‘Russia’ Category

  1. A room and a half or even less

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    August 20, 2017 by AK

    Going back to Kirsten Ghodsee’s New York Times article, Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism. It was probably a Times editor who came up with the title. As I’ve tried to explain, it’s a complicated subject that cannot be summed up in two words and requires differentiating by country, province and socioeconomic class (which did …
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  2. How about propaganda-free anthropology? 

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    August 16, 2017 by AK

    This article is not as silly as it may sound. A few suggestions for better credibility: Don’t mix propaganda and anthropology. Forget The Female Body under Socialism and focus on the field studies. Take down that Soviet poster and the hammer and sickle. Also, don’t claim the Bolsheviks gave Russian women suffrage: the term is meaningless …
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  3. Pretty sheets of paper

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    August 6, 2017 by AK

    Sir JCass has reminded me that Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in all likelihood, suffered from a paranoid disorder. One can pick out distant echoes of mental distress from this episode, as told by Mme de Genlis in her memoirs: He [JJR] often talked to us of the manner in which he had composed the Nouvelle Héloïse. He …
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  4. Tyutchev and Turgenev in their late 40s

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    August 3, 2017 by AK

    Tyutchev (1803-1873) wrote this poem in July 1850, at 46, possibly still in the grip of depression but already on the brink of a new life (which would end in a series of disasters in 1864-5). I thought of it while translating Potugin’s monologue yesterday: Don’t reason, don’t bother: Madness teaches, stupidity judges. Treat the …
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  5. Subterranean work

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    August 2, 2017 by AK

    In 1877, Nikolai Nekrasov wrote an epigram, To the Author of Anna Karenina: Tolstoy, you have proven with patience and talent That a woman should not have affairs Either with a sub-chamberlain or with an aide-de-camp When she’s a wife and a mother. There’s still some bite in this because of Tolstoy’s ineradicable moralizing, and …
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  6. Dirty fusion

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    July 30, 2017 by AK

    This post is about William “Bill” Browder’s recent Senate testimony on the enforcement of the Foreign Agent Registration Act. While you don’t have to trust Browder on other issues, his testimony makes it rather likely that Fusion GPS tried to smear him in the media and was paid for that by a firm owned by …
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  7. It makes no sense, but will it work?

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    July 28, 2017 by AK

    Here’s my superficial reading of the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” Apart from relatively minor tightenings of the screws (which might nonetheless hurt a good deal), there are three major innovations, as far as I can see: (a) The bill removes the president’s discretion, making some of the sanctions mandatory (with only a national …
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  8. “It was his book that had irritated me”

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    July 20, 2017 by AK

    Himadri C., the Argumentative Old Git, is taking another look at Turgenev’s Smoke, a short novel from 1867. (Old Smoke links: Erik McDonald; yours most humbly.) Back in 1830, Pushkin had Tatiana tell Onegin, at a point when it was too late for anything but regrets: “And happiness was so possible, // So close!” A …
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  9. Soloviev, Leskov, de Genlis and Gibbon

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    July 16, 2017 by AK

    From Erik McDonald’s translation of It Didn’t Come Off (1867) by Ol’ga N. (Sophie Engelhardt, 1828-1894): Once I started a sentence this way: “I think…” Madame Petitpierre, my governess, interrupted me: “You think? In that case you will have dinner in your room tonight. Children do not think.” This made me appreciate the passage in Sergei …
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  10. Wenn’s um unsere Zukunft geht

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    July 15, 2017 by AK

    A follow-up on my previous post on the Russian lawyer (“V”) who met with Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner last year. It bears repeating that, while it was a run of the mill meeting of the sort every politician takes a thousand times a year, the lady’s radioactivity should have set off the Americans’ inner …
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