Monthly Archives: May 2015

Your Favorite Bohemian Garb Is Actually Traditional Ukrainian Costume



Photo: Courtesy of VitaKin Kilimi

Ukraine has been in the forefront of international thought a lot recently (and not for particularly pleasant reasons), but its reach has extended far beyond the front page—whether you were aware or not, the Ukrainian influence has fully arrived in our closets. Think that groovy boho embroidered peasant blouse was nationless? Think again. Whether it’s festival girl du jour Alexa Chung, wearing Continue reading

My Ukraine – by Chrystia Freeland



A personal reflection on a nation’s dream of independence and the nightmare Vladimir Putin has visited upon it.

Millions of words have been written explaining why Ukraine finds itself today under attack by the megalomaniac in the Kremlin and his henchman. However, there is to date one definitive explanation and it has been written by one of the most respected journalists covering Ukraine, Chrystia Freeland. Continue reading

What Was That Name Again?

By: Orysia Tracz
Your great-grandfather came to Manitoba as a pioneer from Ukraine in the 1890s. His last name was Yashchyshyn (or, as it said on his emigration papers, Jaszczyszyn). Your surname is Yashyn, your uncle’s is Shyn, and your other uncle’s is Yash. You’re all one family. How did that happen?

The Ukrainians who began arriving in Manitoba 120 years ago had many hardships and hurdles to overcome. Adapting to and integrating into the predominantly English milieu was difficult, to say the least. Their language and even surnames were not welcome (the pressure on names lasted well into the mid-20th century). While most kept and treasured both, some tried to assimilate by changing or modifying their last names. For this reason, while many Ukrainian names are immediately recognizable, there are very many “secret” Manitobans of Ukrainian descent out there, and even they may not know the story of their early ancestors in this province.



Immigrants from Ukraine who arrived a century ago found that along with learning how to live in a new land, they would have to learn to live with a new name. Continue reading



Annu Palakunnathu Mathew & Annusha Yadav

The ROM welcomes two world-renowned artists, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew and Anusha Yadav, creator of the Indian Memory Project, to discuss the importance of photography in exploring issues such as national identity, collective memory, and social transformation. Continue reading

Nadiya Savchenko’s prison diaries

 Part 1 – ‘It is time to break out’

May 11, 2015, 2:03 p.m. | Op-ed — by Nadiya Savchenko


Ukrainian air force officer Nadezhda (Nadiya) Savchenko reacts inside a defendants’ cage as she attends a hearing at the Basmanny district court in Moscow on March 26. Savchenko was captured by Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine and later handed over to Russia charged with the killing of two Russian journalists. The West considers her a political prisoner. A global campaign to free her accelerated on her May 11 birthday, marking 329 days in captivity.
© AFP Continue reading

Rising Stars of 2015: Ukrainian Chef Olia Hercules

Olia Hercules

When Olia Hercules went to work on her first cookbook, a joyful celebration of eastern European cooking called Mamushka, she didn’t have to travel far researching it. “I went home and spent a month running after my mum and my aunt with measuring spoons and a scales,” she says, laughing. “I was like, all the recipes you’ve been cooking your entire life, hand them over.” Continue reading

Airing Putin’s Dirty Laundry: A Strategy of Action


John P. Walters

Despite the hopes of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Russia has returned as a security threat to its neighbors, to the United States, and to our allies. No one believes that Russia is now on a path to becoming a peaceful liberal democracy that respects national sovereignty, human rights, and free speech.

The new Russian threat is not grounded in Communist ideology. It is led by one man, Vladimir Putin. He has manipulated a surge in Russian nationalism and Continue reading

Soviet-Nazi Collaboration and World War II

Alexander J. Motyl

ALEXANDER J. MOTYL is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark, as well as a writer and painter. He served as associate director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University from 1992 to 1998.
30 April 2015

As May 9th, Victory Day in many post-Soviet states, approaches, decency demands that we celebrate the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Germany and honor the millions of soldiers and civilians who gave their lives to rid the world of the scourge of Nazism. Continue reading

William Vetzal Bandura Designer

Vetzal and Kharkiv-style bandura.

William “Bill” Vetzal (Василь Вецал) (born May 15, 1943)

Born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Vetzal is a full-time bandura designer and manufacturer.

Vetzal studied the art of bandura making from the Honcharenko brothers in Detroit in the 1970s. Since then he has made over 480 instruments, many of Continue reading

Video: Who Do They Think They Are?

 A Lighthearted Look at Today’s Genealogy Searches

A hilarious Aussie spoof of Who Do You Think You Are? has become popular on YouTube. Created by The Checkout, an Australian television program, Who Do They Think They Are? pokes fun at the Who Do You Think You Are?television program, at, the Mormon Church, DNA, and even a quick jab at trying to find genealogy information on Google. It also delivers a serious message about the proper methods of searching one’s family tree.

Genealogy always has been a process of gathering information wherever you may find it and then independently verifying each piece of information to make sure it is accurate and is about the person you think it is. Research and independent verification has been a requirement of genealogy research for more than 100 years and hasn’t changed with the introduction of the Internet.

You can view this humorous video at

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2015 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at