason to simultaneously be poking about in Mr Cisse’s backyard a little more forcefully/overtly […]


Meanwhile in Transnistria – mobilization

Just across the border from Odessa lies Transnistria, the Kremlin sponsored enclave within Moldova. Unsurprisingly, considering regional events, it appears that Transnistria is about to mobilize, apparently following a decree issued by “President” Yevgeny Shevchuk. This mobilization, it is claimed, will attract between 5000 and 7000 18 – 27 years olds, as well as an […]


Assessing EU action within Ukraine – through a provincial lens

This is an entry that has been waiting to be written for a long time. Much has been written about the short falls of Ukraine politically and institutionally.  Much has been rightly criticised too.  Much will continue to be written too, whilst ever-changing yet headline grabbing personnel rotation is used to mask the lack of […]

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Around Ukraine


Message received – but sure of the messenger? Bomb blast at Odessa SBU

At 0442 hours on 27th September (according to your author’s watch) a bomb went off in Odessa.  Sound travels at night and the explosion at the SBU offices on Evreiskaya was clearly audible in Arkadia. It is the first bomb to go off in Odessa for many months (although it probably won’t be the last […]


A recurring theme – Verkhovna Rada constipation

For those that are regularly invited to, and attend, the numerous professional conferences and forums held, there is a recurring theme – a legislative constipation within the Verkhovna Rada. Be it Governor Saakashvili, the NBU, the Finance Ministry, the Education Ministry, (the list goes on and on), national and international experts and NGOs in whatever […]


Opposition Block won’t run for Mayor of Odessa & A policy debate?

Yesterday’s entry ended thus – “Thanks to Sergei Kivalov (of all people) there will now be a second round of voting (in all probability), and one in which Ms Fabrikant, Messrs Gurvits, Kivalov and Borovik stand a far better chance of causing a political upset – albeit that chance currently remains limited. However, if the […]


Odessa Mayor elections will go to a second round (in all probability)

Before any of the runners and rider nominations for the Odessa elections were known an entry appeared with some guestimate figures and observations relative to the time (and unknown players).  Those figures will be updated in a week or two as the elections get closer and a “sense” of where the constituency is at becomes […]

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Finance & Business


Nancy Sinatra on Ukraine’s Economic Relationships

Nikolai is still on vacation, now on the beach in [censored], drinking a… tall cup of coffee, yes, that’s it! A tall cup of coffee probably with a slight dash of Irish Bailey’s Cream. Filling in for him is the crazy guy from the swimming pool at the Kyiv Hilton. Call it the Sinatra Family […]


NBU abolishes some currency restrictions for business

Though this will undoubtedly be hidden amongst gas news and reporting from the front lines – somewhat earlier that expected, the National Bank of Ukraine has abolished some of its temporary restrictions on foreign currency. In short, with effect from 3rd November, the following temporary restrictions are lifted previously imposed under Resolution 591. “transactions undertaken in […]


“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 […]

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