Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kiev Ukraine News Blog

From the Kiev Ukraine News Bog. The move by XXI Century real estate developer to issue stock on the London Stock Exchange, ING is managing the placement. ING is targeting Ukrainian start-ups rather than older, larger former-Soviet enterprises.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hotel Turf Wars

From Gridskipper. Competition for hotel rooms in Kyiv

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thanks, Tim

The best piece of writing to find its way into the Kyiv Post in a long time was a remembrance by the legendary Tim Vickery. His recap was both funny but also spirited when it came to the lost chances of the Orange Revolution. Kyiv and Ukraine misses having such an informed and talented writer as Tim working in the country.

The Kyiv Post 10th anniversary

The Kyiv Post had its 10th anniversary last week. It published a very good recap of its history. Missing from its history was a mention of individual writers whom had work on the paper in the past. The work of Greg Bloom, writing on business topics, always was informative and knowledgeable without being overly familiar with individual business people. Also missing was Jake Rudnitsky, his antic writing on the social scene of the city was always a highlight of the Post. His writing last winter on the elections in Donetsk in the was some of the best writing on those times.  Certainly the Post could use some of his passion and lack of regard for popular taste.

One function of the anniversary issue of the Post was to stake a claim has having an historic role as a document of the development of the city, or at least the city’s ex-pat universe. This is appropriate, but it also points to the paper’s limitations. The nature of the Post has been of a weekly guide to life in Kyiv with limited information on the politics and the economy of Ukraine. There have always been better places to go in you required information about Ukraine. The late, lamented Eastern Economist was one of those places. Currently, both FirstNews and provide greater coverage on a daily basis. Probably both of these web-sites are loss-making and might not be available in the long term. The Post is really the only news source that has been around for ten years and probably will continue for long time. In should be the primary source for individuals interested in the life of Kyiv in the last ten years, at least in the English language. Unfortunately, there are probably very few places where the entire print run of the Post has been collected. I would hope that universities which have Ukrainian research centers, Harvard for example, would have collected the Post for its library, but I am unsure of this. The internet should be a likely place to hold the Post’s history. But currently, the Post has a subscription wall between its writing and the general public. This wall, regardless of how financially sound it is, will only marginalize the Post from its rightful place in the history of the city.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sweepstakes mania

The Readers Digest sweepstakes has come to Ukraine. We received a sweepstakes letter yesterday stating that soon we will receive another letter with information on how to enter the sweepstakes. It is one of the first pieces of junk-mail we have received. I am not even certain that Reader Digest, the magazine not the sweepstakes, is even available in Ukraine. Any sweepstakes or promotional contest has a major hurdle in Ukraine. This has been a number of pyramid schemes promoted in Kyiv. All have been just that, schemes to defraud the general public. In many ways, they looked professional, promoted by professional looking people, and targeted at the emerging middle class, much like the promotions of Readers Digest. I am certain that the Reader Digest sweepstakes is legitimate and is honest but I have a lifetime experience of seeing it promoted in the US, most Ukrainians do not have this built in knowledge.  Just remember, the major TV advertiser for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Russia was MMM, the great Russian pyramid scheme of the 1990s. People still remember.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The heating season begins

The winter heating season has begun right on time. Our radiators started to heat up on October 15, just as they should. We only had a few cold days before the heat came on. Of course, tradition has it that the weather will improve soon and the radiator heat will be wasted for a few days. It has been a fine autumn in Kiev with sunny weather and many chances to get out and see the leaves turn. Of course it has been cloudy and gray for a week, currently it is raining.

The Observer | Travel | A short history of tracking down my family in Ukraine

This is a great travel article by Marina Lewycka, author of "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian".

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

He Doesn't Make Coffee, but He Controls 'Starbucks' in Russia - New York Times

Trademark squatting in Russia, and why tougher enforcement of intellectual rights creates an environment where brandnames have value that can be enforced by the courts, but the brandnames may not be held by the worldwide, traditional owners.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The finer things of life

News on the Kyiv consumer front.  There are now Ukrainian made and reasonably priced chocolate chip cookies available. The good old Roshen company now packages reasonably made chocolate chip cookies that are equal to the “Chips Ahoy” brand. They also have a raisin variety available.