André Glucksmann again

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?


  1. I don’t know Italian either, but I betcha “primo” refers to prominence, not sequence. Thus, “the top great Russian”, not “the initial, original great Russian”.

  2. No, I believe Alexei’s translation is accurate and I suspect someone at the newspaper has omitted a word, either “poet” or “writer”.

  3. My Blog: The Macedonian Tendency

    You may use as you see fit for free, also, see my posts

    I Like Russia

    Putin, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

    Dear President Putin

    I understand that soon you will be looking for a new job. I have one suggestion that I hope you will seriously consider, but first, before you leave office, consider the following actions as part of your legacy for the Russian people.

    At the UN, veto independence for Kosovo. Stand firm, stand tall. Ask Solzhenitsyn to visit Kosovo Pole next week as a gesture of solidarity with the Serbs, and then Ohrid as a gesture of solidarity with the Macedonians. Consider recognizing the Turkish Cyprus as punishment for Greece’s mistreatment of its ethnic Macedonian minority.

    Nato is a stake aimed at the heart of Russia, put a stake in Nato’s heart … it’s a vampire. Like hockey, you only win by playing offense, not defense! Tell President Bush, his poodle Blair, and especially Senator McCain, that you will put a moratorium on further co-operation between Russia and the US/EU with regard to Iran, North Korea and further gas oil exports to the US and EU. Don’t wait until next month, do it now, you won’t get a better chance. The moratorium would be lifted when Nato is retired, as a cold war relic, and replaced by a reformed and revitalized OSCE where Russia can wield its deserved influence. The US can then withdraw its troops fro Europe and send them to Iraq! Have specific detailed plans for this reform and publicize it widely to the US/EU public. For example, all members of the OSCE would be considered associate members of the EU if they so wish. All peoples of the OSCE can work in the EU with an easily obtained work visa.

    In the Russian parliament, form a special committee called the “Un-Russian Activities Committee” which would monitor the activities of foreign NGOs in Russia. Put them under oath and jail the perjurers! All committee members should be fluent in English and be evenly split between Russian patriots and those who are pro-American. When interviewing NGOs, question them in English. The purpose of this committee is to expose anti-Russian activities of the NGOs to their pro-American followers (useful idiots), to the Russian people and to the American people. Average Americans really do not want their country to destabilize Russia for the sole purpose of having hegemony over the world. A litmus test for these NGOs is to ask them about their activities regarding human rights for the Macedonians of Greece and Kurds of Turkey (both Nato members … hint … there are none).

    Register these NGOs along with foreign newspaper owners under the ” Agents of a Foreign Power Act. Have them print it prominently on their publications.

    And finally, form an organization called the “Russian Council” using the “British Council ” as a model. When you retire as president of Russia, be its first president. The Russian Council would promote Russian interests around the world. Start with the Orthodox Balkans and help them to resolve the schisms of their respective churches (Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro). Try to heal the split between the Orthodox and Catholic Slavs. Promote more unity between all the Slavic languages.

    Don’t be like Gorbachev, playing with himself in retirement and selling his influence to the highest bidder . You still have the ability to do something good for Russia and all Slavic-speaking peoples. Do it now!

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