The Macedonian Tendency: May 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nato Is Not A Friend of Macedonia

Protest letter sent to Nato over an incident:
MINA Breaking News

Protest letter sent to Nato over an incident PDF Print E-mail

Macedonia sent a letter of protest to Nato's General Secretary Jan De Hoop Scheffer.

Letter was sent by Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski after an incident at a NATO's traning in France called "Steadfast Junction" where greek Officer asked Macedonian Officers to remove their badges where the Flag and the country name is stitched up.

The Macedonian Officers refused and informed the Central Command in Macedonia about the incident. After consultations the Macedonian Officers left France, so the incident doesn't escalate.

"This is a first incident of its kind, as we have soldiers on many NATO missions, and no, this hasn't happened before." said Zaharaie Vulgarakis, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense.

Because of this incident, Macedonian Defense Ministry did not send Officers to NATO's scheduled training in Stavanger, Norway.

The Greek provocations have quadrupled after the elections were announced in Macedonia. In part because Prime Minister Gruevski has added 4 points to his Program, where he says that the name would not be changed, or, if there is a very favorable compromise, Gruevski would put the name on a Referendum, where it is certain to be defeated, even if the name is favorable. This way, very intelligently, the Prime Ministers put the 'name issue' in the hands of Macedonians.

The reaction from Athens was swift upon hearing of the 4 points. Athens spokesman Koumutsakis, as well as Bakoyannis issued quick statements that "there shouldn't be a referendum" as if anyone asked them about their opinion. Their statements were ignored, and the provocations started.

Athens is stuck in a loosing battle. Millions of euros were funneled to Macedonian Media, (Utrinski Vesnik, Dnevnik, even "independent" Agency MakFax) who all had large editorial pieces how Macedonia should simply 'give up' to Athens' caprice to change our name. Branko Geroski, Ljubmoric Frckovski.... probably had the worst Anti-Macedonian pieces ever written, on par with Athens daily Kathimerini, Elevtherostipos etc. Later, our sources tell us those articles from Utrinski, Dnevnik... were used by Athens at the UN against us, "look what your papers write", even though Athens paid for and ordered those articles. Similar was the situation with statements from 'our' officials, in particularly Gligorov. Athens paid, and paid handsomely for his statements a decade ago.

I wont get into SDSM and how much money Athens has sent this party. As an illustration, Radmila Sekerinska wears shoes worth 5000 Euros. If you don't care where the money came from, then think of the poor crocodiles and snakes she wears.

Good thing is, people like Gligorov & Co are out and his remaining associates are on their way out as well.

On Sunday, Elections. Go out and vote. I wont tell you who to vote for, hopefully you have a functioning brain to know this little. As for the Macedonian Officers leaving France and not reacting to the Athens officer provocation, Good on you! Though, another option could have been to make him eat the Macedonian badge. All I am saying is keep all options open.

Gorazd V.

Friday, May 30, 2008

30 - MaxFax Continues to Spread Greek Propanganda!

By David Edenden

Can everyone please contact Makfax to tell them, when publishing Greek government propaganda, to always include the Macedonian reply to anti-Macedonian slander.

Makfax is hurting Macedonia by re-publishing this Greek nonsense without comment.
Greece says Macedonia remains captive of irredentist policy

Bakoyannis - Greece wants Macedonia in NATO, but...

Greek press: Macedonia continues its provocations

Karamanlis demands concessions ahead of talks with Crvenkovski

Greeks living in Switzerland to raise lawsuits about Macedonia

To Vima: Gruevski might prefer quick fix in name spat after elections

Greece opposes name referendum in Macedonia

Bakoyannis - Greece wants Macedonia in NATO, but...

30 Great Site! Balkan Travellers

By David Edenden

There is a great deal to learn about Macedonia and the Balkans in this site! Christopher Deliso is one of the bloggers.

Balkan Travellers Tito, Teto and Some Troubled Tourism Await You in Tetovo, Macedonia ... When asked about Ohrid, people from other parts of Macedonia tell the following ...

Balkan Travellers - Serbia, Macedonia and Romania Join Europe in Various cities throughout the Balkans are joining the international Night of the Museums event, ...

Balkan Travellers - Macedonia Speeds up Archeological Excavations 2 May 2008 | Work on the archaeological excavations at Skupi, one of Macedonia’s most important sites, is to intensify next week, national media reported. ...

Balkan Travellers - Mother Teresa Philatelic Exhibition Opens in 10 March 2008 | An exhibition of postage stamps, seals and maps with the image of Mother Teresa that were issued in Macedonia, Albania, India, ...

Balkan Travellers - Culinary (and Other) Delights of Macedonia's In this engaging travel piece, the author recounts a summer expedition into Macedonia’s wine country, ...

Balkan Travellers - Exciting Year Ahead for Archeology in Macedonia 29 Jan 2008 Macedonia is set to develop a number of interesting archaeological projects in 2008, ...

Balkan Travellers - Clocks Reinstalled at Sultan Murat Mosque Clocks Reinstalled at Sultan Murat Mosque Tower in Macedonia’s Capital ... Use's tips to organize your trip to Macedonia

Balkan Travellers - Macedonia Begins Construction of Museum on The construction of the museum over the waters of the Ohrid Lake in Macedonia, one of the country’s ...

Balkan Travellers - Macedonia Icons to be Shown in Byzantine Art ...4 Apr 2008 ... A portal for travellers to and from the Balkans., Eight precious Macedonian icons will be part of the Byzantium 330-1453 show at the Royal ...

Balkan Travellers - Vinica Fortress in Macedonia to Become Tourist 7 Mar 2008 The Vinica Fortress in Macedonia will receive financial support for archaeological and ...

Balkan Travellers - Archaeologists from Kosovo and Macedonia to Archaeologists from Kosovo and Macedonia to rub shoulders at Tetovo fortress.

Balkan Travellers - Among Prilep's Thunder and Lightning Treskavec, Macedonia’s most inaccessible monastery, stands in the eye of the ... We realize that the monastery’s name [in Macedonian, treskavec means a ...

Balkan Travellers - Macedonia’s Ajvar Proves a Hit in the USA portal for travellers to and from the Balkans., Ajvar proved to be one of the most sought after products at Macedonia’s stand of the Chicago Food and ...

Balkan Travellers - Skopje Film Festival Begins in Macedonia The eleventh edition of the Skopje Film Festival opens on Saturday with a screening of the widely ...

Balkan Travellers - Italians to Invest in a Winter Resort near The resort is situated only some 50 km from Macedonia’s capital, ... Like Macedonia’s entire territory, the Tetovo region is rich in historic and ...

Balkan Travellers - Macedonia Bids to Become Major Tennis Destination Macedonia announced it will invest 5 million euro in the building of some 100 tennis courts all across the ...
Balkan Travellers - The Macedonian Town of Ohrid, Where Time StoppedA portal for travellers to and from the Balkans., The Macedonian Town of Ohrid, Where Time Stopped.

Balkan Travellers - Ethno-Jazz: Vlatko Stefanovski Still, if you want to hear a more refined version of local folklore, one of the names to look out for is that of the Macedonian guitar-player Vlatko ...

Balkan Travellers - White Tower, Bloody Tower After Macedonia split off from Yugoslavia in 1991, the Greeks accused it of having expansionist intentions, due to the depiction of the White Tower in the ...

30 - More on Indiana Jones and the Macedonian Name

Indiana Jones Said Macedonia’s Constitutional Name, Disputed by Greece:
Balkan Travellers

Indiana Jones Said Macedonia’s Constitutional Name, Disputed by Greece

Balkan Travellers

30 May 2008 | Indiana Jones mentioned the name of Macedonia in the latest film about his adventures, causing Greece to protest and threaten legal action, Macedonian media reported today.

In the recently released Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the legendary, albeit fictional, archaeologist uttered the constitutional name of Macedonia when speaking of treasures of the Ancient World, which provoked the Greek objection, according to the daily newspaper Vecher.

Indiana Jones should have specified which Macedonia he was referring to – upper or lower, and the sceene should be either changed to accommodate a clarification or entirely deleted from the film, Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyannis, reportedly wrote in a letter to the film’s director Steven Spielberg.

If the demands fail to yield results, Vecher claimed, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis was prepared to sue Steven Spielberg.

Macedonia’s constitutional name has been a thorn in Greece’s side since the People's Republic of Macedonia was established as federal part of the newly proclaimed Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946.

The dispute resurfaced again when the country became independent in the early 1990s and has gotten even more heated in the past several months. A failure to find a name that is acceptable both to Macedonia and Greece led to Greece’s veto over Macedonia’s candidacy for entry into NATO earlier this year.

30 - Indiana Jones Supports Macedonians!

By David Edenden

This is a funny article. It is produced by MINA, a new English language Macedonian news site.

I don't know what MINA stands for, nor do I know who funds it, nor do I know the names of any journalists who are associated with it. In addition the "two column" news format which tries to mimic a newspaper (and is favored by many news sites such as Slate) is really annoying to read on a computer. They should look to Salon, or better still, The New York Review of Books as a model.

To the journalists of MINA, don't change anything else, just combine the two news columns into one.

Having made some constructive suggestions, I think MINA is the best English language Macedonian news site around. It has a active comments section which is moderated so that idiots do not ruin it. My suggestion is for MINA to approach the The EU and US for funding. I assume they will be refused because the truth hurts ... about the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece
Piteous Greece to sue Indiana Jones over Macedonia

Indiana Jones may end up in Court. Legendary archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) uses Macedonia's constitutional name in his latest movie when speaking of treasures of the Ancient World.

One can only imagine the reaction of poor Greeks. Dora Bakoyannis, the Greek Foreign Minister fired off a protest letter to legendary director Steven Spielberg for that particular scene in the movie. According to Bakoyannis, Spielberg needed to explain for what Macedonia he is speaking of, upper or lower! Dora had been persistent in her letter, asking to either remove the scene or fix it! If all this doesn't turn fruitful, Greek PM Costas Karamanlis will sue Spielberg for 'misuse' of the name Macedonia.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29 - I Hypocrtie! by Arianna Huffington

By David Edenden

I have followed the career of Arianna Huffington for years and I continue to be amazed that this "political chameleon" is allowed in polite company. Here she puts Macedonia in a list of countries that violate human rights.

Arianna knows that none of the ethnic minorities in the Republic of Macedonia, not the Albanians, not the Gypsies, not the Turks, not the Serbs and not the Jews would trade their rights in the Republic of Macedonia with the cultural genocide that is inflicted on the ethnic Macedonians of Greece.

And Human Rights For All? | Rights and Liberties

"If more proof of the hypocritical selectivity of Bush's moral outrage were needed, look no further than the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, when, in the name of liberating the Iraqi people, the White House gladly linked arms with a host of countries its own State Department had castigated for significant human rights violations -- including Uzbekistan, Colombia, Georgia, Eritrea, Macedonia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, and the Dominican Republic. Given these countries' dismal human rights records, maybe we should have called them the Coalition of the Willing to Torture, Execute, and Rape."

God Bless America ... God Damn Greek Racists!

By David Edenden

This is the official US State Department reaction to the Greek walkout at the nonproliferation conference. Its just nice to see someone supporting Macedonians in print!

At the next St. Patricks' Day Parade, kiss an Irish-American!
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing -- May 29:

QUESTION: Yes, I have a few questions regarding the high-level meeting on PSI yesterday. My first question is: Can you tell us what happened and resulted to the withdrawal from the meeting of Greece and Cyprus?

MR. CASEY: Well, I’m not really sure. I think I’d have to refer you to the parties on that one. My understanding was that we had a meeting of the Proliferation Security Initiative. This is, of course, the occasion of the fifth anniversary on it. Greece had some objections to the seating of the Macedonian delegation. And I would, frankly, refer you to both those parties for an explanation as to why they – they chose to depart the meeting.

QUESTION: And my follow-up question, in the morning, since you have said what happened, the U.S. decided to go with a name tag for the country, name FYROM. And then a few hours after that, you changed, if I’m not mistaken, to the official name recognized this country, the Republic of Macedonia. But a move like thus -- like this, we had the result of two big maritime powers, if not the biggest, Greece and Cyprus, to withdraw from the meeting and don’t sign the declaration. We have problems right now to an upcoming initiative by Ambassador Nimetz after the elections in Skopje to resolve the name issue that created problems in the last NATO summit. And some people say that this unexpected move yesterday by changing name tags every other hour resulted to sending mixed messages and put those two countries – all the parties, actually – on a difficult position. Any explanation of why this happened, 
and who decided to change the name and then change it again?

MR. CASEY: Well, let me try – why don’t you hold on a second. First of all, you’ll forgive me; I realize how significant and important the name issue is for individuals, but you know, frankly, what piece of paper was in front of which delegate at which time, I don’t know and I don’t actually think that that’s particularly relevant here.

I think what is relevant is two things. First of all, longstanding United States policy as enunciated by Secretary – then Secretary of State Powell is to recognize the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name. So I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone, including our friends in Greece and Cyprus, that that is the name under which the U.S. Government recognizes Macedonia and that that is the way that they are generally referred to in all U.S. Government-led meetings and activities.
Now, that said, again, we very much respect and understand that there is a significant disagreement between Greece and Macedonia over the name issue, and we have been strong advocates both before, during and after the NATO summit in terms of trying to support Mr. Nimetz, Ambassador Nimetz and his efforts to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion to this issue. And that continues to be where we are.
So certainly, I’m not sure, you know, what the mechanics were at this meeting. But basically, U.S. policy on this issue is consistent. And certainly, we think it’s very important and really appreciate the role that Greece and Cyprus as well as other members of the Proliferation Security Initiative have played in trying to help support this really now global effort to help limit and thwart proliferation of nuclear and other dangerous technologies.

So certainly, we understand that the name issue is something that comes up on a regular basis and is something that is a difficult one and a sensitive one for people in Greece as well as for people in the Republic of Macedonia. But I certainly would hope that whatever technical problems or issues that occurred with some of the logistics in this meeting would not undermine the broad overall support that the initiative has in Greece and in Cyprus, as well as not confuse anyone in terms of the U.S. desire to see a mutually agreeable resolution of this conflict get reached.

QUESTION: My final question, that you just spoke about mechanics on the meeting. In your answer, many times you said that the official policy – and I know that – is to recognize this country as the Republic of Macedonia. Who decided to put at the start of the meeting the name FYROM in front of this country – FYROM – and then change it and create all this mess on a very important initiative like PSI?

MR. CASEY: I’m not sure --

QUESTION: With all respect, it’s not mechanics.

MR. CASEY: Well, look, what you’re asking me is which administrative staff person put a nameplate in front of a delegation. And I’m telling you that I don’t know and I’m telling you that, frankly, it doesn't matter in terms of broader U.S. policy, and that I would hope that while I would understand why that would be disturbing and cause an issue and did cause an issue with the Greek delegation and they’ve spoken to it, that, again, that that not be interpreted – that administrative issue not be interpreted as anything that was either trying to signal a change in U.S. policy or represent a change in U.S. policy or be done with a deliberate attempt to either offend or otherwise undermine the views and positions which we’re all well aware of and know are very strongly held by our friends in Greece.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Bush Stands Firm on Macedonia!

By David Edenden

If truth be told, I never thought that Bush would have the guts to stand up to the Greek lobby, notwithstanding their strenuous effort to have him bend over on the "Macedonian" name dispute between Macedonia and Greece. Obama, on the other hand, has no problem bending over to meet Greek demands ... since he is young and skinny and all.

Greece, Cyprus abandon US conference:
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Greece and Cyprus say their delegations left a U.S.-hosted nonproliferation conference over objections about how Macedonia was represented.

The two countries' embassies say their delegations left after learning that Macedonia would be identified as the Republic of Macedonia, the name recognized by the United States.

Athens argues the name implies a territorial claim against the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Cyprus supports Greece's objection.

The Greek Embassy says that it made clear that it would not participate in international meetings in which Macedonia is not referred to as FYROM. FYROM stands for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and is name used in the United Nations.

Greece recently blocked Macedonia's bid to join NATO over the issue.

By David Edenden

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kosovo Chickens Are Startin to Roost in Spain!

"Basque government approves referendum plan on self-determination
Makfax vesnik:

Vitoria /28/05/ 18:42

The Basque regional government Wednesday approved a controversial plan for a referendum on the self- determination of the northern Spanish region, which was expected to set it on a collision course with the Spanish government.

Voters in the region of 2.1 million residents will be asked whether they would like to see a negotiated end to the violence of the militant Basque separatist group ETA, if it expresses a willingness to lay down arms, regional Prime Minister Juan Jose Ibarretxe explained.

Voters will also answer the question whether they would approve of talks between the Basque political parties on the region's right to decide its own future.

Ibarretxe believes that an open discussion on Basque self- determination would help to solve the problem of ETA.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government regards a regional referendum as illegal, and was expected to take legal action to prevent the vote from taking place.

If the Basque regional parliament approves the draft law on June 27, the referendum would take place on October 25. /end/"

By David Edenden

At Least One Aussi rules!

- Australian MP brings up Macedonia in Parliament:
MINA Breaking News

Australian MP brings up Macedonia in Parliament PDF Print E-mail

Liberal Party deputy Luke Simpkins referred Tuesday at a session of the Australian Parliament to the official position of his country towards the naming of the Republic of Macedonia and Macedonians living in Australia, MINA reports from Perth.

Simpkins stressed that the current Australian stance on naming the Republic of Macedonia and the Australian citizens of Macedonian descent is insulting and abusive, and asked MPs how they would feel like if terms such as "Former British Colonies of Australia" or "Anglo-Saxon Australians" were used to name their country and its people.

He claimed there was no other case of racial discrimination of an community in Australia as the one of Macedonians, asking the Australian Government to follow the example of other countries, who address the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name in bilateral relations, whereas Australian citizens of Macedonian descent to be officially named Macedonians.

Macedonia's Ambassador to Canberra Viktor Gaber met Wednesday with MP Simpkins, thanking him for the public treatment of the issue. Interlocutors exchanged opinions on future activities of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Republic of Macedonia, where Simkinks acts as vice-chairman.

Macedonian Republic Genealogy Forum

By David Edenden

Here are a few posts to the Macedonian Genealogy Forum. Here are some previous posts.
Macedonian Republic Genealogy Forum:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Youtube: Macedonians of Greece speak out!

By David Edenden

This is a great leap forward in the Macedonian campaign for human rights for ethnic Macedonians in Greece. Youtube with subtitles!

Attention Macedonian politicians: Ask for funding from Nato, The EU and the US put subtitles on Youtube clips, for Macedonian language radio programs in Greece and for Macedonian language courses in Greek schools.

Expect a big fat NO! and then publish the responses ... because ... you know ... these people are vampires!

The Macedonians of Greece speak out!
Now with subtitles in English!
Makedonika: The Macedonian Blog:

This program is called “Vo Centar: Egejska Makedonija”(In Centrum: Aegean Macedonia) it was aired on Macedonian television 2008.05.06"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Makedonika: The Macedonian Blog

By David Edenden

This Macedonian site specializes in Macedonian history. Its worth linking to. In this map, produced by the CIA, Macedonians are shown as living in "Northern Greece" or as we like to call it "Aegean Macedonia.

It reflects US recognition of ethnic Macedonians in Greece, starting with the 1995 US State Department Report on Human Rights in Greece.

Macedonians noted on a map by the CIA as living in Greece and Bulgaria, 1992!
Makedonika: The Macedonian Blog:

Balkans, Ethnic Majorities

This map is from “The Former Yugoslavia: A Map Folio”, published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 1992."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vampire Alert - Janusz Bugajski in Tetevo, Macedonia

By David Edenden,

There is a special place in hell for a monster like Janusz Bugajski who walks across the block to destabilize a country ... in this case Macedonia. Bugajski wants the "what's in a name dispute" to be "acceptable for Macedonians, Albanians and Greeks". This little pathetic fascist-in-training thinks that Albanians in Macedonian need more rights (because their shit doesn't smell) while Macedonians in Greece can eat shit!

Someone ... please ... take this poser to an undisclosed location and waterboard him! (Remember, waterboarding is not torture)

Janos Bugajski's address at Tetovo tribune

Tetevo, Macedonia May 15 (MIA) - Janos Bugajski, Director of the Washington Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for Eastern Europe, addressed Thursdaya tribune in Tetovo, organized by the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

The new government should soon recognize Kosovo, as it is in favor of Macedonia and the region's stability, Bugajski said, pointing out that Macedonia may join NATO by December if the situation develops as expected.

- DPA and Albanians may play rather significant, stabilizing role in reaching a compromise on the name issue. The name settlement should be acceptable for Macedonians, Albanians and Greeks. Macedonians should not feel insecure if the name was changed, especially if in the process they enjoyed the support of Albanians. After joining NATO and the EU there will no threats to Macedonia's survival, Bugajski said.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Death the RFE/RL! ... Oh! My God ... Its Dead!

By David Edenden

Radio Free Europe is shutting down and this good news for ethnic Macedonians in the Balkans!

If any aspiring academic wants to do a study of the failure of imagination of western policy makers after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, just take a look at the slow death of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as an institution promoting democracy and human rights in Europe.

A relic of the cold war, people at the RFE/RL knew that in order to survive, they needed to expand their market to be relevant to policy makers for continued funding.

My thought was that it would continue to focus all of its energies on the former communist countries that are members of the OSCE such as Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan etc, but would also include human rights violations in Nato countries such as Turkey (Kurds) and Greece (Macedonians). My hope was that eventually it could take over the role of the various human reports of the US State Department and thereby providing a report that has an arms length relationship with the US government.

Instead it ignored the plight of the Macedonians of Greece and the Kurds of Turkey, thereby aiding and abetting cultural genocide (and in the case of the Kurds in Turkey, real, honest to goodness, war crimes).

They chose, instead, to be an instrument of neocon delusions of world domination by the US by including Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Afganistan in their reports. This diluted its focus and its influence ebbed away.

Why its death good for Macedonians?

Because it is one less organization to spank Macedonians when they are bad, while ignoring when Greeks are bad to Macedonians.

Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, all who have worked at RFE/RL have been tarnished by this association. It is now time for those people to write their memoirs about what really happened ... because ... you know ... the truth will set you free ... I'm talking to you Moore, Patrick ... Ulrich Buechsenschuetz ... Synovitz, Ron ... Azinovic, Vlado ... Stavljanin, Dragan ... Shary, Andrey ...

Edward Lucas: RFE/RL obituary:

Prague's silent spring

May 15th 2008

Budget cuts kill an institution

FOR outsiders interested in the ex-communist world, the English-language material produced by the research department of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is invaluable. But it will not be available much longer. The department is closing. Its analysts are job hunting. Some bulletins have stopped already. The reason is simple: budget cuts caused by the weak dollar.

It is a sad end to an era. The radios (based in those days in Munich) helped win the last cold war. Many of the staff were émigrés who became household names in their captive homelands thanks to their broadcasts.

But triumph was followed by a dispiriting process of retrenchment and cuts. The radios moved to Prague—though that is now an expensive city too. Language broadcasts to central Europe and the Baltics were chopped (though new ones were started in languages such as Chechen). The analytical focus shrank and shifted.

The invaluable “Tatar-Bashkir Daily Report”, for example, covering what 90 years ago was the briefly independent state of Idel-Ural, stopped publication in November 2005. Though the vernacular-language broadcasts remain, it is hard to see how they will maintain their quality as the main brains of the organisation disperse.

A sign of how much the bad guys dislike the radios' work came only last month, with a big cyberattack that temporarily brought down the website of the Belarusian-language service, probably to stop people reading it on the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. That recalled the Soviet-era practice of jamming, at vast expense, foreign short-wave radio broadcasts.

Subscribers will now find a bothersome hole in their email in-boxes. The RFE/RL material was concise, accurate, incisive, and covered corners of the region such as Moldova that scarcely feature on the English-language internet. It was also free.

Some of the alternatives are excellent, but costly. The BBC Monitoring Service provides colossal quantities of translated news from the whole ex-communist region—but at an annual cost (depending of how much you want) of several thousand dollars. It is also so voluminous that it can easily take an hour to read a daily dose properly.

Rather less expensive is Transitions Online, which for a piddling $44 a year provides information from 28 countries in the region. It is a Prague-based non-profit spin-off from an earlier bit of downsizing by RFE/RL, less newsy and more colourful.

Contributors include luminaries such as Andrew Wilson, a British-based scholar who coined the phrase “virtual politics” to describe the mixture of manipulation and populism used by elites in the phoney democracies of the ex-Soviet Union. An outfit called Templeton Thorp provides a useful free media digest, with business-focused news available on subscription.

Perhaps the sharpest and most unusual analysis comes from “Window on Eurasia”, a thrice-daily bulletin filed by the indefatigable Paul Goble, one of America's most seasoned observers of the region and a onetime heavyweight figure at RFE/RL and other outfits financed by the American government.

If you are gripped by stories about the revival of Circassian national consciousness, incensed by the FSB's attempts to rehabilitate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or intrigued by the growth of traditional paganism in Mari-El, then Mr Goble's mailings will become your favourite breakfast reading.

But barring a last-minute change of heart in the Senate, the generalist who wants a crisp and topical analysis of the region's news will find little substitute for RFE/RL. At a time when billions are available for the projection of hard power, it is odd that a few millions can't be found for something that embodies America's much more effective soft power. That reflects badly on both politicians, and the ability of the radios' management to lobby them.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Greek attempt to ban gay women from calling themselves ‘lesbians’

Greater Surbiton (also - The Henry Jackson Society)

This is a guest post by Martin Niemoeller

First they came for the Macedonians,

and I did not speak out, because I was not a Macedonian.

Then they came for Oliver Stone,

and I did not speak out, because I was not a Hollywood film director.

Now they’ve come for the lesbians