Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Ukraine

One of my brothers is into genealogy.  He posted some pictures from one of the villages back in "the old country". 

This village is currently in the western Ukraine, a country that finds itself in a conflict with Russia that continues to escalate.  The Ukraine was the target of Stalin's genocide in the 1930s.  Stalin subdued the Ukraine by sweeping it of every kernel of grain, leaving the citizens to starve.

The following satellite images were probably taken in late April.  The eastern Ukraine has a climate similar to Iowa while the western Ukraine has a climate similar to central Indiana.  This is what a country teetering on the brink of war looks like from the air.

Church in center of upper right "block".  Streets laid out to compass points.  Approximately 15.5 degrees of declination when streets were laid out.  Picture spun to better fit frame.  Blocks are approximately 200 meters on a side or 4 ha (10 acres) per block.
Close examination of the green spaces suggest that grazing animals are kept on some of them.  For example, the green space to the left of the church shows bare ground along the south edge consistent with trampling seen near the openings of barns.
Close-up of block in lower right of picture above.  Estimated 16 dwellings.  If evenly divided each household has access to about 0.6 US acres.
To help readers visualize, 0.6 US acres is a little bit larger than three baseball infields or about area between the sidelines of a high school football field from the goal line out to five yards beyond the 50 yard line.

A road approximately 3 km west of the village. Canal and swamp across top of frame. Black soil indicates "muck", peaty soil good from growing root crops when properly drained.  Subject to blowing away in dust storms or catching on fire if too well drained.
Roving parties may be able to pillage every kernel of grain.  Grain cannot be left in the field after it is ripe because it will fall over (lodge) drop out of the heads and rot.

Root crops can be left in the field, unharvested until needed.  Scavenging parties cannot afford to stand around and wait for farmers to dig every potato, turnip, rutabaga, carrot, onion....  And even then they would not be able to carry them off or destroy them by burning.  80% water makes them darned heavy for the nutrition involved.

Cultural memories run deep.  Screw me once, shame on you.  Screw me twice, shame on me.

For the sake of comparison, the following LINK should take you to an aerial photo of northeast Detroit.  This neighborhood is near the corner of Gratiot and 7 Mile and has been largely depopulated by urban flight.  Blighted houses have been removed.  No further comment will be offered.

1 comment:

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.