Help me help this fine young BLIND fellow, a mathematician, a programmer, and a religious history expert, find a job

Introducing Dimitry Lapa, a translator, a religious history expert, and a programmer. He has greatly helped Alexandra by consulting her for her article on British church history, and I’m trying to return the favour. Here is a summary based on his resume and our correspondence:

Education: Two degrees, one is mathematician-programmer, and another religious studies.

Native Russian, fluent professional English, some German.

Over 100 publications.

But he is out of work. He is blind.

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Above: Dimitry in London

It is Alexandra’s and mine idea to tell the world about him. Please read the text below that consists of fragments of his resume and correspondence with Alexandra. Just read and make a note there is such a person. Who is not asking money from anyone nor shouting around about his situation. He is just a well-qualified expert who wants to find a job to make a living. Perhaps one of you happens to be in a position to help, thus..

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Russia vs. Finland

Went to Rovanijemi, Finland, for a couple of days recently. Travelled about the same distance over Finland as over Russia, about 170km in each country. What a stark contrast between Russia, with its rough roads and miles of empty land, and Finland, with freshly painted country houses, clean towns, abandant cafes, hotels and motels of all sorts, and numerous filling stations!

Is there a pattern where Russia annexes its neighbours’ land to turn it into a desert? Below, in gray, is the area annexed from Finland in the 1939-1940 “Winter War” and turned into wasteland.

Wish I had a way of making a living other than enticing travellers to this land that deserves full boycott.

Hight treason charge

nooseA certain woman called Svetlana Davydova from the Smolensk region west of Moscow was charged with high treason recently because, having noticed that the army barracks in her town have become nearly empty and having overheard a telephone conversation by one of the army men to the effect that they are being sent on a plaincloths mission, she called the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow and reported that the Russian troops may be heading to Eastern Ukraine. Now she is in the Lefortovo prison in Moscow facing 12-20 years of prison. Full story here.

No, it doesn’t take much to be charged as a spy in this land. Or to end up under piracy charges, as the Arctic Sunrise did.

What’s most disappointing is the amount and strength of approval for the charge in the public discussion of the situation, eg. here.

Guess for you foreign travellers the moral of the story is to watch that you stay from the “off limits to foreigners” zones.

On the road between Kandalaksha and Polarniye zori yesterday

Letters in support of Evgeny Vitishko

Noticed a call by Amnesty International and Greenpeace to post a photo of nature on any social network, mark it with hashtag #freevitishko, and write a few lines in support of Evgeny Vitishko. Greenpeace volunteers will print these out and send them to the prison camp where Vitishko is doing his time for painting on a fence.

The pyromania season

All these Attilas, Ghengis Khans, and Tamerlanes roamed the Eurasian steppe looting, raping, and of course burning what they could not haul off. Their descendants live in cities and take a shower daily but will still set dry grass on fire every freaking spring.

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New issue of Твой Рованиеми

The summer 2014 issue is here. See tvoirovaniemi.livejournal.com. IN RUSSIAN 🙁  BUT HELPS TO GET ORIENTED IN FINLAND, WHICH IS A SOMEWHAT STRANGE PLACE, AND DON’T BELIEVE GUIDEBOOKS, THEY DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH THERE. AT LEAST NOT IN THE NORTH. The summer 2014 issue is said to have more info and stories about Nazi parking rules in Finland – one of several reasons I’m resisting the idea of driving there.

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Who? Me?! Overreacting?!!

somerset-asylum-by-k-drakeTurned the TV on the other day. I regularly do that to maintain my habitual and comfortable depression level for the fear of becoming a regular annoying happy (_*_) orifice. [hide-this-part morelink=”read the rest”]Immediately I was treated to Mr. Putin’s speech where our leader said out loud that the Russian national mental set is characterized by willingness to die for a higher cause, whatever this cause is, and this Todestrieb is somehow bundled with generosity, another fundamental of our character. I was hoping to write this off to the onset of senility or after-lunch torpor but no, today I ran into a transcript of the speech. “Death for the sake of… the nation contains deep roots of our patriotism.. …our country is large, and this reflects our greatness and generosity.” Non-sequitors make me uncomfortable, and those containing words like “death”, “heroism”, and “greatness”, with “generosity” thrown in completes the absurdity, scare me shitless. Especially when these things are said by those in power, and even more when they are well received by 150 million.   …40 minutes, later, and I still can’t get rid of a mini-obsession as to how generosity can be causally linked to the centuries-old propensity to invate neighbours.[/hide-this-part]

‘Been exploring the “Military Town” section of Kandalaksha today

Most of the photos below are of the “Officers House”, built in the late 1930s, served as the town’s major concert hall till 2010, then the army was unable to maintain and closed it after which the best building in Kandalaksha went through a series of fires that damaged it beyond repair. The last one was in March or April 2013.

Now the building is used as a dangerous playground for tough Russian kids. Towards the end of the series of photos you’ll see some looking down from what remains of the roof. Stairs lack railing and invite anyone with a suicidal tendency or just a dizziness spell to a 30 foot drop.

Fire 21 April 2013, when the building was damaged almost beyond hope. Weather and vandals will soon do the rest.

The one next door (6-8 photos at the very end) is what’s left of the military hospital. Lots more ruins, especially in this part of town, but the Officers House is the most spectacular of them all.

“..we insistently recommend that Russian citizens refrain from travelling abroad..”

A curious statement has been issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 10 2014:

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