Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
There is always something new from Africa.
In the early 1980s, Mykola Polonskyi is a young Ukrainian translator serving the Soviet army. Fascinated by his reading on the adventures of explorers in exotic African lands, he seizes the opportunity to leave for the Soviet Military Mission in Ethiopia. Soon enough, Mykola finds himself in the heart of the African horn, at the height of the Cold War, and in the middle of the Ethiopian civil war. Everyday life is difficult, and survival endangered by the mysteries hiding in the jungle and the threats of attacks from separatist troops and bandits.
This is a first-hand account of the USSR’s political and military machine, enriched by anecdotes about rare animal and human fauna: sleepy hippos and obnoxious officials, dangerous pythons and fickle generals.
After obtaining the Diploma of Translator/Teacher of English at Kharkiv State University (Ukraine), Mykola Polonskyi joined the Naval Aviation of the Northern Fleet. During the height of Cold War, he was serving as a translator and teacher in the Soviet Military Missions in Ethiopia and Libya. In 1996, he obtained the MPA degree at Indiana University, devoted himself to public life, and started working as public servant, University lecturer and policy expert in good governance. In 2012, he joined the list of UNDP International Experts in Local Governance and Local Development. Since 2015, he has been working as Governance Adviser in Eastern Ukraine.
He is the author of several publications for the UNDP, and publications in Linguistics and Local Governance. His latest books are: in Ukrainian—Таджура (2006); Напередодні інтервенції (2020); Східний експрес 95 (2020); in Russian—Закат древней империи (2012); in English—Cold War in a Hot Place (2015, co-authored with Randall Baker).