Category Archive 'Moscow'

26 Feb 2022

Shouldn’t Ukraine Own Russia?

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The Eastern Slavic state started with Kiev, and the Eastern Slavs became part of Western Civilization when Saint Vladimir the ruler of Kievian Rus’ converted to Christianity.

Moscow was founded as just another city/state of Kievian Rus’.

The city-states of White and Black Russia were referred to as Rus’ [Roosh]. Moscow was called Rossiya.

The history of the Eastern Slavs diverged in the 1240s as the result of the Great Mongol Invasion. Kievian Rus’ was swept away. Kiev resisted and was destroyed. Moscow surrendered to the Horde, and the dukes of Moscow (the ancestors of later self-styled “Caesars,” the first of whom bestowed that title on himself following his marriage in 1472 to a princess of defunct Byzantium, fallen to the Turks in 1453) served as tax collectors to the Horde and knocked their foreheads on the ground in submission to the Khan at Sarai.

White and Black Russia (today’s Belarus) sought the protection of the mLithuanian princes and joined Lithuania and consequently were never taken by the Mongols. Ukraine was liberated via a Reconquista by the Lithuanians piece by piece with Grand Duke Vytautas finishing standing by the Black Sea in 1399.

The Cossacks, referred to in Ace’s history, began as escaped Lithuanian serfs who fled to the uninhabited steppe borderlands, intermarried with the Tartars, and lived as outlaw brigands, preying on the Turks.


Ilya Repin, Запорожцы пишут письмо турецкому султану, [Cossacks write a letter to the Turkish sultan], 1880-1891, State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg.

In 1569, the Lithuanian dynasty ruling the combined state of Poland-Lithuania (formed in 1386, when the Lithuanian Grand Duke married the Polish Queen, converted to Christianity from Paganism, and became King of Poland, was doomed to expire because Sigismund Augustus refused to remarry when Barbara Radziwill, the love of his life died suddenly. “He left no heir but Liberty,” was the saying.


Jósef Simmler, Śmierć Barbary Radziwiłłówny [Death of Barbara Radziwill].
1860. National Musem, Warsaw.

Via the Union of Lublin, ties between Poland-Lithuania were strengthened, two parliaments were merged into one, and “The Union of Both Nations” became a Republic with an elective monarchy. In the course of the manueverings toward Union, Sigismund Augustus twisted the arms of reluctant Lithuanian magnates by transferring Ukraine from Lithuanian Administration to Poland.


Jan Matejko, Unia Lubelska [The Union of Lublin]. 1869. Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie. Depozyt w Muzeum Okregowym w Lublinie.

This transfer of authority was not terribly successful. A great Cossack Rebellion, 1648-1657, was a bloodbath which led to the acquisition of Eastern Ukraine by Muscovy in 1654, and which marked the beginning of “the gathering of the Russian lands” by the despots of Moscow.

The rest of Ukraine was acquired by Moscow via the three Partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793, and 1795. The Russian Occupation of Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine was resisted 1793-1795 under Kosciuszko, 1795-1815 in the Napoleonic Wars, 1831-1832 in the November Insurrection, 1863-1864 in the January Insurrection, and so on.

27 Jun 2021

Drone Tour of Moscow

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Like visiting a different planet. Russia has obviously come a very, very long way since the fall of Communism. Roads in Moscow, for instance, used to be empty with only a handful of cars.

07 Sep 2011

Moscow Celebrates “864th Anniversary” With 4D Light Show

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The Russian Chronicle provides the first mention of Moscow in 1147 as the place where Duke Yuri Dolgoruky of Suzdal entertained his ally Duke Sviatoslav of Chernigov with “a mighty feast.”

It was not actually until 1156 that the same Duke Yuri fortified the hig ground between the Moskva River and its tributary the Neglinnaya, in essence, “founding the city,” but Moscow has never placed strong significance on truth and accuracy.

In any event, the people my Lithuanian ancestors generally referred to as burlokai , “beet-eaters,” last weekend set some kind of new record in whooping it up by using the facade of Moscow University as the 25,000+ sq. ft. projection screen for a rather astonishing light show.

That’s the Russians for you: simply awful at government, never heard of justice or the rule of law, but they do like to party.

18 Jan 2010

The Stray Dogs of Moscow

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Moscow commuters smile at sleeping metro dog

Andrei Poyarkov of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow has been studying his city’s population of stray dogs for 30 years. FT.com has a very interesting article describing some of his conclusions.

What is particularly interesting is the way, as is sometimes the case with Europeans, the Russians fail to see the necessity of the American Protestant “capture, euthanize, and sterilize” tidy-everything-up ameliorist approach. Muscovites don’t mind living with stray dogs and are willing to stand aside and let Nature take its course, even in a city.

“With stray dogs, we’re witnessing a move backwards,” explains Poyarkov. “That is, to a wilder and less domesticated state, to a more ‘natural’ state.” As if to prove his point, strays do not have spotted coats, they rarely wag their tails and are wary of humans, showing no signs of ­affection towards them.

The stray dogs of Moscow are mentioned for the first time in the reports of the journalist and writer Vladimir Gilyarovsky in the latter half of the 19th century. But Poyarkov says they have been there as long as the city itself. They remain different from wolves, in particular because they exhibit pronounced “polymorphism” – a range of behavioural traits shaped in part by the “ecological niche” they occupy. And it is this ability to adapt that explains why the population density of strays is so much greater than that of wolves. “With several niches there are more resources and more opportunities.”

The dogs divide into four types, he says, which are determined by their character, how they forage for food, their level of socialisation to people and the ecological niche they inhabit.

Those that remain most comfortable with people Poyarkov calls “guard dogs”. Their territories tend to be garages, warehouses, hospitals and other fenced-in institutions, and they develop ties to the security guards from whom they receive food and whom they regard as masters. I’ve seen them in my neighbourhood near the front gate to the Central Clinical Hospital for Civil Aviation. When I pass on the other side with my dog they cross the street towards us, barking loudly.

“The second stage of becoming wild is where the dog is socialised to people in general, but not personally,” says Poyarkov. “These are the beggars and they are excellent psychologists.” He gives as an example a dog that appears to be dozing as throngs of people walk past, but who rears his head when an easy target comes into view: “The dog will come to a little old lady, start smiling and wagging his tail, and sure enough, he’ll get food.” These dogs not only smell who is carrying something tasty, but sense who will stop and feed them.

The beggars live in relatively small packs and are subordinate to leaders. If a dog is intelligent but occupies a low rank and does not get enough to eat, he will separate from the pack frequently to look for food. If he sees other dogs begging, he will watch and learn.

The third group comprises dogs that are somewhat socialised to people, but whose social interaction is directed almost exclusively towards other strays. Their main strategy for acquiring food is gathering scraps from the streets and the many open rubbish bins. During the Soviet period, the pickings were slim, which limited their population (as did a government policy of catching and killing them). But as Russia began to prosper in the post-Soviet years, official efforts to cull them fell away and, at the same time, many more choice offerings appeared in the bins. The strays flourished.

The last of Poyarkov’s groups are the wild dogs. “There are dogs living in the city that are not socialised to people. They know people, but view them as dangerous. Their range is extremely broad, and they are ­predators. They catch mice, rats and the occasional cat. They live in the city, but as a rule near industrial complexes, or in wooded parks. They are nocturnal and walk about when there are fewer people on the streets.”

Hat tip to Karen l. Myers.


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