Friday, July 18, 2014

Ukraine, 18 July 2014 - Putin's "Green Men" Are Back

Putin did not choose to openly enter Ukraine. According to Ukrainian sources, Putin is sending the Russian army into Ukraine again without insignia and documents, but fully armed with tanks, anti-aircraft, and other weapons. He did it before in Crimea, now he is doing it in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Buk missile launcher being transported in Russia controlled area of Ukraine.

Yesterday, his men (I am using this term broadly here, I treat both the regular Russian army without insignia, the Russian special forces sent earlier, and the local Russians and pro-Russians as Putin's men) shot down Malaysian civilian MH17 plane killing 298 people. His propaganda does not deny it directly, but instead is insinuating that it could be Ukrainians, and that anyway it is Ukraine's fault because they don't want to give up Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Phone conversations between pro-Russian forces, recorded and released by Ukrainians clearly indicate that it was those pro-Russian soldiers who shot down the plane, mistaking it for an Ukrainian transport plane. I hope that Russians in Russia wake up, and realise what kind of government they have and what propaganda they are fed. Shame.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


What does a software developer do when he has to rename 100 files? Writes a little script. In this case in Sikuli - a tool that will eventually allow computers to take away even programmers' jobs. Click to enlarge:

If this was for work, images would be replaced with file paths - the DRY principle!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ukraine, 2 July 2014 - A Case for War

I've been watching Russian news almost every day for the last few weeks. In Australia, you can watch NTV сегодня on SBS. Most days, most of the news was dedicated to the situation in Eastern Ukraine. The picture is not pretty. Hundreds of civilians killed, cities cut off from the rest of the country, people living without running water and electricity, thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands fleeing Ukraine to Russia, Russian journalists beaten and killed. There is a recurring request to open a humanitarian corridor to let civilians escape besieged cities. The Ukrainian army seems to be using artillery and planes against civilians, in what looks like random fashion. Nobody is safe: a bomb falls on a church, a home, a village, a bus with civilians, journalists - Ukrainians are dropping bombs everywhere. There were even cases of shells falling on Russian territory and Ukrainian tanks or armoured vehicles entering Russia, admittedly by mistake.

Some background: NTV used to be an independent news organisation, but now is owned by Gazprom, which means its news is government propaganda. It does not mean that it is all false, nobody would fall for that. It is probably mostly true. But it is not objective. Propaganda is subtle: drilling some topics, while glossing over others, showing some pictures repeatedly, choosing words carefully, building a case for war, in this case.

What is President Putin doing about the Ukrainian crisis? According to NTV news, absolutely nothing: June 17th - Putin meets with the mayor of Moscow to discuss new real estate tax law, June 18th - Putin meets with young farming cooperative workers to discuss agriculture. Strange, isn't it? Only yesterday the news finally showed Putin talking strongly about situation in Ukraine.

If I was Russian and my only source of news was the official Russian TV, I would be asking president Putin to move the army into Eastern Ukraine now. I would be angry at him for allowing Ukrainian fascists to kill our fellow Russians for so long. Enough is enough.

In my opinion Putin is waiting for the right moment. He will say he was forced to react. It may come very soon. The ending of the 10 day cease fire seems like a good moment. Putin will enter Eastern Ukraine and restore peace.