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‘Russians Are Volcanoes With Snow-Covered Slopes’

For more than a decade one of the finest foreign correspondents in Russia, El Mundo’s Daniel Utrilla last year quit his job and went native. Here, excerpts from a much longer interview he gave to Spain’s Jot Down magazine: observations by a Russophile in an increasingly Russophobic world:

I was having dinner the other day with a friend, and she said this sentence that struck me; for me it perfectly defines the Russian soul. She said, “We’ll go back to eating potatoes if we have to, but we’ll still be with Putin.”

Dirty Yulia

Tymoshenko fixing her hair in front of photographers at Kiev District Court, June 2011. Photo EPA.

Yulia Tymoshenko, blonde-braided Aryan princess of Ukraine’s ‘revolutions.’ Imprisoned, we are told, for political reasons, and released to breathless Western coverage and Ukrainian indifference following the crowd-coup which toppled ‘pro-Russian’ Ukrainian president Yanukovych last week.

The government in Kiev has hired an army of international lawyers.

“Ukraine’s Future is in the East”

There are many divides in Ukraine: a Catholic west and an Orthodox east (with a heavy sprinkle of Muslim Tatars in the Crimea). A Ukrainian-speaking west and a Russian-speaking east.Another is economic: the west is rural and underdeveloped, the east industrial and relatively wealthier.

If one looks at the map of the protests, it becomes obvious that the poor western half of the country is rebelling.

The Day Kiev Exploded

Ukraine: former Soviet Republic, victim of Stalin’s 1932 terror famine, ethno-religious-linguistic hodgepodge nation-state. This year, tilting toward civil war or perhaps partition, as the country’s ‘russophilic East’ and ‘europhilic West’ clash in Kiev’s Maidan square and elsewhere around the country.

On January 19, 2014, Kyiv exploded. It started with a peaceful mass.

Ukraine’s Grim Young Men in Tracksuits

Semi-authoritarian regimes frequently find that beating protestors and members of the opposition is a task best done with hired thugs; they provide a certain amount of deniability and don’t look as bad on television as uniformed policemen. The Mubarak regime was famous for its baltagiyya.

Titushki is a new word from Ukrainians' lexicon that the whole world is now learning.

The Fast-Food Feminism of the Topless Femen

Blond young women stripping off their shirts to protest for…women’s rights. Le Monde Diplomatique‘s Mona Chollet reviews the purportedly feminist protest group called the Femen, finding little evidence of feminism and a budding affinity with France’s anti-Muslim right.

"Covering women's bodies seems to give Muslims a sense of virility, while Westerners derive their own from uncovering them", writes Moroccan essayist Fatema Mernissi in Scheherazade Goes West.