May 27, 2014 |
KIEV, Ukraine - History doesn't usually offer second chances. But Ukraine got a big one Sunday when the pro-Western chocolate king Petro Poroshenko appeared to win a landslide victory for president. Only weeks ago, as Russia gobbled up Crimea and threatened the rest of Ukraine, it wasn't even clear the election could be held. An interim government, installed after the previous president fled in February, was too weak to confront armed separatists acting as proxies for Moscow. Now, with his strong showing, Poroshenko has a chance to thwart Moscow's expansionist ambitions.
May 19, 2014 |
In 1905, my grandparents fled a village near Rovno in the Russian Ukraine so my grandfather wouldn't be drafted into the tsar's army. Jews were being pressed into military service for 25 years, he told me, which was all the more reason to escape the hardship and anti-Semitism of rural Russia. He was often nostalgic, not for Ukraine or Russia, but for the smells of the forest where he had worked to cut down trees. For many reasons I never felt drawn to seek out that village, despite several visits to the Soviet Union and Russia, and two to Ukraine in the 1990s.
May 9, 2014
I T'S NOT always easy to define what exactly is wrong with America, but whatever it is, it's huge. - Roel Ilargi Meijer, TheAutomaticEarth.com Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we're having all this trouble with our Republic. - Tom McGuane, Ninety-Two in the Shade Despite its Valley Girl origins, the simple term "clueless" turns out to be the most accurate descriptor for America's degenerate zeitgeist. Nobody gets it - the "it" being a rather hefty bundle of issues ranging from our energy bind to the official mismanagement of money, the manipulation of markets, the crimes in banking, the blundering foreign misadventures, the revolving-door corruption in governance, the abandonment of the rule-of-law, the ominous wind-down of the Happy Motoring fiasco and the related tragedy of obsolete suburbia, the contemptuous disregard for the futures of young people, the immersive celebrity-twerking sleaze, the downward spiral of the floundering classes into pizza and Pepsi-induced obesity, methedrine psychosis and tattooed savagery, and the thick patina of public-relations dishonesty that coats all of it like some toxic bacterial overgrowth.
April 25, 2014 |
Last week, masked men distributed fliers outside a synagogue in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, demanding that all Jews register with the separatist Donetsk People's Republic and pay a fine - or be deported from "the republic. " On his visit to Ukraine this week, Vice President Biden denounced the fliers, insisting there is no place for anti-Semitism in Ukraine. The pro-Russian militants who have seized control of Donetsk insist they had nothing to do with the outrage and claim it was a "provocation" staged by the government in Kiev.
April 24, 2014 |
THE HEADLINE shouted, "All citizens of Jewish nationality!" The document ordered all Jews over age 16 to register or face deportation, calling them "hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic. " The words stunned Jewish residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on the first night of Passover, when masked men carrying a Russian flag started handing out sheets with the chilling announcement to community members as they left the synagogue. "Evasion of registration," it warned, "will result in revocation of citizenship and . . . confiscation of property.
April 11, 2014 |
WHEN ROMAN Dzivinskyi, a young Ukrainian man, was rallying for democracy in Kiev's Independence Square in early February, a bomb exploded, ripping off his left hand and shooting more than a thousand pieces of shrapnel into his chest, arms and face. Through the Ukrainian Federation of America, in Jenkintown, Dzivinskyi, 21, is now temporarily living with a host family in Northeast Philadelphia as he receives medical treatment. Sitting in a doctor's office in Montgomery County last week, Dzivinskyi covered his left arm - now a bandaged stump - with the sleeve of his gray, zippered sweatshirt.
March 18, 2014 |
IN THE LAST pew of a North Philadelphia cathedral, Wolodymyr Ryndycz stood alone and sang, sending up prayers for his homeland. The turmoil that has taken hold of Ukraine reminded Ryndycz, 85, of his own troubles there more than a half-century ago, when he said the German army took him from his home at 16 and forced him to work in a camp in Bavaria. "I never saw my parents again. Never saw my brother again," he said yesterday, inside the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on Franklin Street.
March 17, 2014 |
At the end of July I had the unexpected pleasure of taking a river cruise in Russia with a friend. This was exciting - my mother was from Zvenyhorodka, a town north of Kiev in the Ukraine, my father from a suburb south of Kiev. The cruise started out in St. Petersburg and wound up in Moscow. On a scheduled bus trip in Moscow, we went to the Museum of the Jewish History in Russia, the only Jewish museum and Holocaust memorial in the country. When we got to the museum, the men were laying tefillin - wearing black boxes on their foreheads containing verses from the Torah that serve as a reminder of God's intervention during the Exodus from Egypt - so we were ushered upstairs to the balcony for the service.
March 10, 2014 |
Several members of The Inquirer's Philly50 have operations or sell products in Ukraine, so the internal unrest and the Russian intervention have a direct effect on them. For example, Berwyn-based TE Connectivity Ltd. has 90,000 employees worldwide making and selling electronic products to connect energy, data and communications systems in numerous industries. About 600 of those employees work in two locations in Ukraine: a sales office in the capital of Kiev and a manufacturing plant in Ivano-Frankivsk, which is in the western portion of the country.
February 24, 2014 |
At once saddened and inspired by historic events unfolding in Ukraine, demonstrators solemnly gathered Sunday in Center City to bring attention to the loss of life in the Eastern European nation - and to pray for peace. About 200 people, assembling in Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall, had initially intended to mourn the loss of nearly 100 lives in Kiev. But news of the swift dismantling of President Viktor Yanukovych's government boosted spirits. "We are both mourning and celebrating," said Mary Kalyna, 59, an organizer who lives in West Mount Airy.