Ukraine Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Bureaucracy)

So I’ve been in Ukraine for a week now and to be sure, when it comes to the work I’d planned I’ve been experiencing more zrada (this is bad) than peremoha (this is good). Unfortunately crippling bureaucracy is still thriving in Ukraine in spite of all the talk of “reforms.”  Luckily I have contacts who believe in my struggle and are helping me sort all this out. In the mean time, I have been making some observations on life in Kyiv.

Ice is trying to kill you

As many times as I’ve been to Kyiv, I’d only been here one other time in winter (January 2007). That winter, incidentally, was extremely mild and there was almost no snow or ice at all. I’ve got the photos to prove it too. This time, however, there’s ice and snow everywhere.

For someone living in Moscow this wouldn’t be particularly worrisome, but for some reason I don’t fully understand, the ice in Kyiv seems more slippery. In fact I nearly slipped about five times within my arrival. The working theory is that Kyiv has higher humidity which may be making the ice more slippery. It may also be another incarnation of Russian hybrid warfare. Will follow up on this investigation (probably not).

Key food ingredients are plentiful

One of the first concerns I had upon arrival was the supply of tortillas. I frequently make various Mexican dishes and in the past year tortillas have been increasingly rare in Moscow supermarkets. By contrast, the first supermarket I entered this time in Kyiv was fully stocked with a variety of tortillas.

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On the lower right they have Mission brand- very good.

Cumin, on the other hand, has been a bit more difficult to find, but fear not- it is possible!

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You have a date with some chili, my friend.

Although by no means a culinary delight, I’ve always had a strange taste for canned ham ever since the army, where they had the “ham slice” MRE. Now in Russia canned ham always seemed to be imported and it was quite expensive. Not the case in Ukraine. Check this out:

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That’s not just ham, it’s “elite ham.” It also says that it’s sterilized, which is good because you don’t want the canned ham population to grow out of control.

Just in case anyone is actually going to seriously ask- No, I don’t used canned ham in any of my signature dishes. It’s good enough by itself.

 

Unfortunately I’ve been rather busy trying to sort out the job situation, but have no fear- I’ve got an expose of some fresh BS from RT coming up in the very near future. The saga continues.

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19 thoughts on “Ukraine Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Bureaucracy)

  1. gbd_crwx

    “For someone living in Moscow this wouldn’t be particularly worrisome, but for some reason I don’t fully understand, the ice in Kyiv seems more slippery. In fact I nearly slipped about five times within my arrival. The working theory is that Kyiv has higher humidity which may be making the ice more slippery. It may also be another incarnation of Russian hybrid warfare. Will follow up on this investigation (probably not).”

    Usually you get the most slippery ice if you have temperatures slightly above zero (Celcius) and then freezing temperatures. This gets especially bad if you add wind to this which willpolish the ice to become extremely smooth.

    Reply
      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        They’re pretty old. This was circa- 2000-2002. You would heat them up by using the chemical heater, which uses water. Either that or you save the heater, put it in a bottle of water, cap it, and it explodes after a little bit.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        In my opinion, however, what makes a particular MRE good is how good it tastes when uncooked. This is because there are many times when you aren’t able to cook it. For example in basic training we were explicitly forbidden to cook our MREs due to time constraints.

        The ham slice is still relatively good when cold.

      3. Mr. Hack

        Your prediliction for canned hams reminds me to buy some canned ‘spam’ that I haven’t tasted in 30 + years. It was a big hit with my mother who would come home, exhausted after a workday, and quickly slice up some onions and potatoes and along with some cubed spam would have a plateful of hot food for me within minutes. It tasted good, especially drenched in ketchup! 🙂

        I often communicate with a well known Kremlin Stooge over at World Affairs, a ‘Dmitry Vakin’ and I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of our latest exchange. Can’t wait for his reply:

        ‘The EU has long taken responsibility for the Balkan nations and democracy building there. So it really looks like they are just trying to shift blame on Russia for their own failures.

        Mr. Hack > Dmitry Vakin • 23 minutes ago
        Russia never gets involved in the politics and internal problems of other countries. And you’re not a paid Kremlin stooge/troll either…So many unfair characterizations being bandied around these days. Luckily, in Mother Russia, there’s a diligent group of government mind control specialists that even get to throw children behind bars for expressing their own political views. This poor lad is being tried for, get this: ‘insulting VATNIKS over the internet within the comments section of some Russian blog!’ http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/

        Do you hear that, old Vatnik? Being thrown into the clinker for ‘INSULTING VATNIKS OVER THE INTERNET’. I sure am glad that I live in the USA and not in Putlerstan!!! 🙂 🙂 :-)’

        Hope to hear more about your trip to Ukraine soon…

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      UPDATE: Might have found a way to do an end-run around all this bullshit.

      In other news, I encountered a street of icy death tonight. I’m convinced that at the bottom there must be a pile of injured/dead people, the former begging for help to no avail.

      Reply
      1. Sohryu_L

        >UPDATE: Might have found a way to do an end-run around all this bullshit.

        But… but… but isn’t that CORRUPTION?!

        >In other news, I encountered a street of icy death tonight. I’m convinced that at the bottom there must be a pile of injured/dead people, the former begging for help to no avail.

        It melted yesterday and froze back again today, FUN.

        I’m also not sure it’s even theoretically possible to clean ALL sidewalks in Kyiv, at least not unless you employ a horde of Tajik laborers.

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