Saturday, February 26, 2022

Я за Україну

Я за Україну is Ukrainian for "I stand with Ukraine."  Two days ago Russia invaded Ukraine almost eight years after it occupied Crimea.

Vladimir Putin is calling this a "special military operation" but he can call it whatever he likes but he's really declared war on Ukraine.  He invaded Ukraine in 2014 by annexing Crimea and his actions in the Donbas, and now with this full on invasion there is no doubt that he has invaded a sovereign country, the second-largest country in Europe.

In response, Czechland was the first EU country to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens, with the exception of humanitarian cases.  The Czech government has ordered that Russia must close its consulates in Brno and Karlovy Vary.  The Czechs are also suspending their consulates in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.  Along with other countries, Czech airspace is closed to Russian aircraft.  In response, Russia had closed its airspace to Czech flights.

Czech Railways is permitting free travel throughout the country to anyone with a Ukrainian passport.  They are also running humanitarian trains to the Ukrainian-Polish and Ukrainian-Slovak borders where they drop off supplies and bring refugees back here.  Many Czech cities, including Brno, are providing free public transport to Ukrainians.  Vodafone and T-mobile are providing free calls to Ukraine.

Czech President Zeman, who has always been very pro-Russia, has changed his stance and condemned Putin for invading Ukraine.  

Russia's annexation of Crimea hits a never for most Czechs because it is similar to when Hitler annexed the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.

After WW2, there was an agreement that both American and Soviet troops would leave the country.  So Czechoslovakia was the only eastern block country where Soviet troops didn't remain after the war.  Then in 1968, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact allies, invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring.  When they invaded in 1968, the Soviets said they were only staying temporarily.  That turned out to be 23 years.  

After the Velvet Revolution, one of the goals of the new government was to get the Soviet army out of Czechoslovakia.  The Soviets had over 73.000 soldiers, 18.500 officers and their families, plus over 44.000 civilians, stationed here and they were in no hurry to leave.  Logistically the Soviets didn't have enough facilities to take back all of their troops from all of its satellite countries at the same time.  The last troops didn't leave Czechoslovakia until 1991.

It was pretty much the same in other countries.  Soviet troops left Hungary in 1991 and they left Poland in 1993, 54 years after they invaded in 1939.  Soviet troops had been stationed in East Germany.  Germany reunified in 1990 but they didn't leave Germany until 1994.

I've got Covid and I'm home on quarantine.  It seems that all I can do is watch the news with is 24/7 coverage of what's going on in Ukraine.  Here's a 32 minute video on YouTube that really shows why Putin invaded Ukraine.  #standwithukraine 🇺🇦


Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


On Tuesday afternoon I started to feel like I was coming down with something.  On Wednesday, I had the flu.  Typical cold symptoms - fever, chills, runny nose, body aches.  On Friday morning, I just knew it was more than the flu so I went back to St. Anne's for another PCR test.

On Friday evening I received an SMS (text message) that my results came back positive.  The official results were sent to me via e-mail with instructions that I needed to contact my GP.

I spent the weekend on quarantine, taking cold medicine, drinking lots of fluids and trying to sleep as much as possible.  On Monday, I had a video call with my GP and I was put on sick leave.  I have a follow up appointment on Thursday but hopefully I'll be able to go back to work on Monday.  

I thought the flu symptoms were part of the Covid thing but this is the worst flu that I've had in 10-11 years.  At least I haven't lost my sense of smell.  Yesterday I walked to the nearest pharmacy which is only about 250 metres from my flat.  There and back and it felt like I had walked for an hour.

My friend David offered to bring me some "badger's fat."  I had to laugh.  Apparently badger's fat is a thing in Slovakia.  From his description, it sounded like the Slovak equivalent of Vicks VapoRub.  I declined his offer to drop it off to me as he has two small kids at home and they've just recovered from it so I don't want to pass this on to anyone else.  I honestly don't know if it is really made out of actual badger fat or if that's just what they call it.

While I was at the pharmacy I wanted VapoRub so I asked for something that I could spread on my chest to help with the congestion.  

The pharmacist gave me psí sádlo, which is "dog fat".  I guess it's badger fat in Slovakia and dog fat here in Czechland.

One thing that's nice is I didn't have to deal with whole 5 different copies  of the paper based sick note system.  As of 1 January 2020, an amendment went into effect to the Sickness Insurance Act which launched electronic sick notes.  eNeschopenka is e-sick leave.

When you're too sick to work, the Czech Labour Code says that the employees pays the salary compensation for the first 14 days and from the 15th day it is paid by the District Social Security Administration (OSSZ).  If you are self-employed then the OSSZ pays benefits from the 15th day that you are unable to work.

The old 5 copy thing was a mess where some copies were for the doctor, some for the patient, plus the employer and the Czech Social Security Administration (CSSZ).  Now it is all online which means it is faster to receive payment of sickness benefits.  Everything is done via a CSSZ ePortal.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Czechs Beat ROC and U.S. Embassy Reaction

On Saturday, 12 February, the Czech Olympic Hockey team beat the Russian Olympic Committee team in overtime.  The final score was 6-5.  The Czechs love hockey and it's even better every time they beat the Russians. 

Due to widespread doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended Russia.  The 212 Russian athletes competing in China at the Beijing Olympics right now have to compete as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).  The Russian flag is replaced by the flag of the ROC and the Russian anthem isn't played during medal ceremonies.

The U.S. Embassy in Prague decided to have a little fun when they congratulated the Czechs on their victory over the ROC.

The text of their Facebook post says "Even a small country can do great things! But what is the ROC?  We couldn't find their flag..."

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Brno Olympic Festival

China is currently hosting the 2022 Olympic Games and Beijing is now the first city to have hosted both the summer and winter Olympics.  During the same period, from 4-22 February, the Brno Olympic Festival is running.  This is the third year that Brno has hosted the Olympic Festival.

The goal is for kids to try out new sports by making them more accessible and for Brno to experience the Olympic atmosphere.

There are 15 winter sports plus winter versions of volleyball, speed orienteering, athletics, and even chess.

About 3.000 students from 60 primary and secondary schools in South Moravia will get the opportunity to try up to five different sports free of charge.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Century of 8's

Století osmiček translates to the "century of 8's."  Apparently most of the major events of the country's history happened in a year with an "8".  Starting in 1918, it would have made sense for me to write about this back in 2018 but I didn't make the connection of the 8's back then.  Today is the 8th of February so this will have to do.

1918 - 1938 - 1948 - 1968 - 1989

1918 - The establishment of Czechoslovakia following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WW1.  Bohemia, Moravia, part of Silesia, and Slovakia made up the First Republic which lasted until 1938.

1938 - In 1938 there was a four-power conference in Munich between Germany, Italy, France, and the UK.  Czechoslovakia wasn't invited.  The Munich Agreement is where the West sold out Czechoslovakia and Hitler took the Sudetenland.  Poland and Hungary also took parts of Czechoslovak land.

1948 - Following WWII, Czechoslovakia was the last democracy in Eastern Europe.  On 25 February 1948, the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KŠC) staged a bloodless coup and ruled the country for the next 41 years.

1968 - The 1968 Prague Spring is when Alexander Dubček tried to reform the communist government with what he called "socialism with a human face."  His liberal reforms did not go over well with the Soviet Union who didn't want a more westernised Czechoslovakia.  On 20-21 August, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact members invaded the country in the largest military operation since WWII.  The country was left with hard-line communist party rule which was referred to as "normalisation."  

1989 - The Velvet Revolution began on 17 November and lasted until 29 December 1989.  The demonstrations brought down the communist regime.

Here's a short video I found out on YouTube about the Czech and Slovak century.

©Visit Czech Republic

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Aleš' 4Oth Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Aleš' 40th birthday out at the chata.  It's hard to believe that this chap is 40.  It was a lot of fun hanging out and talking with everyone.  

And of course, there was karaoke.  I swear that I haven't done this much karaoke since I was last in Japan back in 1999.  I guess at some point I'll have to post some videos of the chata karaoke.  Eventually...not yet.  I usually sing in either English or German but maybe with some practice I'll post video singing in Czech.  Something to look forward to I guess.