‘Politics’ Category

  1. “Help me, sister”

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    December 28, 2017 by AK

    The BBC’s Russian service has run the story of a young man from Kostroma, an old Russian city 185 miles northeast of Moscow, who was charged with insulting a government official for calling Putin a “thief” and a “miserable crook” at a public rally in 2012. He fled to the Netherlands and was granted political …
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  2. Another trial in Moscow

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    December 17, 2017 by AK

    Shaun Walker reports from Moscow for The Guardian: A Moscow court has sentenced a former Russian economy minister to eight years in a high-security prison for corruption, in a verdict that is likely to send chills through the Russian elite… The trial was a rare case of the vicious infighting between government clans spilling out …
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  3. Navalny as Saakashvili

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    December 15, 2017 by AK

    At the annual presidential Q&A session yesterday, a pseudo-opposition quasi-politician asked the Russian president why genuine opposition politicians, including the de-facto opposition leader, had been effectively barred from running in the upcoming 2018 election: Ksenia Sobchak, a socialite-turned-journalist who wants to run for president… asked Putin why Navalny was not allowed to run. “Are the …
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  4. The sleeper-waker

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    December 9, 2017 by AK

    “If one uncouples the last car from a train, the train will have no last car.” This pseudo-paradox is supposed to illustrate a certain property of natural languages. “Russia’s next president will be Vladimir Putin” is based on a similar, if inverted, logic, but few Russians experience it as a paradox. A case of bad …
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  5. Through a fen to the pit

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    December 3, 2017 by AK

    I’ve never listened to AC/DC, but let’s say I grew up with it. At school and at college, every other desk bore a semblance of their logo – carved, scratched, inked, penciled. (I’m talking about late-Soviet Moscow, to be clear.) Everybody pronounced the name IS-sy DIS-sy or EES-sy DEES-sy – I still don’t know why. …
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  6. 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 servicemen …
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  7. Culture Club

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    November 13, 2017 by AK

    The background in this photograph from last weekend’s nationalist march in Warsaw would not look out of place in Moscow. The “palace of culture and science” in Warsaw, a product of late Stalin-era Soviet architecture, resembles the seven Stalin towers in Moscow, especially the University building, and the unbuilt eighth tower in Zariadye. The skyscraper …
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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