Category Archive 'Russia'
19 Jul 2020

America These Days is Living in a 19th Century Russian Novel

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Peter Savodnick recognizes alarming literary parallels.

The metaphysical gap between mid-19th-century Russia and early-21st-century America is narrowing. The parallels between them then and us now, political and social but mostly characterological, are becoming sharper, more unavoidable.

We can reassure ourselves by repeating obvious truths: The United States is not czarist Russia. The present is not the past. History does not repeat itself. But those facts are not immutable laws so much as observations, and even though they are built on solid foundations, those foundations are not impervious to shifting sands. We can go backward. We can descend into a primal state we thought we had escaped forever. That is the lesson of the 20th century.

The similarities between past and present are legion: The coarsening of the culture, our economic woes, our political logjams, the opportunism and fecklessness of our so-called elites, the corruption of our institutions, the ease with which we talk about “revolution” (as in Bernie Sanders’ romanticization of “political revolution”), the anger, the polarization, the anti-Semitism.

But the most important thing is the new characters, who are not that dissimilar to the old ones.

Consider Yevgeny Bazarov. To Bazarov, one of the sons in Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, the whole of Russia is rotten, and anyone who can’t see that is an idiot or a knave, and the only solution is to raze everything. There is a logic to his thinking. Russia was ruled by a backward-looking monarchy. The nobility was complicit in perpetuating grotesque inequality. The Orthodox Church was allied with the ruling classes. And the ruling classes moved glacially to liberalize. (In Western Europe, the feudal system started to collapse nearly four centuries before it did in Russia.)

One can imagine arriving at the conclusion that Russia would never reform itself, that the only way to liberate it from its medievalism was to start over. Bazarov, a doctor whose empirical nature, we are led to understand, informs his nihilism, is convinced that Russia must start over, and everything about him—his sarcasm, his lack of empathy—is meant to convey disdain, destruction, a sweeping away of the old. He is openly disrespectful of the fathers in the novel—Nikolai Petrovich and Vasily Ivanovich—because they’re old. They’re fathers. They come before, so they are necessarily less developed. To Bazarov, those who do not see the world exactly as he does—most people—are simply roadblocks or enemies. They are not really people. They are not wholly human.

One wonders if Bazarov is that different from today’s protesters and statue-topplers, the 20-somethings sowing discord in our newsrooms, the cancellers, the uber-woke, the sociopaths who police our social media feeds, those who would massage or rewrite history in the service of a glorious future. Like Bazarov, they are incapable of empathizing with those who do not view the world the way they do. Like Bazarov, they assume that the place they come from (America) is cancerous to the core—regressive, hateful, an affront to right-thinking people everywhere. Like Bazarov, there is about them a crude sarcasm (or snark). Like Bazarov, there is a logic to their outrage: Today, we are witnessing Americans revolting against the vestiges of a barbaric, racial hierarchy that was constructed four centuries ago. That hierarchy continues to be felt. It is not unreasonable to wonder, When will we finally transcend the past?

The only important obvious difference between the fictional, Russian nihilist and his nonfictional, American counterpart is the lens through which they view history. Bazarov’s radicalism, descending directly from Marx, amounts to a typical economic determinism—a conviction that the entire human story can be boiled down to those with the means of production exploiting those without it. Today, the radicals have mostly abandoned economic determinism in favor of a race-gender, or identitarian, determinism that also claims to explain the whole of us—our etiology, our political and economic development, our moral worth. This appears to be the animating force, for example, behind The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which squeezes the entire American story into the Procrustean bed of race relations.

RTWT

22 Jun 2020

Some People Treat Their History With Respect

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Vanderleun contrasts Putin’s Russia of today which profoundly honors its past with the America of today which destroys its monuments and grovels in apology for its past.

The Church of the Resurrection of Christ , or the Main Temple of the Armed Forces of Russia The height of the temple along with the cross according to the project is 95 meters. The third highest Orthodox cathedral in the world after the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow (103 meters) and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg (102 meters) [11] .

All the dimensions of the temple are symbolic and refer to the most important figures related to the history of the Great Patriotic War, the history of Russia and the Armed Forces of Russia.

The diameter of the drum of the main dome is 19.45 meters. 1945 – the end of the Great Patriotic War.

The height of the belfry is 75 meters. In 2020, marks 75 years since the end of World War II.

The height of the small dome is 14.18 meters. 1418 days and nights hostilities lasted in World War II.

The area of ​​the temple complex is 11 thousand m². The capacity of the interior of the temple is up to 6 thousand people.

The cathedral itself is riveted together like a weapon of war. Clad in bronze and iron, its towers soar skywards like an array of ballistic missiles. Inside, a huge mosaic of Christ’s stern and all-seeing visage looms down into a gloomy interior with the verdigris hue of a time-worn cannon. Glittering mosaics portray the Holy Virgin and the martial saints keeping watch over Moscow’s World War II defenders, and Russian soldiers in modern uniforms proudly bearing their Kalashnikovs like modern martyrs.

With steel steps leading to the cathedral cast from melted-down Nazi tanks, its gilded domes surrounded by a vast museum to Russia’s military history containing relics like Hitler’s personal uniform, it is a temple to martial glory that goes far beyond Christianity, the architectural equivalent of a steppe khan drinking wine from the skull of a conquered foe.

22 Dec 2019

Russian Carols

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Let’s give the Russians a turn. After all, they stole the election for Trump with some Instagram posts and Tweets!

16 Dec 2019

Russian Cosmonauts’ TP-82 Survival Pistol

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We Are the Mighty explains that the Soviet Cosmonaut’s three-barreled TP-82 Survival Pistol was developed to to defend them, not against Marvin the Martian, but against hungry bears after they landed deep in Russia’s wilderness interior.

Alexey Leonov – the first human to do a spacewalk – landed his capsule in forests of the snow-covered Ural mountains [in 1965], some 600 miles off target. Luckily for him, he carried a 9mm pistol that would protect him from the beasts in the untamed wilderness. His fears of landing off-course caused him to lobby for a survival weapon that would be included in all Soyuz capsules. What he got was the TP-82, a weapon that could hunt, take down large predators, and fire off flares. But wait, there’s more: The weapon’s buttstock was also a large machete that could be used as another survival tool.

But the survival weapons didn’t show up overnight. Leonov and his partner in the Soyuz capsule that day, Pavel Belyayev, spent two nights on the ground in the Urals, cold and fearful of large predators. They weren’t able to be rescued for two full days before a ground crew could ski out to them in the deep snow and heavy forest canopy. Leonov’s fear of being stranded among brown bears never left him, however. Nearly 20 years after the rescue, he became second in command of the cosmonaut training program in 1981.

He used this influence to develop the three-barreled pistol and make it standard in Soyuz space capsules.

More on the TP-82:

We Are the Mighty, Pt. 2

Wikipedia tells us the shotgun barrels were chambered for 12.5×70 mm ammunition (40 gauge –.492, bigger than .410), and the lower rifled barrel used the 5.45×39mm ammunition developed for the AK-74 assault rifle.

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HT: Karen L. Myers.

30 Aug 2019

Inkstand

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Inkstand, Chopin Foundry, Imperial Russia, 1884.

Via: History Archaeology Artifacts.

01 Aug 2019

If The Simpsons Was a Russian Art Film…

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22 Apr 2019

“I Was Killed Near Rzhev”

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Hybridtechcar:

In the Rzhevsky district of the Tver region, near the village of Khoroshevo, a memorial to the Soviet Soldier will be installed, which will be visible from the federal highway M-9. The monument commemorates the heroism and courage of the Red Army soldiers who fought in the bloody battles for Rzhev and on the perimeter of the Rzhev-Vyazma ridge. The project of the memorial was designed by the sculptor Andrei Korobtsov from Belgorod. His work “I was killed near Rzhev” became the best among 19 projects. Construction will begin this year and will be completed by the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory in 2020.

18 Jan 2019

“You’re Going to Need a Bigger Special Prosecutor”

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Richard Fernandez is skeptical, but nonetheless willing to take the establishment’s Russian-conspiracy theory and run with it.

The outbreak of unrest [of the rebellion of the commons against the elites from Britain to France to the USA] … is so vast …. that the Washington Post had an op-ed explaining it: Putin at work. The hand of Russian collusion is seen everywhere. “From Brexit to NATO and the shutdown, Putin is winning so much he might get tired of winning,” it said.

    We don’t know exactly how much Moscow spent supporting influence operations to impact the U.K. and U.S. elections in 2016, but it seems hard to overstate how good the Kremlin’s return has been on what Western intelligence agencies believe was a relatively modest investment.

    Russian efforts to manipulate American voters during the last presidential campaign have been aggressively covered in this space, but the Kremlin’s bid to boost Brexit was perhaps even more brazen. The Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a meaty report last week about Russian influence operations overseas, but it was entirely overshadowed by the latest bombshells stemming from special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation. The 206-page report outlines Russian disinformation campaigns across 19 countries. It highlights loopholes in U.K. campaign finance laws that might have allowed an influx of Russian money to boost the referendum. That’s not to mention the propaganda from Russian-run Twitter and Facebook accounts, plus state-funded media.

It’s worldwide conspiracy. If anything the problem with the Mueller investigation is it is too small — like sending a rowboat after a megalodon. If the op-ed is right then they’re going to need a bigger special prosecutor. The alternative explanation for the perfect political storm now rocking the West is that a substantial number of people actually voted for Brexit, Donald Trump and are angry with the policies of Emmanuel Macron, reflecting some kind of global revolt by the Western ‘have nots’ against the ‘haves’.

This possibility was advanced by Glenn Reynolds writing in USA Today. “Donald Trump is a symptom of a new kind of class warfare raging at home and abroad.” It’s the Deplorables versus the New Class.

    Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas called these party hacks the “New Class,” noting that instead of workers and peasants against capitalists, it was now a case of workers and peasants being ruled by a managerial new class of technocrats who, while purporting to act for the benefit of the workers and peasants, somehow wound up with the lion’s share of the goodies. …

    But the New Class isn’t limited to communist countries, really. Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. To understand what’s going on with President Donald Trump and his opposition, and in other countries as diverse as France, Hungary, Italy and Brazil, it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much, because they have done very well under those arrangements. And, like all elites who are doing very well, they don’t want that to change.

RTWT

20 Dec 2018

Russian Christmas Carols

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Let’s start the Christmas carols with some Russian ones this year. After all, they supposedly stole the election for Trump with some Instagram postings and Tweets!

18 Dec 2018

A Russian Reenactor Takes Out a Drone with a Spear

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10 Dec 2018

Russia Lining Up Tanks Near Ukraine Border

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Defense Blog:

Satellite imagery from Google Earth taken on November shows hundreds of Russian main battle tanks at a new military base on the outskirts of the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky.

The large-scale military base only 18 kilometers away from the border with toward rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Images show hundreds of main battle tank like as T-64 and also T-62M, while a thousand military trucks, artillery systems and tankers are located slightly higher.

Russia has been ramping up its forces near the border with Ukraine since August and now poses the greatest military threat since 2014, the year Moscow annexed Crimea, the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Muzhenko said Russian troop levels were at “the highest” since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea and then deployed forces to eastern Ukraine.

“In front of us is an aggressor who has no legal, moral or any other limits,” he said. “It is very difficult to predict when it will occur to him to begin active combat actions against Ukraine.”

16 Sep 2018

Would You Surrender to the Germans?

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