‘history’ Category

  1. This is not the Red Army

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    November 21, 2017 by AK

    In the London Review of Books, T J Clarke reviews Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32, an art show put on by the Royal Academy in London. His review is illustrated, among other images, with this photograph, captioned “The Red Army with the black square.” It gets at least one of the colors wrong. This cannot be the Red Army: the …
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  2. “Someone 1917”: Boris Grigoriev’s “Faces of Russia”

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    November 14, 2017 by AK

    A most rewarding exhibition – well thought through and thoroughly prepared. It features a selection of works, mostly paintings, created by Russian artists around 1917, roughly from the start of WWI until the early 1920s. The revolutions of 1917 broke out in the midst of a golden age for Russian visual and performative arts – …
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  3. Erase and rewind

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    November 9, 2017 by AK

    The BBC reports: US actor Kevin Spacey is to be erased from a completed Hollywood film following the allegations of predatory sexual behaviour against him. “Erased.” The Guardian settles on “cut out.” Incidentally, retroactive film editing in the Soviet block peaked after Stalin’s death, when the Communist leaders decided that the best way to deal …
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  4. Blok, 1903

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    November 6, 2017 by AK

    Alexander Blok wrote this poem aged twenty-two, in 1903, two years before the start of the first Russian revolution. This is not a word-by-word translation but, I hope, one accurate enough, if thoroughly unpoetic. – Is everything quiet among the people? – No. The emperor has been killed. Someone is talking about a new freedom …
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  5. 100 years after

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    November 5, 2017 by AK

    The Kremlin’s approach to the coming centenary of the Bolshevik revolution is to avoid a serious discussion and hope that people don’t think too hard either about the consequences of Bolshevism or about revolutionary situations. It seems to be working, with a few minor hiccups. A few days before the anniversary, Russian security services detained …
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  6. Medinsky v. Herberstein

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    November 1, 2017 by AK

    Whenever I vow to myself, nulla dies sine linea, catatonia sets on and the inner voter goes for blogger’s block. I’m back with an amusing snippet from the new Russian chronicles of shame. The Moscow Times reported on October 20: Russia’s state academic panel has ruled that Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky will keep his PhD …
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  7. Sounds like propaganda, even if true

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    October 4, 2017 by AK

    I was going to show that the official facts of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s biography make it rather unlikely that he was the principal developer of AK-47. I wrote this post to preempt arguments such as “other Soviet gun designers came up with great designs before they turned 30, so why not Kalashnikov?” Kalashnikov had neither the …
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  8. The Kalashnikov question: a biographic angle

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    October 1, 2017 by AK

    Mikhail Kalashnikov’s contribution to the development of AK-47, relative to the role of other Soviet Russian designers, will probably remain an open question in the foreseeable future. Likewise, the contribution of the German weapons designers and engineers, including but not limited to Hugo Schmeisser, will continue to be discussed. I have no comment on the …
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  9. Hungarian affairs

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    September 27, 2017 by AK

    Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center (not to be confused with the reporter of the same name) writes in today’s Vedomosti: As far as I can recall, in The Conformist, the novel by Alberto Moravia on which Bernardo Bertolucci’s famous film is based, the protagonist’s father, confined in an asylum, imagines himself a minister …
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  10. Define “embarrassment” for me

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    September 25, 2017 by AK

    Here’s a good write-up of the monumental gun snafu in Moscow: It’s a blunder so bad it makes you look twice: On the new sculpture dedicated to Russia’s most famous small arms designer, there is an unintentional homage to a weapon of Russia’s hated adversaries during the Great Patriotic War. The author, Nathaniel F, seems …
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