‘history’ Category

  1. Sounds like propaganda, even if true

    0

    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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  2. The Kalashnikov question: a biographic angle

    1

    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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  3. Hungarian affairs

    9

    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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  4. Define “embarrassment” for me

    3

    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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  5. The Shooting Party

    0

    September 23, 2017 by AK

    Simon Karlinsky wrote in Anton Chekhov’s Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary (1973): The other novel of Chekhov’s student years, the somewhat Dostoyevskian murder mystery The Shooting Party (the original Russian title was Drama During a Hunt) of 1884, had an even more distinguished career; its basic narrative structure was borrowed by none other …
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  6. Chekhov’s Prank

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    September 21, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov started writing around 1880 to support his family while studying medicine and produced “more than 500 comic stories, spoofs, and vignettes for Moscow’s popular weekly magazines” in the 1880s. Some of them can be found in The Prank, the collection Chekhov himself compiled (and his brother Nikolai illustrated) in 1882, which was never published …
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  7. “You are a little mistaken about all this.”

    0

    September 17, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov’s first published work was a short story, A Letter to a Learned Neighbor. It’s what the title say it is – a letter to an apparently retired professor from an old fool full of childishly absurd opinions. The professor has certain ideas à la Jules Verne, which his neighbor rebuts brilliantly: … if people …
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  8. He Who Must Not Be Named

    1

    September 17, 2017 by AK

    For years, senior Russian officials avoided mentioning Alexey Navalny’s name on TV and in the press. It was hardly a sign of self-confidence and strength. This last Tuesday, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s op-ed appeared in The New York Times urging Russian “democrats” to adopt the goals and  priorities he favors (thanks to Tim Newman for pointing out …
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  9. A room and a half or even less

    2

    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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  10. How about propaganda-free anthropology? 

    1

    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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