March 15, 2007 by AK
It turns out that he would like to teach Italian PM Romano Prodi a few things about Russian history and culture, such as this:
Il primo grande russo, Puskin, è morto in un duello organizzato dal
Cremlino in modo che egli rimanesse ucciso.
I first saw this in a Russian translation; I don’t trust Russian translations so I checked the original, and though I don’t know Italian, the meaning is like this,
The first great Russian, Pushkin, died in a duel arranged by the Kremlin in such a way that he would get killed.
Pretty much everything is wrong with this sentence. First, the greatness thing. Pushkin may have been the first great Russian poet but he was not the first great Russian. Surely Glucksmann has heard of Andrei Rublev or Mikhailo Lomonosov.
To use “the Kremin” to denote Russia’s supreme authority in the 19th century is anachronistic. The seat of imperial power from Peter I to Nicholas II was St. Petersburg, and the period in Russian history from the early 18th century to 1917 is known as the Petersburg period.
Finally, it can be claimed that the court of Nicholas I provoked Pushkin into challenging Georges d’Anthès to a duel — but no emperor in the world could change the rules of the duel. The choice of weapon was up to D’Anthès; he suggested pistols though Pushkin was a good shot. Pushkin insisted on fighting until one of the two was shot down. There was no fixed order of shots: either man was free to shoot first. Chances of Pushkin knocking down d’Anthès were pretty good. The French thinker sounds like a Soviet textbook in blaming the court for Pushkin’s death.
Glucksmann has once claimed that Peter I murdered his father, tsar Alexei, who died when Peter was four years old. What’s his source? A Complete Trash History of Russia pour les Philosophes?