Why WC2018 is like Munich1936


For those of my Russian-non-speaking friends, to whom I owe explanation (rather than apology) of my unconventional attitude to World Cup 2018. (I did buy Red Devils t-shirt, when found one without championship symbol, however). Here comes a very free, unprofessional translation of half of an excellent FB post of Аркадий Бабченко , which better structures the feelings that made me declare that I wish this championship was the disaster and made me compare it to Munich in 1936. (Another, untranslated, half of Babchenko’s post is about how Putin bought his own people with this World Cup and peaced his until-then opponents into cheerful glorificators of new nation being born – but if you read at least the half I have translated – I will already feel better understood and victory of Evil against Good not so definitive).



Click on a link for original Babchenko FB post if you can read in Russian.

And below comes  my (free, unprofessional) translation of first half of his text. (And because it’s mine, I felt free to bold the things I thought worth bolding – knowing how distasteful and patronising such behaviour is. Don’t tell me, how this WC brings out the worst of us!).


FIFA World Cup 2018 happened to be a critical moment for Putin’s power. And it looks like in this crucial moment Putin won. The crisis is over. He made it. One more time Money has hold victory against the Good
The world’s best championship, FIFA lying at Putin’s feet and waving it’s tail, the presidents of France and Croatia in the stands, total unification of Russia in a feast of victorious football madness, kokoshniki (Russia’s traditional headdress) and happiness, and finally, as a cherry on the cake – the long-awaited meeting with Trump.
Three or four years ago, Putin could not even dream about it. No one talks about isolation anymore – Putin is again eligible for a handshake. No one of course is talking any more about strengthening of sanctions for a country that gave to the world such a wonderful championship!

Those who conclude that the meeting between Putin and Trump ended with nothing – are fundamentally wrong. It ended with Putin’s victory. There were two leaders who entered the negotiation room, each of them with his own super-idea. And what happened then? Arnold Schwarzenegger writes that Trump looked at Putin as a fan-boy would look at his idol – in anticipation to ask for an autograph. Quite an exact comparison.

However, I would rather talk about a situation where a petty starting bully is allowed to a dark backyard to meet an older, more accomplished hooligan, and he stands there with his mouth open and looks upwards at this totally grown-up, experienced criminal, who has already served his jail sentence. He looks at him as one would look at an unquestioned authority, semi-God, role model. You can see Trump’s envy and desire to be like Putin. Entrepreneur and the bandit – a story, as old as is the world.

The meeting between Putin and Trump ended with a handshake. End of a plan to strengthen the isolation of Putin’s Mordor. Now one can trade again. Dutch firms can continue building Crimean bridge, Germans – supply generators. One can again buy oil and gas, conclude multi-billion contracts. Boycott has ended. It is out of scope.

Advantages of autocracy compared to democracy. You cannot fight that. In democracy, every new leader starts his own dance from where he is. In autocracy, an irreplaceable dictator can, for years, for decades, push his line. So at the end he will succeed. I am convinced Putin will now succeed with Nord Stream 2. It will be built, no doubt.

On Internet, I found a statement with which I completely agree: if Hitler wouldn’t have rushed into action, but would have rather applied Putin’s creeping scheme – he would still be sitting on the throne, having absorbed half of Europe.

It seems that Putin is convinced in efficiency of his main idea: you can buy the West! You just need to persevere in your attempt: take your time, do it tediously, spare no money, pour it into all possible cracks. If door is closed – pour it through the window, if ten ventilation shafts have shut down – pour it into one that opened instead. Ultimately the West can be bought. If not one leader – then another. If not Sarkozy – then Macron. If not Macron – then Le Pen. Another couple of waves of refugees, and it is quite possible that France will have an inadequate leader with his own super-idea in head. If not Obama, then Trump. If not by washing, then by taking for a ride. If not through threats, then through bribing. 

It seemed that this was only the beginning of standing against dictatorship, but no, it seems that this was its peak. Now the sinusoid will go down. Europe choose not to confront Putin. Europe decided to sit it and wait. Wait until Putin’s rule is over.

The same mistake is being made as seventy years ago. You cannot appease the dictator. Dictators do not understand this. You can only slap their hands; you can only confront force with the force. That is the only thing they understand.

But that’s only half of a trouble.

Very free and unfinished translation of FB post of Arkadij Babchenko FB post

Ambering Vilnius for Front Offices. Ode for joy.


Having left morning sorrows behind we strolled down Gediminas street (used to be called Adam Mickievicz  street, as well as Saint George’s, Stalin’s and Lenin’s – depending on who ruled the city; in soviet times it was more known as Brodas – Lithuanian abbreviation of Broadway, tribute to longing for the freedom somewhere there – where chewing gum, jeans and vinyls of The Doors would sometimes be smuggled in).

That’s how it could have looked like in those days – hair probably longer, unless caught by milicija, who would shave it by force. And these are really most comfortable benches I have ever sat upon; sadly not on Brodas anymore, but I know where to find a few:

There is such a longing for the Brodas of those days that in 2013 masses gathered to recreate atmosphere: check the galery. Read the rest of this entry »

Ambering Vilnius for Front Offices. A bit of sorrow.


As defined by some sort of online dictionary – verb “amber” exists and is (rarely) used to define an ancient technology of preservation. Most commonly used for insects, but I guess it might be also suitable for memories, in particular poetically yellowish ones.

And poetically yellowish Vilnius was the destination. Read the rest of this entry »

CEIII Dubl-Linked-in

toast masters

no, we were not there on Monday. but good listening, thinking and sharing we had.


1. Day one. Dubl-in.

What if someone told you tomorrow you will have lunch in a swimming pool and dinner in the train station? If this were before June 2015 – I would have thought joke. Any time from now- i’d say: sure, let’s go to Dublin. Read the rest of this entry »

TIME TO TAKE RED PILL, COBBLER. Part 2 of Mission report from HR Tech 2014 Amsterdam


(Continued from LET’S TALK PASSION, COBBLER. Part 1 of Mission report from HR Tech 2014 Amsterdam.)

transparencyIf I were to squeeze out just one thought from the whole richness of the conference – that would be: “THE WORLD HAS CHANGED. ADAPT OR PERISH. YES, YOU ALSO, HR.”

Transparency is the most dramatic aspect of this change. When you have always took professional pride in weaving the emperor’s new clothes, you’ll feel like your world is being kicked from under your feet by those immature millennials liking and sharing the fact that your emperor, in fact, isn’t wearing much. You could fight it and lose.Or you could start taking pride in doing something about those clothes.

Have you heard of a Glassdoor? It’s kind of Tripadvisor for employers and jobs. Think now what is more crucial for your employer image – to be among 100 of top employers in Trendence  list, or to look good on such peer-to-peer rating site?

Glasdoor CEO and co-founder, ROBERT HOHMAN was at HRTech. Talked about TRANSPARENCY AND THE FUTURE WORKFORCE. However, for reading on my own, I prefer another Robert’s presentation, describing what will the future workplace look like. And the  truth (about the future workplace) is: Read the rest of this entry »

LET’S TALK PASSION, COBBLER. Part 1 of Mission report from HR Tech 2014 Amsterdam



HR Tech Europe Conference. Amsterdam, October 24-25. Overwhelming. Noisy. Initially confusing. Even with conference app. One week later – attempt to untangle.

6 thematic streams – HR Technology,  HR Shared Services & Outsourcing,  Cloud technology streams –  for really TECHy ones. Social Enterprise, Future of Work, Talent management – for the ones like me. Sure there was some mingling of profiles: mix up rooms, get exposed to an inspiring presentation and you might change your views on whether it’s always nonsense to put a cart (technology) in front of the horse (cultural change).


The first keynote SMART SIMPLICITY (YVES MORIEUX, The Boston Consulting Group *) – think of engagement. Ever knew that only 11-23% of population feel engaged at work? Read the rest of this entry »

iMA Yellow Me


yellow-meI spent a very looong day yesterday in Guimard. Moderating* a very practical strand at the 2nd Digital Competency day**. Had one more chance to compare  SharePoint and Confluence wiki – both collaboration tools offered by DIGIT, both have their stronger and weaker points. Was able again publicly admit my complicated relationship with DG CONNECT: I do admire their risk-non-averse culture and digital competence that allows them to organicaly embrace no-one-has-seen-before tools, on the other hand, can’t avoid thinking that would they concentrate their charisma and energy on promoting more widely used corporate tools, we could quicker reach a different level of digital competence as the whole organisation ***. Discovered existence of something I never heard before -YUM and WACS sort of  Skype or GoToMeeting tools developed by DIGIT. Was among the first 20 ppl to review the new DG HR Learning portal and some other things Read the rest of this entry »

Digital analytics – further than teenage sex


Digital analytics master class presented by Nicolas Malo (courtesy EP and CEIII as best example of interinstitutional cooperation) – that was the last thing I did before leaving for Xmas holls. I really enjoyed the possibility to get further than teenage sex level of my familiarity with the issue*:


Read the rest of this entry »

Sigaren kopen



To Belina, Chris, Nadia, Robertas, Vaclav, Kristina and of course Marceline – the lekkerest Hagelslag group of all language courses I had in my life.  And I had quite a few .

I am sorry; I can’t cut the navelstreng that kept us attached to each other every Tuesday and Thursday from 13:45 till 15:35. NL emotions continue to overflow me and you are the only people who might understand.

I went to Deventer yesterday to move my daughter from one apartment to another. And I went to the bookshop. And I bought myself a present – Jip and Janneke thing, because I thought it would be awkward if “50 shadows of grey” would be the only book that I would have read under Marceline’s influence. Read the rest of this entry »

#timetochange most of the problems in li


#timetochange most of the problems in life are because of 2 reasons: 1) we act without thinking, 2) we think without acting.

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