An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's a pity that reporting from places like Moldova tends to come from news agencies, either directly or in thinly-veiled rewrites. This week, Dmitry Medvedev has been 'mediating' the dispute between Moldova and Transdnestria, one of the saddest and most pathetic situations in Europe. Reuters cover it, but with a news-agency style of being so placid as to be totally useless:

Russia is pressing hard for a resolution because that would show it still maintains influence in settling ex-Soviet conflicts after last year's war with Georgia damaged its reputation as an honest broker.
Medvedev will meet Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin in his Barvikha residence near Moscow, a Kremlin statement said. Separatist leader Igor Smirnov will join the talks later.

More spirited, and much more informative, is the commentary from Radio Free Europe:

As for Smirnov, he is always ready to participate in whatever meetings in whatever format Moscow dictates. He is a Russian citizen who was sent to Moldova in 1987 in order to foment and lead a separatist movement to counterbalance the nationalist movement that was emerging in Chisinau. And he accomplished this task brilliantly.

I don't see any reason to believe this meeting will count for anything - but if it has to be covered, I wish we could more easily get beyond the agencies' name-soup style.

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