‘Politics’ Category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. This is not the Red Army

    2

    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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Labors too modest for a knock on the head

    3

    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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  9. 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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  10. 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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