Category history

Rock ‘n’ Roll II

Before rock ‘n’ roll, there was jazz. Back in the 1950s and the early 1960s, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were on the lips and in the ears of many young men and women in the thawing Soviet Union. But…

[Rock ‘n’ Roll]

Rock ‘n’ Roll by Diana West has a quote from the ambassador of Hungary to the US: When we were listening to the radio, we were part of the Free World, if only for a few moments, whether the system…

Guardian Unlimited

They are reviewing book reviews, among them Stefan Wagstyl’s of Anne Applebaum’s Gulag. Just read this: Many well-known gulag writers survived by working as “prison trusties”; others as informants. Solzhenitsyn did both. The last gulag closed in February 1992. “Solzhenitsyn…

Dictators as young men

Stalin was a train and bank robber – for the sake of Revolution, of course; he was arrested and exiled a few times, but it didn’t help. Lenin languished for twenty years in Europe, returning only briefly during the 1905—1907…

A brief quote…

…from The Preserve (Zapovednik) by Sergei Dovlatov. The scene is set in the Pskov oblast’ in the 1970s. They did not like Stalin in the village. I had long noticed that. They must have well remembered collectivization and other Stalin…

Politics as usual

Former Russian PM Chernomyrdin, now ambassador to Ukraine, is said to use profane words so intensely in private conversation that, when he must omit them in a public forum, there are not many left at all. Despite that – and,…

Tower review

Kat — formerly of uberspiffy.com — has moved her blog over to NeoZiggurat. Don’t expect to frighten us with ziggurats, neo or paleo: we have one right in the heart of town, in Red Square. It’s called the Lenin Mausoleum.…

Lighter Soviet stuff

“Soviet reporters manage to lie even when they are telling the truth.” A Soviet maxim. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize now that Soviet foreign correspondents of the dull Brezhnev days seldom if ever resorted to outright lying. They…

“Russia Tests Juries By Trial and Error”

A worthwhile article in the Washington Post, by Peter Baker. But first, a correction is in order. For more than eight decades, Russians charged with a crime in Moscow were brought shackled into cramped courtrooms, where Communist Party-appointed judges and…

Khruschev the buffoon

Just stumbled upon a review of a Khruschev bio. I’ve known most of the stuff all along, but I still couldn’t help laughing at the zebra/cow gig. No wonder the Political Joke became the greatest achievement and the star genre…