France 2005: the quest for greatness?

It has now been a year and a half since I moved to France. I am not going to bore you with all the domestic challenges the move caused me, do not worry, but I need to mention this since I have only just begun to explore life in France. This post about France will therefore be rather impressionistic. Yet I am sure our esteemed guest poster Emmanuel, and hopefully our French readers, will chime in with corrections, elaborations and the like. I also need to mention that I live in the countryside of Brittany, which means there is some distance between me and whatever happens in Paris and the rest of France.

The first thing I noticed about France is that my day-to-day life has not changed much compared to my extended stay in Belgium. People basically talk about the same things: life is expensive, the weather is relatively mild for the time of the year, the bathroom needs painting, sports, etc. And naturally there has been some cultural talk, since I am a new kid on the block with a heavy foreign accent, mostly about culinary and linguistic differences. Every now and then the conversation turns to politics and society. Rarely so, but still.
Continue reading


From Obdymok:

just saw thousands of berkut police from kharkhiv and donetsk, as well as thousands of coal miners, start walking in down lesi ukrainky blvd. in the direction of the central election headquarters.

lesi ukraini leads to bessarabsky rynok and the start of khreshchatyk, which is filled with about 100,000 yushchenko supporters.

i think a riot is imminent.

From Victor:

According to, in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, people are being arrested for supporting Yushchenko.

My own comment: This is what is awaiting Ukrainian people, too. This is coming. All legal ways of resolving the situation have been exhausted.

And Maidan:

We have just received an information that, in case some sort of a coercive scenario will be used against the opposition, the police and army units supporting Yushchenko will defend the protesters in downtown Kyiv and secure public order.

They resolutely affirm that the law-enforcers brought to Kyiv from the regions that have voted for Yanukovych, in spite of the fact that a part of them has a strongly negative view of the opposition, will never turn against their colleagues, since the corporative solidarity is more important for them than their political preferences that in fact do not have a profoundly principled character.

However, the authorities might send groups of gangsters against peaceful protesters, but the honest law-enforcers intend to treat them as the law requires, including the use of firearms in cases authorized by the Law.

But a ray of hope from Victor:

According to, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych states that will not accept the results of the elections until their legitimacy is proved. He stated this at the sitting of the National Council on Coordinating State and Regional Authorities.

If Yanukovich doesn’t accept the Presidency – for now, at least – then the hope of a negotiated solution remains alive, possibly Yuschenko’s proposal for holding the runoff election again. I suspect that both sides are waiting for the EU mediators to arrive, so let’s hope that everyone on the streets can remain calm. Reuters also report Signs of compromise emerge in Ukraine
Siberian Light has an interesting post questioning whether there actually are Russian troops in Ukraine and if he’s right, that’s another good sign.