‘Russia’ Category

  1. Zhukovsky’s note from February 1821

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    February 22, 2017 by AK

    I’ve come across an English translation of Zhukovsky’s comment on his 1821 poem, Lalla Rookh – not a Russian version of Thomas Moore’s long work but a lyrical essay on beauty and imagination. The brief prose note complements the poem. The book is Russian Romantic Criticism: An Anthology compiled by Lauren G. Leighton, who taught Russian literature …
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  2. The gifts of liberty?

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    February 15, 2017 by AK

    Alexander Pushkin wrote this poem in November 1823, shortly after news of Rafael del Riego’s execution reached Odessa. It was first published in Russia in 1866, almost 30 years after Puskin’s death. The translation below is by Nabokov: I copied it from his notes on Eugene Onegin. Of freedom solitary sower, early I went, before the …
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  3. This time it’s different, I promise

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    February 14, 2017 by AK

    This Russian official is, technically speaking, the third in the line of presidential succession: Vyacheslav Volodin, Putin’s former deputy chief of staff and current chairman of the state Duma, would support a law that protects the honor and dignity of the Russian president. During a speech at a university in Tatarstan, Volodin said the laws …
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  4. The ECHR on disjointed trials and res judicata

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    February 11, 2017 by AK

    Wednesday’s predictable but nevertheless bizarre re-conviction of Navalny and Ofitserov makes one wonder how the court managed the seemingly insurmountable barriers such as the absence of the corpus delicti and the ECHR’s ruling. It’s especially puzzling if, as Navalny has observed, at least some of the ruling was pasted straight from the 2013 original, complete with the …
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  5. What did the groundhog see?

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    February 8, 2017 by AK

    It’s Groundhog Day for the Russian opposition and its informal leader: Alexei Navalny said the verdict at the retrial was copied word for word from his first conviction… As the judge read out the guilty verdict on Wednesday, Navalny tweeted out pages from the original verdict to support his claim that it had been copied word for …
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  6. Jakobson reads Khlebnikov

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    February 7, 2017 by AK

    As a follow-up to my recent posts on Khlebnikov (it should have been a prequel), I’m linking to three short audio clips. This is Roman Jakobson reading poetry by Khlebnikov in 1954, more than 40 years after first meeting the poet. Incantation by Laughter (1908-9): audio, text. Grasshopper (1908-9): audio, text. He Said: audio. It’s is …
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  7. Michael McFaul’s easy, broken parallel

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    February 5, 2017 by AK

    Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, has a blog on the site of Ekho Moskvy, the independent radio station based in Moscow. Commenting on the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, he wrote: It’s the equivalent of Putin appointing Alexander Dugin to the [Russian] Security Council and telling generals Bortnikov [head …
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  8. Olga Khazan on the long wait in Santa Marinella

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    February 3, 2017 by AK

    Olga Khazan writes of her quest for asylum in The Atlantic: In 1989, my family and I were living in a small shared apartment in Santa Marinella, Italy, just northwest of Rome, waiting to find out if the United States would accept our application for asylum. Jewish families leaving the USSR typically took an Aeroflot flight …
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  9. The model refugees

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    February 2, 2017 by AK

    ​I’m not sure what point Julia Ioffe tried to make with her latest piece in The Atlantic, other than to recall the limbo of being a prospective immigrant and, later, one in transit. I have no doubt her family have been upstanding and productive citizens since arriving in the US in 1990. I am less sure they were refugees in the proper sense, …
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  10. The flip side

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    January 31, 2017 by AK

    “The witch has lost: now everything is permitted” seems to be the operative motto of the day in the Kremlin and its environs. Thus, the de-facto leader of the opposition – the only opposition politician with presidential potential – is to be further harassed and, possibly, imprisoned on transparently bogus charges. Russia’s long slide to misery has …
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