Wed Jun 16th, 2010 at 10:28:16 PM EST
As poemless went into semi-retirement ;-), not many here keep an eye on what is happening behind the erstwhile Iron Curtain. I was never interested in what is going on there, by any means not so much as poemless did (actually I never wrote a diary on Russia) but today I took a break from my daily South Asian diet.
I was puzzled by reports in Russian media on discussions about results of 10 years of Mr Putin's rule. His reign is not yet finished, many speculated he would be back soon in Kremlin. Naturally opposition is more active in publicizing disastrous results of his work twice as PM and twice as president. Have they been fair, what kind of arguments they are presenting to tear apart his legacy if not his career?
Where is Russia heading? Cartoon from Moscow Times.
Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 01:13:43 PM EST
I already mentioned positions on I/P conflict which the third world countries have taken in view of the seizure of humanitarian convoy by Israel.
FarEasterner: In the third world ... governments are not friends of Israel (evident from UN Human Rights commision) but long ago discarded policies to antagonize the West over the plight of Palestinians.
Today I came across very interesting article on the topic written by Fyodor Lukyanov editor-in-chief of "Russia in Global Affairs" magazine, leading diplomatic magazine in Moscow. You might see Fyodor sometimes on BBC, Zeina Badawi used to invite him for express analysis of Russian foreign policy. For magazine I contributed a couple of articles on my region in the past. His article I translated in full because there is no English variant on the web, I hope I did not make any mistakes.
Sat May 29th, 2010 at 03:20:38 PM EST
On Thursday Obama's administration quietly and almost unnoticed released new national security strategy which reflects American perception of the world as it is and outlines priorities in American foreign policy.
As Foreign Policy noted this is not a strategy but rather a long speech printed on 52 pages. It took 1.5 year to prepare and by quick reading it has not changed much from previous version of 2003 though it does not include some points like Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strikes.
Nevertheless this is document which will be used for assessments of the administration's performance in the future. Let's see how high Obama's team set the planks. Not very high.
Sun Mar 28th, 2010 at 12:57:12 PM EST
This is personal photodiary on how I spent the Sunday's morning and what I thought about.
A quiet morning in a temple on the way to Swaymbhunath stupa.
It is late afternoon and I just returned from Anjuna's café (Anjuna and her political views I described in earlier diary) where I ate dhal-bhat (traditional Nepali food, a tray of rice, lentils and vegetables) and talked with one American girl Kaydi. She said she is here on research for writing (as a ghostwriter) memoirs of a man who spent some time in Nepal. Lovely, I never met ghostwriters before, what do they feel when they see their books without own names. I can assure you it's written by me with my thoughts and feelings which I channeled in the afternoon sun on the rooftop garden towards poverty and development. The one book I purchased in Delhi, "How rich countries got rich and why poor countries stay poor" by Erik S Reinert was aiding me.
PS Unfortunately photobucket is not working properly today so please visit the diary later when I update and put more photos. Also you can see some photos in my photoalbum.
Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 12:30:14 PM EST
Quick personal photodiary on how I spent this day.
Chorten in the middle of McLeod Ganj today.
After spending January with my sister and niece in Goa I am back in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh in North India. It's lively place where Dalai Lama and exiled Tibetans reside. There are also many expats from all over the world but don't think it's not Indian town - very much Indian, for both locals Himachalis and Indians from other parts of the country (first of all Kashmiri traders) and even many Nepalis have come here for business and work. They were attracted by newly found prosperity and development.
Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 02:34:12 PM EST
In media and in public there is growing sense of failure in Afghanistan for the Western alliance. Leaked report of general McCrystal only confirmed this feeling. Brushing aside biased letters and articles of American conservatives and self-congratulatory speeches of officials of Obama administration I want to concentrate on Afghanistan, let's try to judge what is going on in this country on merit. Is there any chance for success and what is constituted success?
Tue Sep 8th, 2009 at 01:39:20 PM EST
It is late evening in Bangkok and it is still raining. Monsoon time. After some time I found myself again in the friendly Asian megapolis waiting for visa processing (quite a usual timepass when one is out of her country for a long time).
Tourist ghetto of Khaosan Rd area under the rain.
My friend left Bangkok long ago, her friend who entertained me last time in March too, she left for dreadful Baghdad, so this time I am on my own, mixing expeditions into rich Bangkok's past with browsing gleaming malls and cozy family-run bookstalls in search for wonderful books.
The rain intensifies
With both kinds of business I was extremely lucky this time so I had run out of my budget for Bangkok rather quickly. That's why I am sitting in internet café in my hotel's lobby and printing these words.
Wed May 20th, 2009 at 05:37:21 AM EST
It was my dream to look at the highest mountain on this planet called by westerners Everest (after British official) and by locals Qomolungma or Sagarmatha, which in translation mean roughly the same, the Mother Goddess of the Sky. The full text of diary is in Part I, Part II and Part III. Here you can see some photos taken on the journey.
Sat May 16th, 2009 at 05:27:47 AM EST
This diary is about Indian election.
For the prepoll diary please go to Indian political tamasha (Part I)
The world's biggest electorate in India is notorious for unpredictability of its choice, even exit polls on massive scale cannot predict results of Indian elections with acceptable margin of mistake. The conducted polls of 70000 respondents with the margin of 30% for mistake can be taken only as astrological forecasts. This time pollsters again failed predicting hung Parliament but as a consolation they managed at least to sense the blowing wind - the ruling coalition of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) headed by Congress party is comfortably placed to return to power after 5 years in office.
Sat May 9th, 2009 at 10:34:11 AM EST
The beginning of this diary is Mountains are forever (Part I) which continues in Mountains are forever (Part II).
If you want to see some pictures from the trip visit slide show In search of Shangri La.
While I was preoccupied with gloomy reminiscences under the fading oak and birch trees near Paya suddenly there was some noise in the air. It was a group of schoolchildren returning to their homes in Khari La pass and farther on the other side of the ridge Tham Danda. They were singing songs. Looking at us like at forest ghosts they continued their daily journey making as much noise as possible. Why they were going together, boys and girls, after classes finished? We were not the only ones whom they met in the forest.
Gokyo in the early morning
Mon May 4th, 2009 at 10:36:18 AM EST
The beginning of this diary is Mountains are forever (Part I).
If you want to see more pictures from the trip visit slide show In search of Shangri La.
Any trip requires some necessities and surprisingly my journey to Everest took just two days to prepare - trekker's passport in tourist office, fleece trousers from Anjuna's store, rented sleeping bag from Kathmandu Trekking Store in Thamel allegedly enduring "-20" temperature, extra memory stick for camera (which refused to work actually), Strepsils pills for throat, headtorch, Khumbu map etc.
The view of Numbur (Dudhkunda) from Ringmu
Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:30:37 PM EST
If you want to see photographs from my trips to Nepal, please visit In search of Shangri La
When I was a child I together with my mom and sister visited Caucasian mountains. The sheer scale of jagged terrain terrified and excited me beyond imagination. I wanted to go further up immediately as I had desire to touch snow capped mountains. Mother and sister were suffering from altitude and did not allow me to venture there alone. Many years passed. I've found myself in Indian Himalayas, where childhood dreams came to pass. Yet I never visited Nepal. It was my dream to look at the highest mountain on this planet called by westerners Everest (after British official) and by locals Qomolungma or Sagarmatha, which in translation mean roughly the same, the Mother Goddess of the Sky. How she would receive me I wondered.
My first view of Everest (distant left) on the way from Junbesi
Fri May 1st, 2009 at 06:50:50 AM EST
Here is the collection of photos I took during two trips to Nepal: in october 2008 and february 2009.
Sun Apr 26th, 2009 at 06:14:26 AM EST
I don't know how to approach ongoing political festival (tamasha) in India. From one side I don't want to oversimplify vibrant and unpredictable political process in this country, putting the contest in Procrust bed of triangular (square) fight between major coalitions, from other side more nuanced description may be mystifying for outsiders. Also there is question of lessons to be drawn from Indian politics, how it's relevant for you. If European Union is more coherent entity with strong executive wing then its politics may become more similar to what is going on here. India after all in many ways is like Europe (it has the same size and her population is more than twice than EU's), it is big peninsula attached to the largest chunk of earth - Asia.
Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:53:33 AM EST
Yesterday 714 millions registered voters in India started to exercize their democratic franchise in the world's biggest elections. Regions were divided by Election Commission in 5 parts voting every week upto May 13th and then election results for 543 constituencies will be declared. States like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Sikkim vote also for state assemblies according to custom of last decades. So what does Indian democracy look like? What is her nature and how is she similar or different to so-called Western democracies?
Promoted by whataboutbob
Tue Apr 14th, 2009 at 06:24:36 AM EST
Very few countries in the world can rival with Thailand where political crisis became rather normal than extraordinary event. So what's new happening in Bangkok these days?
Army on streets of Bangkok
warning: some very disturbing photos are included
Promoted by whataboutbob
Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 at 01:48:14 PM EST
I know how not to start a travel story - about view in plane's window. Yet, I want to start telling so about my trip in Nepal and Thailand so. When I embarked on Royal Nepal Airlines' Boeing 737 in Kathmandu on the flight to Bangkok I quickly stuck to the muddy window trying to recognize familiar mountains and ridges. Though I just returned from 2 weeks trek through Eastern Nepal in vicinity of Mount Everest I had feeling I got not enough of high-altitude mountain scenery. Boeing quickly gained height and from there Nepal did not look ragged at all, just lumpy as unmade bed and even great ridges looked like mild waves. I did not see Bengal sea which disappeared under thick blanket of clouds. After three hours we started gliding down over Thailand. This fabulous country is complete antipode to Nepal - it lies very low to sea level, it literally washed from all sides by waves. It seemed like very populous country, everywhere I could see neatly divided rice fields.
Before traditional Thai statues in Suvarnabhumi airport
Fri Apr 4th, 2008 at 06:36:13 AM EST
Despite stern warning from Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee to Dalai Lama not to indulge in political activities on Indian soil Delhi's elite was spellbound by this Buddhist monk when he recently visited Indian capital to participate in workshop. Many privately went up to his room on 6th floor of run-down government hotel Ashoka to seek his blessings and some shared their feelings in press. Let's see what they say.
Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 10:22:29 AM EST
I took some time from my busy schedule to write a little about Tibet as Dharamsala where I live witnessed growing unrest among exile Tibetan community.
Sun Jan 20th, 2008 at 11:45:53 AM EST
This is I hope the first part of photodiary covering my current journey over Indian subcontinent. Any travels are tiresome, especially if it's a kind of business trip so we had to admire much-maligned journalists of MSM who used to produce and transmit results of their travels immediately.
Promoted by Colman for a wintery afternoon in the western islands. More news and pictures from our Indian correspondent!