The main Canadian political parties are keen to be seen promoting democratic reform initiatives in Ukraine, encouraging Ukraine to engage and possibly join Western institutions such as the EU, NATO while distancing itself from Russia.

- from Wikipedia


Katyusha can still, if she closes her eyes, feel that uncomfortable sinking sensation in the middle of her chest which comes with falling into a recession. Whenever he speaks, she sees the strain in the corners of America's eyes, the faintest hint of nausea brought about by economic strife. It makes her sad. But, then again, there are worse things to endure – and right now the harder part of her heart simply does not care.

It's not that she doesn't like him, really. It's just that it's difficult to feel badly for America when he suffers – he presents himself with so much bravado that most other nations want to see him taken down a peg. It seems appropriate. 'Yes', it says, 'the whole world suffers, and you are not mighty enough to avoid it either, are you? You think you are a hero, but really you are just another one of us'. But then she feels badly, because he is just another one of them, and in that light she doesn't really want him to suffer. He's like a child king. Too much power and not enough wisdom. Words fly out of his mouth, and sometimes she wonders if he really understands the meaning behind them, or if he has simply caught them up the way another person might gather colorful flowers.

She thinks he might understand it better these days than he ever has before, and maybe that's what tips the scales for her from indifference to sorrow. Things have been somewhat tense between their nations recently – she knows he's still angry about the defense system she sold to Iraq. Well, when he remembers to be. Lately he's been more scatterbrained than she would have expected, sometimes focusing in on things, and others retreating a little with a slightly glazed look on his face, talking about American celebrities and television shows before he snaps himself out of it.

He really does mean what he says, she recalls a familiar voice telling her. The problem is that he can't admit it when he does something that isn't 'heroic'. So when that happens he gets distracted, and tries to forget about it.

But he really does mean it. I know he does, because I do, too.

She thinks that Canada may be more devious than people give him credit for. He has a way of explaining his ideas that make them seem less like an imposition or an expectation, and more like honesty. Can honesty be devious? When it isn't used in that way of omission which Ivan favors, anyway?

Thinking a little, she waits until after the meeting is finished. When America goes to pass her, she stops him, her hand catching his arm for a moment. He blinks behind his glasses and looks at her in surprise, and then questioningly.

"You should go home," she tells him.

Immediately, his expression turns from one of inquiry to suspicion. Katyusha hastens to explain herself. "We've all been through economic hardships ourselves too. No one will think any less of you. Go home and get some rest. It helps."

He looks at her for a moment, and then shrugs his arm out of her grasp. A wide, forced smile splits his face.

"Don't be silly. It'll take more than this to tire me out!" he insists, and for one eerie moment he almost reminds her of Ivan, with that near-desperate smile full of denial and suspicion and lies to himself. At that point it's very nearly a reflex when she reaches up pats him on his head, and she can see the gears freeze up inside of his head.

"Запеклі," she sighs. "Have you seen your brother? I should talk to him about trade." She's learned that the best way to find Canada is usually to ask the one person who never mistakes him for America.

With a nod he directs her towards the back of the room, and she rolls her eyes as she sees Ivan sitting on him. Again. He takes his humor from the oddest places.

"Thank you," she says, and even though it seems that was an utterly useless conversation, she feels oddly a little bit better for having made it.