Just How Silly is the Ukrainian Government? Name a Place…

Just how silly is the Ukrainian government? Well, with the country mired – miring Poroshenkoitself – in ongoing war with Donbass, and stricken economy beset by high-level corruption, and looting, you would think they would be engaging all of their efforts to tackle these, and the many more problems (healthcare, plunging population, etc…) afflicting the country.

But yet … in the midst of all of this, Ukraine has somehow found the time to, seemingly randomly, rename places in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Republics which will clearly never return to Ukraine, as even most Ukrainians now accept. 

Here’s look at just a few: 

Torez, DPR – renamed to Chistyakovo.

where 1Krasnodon, LPR – renamed to Sorokino

Sverdlovsk, LPR – renamed to Dolzhansky

Kirovskoe, DPR renamed to Krestnaya

Stakhanov, LPR renamed to Kadievka.

And this list goes on, to 150 places renamed in the Donetsk, and Lugansk people’s republics – and Crimea. 

So, let’s make some points here – 

Absolutely no one who actually lives in these places calls them by their ‘Ukrainian names’.

Although lists were circulated, the renaming has hardly caught the public imagination, even in Ukraine, where the former names are still mainly. This Ukrainian ‘ATO’ resource, recently referring to Stakhanov, among other ‘Ukraine-renamed’ places, in a war dispatch.

However, some Ukrainians do use the Ukrainian names. So, fighting a war against places you’ve renamed yourself, some on the same side call them this, some call them the other … no one’s quite sure. Yeah, that’s a masterstroke, surely.

And if we’re speaking of maps, by the way, the maps printed out will all be in the previous place names. So what have Ukraine’s soldiers done? Tippexed out and filled in with biro? Or still using the names of the hated ‘occupiers’ (i.e. those people who actually live and are from the places)?

where.jpgBy the way – a Facebook comment when I mentioned this – Do you know how much money it costs to rename a street? You have to get all of the title documents changed on all of the paperwork for all of the residential and commercial areas. Then you need to update the cadastral plans, the city development plans and submit to the federal government for ratification. It is a logical and economic nightmare. Also, anytime there is this volume of paperwork there are bound to be errors. This means court cases, adjudication and all of the rest of that. Ridiculous.

More, it’s almost a form of self-trolling. How much more ridiculous can you get? Renaming places random names which they will never really be called? Causing untold expense, and confusion for yourself in the process…. is it some sort of new Ukrainian ‘victory’, if you can’t capture a place, just rename it? I mean, come on, this is supposed to be a serious country, we’re told, right? 

Oh, Ukraine, it’s just too silly….

My flat in Odessa: Now for Sale

In 2012, I fell in love with the city of Odessa. In summer of 2013, I used what I’d saved in my working life, and borrowed some, to buy a flat there, a few kilometres out of the centre, in the Kotovsky area, for $55,000, in September.

I imagined a life there. But it didn’t work out that way. In November of 2013, Euromaidan began, in March of 2014, crisis, conflict, April 2014 – war, and I left for Donbass, not to return (as of this point in time).

I’ve not returned to Odessa since, being banned from Ukraine for 3 years. However, my ban from Ukraine has now expired. 

Thus, I am now entitled to sell the apartment in Odessa, with full rights, and as I am not banned from Ukraine, I shall expect FCO support in this, if necessary.

This is not a farewell to Odessa, but I’m not a rich man, and can’t just have an apartment somewhere, unsure when I’ll be able to visit. Moreso with the amount of radicals, terrorists in Ukraine, and Ukrainian media having splashed my apartment all over the news:

If I have to pay tax to fund Ukraine’s war against civilians in Donbass ‘ATO’, I’ll give that same amount to the armies in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics to defend themselves from ‘ATO’.

I will do everything fairly, and reasonably, as always. And we go forward.

My 3-Year Ban from Ukraine Has Now Expired: Statement

My 3-year- ban from Ukraine has now expired, and I’m legally free to enter Ukraine again.

I have no current plans to do this, the radicals and terrorists there are unlikely to pay much heed to my having served the ban, and even obeyed it – I did not once go into Ukrainian territory in this time.

However, it can’t be used to ‘discredit’ my work from Donbass any more by the BBC, other propagandists.

I am now not banned from Ukraine, and work in Donbass just like any other journalist.

A Graham Newsletter (#33) Pressure in the UK, Ukraine, and Leaving the UK

For the past couple of weeks, as you may know, I’ve been back in the UK, and have felt some pressure from the authorities in this time here. The conviction and imprisonment of Ben Stimson was framed around his being pictured ‘holding a weapon’ in Donbass, something the FCO have written to me about in the past. And further, they moved on from that by updating their travel guidance to add the threat that those who ‘assist those in the conflict’ in Donbass may be liable to prosecution in the UK.

I’ve written about all of that here – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/22/exclusive-how-the-uk-are-trying-to-stop-my-work-full-story/

So, what to expect as I leave the UK in a few hours? Well, of course I hope to normally pass through the border, with no issues. Journalism isn’t a crime, after all, even if the government don’t like it. However, what also happened in my time back here is that the BBC came after me to try to blur the lines, insinuate that I’d crossed journalistic lines. Here’s my response to that:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/24/bbc-hit-piece-my-response-to-it/

So what could the UK do against me? Jail me, like Ben? Unlikely they’d dare to go that far. Take my passport? They’d surely like to do that – either to stop me leaving the country, or force me into a position of applying for the passport of another country, i.e. Russia so they could discredit my work with ‘Russian propagandist’ etc. Not that that would or ever could be the case. I’m British, and actually consider myself a true patriot of the UK – in as much as I’d rather go against my country until it becomes the country I was brought up to believe in. For the moment, it’s hard to believe in anything the UK government do, and I’ve covered that on the Truth Speaker –

How the UK Got it So Wrong on Euromaidan, and Ukraine

Why is the UK supporting Ukraine so much? 3 Explanations…

I will keep challenging the narrative of the UK government as long as they continue acting in an entirely deceitful, immoral way. The next period of work is a hugely important one, and I’m ready for it. I’m pleased to have received my Russian visa, writing of that here:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/25/new-russian-visa-leaving-the-uk-back-to-work-and-uk-fyi/

That, with your support, setting me up for the next year of work in Russia, of course not only. And, if the UK do try to prevent that in any way, they will have their own words to fall on, which they well indeed now wish to take back in light of their recent Ukraine escalation, from September 2016 that:

“Mr. Phillips did not commit an offense in Great Britain that could be a reason for the British government to make him forbidden to leave the country.”

Those by UK ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough, by the way, and I’ve written of her here. And that came after my interview with Ukrainian POW (shortly before exchange), Vladimir Zhemchugov, and here’s my position on that:

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Of course, the sensible thing for the UK to do would be to let me leave the country without any problems, warnings, questioning etc. Last time I left in March, it was 30 minutes of fairly standard questioning at Harwich. However even that shouldn’t be the case – I’m a working journalist, keen to get back to work, to do my job, to bring you reportage. I don’t like fuss, or scandal, just – reporting facts. That they don’t reconcile with the UK government’s version in no way impacts on my right to report them. 

If you’re sleeping now, and read this later, I hope this finds you well, and my having left for the next period of work, which will incidentally encompass the completion of my documentary from Belval, Luxembourg, (pictured) about which I’m very excited, and onto Russia, and more!

I hope to return, before too long, to a better Britain…

Why is the UK Supporting Ukraine so Much? 3 Explanations…


1. Supporting Ukraine was the EU position at the start, and the UK just went along with it…. 
true, but then why recently has the UK been ramping up its support for Ukraine, as the EU is generally paying less attention? The EU leaders recently ‘holding peace talks‘, while the UK ups its military support for Ukraine. Why? 

2. A reason would seem to be the UK’s desire to demonstrate to the world that post-Brexit, they are ‘still a force’, not diminished in any way etc etc. This would seem to be the case, with Boris Johnson frequently repeating versions on the theme:

UK’s Johnson reassures Ukraine of support after Brexit vote

The UK are locked in tough Brexit talks with the EU just now, are they afraid that if they are perceived as being weak on Ukraine, it’ll impact on the Brexit negotiations? It’s a real shame the UK have chosen absolutely the wrong situation in which to overcompensate. 

3. Is there a deal in it for the UK? Has Ukraine promised something? More specifically, one of the UK government’s most favourite deals…. an arms deal.

Did you know that Britain is now the 2nd biggest arms dealer in the world, and it’ll sell arms to almost anyone…

“Since 2010 Britain has also sold arms to 39 of the 51 countries ranked “not free” on the Freedom House “Freedom in the world” report, and 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government’s own human rights watch list.” (source)

“UK Government approved Saudi arms deals worth £238m six months after deadly Yemen funeral air strike”. (source)

That recent large-scale, glitzy UK / Ukraine Reform conference in LondonPoroshenko’s visit to the UK. Just what was promised to the UK government to get them to up their support of Ukraine so significantly?

The UK’s been talking up war between Ukraine, and its former territories, talking up their own supplying of military aid to Ukraine. Are they anging for an arms deal? Has someone in Ukraine told them they’ve got the money for this?

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Because I see this video coming up, used ‘against me’ all the time, will give my statement on it here:

With terrorists, as here this Ukrainian terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov, September 2016, you have to take a tough line. I’d do it exactly the same again. And I’d add to that, that despite a robust approach, I kept within reasonable boundaries here.

And that’s that. Graham

How the UK Got it So Wrong on Euromaidan, and Ukraine

The UK, under then Prime Minister David Cameron, made their call from the start about whose side they were taking in the Ukraine situation. In March of 2014, then foreign secretary William Hague was lying to the UK parliament about Viktor Yanukovych having been ‘legimitately’ removed from power. He was actually removed by the violent coup which was Euromaidan.

Meanwhile David Cameron was telling parliament, in March of 2014: What has happened to Ukraine is completely indefensible. Its territorial integrity has been violated and the aspirations of its people to chart their own future are being frustrated.

This European Council sent a clear and united message to Russia that its actions are in flagrant breach of international law and will incur consequences. We agreed on a three-phase approach to stand up to this aggression and uphold international law: first, some immediate steps to respond to what Russia has done; secondly, urgent work on a set of measures that will follow if Russia refuses to enter dialogue with the Ukrainian Government; and thirdly, a set of further, far-reaching consequences should Russia take further steps to destabilise the situation in Ukraine.

It continues…

There was never an attempt to take into account the facts of Maidan:

A maximum of 500,000 (and that’s protesters figures, even) gathered on Euromaidan – that’s around 1% of the population of Ukraine.

But actually (and I was on Maidan), those who brought Maidan’s ‘victory’ (Yanukovych fleeing in fear of his life, government legitimately elected in 2012 just swept away) were not the mostly peaceful 500,000, it was the few thousand radicals, far-right, terrorists on Maidan.

So, take your pick: at best the UK supported the ‘right’ of 1% of the population of Ukraine on Maidan, over the 99% not on Maidan.

Or actually, the 0.01% who actually defined Maidan: the far-right, radicals, terrorists…

And Maidan ‘represented’ not the whole of Ukraine, in any way. Those there were almost exclusively from the west and centre of the country. Donbass didn’t take part, and was actually against Maidan, the South similarly.

So the UK chose to support a violent coup, dressed up as a revolution, in a country which had always had an east-west divide. And one which installed a government with an agenda dictated by ultra-nationals from the west, diametrically opposed to the life, history, culture of those in the east, who’d never voted for a Maidan government, and actually no one voted for a Maidan government. There were no elections, they just seized power. (Key figure in Maidan, and now chairman of Ukrainian parliament, founder of Ukrainian neo-Nazi Svoboda party, Andry Parubiy).

The UK chose to support a coup government, a junta, formed after a violent coup. Yet, all we were hearing about in the time in the UK was the BBC and co’s glowing coverage of the ‘revolution of dignity’ on Maidan, etc.

Most people in the UK know yet little about Euromaidan, the BBC, realising word was getting out, belatedly covered their proverbials with a documentary about the Maidan snipers.

Yet the general perception remains in the UK, is that if people know about Euromaidan, they generally subscribe to the narrative that it was a ‘revolution of dignity’, Ukrainians ‘fighting for their freedom’, etc – rather than a small proportion of the population in Kiev, peaceful maybe but supporting a minute proportion of ultra-nationals and radicals who overthrew a democratically-elected government before wanting to impose their own (unelected) agenda, on the east. And expecting that all to be ok.

If there’s an event about Euromaidan in the UK, be sure it will be universally pro-Maidan, that’s the only permitted position (this, the LSE from February of 2017):

Actually the unconditional support of the UK, US, Europe, was one of the fuelling factors in those on Maidan believing they could have it all their way.

And what happened after? Crimea, Donbass, war, mass loss of life due to war, ongoing misery due to war, which goes on to this day. And the UK? The position has remained set in stone = Maidan = Good. So everything against Maidan = bad.

This, despite the masses of evidence that a re-evaluation of Maidan is required. Because if Maidan wasn’t so good, then maybe all that went against it isn’t so bad…. that is a highly dangerous idea the UK is desperate to eliminate while still embryonic. The UK has remained entirely intransigent.

What have we had over the last few years?

Foreign Secretary William Hague taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Ukraine crisis: William Hague warns Russia

William Hague: Russia faces ‘isolation’ over Ukraine – BBC News

Russian actions over Ukraine may create new cold war – William Hague

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Philip Hammond: Britain not ruling out providing ‘lethal force’ in Ukraine

Philip Hammond: ‘No let-up’ in pressure on Russia over Ukraine

Foreign Secretary denounces Russia’s continued illegal annexation of Crimea

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

UK’s Johnson reassures Ukraine of support after Brexit vote

Boris Johnson demands Russia end its ‘illegal’ annexation of Crimea during a visit to Ukraine

UK will not compromise on sovereignty of Ukraine: Johnson

Ukrinform: Boris Johnson says Britain will continue to provide Ukraine with non-lethal military aid

The position of Prime Minister Theresa May has hardly altered from Cameron’s. Lately, the UK has even been ramping up its support of Ukraine –

United Kingdom Steps Up Support of Ukrainian Army Still Shelling Civilians

A big question must be – why? That’s something I’ll be having a look at in the next Truth Speaker article.