Katsap and khokhol

“Just carry on in this spirit, idiots!”

Neighboring peoples hating each other from the heart always have some nice names in store for the other, in which they compress their contempt and aversion. In Russian-Ukrainian relations, such is the pair of names which are particularly common these days in the flames of Ukrainian and Russian forums: katsap and khokhol.

The хохол, used by the Russians to mock the Ukrainians – yes, the great Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol [pronounce Khokhol] was also called like this –, originally meant the single, long lock of hair left on the otherwise completely shaved head of the Zaporozhye Cossack warriors. The Cossacks, of course, were only one amongst the several Southern Russian, Ruthenian, Rusyn and other ethnic groups with radically different historical traditions, who were involved in the Ukrainian ethnogenesis. Nevertheless, as this nickname, documented since the 17th century, was used for all the “little Russians” in today’s Ukraine, it was in fact the first comprehensive ethnonym of the Ukrainian nation, crystallizing itself since the late 19th century. Perhaps this also contributes to the fact that today the figure of the warrior or funny Cossack is a mascot of Ukrainian identity even in such regions as Podolia or Galicia, which have nothing to do with the Cossack tradition, and where the local Ruthenians even considered the Cossacks as a different and hostile ethnic group. And perhaps also to the other fact that today they try to put a positive spin on the name khokhol, and thereby the image of the Ukrainian nation, with the long hair.

“I am XXL / khokhol. – The Ukrainian girls are the most beautiful!”

However, the origins of the name кацап – used by the Ukrainians to mock the Russians – are disputed. According to Vladimir Dal’s authoritative Great Russian dictionary, it was borrowed from the Turkish and Tartar kasab, ʻbutcher’ in the meaning of ʻwarrior, soldier’, and it also came to the Ruthenians from the Cossack territories over the Dnester.

Nevertheless, The etymological dictionary of the Ukrainian language (1985, II. 572.) is not satisfied with this etymology:

“…очевидно, утворене від цап за допомогою специфічного компонента ка-, як жартівливе позначення людей, що носять довгі бороди (Фасмер II 213, Преобр. I 302, Bruckner 211), недостатньо обґрунтоване виведення (Крымский Укр. Гр. I 20, Яворницький 342) від тур. крим.-тат. аз. kassap «м'ясник», яке походить від ар. qaşşăb.

“…obviously from tsap, ʻbilly-goat’, with the addition of the prefix ka, ʻlike’, as a comic reference to people wearing long beards (Фасмер II 213, Преобр. I 302, Bruckner 211). The explanation (Крымский Укр. Гр. I 20, Яворницький 342), which derives it from Turkish and Crimean Tartar kassap ʻbutcher’ or Arabic qaşşăb (with a similar meaning) is not satisfactory.”

The Ten Commandments of the [marriageable] daughters. A ten-piece series of postcards by Hulak Vasil, 1918. Seventh commandment: Never fall in love with a katsap!

Although the source of the pejorativeness of ethnic nicknames is, in most cases, the fact that exclusively the people disdaining us uses that name, nevertheless, it is not even so that the source of the nickname is indifferent. It just feels better if you are mocked as a formidable enemy. And it just feels better if you can mock them as miserable billy-goats.

Yanukovich, lover of books

In recent days, probably everyone has seen the pictures circulating on the internet about the expelled Ukraininan President Yanukovich’s dacha in Mezhigorye, glamorous and tawdry beyond bounds. The history of the dacha, called “the museum of corruption” by Ilya Varlamov, is especially nice, in that it stands on the territory of one of the most ancient monasteries and spiritual centers of the Kievan Rus, the Transfiguration Monastery, founded in 988 and demolished in 1935, and which in 2007 was transferred by secret presidential decree to Janukovich.

Now, however, it has turned out – writes Dmytro Gnap, a blogger of Українська Правда –, that Yanukovich has not only stolen Ukraine’s money and land, but also its history. The activists of the Right Sector doing the inventory of the dacha yesterday showed him a box full of old books.

The works were the first and most valuable Ukrainian printed books, stolen on the order of Yanukovich from the safes of various state museums. Their genuineness is beyond doubt, as a detailed description and certificate by L. Khaukha, Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Book and Printing Museum, was enclosed with each volume.

The first volume, for example, was the Apostol, the first Ukrainian-language book printed in 1574 in Lwów by that Ivan Fjodorov, whose statue, as we have shown, stands in the middle of the antiquarian fair of Lemberg, holding the 1581 Ostrog Bible in his hand.

But Gnap has also seen such priceless pieces of Ukrainian book history, as I. Hizel’s Great menaion of 1680, M. Slozka’s Apostol of 1654, or the Evangeliary of 1704.

“Nowadays the ancient prints of Kiev which survived wars and Russian censorship, natural disasters and the burning of the Lavra library in 1772 and 1849, are considered great rarities”, writes the Ukrainian encyclopedia of book history. “Now ex-president Yanukovich is also included in the list of the catastrophes they have survived”, adds Gnap.

Easter egg

“10 hen eggs.
With the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Christ is risen!”

Um… How long do the eggs last?

all right, this is just a small help from last year as to how long they last

Bathing Venus

We have repeatedly shown, that WWI propaganda, for the purpose of  euphemism and thereby a better acceptance of the war, showed a taste for depicting the soldiers fighting on the front in the guise of children, like here the representatives of the three countries of the Central Powers. Nevertheless, some tension and ambiguity is always lingering in these representations, as these children obviously do the job of the adult soldiers. For example, they really slaughter the enemy in heaps, like the little Willi and his friend in Herbert Rikli’s wartime children’s book.

However, this postcard is even more embarrassing. The three, obviously prepubertal allies look down and wave to the lady bathing in the image just as tauntingly as their fifteen or twenty-year older colleagues did in the real world, or at least in their imaginations. But at the same time, in a sign of generalized euphemism, the designer adjusted the age of the lady to match that of the little ones.

After this I would not even be surprised if I saw in Rikli’s book this postcard hanging on the wall above the bed of little Willi, in the same way as those of her fifteen-year older contemporaries hung on the walls of real soldiers in the entrenchment of Isonzo.

Self-portrait of Franz Aigner (1891-1983), a Czech buck sergeant of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, from his photo album compiled on the Isonzo front

Twelve Communists

About the video of the previous post the question was raised, what is the Ukrainian song performed with such dedication during the tumbling down of the Lenin statues. Let us then have the original text with its translation, and, below the video, the song itself, free from the background noise of the events. The author, Trizuby Stas – Three-Tooth Stas, “one tooth for the Communist Party, another for the Komsomol, a third for the trade unions” – aka Stanislav Shcherbatikh (1948-2007) was a prolific and influential figure of the Ukrainian underground.

Тризубий Стас – Дванадцять комуністів (Twelve Communists)

Дванадцять комуністів в однім куротнім місці
Зутрілися на з'їзді чи на пленумі ЦК.
В готелі поселились, а чим це закінчилось,
Про це моя історія не радісна така.

Дванадцять комуністів пішли купатись в море,
І в хвилі променисті кожен весело стрибав,
Та двоє з перепою лишились під водою,
От вже і починається, як я попереджав.

Бо тільки десятеро вийшли із води,
Ось так і зменшуються в партії ряди.

Вже десять комунітсів покупані та чисті
В покоях ономісних перетравлюють обід,
В вісьмох перетрамилось, а двоє отруїлось,
А троє в моїй пісні ще захворіли на СНІД.

Всі вісім комуністів останні чули вісті,
Про СНІД, що ходить в місці, попередив партактив,
Розважились приємно в непевнім товаристві,
Типовий сексуальний кримінальний детектив.

Трьох неслухняних довелося поховать,
І залишилось із вісім тільки п'ять.

З п'ятірки комуністів один помер на місті,
Бо кунив сигарету на імпортний килим,
А четверо тушили, з них троє так спішили,
Що довго не прожили, бо попав у горло дим.

Багато комуністів померло в моїй пісні,
Сама Агата Крісті позаздрила б мені,
Та ще один лишився, що в морі не втопився,
Обідом не втруївся і не загинув у вогні.

Таки не тонуть і в пожежах не горять,
Вони і досі на шиях в нас сидять.

Twelve Communists gathered in a spa
for the CC meeting or plenum.
They stayed at the hotel, and as to how it ends,
will be told by my not too happy story.

Twelve Communists went to bathe in the sea,
and cheerfully frolicked in the golden waves,
but two with hangovers remained under water,
lo, how it begins, did I not tell you before?

Only ten came out of the water:
this is how the ranks of the Party decrease!

All ten Communists, bathed and clean,
retired to their rooms to digest lunch.
Eight digested it, but two were poisoned,
and three in my ballad got AIDS there.

All eight of the Communists knew the latest news
about AIDS from the party activist,
but somehow mingled with their cheerful company
a detective specializing in sex crimes

who managed to bury the three naughty ones,
so that only five of the eight were left.

Of the five Communists one died in the city
when he put out the cigarette on an imported kelim.
And the other four were so enthralled by the fire,
that three of them did not survive, as the smoke went down their throats.

Many Communists die in this song of mine,
even Agatha Christie could envy me.
But there was one left, who was not drowned in the sea,
was not killed by the lunch, and did not die in the fire.

No water kills, no fire burns this race:
look, they are still sitting in our neck.

And in fact, only eleven of them are pulled down in the video.


Demolition of a statue of Lenin in a small town in Ukraine in the summer of 1941, after the German invasion

We have already pointed out that, beginning in 1918, in Russia and later in the Soviet Union they preserved the pedestals of the tsarist public monuments, while exchanging the statues standing on them for the figures of Lenin (and later of Stalin). Traveling in the Ukraine in the past two decades, we could observe the opposite: preserving the pedestals of the statues of Lenin in the main squares, the figure on them was replaced by the statue of Shevchenko, as the symbol of Ukrainian language, history and unity. But not everywhere. Like in so much else, here also, it was the Zbruch, the former Galician-Russian and later Polish-Ukrainian border river, that was the invisible dividing line, and when traveling eastward from Czernowitz, soon there appeared the first preserved Lenin statues, the symbols of the protest of Eastern Ukraine against the new concept of nation and history propagated from the western part of the country. What is more, as if pointing out that the statues were not accidentally left in place, in many localities – mostly small towns – they added a new iconographic element to them, by completely painting them gold or silver.

This invisible border seems to be broken now, with the Leninopad, the statue-demolishing actions carried out yesterday throughout Eastern Ukraine. According to @ukpravda_news, they hurled down the statues of Lenin in thirty-two towns, although the accompanying map indicates only sixteen locations, and among them at least the ones in Kiev and in Berdichev were already destroyed one or two months earlier by the protesters. Even in the following video, published yesterday by Yuri Kovtsunyak, we only see eleven, the majority of which, however, are destroyed in observance of the traditional rules of ritual statue-hurling as an execution in effigie: with the rope tied around the neck, pulling it down with a truck so that it falls head first to the ground, then pulling the body for a while on the pavement, and finally smashing it in pieces.

Click here for the text and translation of the music accompanying the video.

The pedestals, however, are still standing, and an empty pedestal cries for a statue. As to who will be put on them next in Eastern Ukraine, this question will be answered by the political developments of the next weeks and months.

Notre-Dame du socialisme

The first one is more recent. According to local sources, it only appeared a few weeks ago on the side of the Teatro Valle Occupato. The second is more weather-beaten, older, you can already see it in the reports from last May on the Piazza del Popolo. A printed, glued poster along the lines of the Soviet coat of arms, in the manner of a South American folk cult of saints and revolutionary pseudo-holy images. But why in French, on the outskirts of Rome? From whom and for what? As viewers sensitive to iconographic crosstalk, we are looking forward to the explanations of our more au courant readers.

Even more Fascist elephants

Do you still remember the German elephant, which in 1945 came to Moscow, to the Ugolok Durova as booty together with its caretaker, and which was recognized by the local street children as the last Fascist? Now, by courtesy of a Russian reader, two hundred and fifty new photos of it have been added to EtoRetro, the Russian social site for collecting old photos. These pictures show well, just like the story, how much the caretaker loved the animals entrusted to him, and how near he was to them. And, in this quantity, they also show how quickly common iconographic types are developed, even for such an unusual theme: an elephant with the curious crowd, a big elephant with a little child, and, of course, the archetype, the mahout on the animal’s neck, as was well known to everyone from the lithographic illustrations of the books on the marvels of the East.

elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew elephantnew

Together in Mallorca

Earlier live broadcasts:
Sausage-roasting on St. Sebastian’s Day
St. Anthony blessing the animals
The demons leaving Mallorca
The first phonograph in Mallorca
The first bicycle in Mallorca
A message from Mallorca
All the posts from Mallorca
The travels of río Wang traditionally begin with everyone telling about what he or she is the most curious about on this journey, and in the end to what extent their curiosity was satisfied. In the beginning of our Mallorcan journey last January, the greatest experience was that most people were incredulous that this island, known as a beachfront resort, really has all those things described in our invitation: prehistoric and Roman ruins, Arabic gardens and palaces, a medieval Jewish quarter, Renaissance courtyards, mountain towns and hermitages, archaic villages, millennial celebrations, and more. And that in the end they recognized in awe that it really has all that, and much more. As someone wrote in a letter: “Never in my life have I had this many – and this many kinds of – impressions in one week. And never in my life have I laughed so much!”

To the following joint post embracing all these impressions I only want to add one more, from the images by us all. The small basement shop where we found a piece of Budapest in Palma, and which, while walking about the town, became our second home, a meeting and a resting place. Music and films of the fifties, sixties and seventies, wine sold by the liter, soda water, good company, and a ruin pub feeling in the heart of Palma, in the Jewish quarter: The Sifonería.

sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria sifoneria



More photo albums:
Mallorca 2014 – I.
Mallorca 2014 – II.
The 17th of January became a notable day to me. From now on, I will remember the day of Saint Anthony with great affection. Among other things, because on this day we were able to watch how the inhabitants of Palma led their animals before the church of their patron saint, to get their yearly blessing, which they certainly all well deserve. So many people came with their pets, that it took at least an hour for everyone have his or her turn, and nevertheless the masters patiently and the pets acquiescently put up with the wait. On coming before the priest, the pet owners pulled the leash short, and the smaller animals were lifted in the arms to receive the blessing. The sprinkling with holy water caused some fussing and sneezes, but a gentle stroke soon calmed the renitents. The priest had some friendly words for almost all the pet owners, he gently patted the animals, and he distributed the blessing with so much love, such self-evident glee and sincere faith, which the pet owners took with such a natural joy, that in this context even the unbeliever considered conversion. Whether the dog, the cat, the piglet, the falcon, the owl and the ferret were shaken by the blessing, I don’t know, but I was, for sure.

To such experience Bach is suitable, hilariously, as is fitting to the occasion:

Bach: Peasants’ Cantata, Dein Wachstum sei feste und lache vor Lust! – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati rkati

A propos of being shaken, here is a picture from the church of Deià, without any commentary, just with the perfect music:

Bach, Mass h minor, Agnus Dei – Andreas Scholl
R. Kati


Wind in the sailboat masts, Palma, port

The sea is an inverted sky, a troubled mirror reflecting the serene blue dome that separates it from the void. A firmament framed in storm-colored stone, a snake cordillera, walls of blank obstinance. The swift blasts of the eight winds pass, their poetry in names like gregal, llevant, xaloc, migjorn, llebeig, ponent, mestral, and tramuntana; the voices of massive displacements of cold air their song.

The western wind, Tramuntana takes its name from these mountains which gape apart near the sea, at the bed of a nearly dry river, a pebbly terrain of reflecting pools and windtorn greenery. It is nature’s proscenium, and in evoking a sense of drama, suggests to us, perhaps, that our senses of awe and reverence come from some ab-eternal connection with the sea, especially where it meets mountains and sky.

How these abstractions, formed in cold stone, lashing waves, and teeming creatures, provoke wonder and mortal tension is embodied, I suppose, in our particular human perspective. We are small and vulnerable, but curious. I am reminded of Lem’s Solaris; its ocean fascinates the earthling visitors with its creative and subtle forms that they can only feebly describe. Endless volumes are written in futility, but understanding never comes. I can only guess that the wise man Llull, native to this isle of Calm, must have had this feeling, too. We see these lively but lifeless things as timeless, but we also know that seabeds can, in a long stretch of time, become mountaintops. The eternal, too, is passing.

Among these rocks and trees is the scent of rosemary and laurel. Other trees sag with the weight of bitter oranges. A church rises from the stones, crowned with a naked bell, a rusting gear and a chain to work it. From the hilltop, I hear the distant clankling of an invisible herd of sheep lost somewhere far away among the oaks and fountainous shocks of mountain grass.

At dawn, the clouds flash an angry pink, eosine, until their inflamed passions are shamed by a hot rising sun, withering away to the frailest wisps of rose and mauve, in turn finally sapped to depletion by the sea’s breath.

On another day, angry but playful demons cavort with fire, the most brutal and voracious of the elements, and fill the air with their chthonic drumming. Rockets shreik and deafen, as the shock troops in the ancient battle of good and evil advance. The parade, a vibrant dirge, a pagan celebration with Catholic trimmings, a river of bodies fills a street that was once a river, pressing on at the pace of flowing lava, and perfumed with the reek of sulphur and gunpowder. Evil is ritually defeated by good in the end, and we carry on, as we always have.

lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd lloyd

Tunnel at the seaside, Sa Calobra

Lloyd Dunn


Since time immemorial, the trees grow happily in Mallorca.

Once again Palma de Mallorca, and once again traveling on the banks of the río Wang. All the way there I was thinking what to photograph instead of the usual tourist photos. I knew that the situation would also give ideas. And so it happened. I was touched first by the trees, and I recalled the love of Farkas Bolyai to THE TREES. He said that “the tree is a sociable being, it does not grow happily alone.”

I was curious about this, I wanted to know which tree in Mallorca is associated against loneliness. Here is my small photo documentation.

In Mallorca the trees “grow happily”, because they are not lonely.

anna anna anna anna anna anna anna anna



natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie natalie


St. Anthony

Dance in Sa Pobla, on the night of the temptation of St. Anthony

For further recordings, click here.
Deák Tamás


We took a thousand and one photos. On rocking masts in the sunny harbor, and clouds of fog tumbling over mountain ranges. On churches, hermitages, and houses with crumbling plaster and beautiful inner courtyards. We have verdant groves and blue lagoons, winding streets, alleys with drying cloth and with almond groves in the distance. Orange trees. Fish markets – skinned devil fish and eel as well as other monsters, and mountains of shellfish. And clouds: fluttering and billowing. And those cliffs, precipices and peaks! And the photos taken on the feasts of St. Anthony and St. Sebastian. And the land of the Talaiots! Nevertheless, my choice was not from these. All my pictures are street art. Works of contemporary artists, smaller or larger placards, plaster paintings, mono prints and sprayed images. All of them from the walls of Palma de Mallorca.

zsuzsa zsuzsa zsuzsa zsuzsa zsuzsa zsuzsa zsuzsa



More photo albums:
Necropolis of the Talaiots
Palma de Mallorca
Devil, angel, Christ with a skirt
Granja, San Marro, Valldemossa
Graffiti, placard, label
Fellow travelers
On the way from Valldemossa to Deià I had two special experiences.

To see a newborn lamb standing on its feet, and its first steps. And to get to know the world of Ramón Llull (Raimundus Lullus).

The monastery, where Raimundus lived as a hermit, is situated on a hilltop, with the “usual” fantastic sea view.

I was attracted by the garden, the sea, the rhythmic leaning of the grey olive trees; such a reassuring sight in my eyes.

I set off, and I immediately stopped, dumbfounded.

Sheep were grazing next to me, but they noticed me, so the flock slowly moved away. But one ewe did not move. Next to her, on the grass a small white ball was lying. A new-born lamb, apparently already licked clean. The mother did not leave with the other sheep, she stayed with the little one.

The mother was quiet, she was not afraid of me. Nevertheless, I did not dare to go too near, lest she leave the kid because of me.

I was able to spend about half an hour nearby. During this time the little lamb stood on its legs, and staggering and swaying it went to its mother. The mother moved away, forcing the kid to follow her. And the lamb was getting smarter.

Soon it began to suckle. It was apparently only some sips, because the mother was continuously moving on, and the kid was following her, always safer.

Finally, it was running!

Why was I fascinated by this sight? I have been thinking a lot since then. Perhaps because of the painful and beautiful memory of the mother-child relationship, or was it the coincidence of the place, the colors, the wind, the smells, the lights, which affected me so? Surely all together, and surely also the nostalgia which I always feel whenever I’m in any country in the Mediterranean.

This half an hour was very good. For years I have not been so much with myself, alone.

And the other great experience: the great Raimundus. In the monastery building there was a small exhibition about his works and life. Besides being a philosopher, poet and inventor, he must have been a unique chap! (His wife, when she was already bored, not so much of his dissolute life, but rather of the passion that drove her husband to science, worried for their children’s livelihood, so she filed a lawsuit against him, and put their remaining family property under guardianship…)

The great idea of Raimundus was a logical “machine”, the Ars Magna, a combinatorial wheel. By turning it, from the combinations of the elements of thought (words, letters, symbols) all truth could be proved and learned.

The funniest thing to me is what he wrote about the quick learnability of jurisprudence, practised also by me: “Since human life is short, and the law is bulky, thus this profession (the ars magna) helps you all to learn jurisprudence from a short booklet.” He claimed that with the help of the ars magna, a mediocre student could be a jurist in three months, one with better capacity in two months, and an excellent mind in four weeks… Oh, why did I learn so much, and why am I still continuously sitting in front of the books and (thanks to Raimundus!) the computer! In the thinking of Raimundus, I must be a very, very weak student…

D. Kati


gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1 gabor1

gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2 gabor2

gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3 gabor3

gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4 gabor4

gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5 gabor5



Nagy Tibor