Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Russia cut off the natural gas supply to Ukraine. Ukraine hints it can make it difficult for Russia's supplies headed over to Europe. Now the EU is involved, though staying "neutral" on the situation.

Yushchenko doesn't have an easy job. First the contested orange revolution, the whole dioxin poisoning, and now Russia is doing their best to freeze everyone to death--oh yeah, in the name of profit.

In the midst of this all, I learned that "the Ukraine" is actually pretty offensive to Ukrainians. Under Soviet control, saying "the Ukraine" was like saying "the west" in the U.S. circa 1847. By declaring independence, Ukraine said we are our own sovereign territory, (call it Westville, if you want to really put a strain on the analogy)*. So anyone saying "the Ukraine" is tacitly acknowledging it as still a part of Russia. Understandably, Ukrainians and Russians aren't getting along very well these days.

*Can you tell I don't speak Russian?


Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Actually, it translates more closely to 'the border' than 'the west,' but that's only one iteration of the etymological history of Ukraine. In their own language, krajina means 'country.' So when a Ukrainian refers to his country's name, he is not disparaging his country.

In Russian, however, it does mean 'border,' but that is more from a common understanding of where Ukraine is vis-a-vis Russia. And you're right--there is a bit of an overtone associated with it. It's much the same as the overtone someone from New York would have when referring to "country music," or "westerns" as a film genre.

I minored in Russian language at college.


6:34 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...


look at BP rockin the russian

if i weren't married, all that nerdiness would just drive me crazy. i'm nerdy like that

2:48 PM  
Blogger Old Man Rich said...

I'm sorta with Vlad on this. You want to be allies with Europe rather than us, fine. You get to pay the European price for our gas rather than our subsidised 'friends' price.

Just so long as its resolved before the Brits run out of North sea gas...

2:50 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I'm guessing that "neutral" stance is pretty much a front for "seriously pissed off." Even the U.S. is on board on this one (wait, the U.S. intervening in other countries' affairs, that's unusual . . . ); Russia isn't likely to win the U.S. as a customer until it can prove its "reliability."

So many scare quotes in this post, it's frightening.

As for rockin' the Russian, yeah!

4:10 PM  

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