Orange Refill

Viktor and Yulia, together again.

April 6 (Bloomberg) — Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party will team up in parliament with an alliance led by former premier Yulia Timoshenko and the Socialists, said Our Ukraine spokesman Valentyn Mondrievsky.

The Regions Party, led by Viktor Yanukovych, which won the most votes in March 26 elections, will remain in opposition, Mondrievsky said in a telephone interview today in Kiev. Our Ukraine party was third in the elections, behind Timoshenko’s bloc and the Regions Party.

Timoshenko had been demanding reinstatement as Prime Minister. It’s not yet clear whether that demand has been met.

Serbs snub Milosevic

I never thought the manner or timing of his death, while disappointing, would in the end make any difference.

Only a thousand turned uptp pay respect to Milosevic.

Whatever fears there were that Mr. Milosevic, in death, would provoke a nationalist outpouring did not come true today: There were flowers, candles and free lapel pins showing Mr. Milosevic’s face, but no huge numbers and, amid the white hair and canes, no unrest.

The coffin — not opened with a view of Mr. Milosevic’s body — was laid out in the Museum of the Revolution in the suburban Dodinye section of Belgrade, after much wrangling of how to handle Mr. Milosevic’s burial. Serbia’s leaders, negotiating for the nation to join the European Union and under much pressure to produce top war crimes suspects, had rejected a state funeral for Mr. Milosevic or his burial in the cemetery reserved for national heroes.

This part’s quite remarkabele (my emph.)

Also missing today were members of Mr. Milosevic’s family: A warrant for the arrest of his widow, Mirjana Markovic, who lives with her son in Russia, was temporarily withdrawn on Tuesday, and leaders of Communist Party here said today that they expected her to arrive in time for the funeral on Saturday.

Soj on Transdniestr

European Tribune – Putting the Squeeze on Transdniestr by Soj

I see that the western press is almost completely ignoring the developing situation in Transdniestr, despite the huge ramifications involved.
With the election of Viktor Yushchenko in early 2005, Ukraine has steadily allied itself with the west, including the United States. And the west believes that Russia is illegally maintaining military bases in three autonomies in Europe, including Transdniestr, which is the primary stumbling block towards the signing and ratification of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. To put it bluntly, the west wants Transdniestr to do what Adjara did in 2004 (in Georgia), which is acquiesce to Moldovan central government, perhaps in the form of some lind of limited autonomy in a federation.

This issue shifted last week when Moldova and Ukraine implemented new customs regulations, requiring all Transdniestr goods (that are being exported) to carry a Moldovan tax stamp. In other words, Transdniestr must pay taxes to Moldova to export its goods, which of course angered the Transdniestrians. At first Igor Smirnov believed that Ukrainian president Yushchenko must be “poorly informed” on the new regulations, implying Yushchenko would never implement them if “only he knew” about them.

Milosevic is dead. – Milosevic dies in prison cell – Mar 11, 2006

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been found dead in his prison cell in The Hague, Netherlands, according to the United Nations. He was 64.

Serbian radio says he hung himself, just like the Krajina president did. I must have misread something.

BBC says:

Steven Kay, Mr Milosevic’s lawyer, told BBC News 24 that he had been found dead in his cell on Saturday morning.
The tribunal last month rejected a request by Mr Milosevic to go to Russia for medical treatment. He had high blood pressure and a heart condition.

Bringing Down Europe’s Last Ex-Soviet Dictator

Long NYT magazine piece on the Belorussian opposition.

“We go into these elections not because we believe in their fairness, but because this is a chance to go to the people, to conduct a campaign door to door,” Milinkevich explained through an interpreter. “I will not say that at every door people will become less fearful immediately. But very many people, when they see others who are not afraid, who dare to tell the truth, they will start to have more courage.” For now, many people react uneasily when they encounter him, as if he were an apparition. In the consciousness of a people saturated with state propaganda and ideology, he appears as the shadowy leader of a revolutionary cadre financed by big powers abroad and committed to the overthrow of the government.

Serbia to be first nation charged with genocide

Serbia will come under intense international scrutiny today as it becomes the first nation to defend genocide charges, while separately facing censure for failing to surrender war crimes suspects.

Belgrade will be accused at the International Court of Justice of sponsoring ethnic cleansing in the 1990s which led to the worst massacres on European soil since the Second World War. Previously, only individuals have been charged with genocide, the most serious war crime.

Sure is cold

Eastern Europe is currently enjoying its coldest weather since 1979. Temperatures in Moscow have been below minus 20 C (that’s minus 5 Fahrenheit for our American readers) for a week straight now, with regular visits to minus 30 (minus 22 Fahrenheit). In Bucharest, where we live, it’s currently minus 9 Celsius; that will drop to minus 14, or about plus 8 Fahrenheit, later tonight. (To give some perspective on that, you should know that most of the houses in our neighborhood have arbors full of grape vines, and roses were blooming in our yard at the beginning of December.)

It’s cold. Over 100 people have died in Russia. I’m in Pristina, Kosovo at the moment, and it’s right around minus 15 as the sun goes down. I won’t even convert that to Fahrenheit — it’s too depressing — but there’s a stiff wind blowing sinister little arcs of snow around the roads, and I’m really not in a hurry to go outside again.

The cold is coming from a cold air mass with sharply defined edges. Just a couple of hundred kilometers south and west of me, Tirana, Albania is enjoying a balmy +3 Celsius. It’s been gradually creeping westward, so right now the edge seems to be somewhere in Germany; Prague and Berlin are getting whacked, but France is still pleasantly warm. It’s possible that the whole thing may dissipate without reaching further. In which case it won’t ever be much of a news story because, you know… Eastern Europe.

Ah, don’t mind me. Weather like this makes me paranoid. Because Mother Nature is trying to kill me…

Who else is sitting under that blue-white splotch on the map? Consider this an open thread for weather talk.