‘Russia’ Category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Labors too modest for a knock on the head

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    November 5, 2017 by AK

    I didn’t expect to ever agree with Masha Gessen again on anything but her conclusions in this piece make sense to me. She asks, among other questions: Is there any reason, at this point, to think that a tiny drop in the sea of Facebook ads changed any American votes? Her answer is “No.” To be …
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  4. Medinsky v. Herberstein

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    November 1, 2017 by AK

    Whenever I vow to myself, nulla dies sine linea, catatonia sets on and the inner voter goes for blogger’s block. I’m back with an amusing snippet from the new Russian chronicles of shame. The Moscow Times reported on October 20: Russia’s state academic panel has ruled that Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky will keep his PhD …
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  5. A “friend and ally”

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    October 18, 2017 by AK

    News from the ECHR: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and his brother Oleg were unfairly convicted of financial crimes at trial in the so-called Yves Rocher case in 2014. In an October 17 ruling, the ECHR said that Russian courts handed down “arbitrary and manifestly …
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  6. Sounds like propaganda, even if true

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    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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  7. The Kalashnikov question: a biographic angle

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    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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  8. Hungarian affairs

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    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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  9. Define “embarrassment” for me

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    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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  10. The Shooting Party

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    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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