A New Direction and a New Appeal

Suffice to say that things here in Ukraine have gone in a direction not entirely in accordance with my best interests. While I made the best efforts I could, my endeavor was sabotaged by Ukraine’s second most dangerous enemy next to the Russian government, namely the Ukrainian government (sometimes it seems like it could take the #1 slot).

As such, I’ll probably only be here another month and a half before I have to move on. I’m seriously considering moving in a very different direction, such as the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa- anywhere but here.

People have told me that this “information war” or anti-propaganda activity is crucial, but as far as I’m concerned the market is flooded with organizations dedicated to that alleged purpose and incidentally they are also flush with money, unlike my bank account. We have enough propaganda-debunking and fact-checking in the world today. In order to have any real impact what is needed is a counter-narrative, and that is just something today’s dominant liberal-centrist technocratic establishment simply cannot and or will not provide. But I digress.

This Ukraine gamble has been rather expensive and mostly devoid of any reward. There is still time to have an impact though. In the past none of my crowdfunding campaigns ever reached their goal, but they did provide crucial help when I needed it. If you can spare any bucks at all, you can donate via PayPal- nobsrussia@gmail.com is the account. Thanks in advance.

We’ll see what the future holds.


12 thoughts on “A New Direction and a New Appeal

  1. AndyT

    Sometimes we spend all of our time and energy on something or someone… only to be left with a huge disappointment.

    However, as the saying goes, “Don’t change your goals, adjust your means” (or kind of) – maybe you’ll be able to achieve more in a different environment, among different people.

    Till then, good luck, for what it’s worth.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      The support of long time readers like you is still just as appreciated. I’ve never had much luck with crowdfunding in the past. The problem was since 2014 my situation was so unstable that what seemed like a good plan at the beginning of a campaign turned out to be totally unfeasible by the end of one.

      Though at the moment I might have found the opportunity to do some volunteer work for at least a few weeks. It might make up for all this wasted year.

      If I ever make it to the UK in one piece, I’ll look you up. Take care and thanks again.

  2. Shalcker

    This felt quite predictable. Most people who come into Ukraine on either side seem,to come out disappointed and move on. It certainly doesn’t shape as something that can revolutionize the world (or even fight Russia).
    Ukraine is also in downturn as far as economy goes so job opportunities are likely limited.
    Hopefully next time you’ll not get caught up in a fight between two shades of black.

    …change in your attitude and things you tweeted/retweeted between Russia and Ukraine was quite noticeable too.

    Good luck.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      It seems that in spite of my numerous disclaimers, you misread things. I didn’t come here with very high hopes. If we’re just speaking about every day life, atmosphere, even the weather, I quite prefer it here. Hell I love L’viv. There are also a lot of opportunities here, I just haven’t been able to take advantage of them because I had this other job lined up. I could still fight and probably get it, but now it’s just way too late.

      If anything, there’s nothing unique about my hatred for the Ukrainian government- plenty of Ukrainians, including if not especially self-proclaimed “patriots,” hate their government with a passion. There are plenty who get much more screwed than I did.

      I don’t have the solution to that, not in a practical sense. I’m just one man with limited resources. I merely wanted to make a contribution, but I was denied even that.

      I will not give up the fight, I will not relent one bit when it comes to standing up for Ukrainian independence and territorial integrity, and I will not turn a blind eye to aggression and imperialism just because I’ve had a bad time here. That doesn’t mean I’ll continue to put up with the government’s bullshit, but I stand on moral principle; I’m not so petty or egotistical that I would endorse a far worse regime or ignore its actions just because of a personal slight.

      As for my tweets, this is just exasperation over the problems of narrative here. I assert that up till now, Ukraine’s narrative has been insufficient and counter-productive. Since I’m realistically looking at being sidelined to the “information war” once again, I think I have a right to criticize how it’s fought.

      1. Shalcker

        It is predictable exactly because there is nothing unique about it. That’s the point really.

        As you said, you honestly tried to help Ukraine as you understood it, and you couldn’t. That seems to be common theme.

        Perhaps situation there isn’t in state where help of “outsiders”, no matter how well-meaning, can be accepted.

        Maybe they have to sort it out internally first, come to real solution, then implement it despite inevitable consequences (as any real solution to Ukrainian problem will disappoint some of external actors).

        Or maybe it has to break more before it can be rebuilt from ground up.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        On the contrary. Many foreigners are able to help Ukraine in one way or another. I have been able to help in a certain way as well, and will still continue to do so. However, one problem with helping anyone in this world is that it’s a lot easier when you’re either getting a salary for it or you just have a lot of resources. I simply don’t have that.

        Realistically, and as much as many Ukrainians might find it insulting- Ukraine needs help from the outside. Not aid which can be squandered and misused, but rather in the realm of ideas. Every Ukrainian patriot seems convinced that only those they criticize have the “Soviet mentality.” In reality, however, the over-simplistic, tribalist, black & white thinking we typically associate with the pro-Russian side is every bit alive and well in many of Ukraine’s most outspoken “patriots.” Is it any wonder that the most patriotic organizations on both sides often share almost identical views?

        I’m hoping that visa free travel will be one of the beginnings of a change in this matter, because it will expose more people to outside ideas. One problem here is that despite all the propaganda about Ukrainians being “Western-leaning” or “OMG SO EUROPEAN!!!” one is often staggered to find that even in Kyiv locals don’t seem to know much about the West or our values as the Muscovites. Many people seem to think they live in a world where there are only two countries, Ukraine and Russia, and the West should just save Ukraine but otherwise shut up. This is an impression I’d got from a lot of people-watching even long before I moved here.

        While the Muscovites also tend to have a poor understanding of the West, they have been conditioned by history to think globally. They craft their narratives with a global audience in mind, not so much to win converts but rather to advance their foreign policy goals.

  3. Pingback: Get a JERB!!! | Russia Without BS

  4. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)


    “Perhaps situation there isn’t in state where help of “outsiders”, no matter how well-meaning, can be accepted.”

    This isn’t my experience or that of my mates. I am not in Ukraine but the welcome and cheer from Ukrainians seeing people like me (British) backing them is real. I have seen this in very practical and very positive ways, too, such as my engagement with the diaspora in the UK split over LGBT issues.

    Look, any country is not going to be nirvana and perfect and always welcoming. I am half-Australian and know full well that foreigners, especially Brits, can be disregarded and shut out. But if you stick at it that falls away.

    IOW, Ukraine is no special case.

    1. Shalcker

      Just as real as Russians cheering Western people backing them. As long as you agree where it matters. There are even state-funded media outlets for them.

      When you significantly disagree on something important it generally goes to dismissing foreigners as misunderstanding situation. Also pretty universal approach.

      Or people politely listen to what you say, perhaps even agree, then go on doing same thing they did before and which you criticized.

      I see “acceptance of foreign help” not as “we’ll take your money and verbal support, tyvm” (everyone does that), but “we’ll listen to your suggestions/criticisms and actually implement them/try to fix things”.

      And i think Ukraine isn’t quite receptive to second option.

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        You’re definitely right about that. It’s not that Ukrainians promote this myth of the “mysterious Ukrainian soul” which no Westerner can possibly understand, but there is definitely this “You don’t understand” thing every time your criticism crosses certain lines. What’s weird is that as long a you tout the party line and mouth the right slogans, it seems you totally “understand.”

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