Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31, Moscow

The passing year endfully passes!

Moscow is dreaming and sleepy. The one and only night in a year. The night of December 31.

Junction of the Leningradsky Ave. (Prospekt) and Tverskaya Street is NEVER so empty.
Except for the New Year's night.
By the way, Metro (subway/underground) signs are mostly decorated — and that's really good here!

Here: top of the entrance to Belorusskaya (radial) Metro station.
So the New Year is quickly approaching. I am happy to announce, that finally I was lucky enough to find the New Year tree top in the form of red star, just like I was happy to see in my childhood.

Yeah: this is the New Year's tree of my home.
Happy New Year to all of you! Let it be at least better than the previous one.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Opera of Propaganda

I've come across a real, hu-u-uge diamond of hypocrisy. You won't believe where I have found it.

Opera News published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Who could even thought of it!

You can hardly find someone who seriously believes in free and unbiased Western media. But do you think Opera is far from policy? Well, maybe it has been; however, not any longer.

Look what John Freedman has written about the "Russian Winter". Quite a piece of demagogy, quite expectable of an art critic in the field of art criticism, but not in the field of policy.

What does Valery Gergiev do? He supports Putin's repressive policies. Why 'Putin's policies' are repressive? Has John Freedman suffered? Who did suffer, and if did, why? Does Mr. Freedman know that in the USA there are way more convicted criminals, that in Russia, and recently, just for instance, there were riots in Fergusson; how are Obama's policies repressive in comparison to those of Putin?
Those policies have caused people inside and outside Russia to talk increasingly about a return to the worst tactics and attitudes from Russia’s Soviet past. The examples are legion. What follows is a small selection.
Let's have a look at that Mr. Freedman considers examples from the 'legion of the worst tactics and attitudes'.
As Russia’s hostile response to the Maidan protests in Ukraine increases in December 2013, Russian state television unleashes a war of lies, fear and incrimination against anyone who disagrees with official policy — tactics on a level that had not been seen since at least the late 1940s, if not the height of the Purges in the late 1930s.
Any normal state is supposed to react hostily to a coup d'état, and it was nothing more than a putsch, a coup in Kiev. Only he can talk about a 'war of lies, fear and incrimination' in Russian TV, who has never watched Ukrainian, which leaves far behind even such monsters of political propaganda as CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, etc. And — did Mr. Freedman witness the late 1940s in the USSR, let alone those great and evil Purges of the late 1930s, to compare with present time, I wonder?
After Russia hastily annexes the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, Putin borrows the phrase “national traitors” from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to describe those who oppose his actions. As a result, the notion of “national enemies,” or “enemies of the people” — the latter phrase used to devastating effect by Stalin during the Purges — is revived in public discourse to refer to anyone not backing Kremlin policies.
Bullshit for the stupid incapable of logic thought. For those who don't know history I remind: the Crimea was illegally given to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Khruschev (physically remaining in one and the same country); after disintegration of the USSR the region as an autonomous republic had a right to choose which was violated by the Ukrainian power in 1992. After the Ukrainian coup, in March, 2014 the citizens of Crimea had a referendum at which vast, absolute majority voted for independence from Ukraine... In no way it was an annexation; it was rather incorporation or reincorporation, if you wish; in plain words, coming home. Just compare it with Kosovo where there was no single trace of democracy at all, and shut up.

As for the Mein Kampf, there are plenty of words used in the book; does anyone using them quote Hitler? As for national enemies of enemies of people — hostis publicus is a definition from the Roman law, Nero was declared one by the Senate back in AD 68, quite a great while before those Stalin Purges. Robespierre fought against enemies of public, and Stalin had not been designed yet at that time. Wait, wait, have a look. In 1930 Frank Loesch regarded Al Capone with his gangsters as public enemies, and afterwards Mr. Hoover of the FBI extensively used the definition to describe top wanted criminals. Was it Stalin who advised them such a term? What for have you gone out of the theatre, Mr. Freedman?
Political denunciations return with a vengeance: independent writers, artists, directors and performers are vilified by the Kremlin-friendly press, accused of perversion and sedition.
Bullshit and quite an Orwellian doublespeak. Mr. Freedman; not all those who do not support the Kremlin are independent; not all those pro-Russion or patriotic are Kremlin-friendly. Yet at present those acting against Kremlin foreign policy act in favour of the USA and EU, against Russia. Having lived in Russia for 26 years you are supposed not to be such narrow-sighted, Mr. Freedman.
For the first time since the Soviet era, forced psychiatric treatment — read: incarceration in an asylum — is used as punishment for individuals convicted in political trials.
Well, it seems like he has just an overdose of some ultra liberal press (which in our local conditions unfortunately means anti-Russian and russophobic, strongly devaluating abstractly perfect liberal values). It is so convenient, to allegate someone in all deadly sins not giving a single fact or name.
A law bans the use of obscenities on stage or screen.
Well, maybe there is no such a law in the USA, but I wonder how many 'f-words' and 'c-words' I (or any movie character, for that matter) can freely express at the prime time on any US federal TV channel? Though as is, the law is a bit to strict, I have to admit; there should be provided some 'adult' areas.
Another law bans the casting of doubt on “official” historical accounts of World War II; history is no longer something to be studied, debated and understood but something the government defines.
Well, not that bad. We are sick and tired of those who say it were the USA who took victory over Germany and won in the WW2. There are even idiots who say if Hitler conquered the USSR we would all drink Bavarian beer now. Such delusions definitely do not worth debating and studying.
Russian parliament’s so-called “anti-gay” law bans the “propagandizing of gay lifestyle to children.”
Hey Mr. Freedman, anti-gay or anti-propagandizing to children? Do you as a theatre critic see and feel the difference? The law is called 'anti-gay' only by such russophobic doublespeakers as you. Generally. none in Russia is somehow concerned how are you doing in your bedroom; just do not fuck children; paedophilia is still a crime here (and I do hope it remain forever, irrespective of what they do in Europe).
Peaceful protesters, even individual pickets, are routinely muzzled and arrested, although individual pickets are expressly defended in the Russian constitution.
Another piece of bullshit; 'peaceful protesters' have already become a mem, after the armed coup in Kiev conducted by those 'peaceful protesters'. Again, we see no names, dates and facts. Just and allegation. Well, Mr. Freedman; being in Russia, you can enjoy true and real freedom of speech you cannot even hope for in the USA or EU. And as for individual pickets — though our constitution does not deal with such tiny details of life, they are allowed by law and people do not have any troubles with them. Just try one!

Well, all the article is strongly biased in the way I have just commented. Just read it if you have not. You see: it is written by quite ea single-minded person whose superidea is that Russia is to blame and has no right for its own policy.

The only thing I'd like to add. Talking about those who 'support the Kremlin', Mr. Freedman takes such names as Valery Gergiev, Anna Netrebko, Oleg Tabakov, Yuri Bashmet — real geratest stars of Russian culture, known worldwide.

But talking about those sufferning, he names musicians Diana Arbenina, Andrey Makarevich (with all due respect, Russian rock is often called govnorok here, i.e. 'shitrock') and some other artists who share one thing in common: they are marginal. They do not form cultural space of Russia. They are just scene or TV personalities.

By the way: one of the images illustrating the article, is taken in London. The image itself is a good sample of biased journalism; it was taken using a super wideangle lens so that there was an impression of a huge mass of people gathered. The caption reads: "Human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, center, joins Ukrainian activists in a London protest". Could one please explain how a London protest is related to the theme under discussion? And, last but not least, why 'Ukrainian activists' do their protest in London, and not in Kiev?

How can a theatre critic who has lived in Russia for 26 years compare Gergiev and Bashmet to Arbenina and Makarevich? Gold to clay? You've worked evidently too hard, Mr. Freedman, isn't it a high time to take a leave and have a rest?

They Say - 5 (Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland)

Quite an interesting article was published a week ago in the Polish top newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza.

Its author Wacław Radziwinowicz, evidently the Moscow correspondent for the media, has been living in Moscow for some years. Frankly speaking, for some reasons it's quite a rare thing when a Pole says openly something good about Russia or Russians; however, it's just the case.

Sorry, I just cannot translate a pretty long article from Polish into English, though understand the language not that bad; I have succeeded to find a decent Russian translation of it, yet failed to find an English one. Hopefully, there will be one. As for now, just some most important points, as I see it.
W Moskwie nie mam auta. Nigdy nie chciałem mieć, bo po co? Żeby stać w niekończących się korkach, awanturować się z innymi kierowcami, którzy w złości za pistolety czasem chwytają? Metro jest tu genialnie sprawne i bardzo je lubię.
I don't have a car in Moscow. And have never wanted to get one; what for? To stay in endless traffic jams, quarreling with other drivers, who sometimes can take out a pistol in anger? Metro [underground/subway] works absolutely perfect and I love it so much.
Well, as for guns, I doubt it's a real problem now; since early 1990s quite a while has passed. But our Metro is definitely a reason dwellers of London or Cologne or NY (cities I've been to personally) can be jealous of Moscow.
Piesi stopniowo biorą we władanie starą Moskwę, gdzie uliczka po uliczce zmieniają się w promenady. Zamknięte lub częściowo zamknięte dla ruchu są Bolszaja Dmitrowka i przecinające ją uliczki. Wkrótce tak samo będzie na równoległej do niej Pietrowce. Moskwa będzie więc mieć prawdziwą europejską starówkę, i to bardzo ładną. Promenady, zanim dostaną się pieszym, są porządkowane, domy przechodzą kapitalne remonty, pojawiają się ławeczki, zieleń.
Pedestrians step by step are getting into their posession old Moscow, where street turn to promenades one by one. Bolshaya Dmitrovka and crossing side-streets are closed or partially closed for car traffic, soon the same is expected on the parallel Petrovka street. So the Moscow will get a true European-style Old City, and a pretty nice one. Before giving promenades to pedestrians, they put them in order, restore buldings, place benches and green grass.
So it is: the central part of Moscow is steadily becoming more for people than for cars and offices.

Długo omijałem park Gorkiego szerokim łukiem. Przypadkiem wpadłem tu u schyłku lata 2012 r. I oniemiałem. Cud. Wcale nie mniemany.
... Można wynająć rower i śmigać po oczyszczonych z kramów alejkach. Publiczność... byczy się z książkami, tabletami, bo bezpłatne wi-fi w całym parku działa znakomicie... Posłuchać można wykładów, nauczyć się origami czy wykuć gwóźdź. Nawet nie Europa. Europa zazdrości. Inne parki przeszły podobną metamorfozę...
A na początku września były oszałamiające Dni Moskwy. W salon sztuk wszelakich, księgarnie, galerie zamieniło się całe dziewięciokilometrowe Bulwarowe Kolco. Przez trzy dni przewinęły się tu 3 mln ludzi.

I used to keep away [from the ill fated] Gorky Park. I got there accidentally in the end of summer in 2012. I lost my words. A true miracle... One can hire a bicycle and ride across alleys, cleared from kiosks. People relax with books and tablets, for free Wi-Fi works perfect in the whole park. One can listen to public lectures, learn origami or hammer out a nail. This is surely not Europe. Europe is jealous. Other parks have undergone the same transformation as well...
And early in Spetember there were overwhelming Days of Moscow. The whole 9 kilometres-long Boulevard Ring turned  into a gallery of various arts and bookstore. In three days 3 million people attended the event.
And we Muscovites are happy our parks have turned back into what they were intended to be. Including the legendary Gorky Park :)
W wojennym tumulcie, jazgocie antyzachodniej nienawiści, który dochodzi z oficjalnej Rosji, to, że Moskwa w oczach staje się miastem coraz bardziej europejskim, zauważyć może trudno.
In a military turmoil and squeal of anti-Western hatred that comes from official Russia it is difficult to notice the fact that in front of us Moscow is becoming a more and more European city.
Well, I leave these 'turmoil', and 'squeal', and finally 'hatred' on the author's conscience (check my tags 'hypocrisy' and 'Ukraine', for instance). Yet I have to decisively admit: he is absolutely right stating (you can see it just under the Kremlin image in the screenshot above) Moscow is the best city in the world.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Russian Winter in Moscow

Just a small picturesque add-on to my recent winter posts.

That's what I call a good snow pile of a true Russian winter!

P.S.: Street lamps in Moscow are all sodium-vapour type, so images taken at night often suffer from a heavy orange hue.
For those knowing the city: the image taken on Leningradsky ave. ('Prospekt') on the opposite side of Sovietsky Hotel (the building with neon lights atop in the background).

Good Job, Gaijin!

Though this video, whether you call it a teaser or a mini animated film, has gained 4+ million views in less than 3 months, I've come across it only today.

What can I say? Thank you very much Gaijin Entertainment, that's a great and cool job!

The Great Patriotic War — so we Russians call "our" part of the WW2, because for the USSR it was not just a 'regular' war (so far a war can be regular at all); it was a war for very survival of our country against those who wanted our complete extinction. And this game seems to touch this theme in a really careful and respectful way.

I would definitely play the War Thunder; what a pity I don't have enough time.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dmitry 'Goblin' Puchkov: Int'l Community Says About Donbass Only Things Profitable For Them

An author, movie translator and Internet-based political writer Dmitry Puchkov, wider known under his alias Goblin, in his pre-New-Year interview to LuganskInformCenter explained his vision of situation in Lugansk and ways out of the crisis.

How do you estimate reaction of the international community to Donbass events of the passing year?

Everything was how it's supposed to be: the 'international community', i.e. a group of countries headed by the USA, prepared first, and then conducted a coup d'état in Ukraine. When it turned out that not all citizens of Ukraine agreed with the results of the putsch, a civil war was started in Ukraine under the guidance of the USA. Well, and further active support to the putschists seated in Kiev, complete defiance of the civil war and humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbass region. Quite a predictable reaction, for this very 'international community' talks only about that's profitable for them. And only then, when it's profitable.

What do you think the Russian civil society could do for the quickest possible settlement of the humanitarian problems in Donbass?

The Russian civil society first could begin to solve humanitarian problems of Donbass. At the given moment the state acts in a somehow strange way, and the citizens cannot consolidate without the state's assistance. It's quite enough to conduct a pair of [charity] telethones on some central TV channels, and quite a consideranle assistance can be rendered to Donbass people. And then [it's important] to assist them regularly.

What would you wish to the people of the Lugansk region for the coming 2015?

First of all I wish to the people of Lugansk that the war is stopped. And then everything by the schedule: let everything settle down, let everybody have job, let the children go to schools in peace. Big luck to you in the New Year!

Dmitry Puchkov (alias Goblin) is an iconic Russian translator, author, Internet-based political writer, and cultural figure. A member of the Social Council at the Ministry for Culture of the Russian Federation.

Translated by Vladimir Samarin, that is me, the blog's author.
Originally published in Russian by LuganskInformCenter — December 26 — Lugansk

"This has been a challenging year."

So Marie Harf of the Dept. of State said at a press briefing on December 23. What else did she say on topics, that is of interest to me?
If you look at something like Ukraine, I mean, a year ago I’m not sure any of us could have predicted what would happen, Russia’s actions. 
Are you serious, Ms. Harf? If none of you could have predicted what would happen in and around Ukraine, just fire all your analytics and advisers on the Ukrainian matters, they are a pure loss of money!

I am absolutely sure the country that invested 5 billion dollars in 'democratization' of Ukraine (well, this is the amount officially admitted; thus, the true total can be definitely triple as much, if not more) should be able to afford some smart people who know their job. Who know what is Russia and Ukraine, what is Russia to Ukraine and vice versa. Who know that Ukraine historically IS Russia, and is not just a part of Russia, but an integral part (well, except for Galician lands annexed to the USSR by Stalin in September, 1939, but only after Hitler destroyed Poland as a state).

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Snow's Come!

Finally, our hopes are turning into certainty: we will meet the New Year with good plenty of snow, as it is just supposed to be.

Though due to a great showfall today traffic jams in Moscow are full 10 of 10, on the 25th of December our city can afford it (sorry people stuck in your cars — you'd better pay more attention to weather forecasts!).

So the snow is good. Hopefully, the coming year will be as well!

Good Old Soviet Past, Now in Paris

Nice, isn't it?

I bet you just cannot imagine what I've thought having watched this video.

Finally, 30 years later, I've thought, they in Paris have watched the good old Soviet TV miniseries "Guest from the Future"!

Well, back then, in our bright Soviet past, doors of the kind were intended for real teleportation, yet one has to make the first small step to start a long way to the real future.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates!

And, definitely, a very happy New Year — to those happy enough to have a Christmas vacation!

Let it be better than the passing one. Kinder, more peaceful and fruitful. One of the great old Romans said, amor vincit omnia. Though it hasn't won yet, let us hope that love is more powerful than hate, that our life is meaningful.

And if you do not celebrate now, like me — as a child of the traditional Orthodox culture, I celebrate Christmas on January 7, — or just because you belong to another religion, just let them be glad and joyful, for whom it is a holy (or not that holy, doesn't matter) holyday. In my opinion, this would be a real tolerance.

Merry Christmas to you, people!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An Aristocrat of Spirit

Story of a Militiaman
Who Came Back from Captivity

It’s happened so that some of my acquaintances now are at war in Malorossiya. Unfortunately, for many of them it was kind of a rescue from those “lead nastinesses of the Russian life”* — acqusitiveness and consumerism which passed into the space of high technologies long ago. And which, ideally, a normal Russian person should not touch. As a temptation of devil... In this regard, I was lucky enough with my job: continuous business trips, expeditions and, the main thing, impressions from them don’t allow me to become a bourgeois homebody. But every time I meet people “from there” I understand that my life is missing something... I have already written about some of them in Zavtra web site. Now I’m going to tell about my fellow countryman Ustin. Most likely, some of those “web-based patriots” will find in him a subject for their ideological writings. However, one question is reigning in my head: what does set such people in motion?

Not of this world

“Ustin” is a call sign. In the common world he is Alexey Stenin from Nizhny Novgorod, and he is not ashamed of either his name or biography. At my question if I might publish his real name he responded in a soldierlike short manner: “I don’t give a damn.”

Sometimes it seemed to me he is an other-wordly man indeed, one of those who always made spiritual elite of Russia: men of fervent prayer, zealots, warriors and wanderers. People from that world where such concepts as ‘duty’, ‘honour’, ‘conscience’ and ‘friendship’ are still valid and in full power. People from the highest spheres that do not really care of our primitive worldly affairs, be it mortgage or a new carpet purchase. People who are aristocrats of Spirit.

Ustin has two Chechnya campaigns in his record. He was a sniper and took part in many operations. For example, in Bamut. Since then he’s keeping his call sign. His military specialty became useful in Prizrak (Ghost) group of Alexey Mozgovoy. At my already standard question “What’s brought you there?” Ustin answered simply: “I couldn’t be indifferent.” Same answers I heard from other volunteers as well. Thus, until now I’ve failed to reveal a secret of a surprising phenomenon of Russian volunteering: what does move people to leave their families, homes, jobs, and rush to the abyss of war, being seemingly unnecessary for them. Now I gradually come to a conclusion that you can learn it only from your personal experience.

“I have neither wife nor children, and my job did not hold me strong”, Ustin explained. “At that time I had no acquaintances there. I just packed up and went. And then it appeared that my home is there. Exactly there, but not “at home”. Everything is clear and native for me there.

Here I involuntarily remembered a very popular during my childhood and then considered underground anti-Soviet movie “Rambo II” and the quote from it: “What you choose to call hell, he calls home!” The movie, by the way, created a furore in the “safe” American society: it appeared they had to treat their defenders with understanding and respect**. Or showdowns won’t be limited by Internet debates. Therefore I won’t insert a word into Ustin’s story; just because I have no right.

We were slowly being murdered

We were at a deployment, and were ambushed at the village of Utkino. There were nine of us. A battle raged on. I saw deaths of three our men. The driver who sat near me was killed at once. Then two more fellows... Then something blew up near me...

Monday, December 22, 2014

George Stinney & Dialectics of Good and Evil

Good news for the Americans; at least, for the Afro-Americans.
Calling it a “great and fundamental injustice,” a South Carolina judge on Wednesday vacated the 1944 murder conviction of 14-year-old George J. Stinney Jr., the youngest person executed in the United States in the last century.
I doubt one can blame Josef Stalin of this injustice, though he is widely known as a bloodthirsty tyrant who killed his people, both the young and the old.

Hey, America, how can it be this way? And, by the way, Wikipedia includes only the cases that got publicity. I wonder how the land of the brave, the land that is proud enough to teach the rest of the world democracy and justice, to be that unfair? Using those honest all-white juries of the time?

It looks like people should be very, very careful while deciding to trust statements of the US officials.

It was Ronald Reagan, who said once, using a Russian proverb (he called that a 'maxim', which basically is not a misinterpretation) as a base: trust but verify (доверяй, но проверяй).

Yet this maxim is universal; you should definitely consider Reagan's own statement of 1983, when he called the USSR an 'evil empire', using this very maxim as a base.

Verify it. And I bet if you are talking not to some NGO leaders living on USA or EU grants, the response will be absolutely not that black-and(or)-white.

The USSR was definitely not the best state in the world. However, there were (and is) no single best and/or worst one! There were white, good sides of any social system; there were black ones as well.

Just like the house in which I spent a considerable part of my life.

It is illuminated at some sides at night, yet at some other sides it is not illuminated. Those enlightened sides look bright and decorated, though dark ones look black and evil.

Yet this is one and the same house, and under bright sunshine you won't find any difference between illuminated and non-illuminated sides.

Don't forget of dialectics, if one tells you of something being black. Or evil, for that matter.

What Is Transparency in Policy?

In my personal opinion, it is what our President Putin has been doing for years.

Recently, on December 18, he gave his regular annual press conference to local and foreign press. It lasted more than 3 hours (in the video it starts at abour 17:55).

More than three hours of constant Q&A's from often opposing press — and, by the way, without any teleprompter. Vladimir Putin just remembers names, dates, figures from home and foreign policy and economy. He does his job really good. And as far as I remember it was his 10th press conference of the kind.

I wonder, can you imagine Obama, Hollande, Merkel or any other big state boss in this position? I do doubt. As one of political bloggers put it,
The closest thing western countries have to what we saw today in Moscow is Jen Psaki’s State Department press briefings, which are more stand up comedy, than intelligent discussion.
And having seem some Psaki things I have to agree.

So I doubt there are people around who are capable of teaching us democracy, freedom and transparency. Whanna teach us? Physician, heal thyself first.

Don't envy, and then learn from us what transparency is, and how should a state leader do to enjoy 80+ per cent support of his people.

A don't know if there is a complete translation of the recent Putin's press conference; the biggest I have found so far (yet not full) is here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

They Say - 4

Peter Hitchens writes in the Mal on Sunday: "Forget 'evil' Putin - we are the bloodthirsty warmongers".
I seem surrounded by people who think that war might be fun. This seems to happen when wartime generations are pushed aside by their children, who need to learn the truth all over again.
And more for you to remember:
We think we are the heroes, setting out with brave hearts to confront the Dark Lord, and free the saintly Ukrainians from his wicked grasp.
This is all the most utter garbage. Since 1989, Moscow, the supposed aggressor, has – without fighting or losing a war – peacefully ceded control over roughly 180 million people, and roughly 700,000 square miles of valuable territory.
The EU (and its military wing, Nato) have in the same period gained control over more than 120 million of those people, and almost 400,000 of those square miles.
What's the conclusion?
But do we have any idea what we are doing? Ordinary Russians are pretty stoical and have endured horrors unimaginable to most of us, including a currency collapse in 1998 that ruined millions. But until this week they had some hope.
If anyone really is trying to punish the Russian people for being patriotic, by debauching the rouble, I cannot imagine anything more irresponsible. It was the destruction of the German mark in 1922, and the wipeout of the middle class that resulted, which led directly to Hitler.
Stupid, ill-informed people nowadays like to compare Mr Putin with Hitler. I warn them and you that, if we succeed in overthrowing Mr Putin by unleashing hyper-inflation in Russia, we may find out what a Russian Hitler is really like. And that a war in Europe is anything but fun.
I have emphasized Hitchens' idea by bold letters. In fact, the currency collapse of 1998 was by far not the most difficult thing we Russians went through in our recent history; the very period of the USSR collapse and first years of building 'capitalism' in post-socialist Russia were really terrible for many millions of my compatriots; yet we survived then, and we are not going to lose now.

Anyhow, don't let 'them' fool yourself. Read various opinions and try to think different.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

God, art thou?

Karina, 9, Gorlovka.
Graham Phillips informs:
Karina, 9, was on this bike going home with her mother, Yana, when Ukrainian shelling struck by them yesterday around 6pm. Karina was killed by shrapnel, her mum seriously injured. Gorlovka.
Say 'Farewell!' to Karina. The democratically elected and supported by the USA and the EU Kiev (Kyiv) regime has not allowed her to grow up. Ukrainian shrapnel has found her gulity by the place of birth and living. And, just for you to know, they call all this the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). Quite orwellianly doublespeakful, isn't it?

If you want to know what happens in Novorossia/Eastern Ukraine, just follow Graham Phillips:


God, let Karina sleep in peace. Yet wake up people sleeping alive and make them stop it, stop Ukrainian Nazi's!

My Moscow

Today my home city enjoyed a truly wonderful sweet light! It was not that sweet, though, neither it was blue (hour). Yet it was impressive indeed at about 4:15 pm Moscow time (1:15 pm GMT)!

It lasted not longer than 10 minutes, but I hope great masters of photography did not miss it and we'll see their masterpices taken this evening.

How Truthful Is American School of "Sovietology"?

Recently there was a talk show on St.-Petersburg TV channel 5. The theme of discussion was "Is J.Stalin the Father of Peoples or a Soulless Tyrant?".

Here is the show, JFYI:

I am not going to translate the full duration of 40+ minutes. Frankly speaking, I am not going to translate it at all, as there was nothing new, just a traditional heavily biased idea that Stalin was a blood-thirsty tyrant responsible for mass killing of his own people and for each and every bad thing in the history of the USSR.

Ronald Grigor Suny in a St. Petersburg TV-5 studio;
a screenshot of the live talk show about Stalin (December 18).
My point is an invited expert, Ronald Suny, an American Sovietologist who earned his Ph.D. back in 1968. At the talk show he was announced as a professor of the Michigan Univesity and author of a book about Stalin. I have listened to all his words very attentively.

What am I to say, strongly corresponds to my own, personal experience of communication with Americans, especially those 50+ years of age.

His Russian is not perfect, though pretty fluent. However, his knowledge of the Russian language is way better than his knowledge of the Russian history. Shame on you, Mr. Professor! It looks like you have studied Stalin amd his time using ill-famed "The Gulag Archipelago" as your textbook. Yet in no case it is a factbook; the author himself sub-titled the book as "an experiment of research by means of art". That is, there are author's fantasies, fiction based upon rumours. By the way, no surprise at all: Solzhenitsyn had no access to state archives and documents.

At least, those Americans I talked to did not pretend being scholars. They did not know anything (really truthful) about the Soviet Union, they had just deep fear of evil communism and Russians, whose only wish was to conquer and destroy God-blessed good America, rape its women and make communists of its children. Fear, carefully fed up in decades by the full power of state propaganda machine of the USA, that came out of the WW2 as the strongest economy in the world.

Am I to say this bullshit has and had nothing to do with the real state of things? If we suppose that the school of 'Sovietology' was created for better understanding of the Soviet Union, we have to admit it was a huge loss of money, because it totally failed. Though, if we suppose it was just a part of anti-Soviet (and, on a deeper level, russophobic) propaganda, it was a success.

Anyhow, we Russians (or Soviet people, for the matter) were never afraid of Americans. We just felt pity for the great American people, our good ally during the War (namely, WW2, which for us was the Great Patriotic War indeed), who later became fooled up by those war hawks of Washington conducting worldwide their big stick policy.

PS: Just for your information, Mr. Suny; 'донос' (donos) is just information, e.g. a report to police of something (or somebody) suspicious in your neighbourhood, of any illegal or criminal activity or act. I am sure you have practiced it many times, as a good citizen of your country, state and community. So there was nothing to laugh at in the words of Dmitry Puchkov.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Russian Heroes

Major Dmitry Shpak,
Nizhnevartovsk Disctrict Road Police
Three days ago 60+ schoolchildren, young dancers and musicians, with about 10 accompanying adults seated in two buses were coming back to Nizhnevartovsk from a concert devoted to closure of the Year of Culture in Russia. In Russia, bus columns with children are always accompanied by road police.

It was about 85 kilometres for them to drive, when a heavy truck with a full load of crushed stone driving in the opposite direction, lost control and appeared on their lane ahead.

Major Dmitry Shpak (a father of two), who drove the accompanying road police car, did not turn aside and hit the heavy truck so that it fell on its side and stopped.

Nobody suffered in the accident, except for the courageous major, whose chances were, frankly speaking, faint. Doctors say he was lucky to be lower than 180cm/6ft (taller people have no chances in such accidents, they say), so he survived, though got an open craniocerebral trauma, a split collarbone and broken ribs.

Site of collision. 
Now, after necessary surgery, he has regained consciousness and expects full recovery, though it will definitely take some time. He is also supposed to get a state award soon.

PS: Video report from Russian TV 1. Even if you do not understand the words, there are images that speak for themselves.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

They Say - 3

Boaventura de Sousa Santos.
Valter Campanato/ABr - Agência Brasil
(from Wikipedia).
Here is an interesting commentary by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, a known sociologist from Coimbra University (Portugal).

Original text tranlsated into Spanish.

Russian translation.

The text is titled "The Third World War".

I have translated just the final paragraph from it. If you read Spanish: please follow the link above and read it in full: it's not that large, but thought-provoking.
What  kind of democracy it is when 67% of North Americans are against export of weapons to Ukraine, and 98% of their representatives vote in favour? What kind of democracy is it in Europe when there is similar or even greater discrepancy that separates citizens from their governments and the European Commission? Or when the European Parliament is busy with its routine while Europe prepares itself to be the next theatre of war, and Ukraine — the next Libya?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Too Much Love?

On of this days Johan_Bäckman  has announced Finnish authorities took a 14-year old son off his Russian mother. This is seldom when he is considered as a human rights activist; he protects rights of Russians, and Russians are definitely not those whose rights are to be protected in no time in the so called democratic world.

Anyhow, if this info is correct — how can be even too much of the mother's love be a sufficient ground for taking off a child? Has the world gone totally crazy?

Yet if it is not — at present, no name of the child or mother has been announced — the English Wiki says in Finland about 10,000 children are taken into custody yearly.

For a country with population of about 5.5 million people this is not just a tragedy; this is a real disaster! I wonder why the UN is keeping silence.

Is it a world wide plot of juvenile justice?

Mourning Children

Another unbelievable tragedy, this time in Peshawar. They say, 134 children were killed.

Pakistani soldiers move bodies of victims killed when Taliban gunmen attacked an army-run school. Photograph: Arshad Arbab/EPA. Source
I say 'unbelievable', because it's just impossible to believe in such a great concentration of sorrow in one place. Yet such tragedies happen again and again.

Warfare is inhuman; yet killing children is the most inhuman thing one can imagine. Soldiers are trained to fight and die; seniors are expected to die because it's just normal course of human life; however, children are supposed to live. Ideally, longer and happier lives than their parents.

This is how it is supposed to be from a viewpoint of any normal human being. Well, at least I hope so.

However, when someone decides to make other people pull the chestnuts out of the fire for himself, it often leads to unexpected consequences.

Do you still rememember the genesis of Osama bin Laden? Who funded the beginning of his 'career'? He was so a good guy as an anti-Soviet mujahiddeen in Afghanistan, wasn't he? He fought against the Evil Empire — well, you thought (were convinced) the USSR was...

Sometimes you can successfully fight fire with fire, but you cannot win fighting evil with evil; and, basically, you shouldn't play with fire. Do you really think Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq live now better, being literally raped with what the world calls 'democracy', quite doublespeakfully?

Quite a hypocritical policy led to the todays flourishing of terrorism. Stop doublespeak! Don't allow them to fool you, when they call terrorists 'freedom fighters' or a campaign of state terrorism 'the Anti-Terroristic Operation. Terrorism is a monstrous octopus with its tentacles spread across the world; recently it has reached Australia, you know. It should not be tolerated at any stage of its life cycle.

We in Russia understand it pretty well. We had many tragedies, including that of Beslan, that took away hundreds lives (including 186 children). I mourn with all those who suffered great losses, and I am sure so do most of my compatriots.

Some adults definitely deserve hell, but children must live. There are chances for better life in the future at least for our children, I hope and pray. And write.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good News from RT

RT has announced today their five YouTube channels combined passed over 2 billion views mark.

They celebrate the facts that people watch their content 3 times more often than that of CNN or Euronews, 2.5 times more oftne than Al Jazeera, they enjoy 2,5 million subscribers.

And this is definitely a great success, especialy taking into account that they hit 1 billion views benchmark last year. The RT team has well deserved congratulations, but this is not that I'd like to draw your attention to.

In my opinion, this is a clear sign that the world's audience is sick and tired of the heavily biased TV flood from the 1st world big guys like CNN, BBC, Euronews, etc. People worldwide are just fed up with unilateral propaganda from those who consider the world monopolar (or for some reasons act as if it is). They want to know other points of view. They want to think different.

I am not a child. I know that RT is state funded company, and it surely has a certain level of pro-Russian propaganda. Yet in the world overfilled with russophobia, I don't think it's that bad.

That's just nice that millions people around the globe spend their precious time (and we all know time is money) to discover other existing opinions and viewpoints. Thus, their own, personal opinions become more weighted and well-grounded.

And the level of misunderstanding in the world decreases.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meanwhile in Russia

Last week RAO Energy Systems of East (energy provider for the Eastern part of Russia with close to 53% of state ownership) announced they had installed an experimental sunpower plant in the settlement of Dzhagarlakh in Eveno-Bytantaysky National Ulus (district) of Sakha (Yakutia) Republic within the Russian Federation.

Thanks to Yakutia-24 for the image.
The sunpower plant has capacity of 15 kWts and consists of three types of solar panels: 20 of polycrystalline silicon, 20 of monocrystalline silicon, and 33 of amorphous silicon. This is the 8th plant of renewable energy the company runs; however, the rest are using monocrystalline silicon panels only. Here, within a year the engineers plan to estimate quality, advantages and disadvatages of each type in the harsh local environment, especially in winter (which, by the way, takes a good half of year there, if not longer). Yes, Russia is sometimess tooooooo large (great, if I may) to comprehend it, yet our Mother Russia is just like that.

The sunpower plant works in tandem with an existing diesel power plant producing 460 kWts of electricity. In comparison with that 15 kWts is not that much, yet it will allow to save about 10 tons of diesel fuel yearly, which is critically important for the settlement (and quite good for nature — hi there, dear Greenpeace): the only way to get to the place on the ground is winter roads, and diesel fuel is delivered there from a transit point, where it is collected during a pretty short summer navigation period. You see, it's bloody expensive to get it there. Or, as we Russians say, it's expensive as a civil war (guess, why).

I was glad to know that the company is implementing a long-term program of renewable energy production in Russia. They are going to build up about 170 renewable energy power plants, which will total at 120 MWts.

I wish them great success.

P.S.: Sanctions, you say? We will survive. Will you?

One Man, Two Attitudes

Here are just two videos for you to consider.

June 7, 2014, Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine, the day of inauguration of Mr. Poroshenko as the elected president.

The local Ukrainian guard of honour had to stand for some hours at +32 centigrade, so one of the soldiers got a heatstroke, dropped his rifle and was close to falling unconsciously just when Poroshenko was indifferently passing by.

December 14, 2014, Poroshenko's official visit to Australia.

Quite another attitude, isn't it? I do not remember state leaders giving their bows to local guards of honour.

So who is Mr. Poroshenko?

In my humble opinion, it's more about serf-master (or, if you wish, puppet-master) relation than a proper behaviour of democratically elected president of an independent country, having a certain level of self-respect and respect to the people of his country.

They Speak Music, Too

One of the most important targets of propaganda is dehumanization of adversaries, opponents, enemies.

When your opponents are properly dehumanized, you perceive them as Untermenschen, subhumans. And, e.g., information about bombing and shelling those subhumans comes in easier: killing or oppressing subhumans is not a tragedy at all, they are not like us, they are worse, those bad guys well deserve what they are getting...

The current propaganda of Kiev (Kyiv) regime reached great success in dehumanizing of mostly ethnically Russian* population of Eastern Ukraine, especially of the unacknowledged Donetsk and Lugansk Republics. And 'vatnik'** or 'kolorad'*** are one of the softest terms they use for their formal compatriots that have enough nerve not to share with Bandera-followers their Western Ukraine-born extremely nationalistic ideology.

Wake up and see. Population of one part of Ukraine that came to power by means of a coup d'état (mistakenly taken by many for the 'Revolution of Dignity') does not want let another part live as they want. Using a real doublespeak they equated aspiration for federalization of Ukraine to separatism (which was 100% stupid, yet proved to be a very effective step in the direction of dehumanization of opponents), and that started the so-called 'Anti-Terrorist Operation' (against those who absolutely do not comply with the term 'terrorist'). Namely, a civil war.

It's not easy to see common people among those declared subhumans, yet they are. They want peaceful life, jobs, social protection. And waht seems (but just seems) to be a stumblig stone — they want to be a part of Russian World (including Russian language education), which is quite understandable, as this land for centuries was a part of the Russian Empire and than the USSR.

Evidently, some people really think the Germans in Belgium or the Swedes in Finland have more rights, because the Germans and the Swedes are first class humans, and those in Eastern Ukraine are not. In fact, following Hitler/Goebbels and their predecessors.

I hope the majority of people world wide do not share this pretty racist viewpoint, and sooner or later it becomes evident through democratic procedures.

Because people of Eastern Ukraine are just like you.

And here is a really nice proof of what I say. I do not remember who said music is a universal language, but I agree it definitely is.

Two retirees from Donetsk play music. Donbass Arena are Anatoly Bukhtiyarov (accordion, 74 y.o.) and Nikolay Gladkov (drums, 72 y.o.); they can play almost anything from Russian folk songs to classical music and hard rock.

Since this video was recorded in August, some things have happened, press says. A mortar bomb exploded 25 metres away Anatoly's house, he was contused and a splinter cut his eyebrow. He is a lucky one in comparison with hundreds of mostly civilians who have not survived the war. The civil war.

And the brave retirees go on playing in Donetsk every Saturday and Sunday (except for some days when there were heavy shellings). They complain now their open air concerts attract hundreds people (before the war there were thousands coming to listen and see), but hope that music will help Donetsk people to survive and remain who they are: humans.

Neither 'super', nor 'sub'. Just humans.

* Regarding ethnicity and nationality while discussing Russian and Ukrainian matters, please follow this link.
** Please read the footnote to this post.
*** 'Kolorad' has nothing to do with Colorado river. It's derived from Russian words for Colorado potato beetle as a derogatory and offensive term for those bearing so called 'ribbon of St. George'. In Ukraine, the ribbon became a symbol and distinction sign for those who stand against Ukrainian Nazism.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

They Say - 2

It's always nice to know there are thinking people around. Here is a good piece of Patrick J. Buchanan titled "A Foreign Policy of Russophobia", recently published in The American Conservative.

Tha article is not that large, it won't take you more than two or three minutes to read it through (though it can take considerably more time to think it over), so I am not going to copy 'n paste it here. Just some points:
H.R. 758 condemns the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia, which also broke from Georgia in the early 1990s, and in Transnistria, which broke from Moldova. But where is the evidence that the peoples of Transnistria, Abkhazia, or South Ossetia want to return to Moldova or Georgia?
We seem to support every ethnic group that secedes from Russia, but no ethnic group that secedes from a successor state. This is rank Russophobia masquerading as democratic principle.
Why would a moral nation arm Ukraine to fight a longer and larger war with Russia that Kiev could not win, but that could end up costing the lives of ten of thousands more Ukrainians?
I hope you read the full text. I do hope you will think it over. Just think and try to answer the questions Buchanan asks, using a logical approach; it helps always.

Just one thing to remember: when the House of Representatives (or any other authority, or mass media) calls something evil or black, it's possibly, but not necessarily so.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Two Pictures From My Family Album

Looking through your family archives and albums (or shoeboxes) can lead to pretty interesting discoveries.

My grandfather Timofey (Timoty) Timofeyevich Samarin was an officer of the Red Army. Due to a perfect knowledge of English he served in London from 1943 to 1949 and took a position of air assistant to military attaché and ambassador of the USSR to the UK (being a 1937 graduate of the Zhukovsky Airforce Academy, he was an aircraft engineer and designer by his military education).

And he was a member of Soviet delegations to after-war conferences that were intended to establish a new, peaceful post-war world order.

Here are just two images from his album, taken during the Paris Peace Conference (29 July to 15 October, 1946). The main aim of the conference was inclusion of former Nazi Germany allies, namely Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy and Romania, into the post war world order. The resulted treaties allowed these countries to keep their sovereignty and become members of the UN.

Captions are just like my granddad wrote them down (in my translation).

A representative of Greece lays up a claim to the Rhodopes (Bulgaria).
Elucidation of Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty, that Greek solicitations are groundless.
This very Soviet colonel-lieutenant, explaining to Albert Victor Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough, that Greece has no grounds to claim the Rhodopes, is my grandfather.

These wonderful images were taken by Gjon Mili, who worked for the Life since 1939 till his death in 1984. In 1958 the American magazine "Popular Photography" included Gjon in the list of the 10 best photographers of the present time.

The 2nd picture is signed by the author: "To Col. Samarine with my very best wishes. Gjon Mili".

I feel really sorry that my granddad passed away in 1980, when I was still too young to ask him questions and understand answers. Anyhow, enjoy the images. This is the real art of photographic journalism indeed!

This publication is my little contribution to the fact that the USSR was standing for the countries it considered its allies. Until now, such countries as Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland have pretty thick grounds to be thankful to the Soviet Union in general and its wartime leader Stalin in particular.

Please do not forget that:
Images by Gjon Mili © Time Inc. Used with permission. 
Right owner prohibits any commercial use of the images and asks me to restrict their republication.

As For Me, I Accept

I have never had a doubt that there are lots of normal, sober minded people around there, in all countries of the first, second and third worlds. Common people always want peace, peaceful cooperation, they hope for improvement of life, and they hate confrontation, terrorism, wars.

They understand that neither the USA is the empire of good, nor Russia (or, for the matter, the former USSR) is the empire of evil. They understand that we live in the world heavily affected by strongly biased propaganda.

And here is just another proof of that simple idea.
Dear President Putin and Russian People,
Please accept our apologies for the behavior of our Governments and Media. Western Nations, led by the United States, seem determined to start a war with Russia. A sane person would recognize the terrible consequences of such a war and would do everything in their power to avoid it. In fact it appears that this is exactly what you are doing. In the face of an endless stream of lies and provocations you have managed to keep Russia from being drawn into a nuclear war.
Events surrounding the war in Ukraine are twisted to represent you as an aggressor when the facts clearly show otherwise. Neo-Nazi gangs commit atrocities against the citizens of Novorussia on a daily basis and they receive political and financial support from Western governments. The Ukrainian army has attacked Russian checkpoints and towns and regularly bombs refugees attempting to flee the country. Russia was blamed for the destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, even though the evidence suggests that the flight was shot down by the Ukrainian army. You offer humanitarian aid to the people of Luhansk and you are accused of smuggling weapons into Ukraine.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Just Another Coming Out

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
It is the policy of the United States to further assist the Government of Ukraine in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity to deter the Government of the Russian Federation from further destabilizing and invading Ukraine and other independent countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. That policy shall be carried into effect, among other things, through a comprehensive effort, in coordination with allies and partners of the United States where appropriate, that includes economic sanctions, diplomacy, assistance for the people of Ukraine, and the provision of military capabilities to the Government of Ukraine that will enhance the ability of that Government to defend itself and to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unlawful actions by the Government of the Russian Federation.
From the first hand:

Evidently, that is only the USA who can do whatever they want in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Russia has no rights in this world, and the USA will fight against it till the last Ukrainian man.

Hypocrisy rules the world that the USA still tend to look as monopolar.

Russian World

From an abundant russophobic propaganda, especially inspired by the new Ukrainian authorities which use russophobia as their state ideology, you could come to quite a perversed idea of what is called the 'Russian World'. It's absolutely not about vodka, bears, devastation, vatniks* and any other kind of delirium.

For me, personally, it's more like that.

This is an announcement that appeared recently near elevators' doors in the apartment house I live in.

The announcement reads:
Low-income dwellers of our house can order a free transportation of oversized cargoes during working hours (10:00 to 18:00) or at cut rates during off-hours by agreement with the van driver Stepan (cell. phone number).
President of Group of Companies X, web address
Family name, Name, Patronymic
Boss of Centre Y, web address
Family name, Name, Patronymic
Respecting privacy of all concerned persons, I have masked personal data; besides, it's just for some dwellers of one particular house in Moscow.

Yet this is the way businesses that rent some rooms in our house cooperate with our in-house community. And such things are not unique here in Moscow, here in Russia.

And this is just a tiny little part of the Russian World.

I do hope you'll be lucky to know it better with my assistance.

* Please be so kind to read the footnote to this post.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Mark Book of the 21st Century

Have a look at the spread of a mark book of a pupil. What makes the difference is that this is a mark book of a pupil attending school in Donetsk (unacknowledged Donetsk People Republic/DNR, Novorossiya).


A teacher glued a small piece of paper onto the left page, under the Monday cell. It reads:

11.2014 a talk has been carried out...

And a bigger sheet onto the right page.

Read it thoroughly. Understand it. This is the 21st century, November, 2014. This is Europe.

Rules of Conduct During Artillery Shelling
1. Do not run if explosions are near. Fall on the ground and cover your head with hands — this is the best way to rescue.
2. During shelling at an open space, a ditch or any recess in the ground can serve as a shelter. Having found such a shelter, do not leave it until the shelling is ceased.
3. Any protrusion of the ground, or concrete blockage, or mound will do. It is not recommended to hide in basements of dwellings; there is a high risk to remain under debris.
4. It is recommended to stay away from machinery, cars, fire dangerous and explosive objects.
5. Modern buildings which are insufficiently rigid yet contain plenty of windows, glass cases and glass elements, are extremely dangerous.
6. Do not seek safety in water, river, lake or any other reservoir. After an accidental shell or bomb blast a shock wave of extreme strength will be expanding, leading to a heavy hydraulic shock (the principle of TNT fish stunning).
7. It's strongly recommended to wait through the shelling with your ears tightly closed with hands and slightly opened mouth to control pressure.
These are fruits of the so called "Revolution of Dignity" (which was not a revolution in any case and had nothing to do with dignity) the children of Eastern Ukraine, that is Novorosiya, are enjoying. This is what the so called 'civilized world' led by the USA and EU was for, helping the Ukrainian putschists to overthrow Yanukovich's "tyranny".

God save your children from such a dignity.

Add-on to My Recent Winter Post

You have to admit that a good snowfall makes Moscow look fairy beautiful, at least looking upwards (or from above).

I am lazy enough and leave the web of wires in the sky as is; anyhow, it does not spoil the mood.

For those knowing the city, the left spire is the main building of the Moscow Hippodrome, and skyscrapers disappearing in clouds in the middle are recent "decorations" nearby Begovaya Metro (subway/underground) station.

Though it's still not cold enough here to keep streets white and clean, the weather is steadily becoming enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is the Russian Winter Still Russian?

I remember the good old times, when any winter was a real Russian snowy and frosty winter. These happened to be so snowy and frosty that you might still believe General Frost had really helped the Red Army to defend Moscow from Germans back in 1941.

I don't know who is to blame, either those sanctions against Russia, or that independent El-Niño, or whatever natural (or unnatural) phenomenon else. What I know (and see with my own eyes, and feel with my own body) for sure, our Russian winter is not what it used to be.

Supposedly the beginning of the Olympic year 1980.
Me and my sister, taken on ORWO slide film by our dear late father Vladimir T. Samarin.
I'm in an overcoat and my sister in a fur coat (and looks like both in felt boots, 'valenki'), because it's just COLD over there!
1975. Guess why my cheeks are red
just like the handle of my little shovel!
When a child, in winter I enjoyed plenty of snow! Since early childhood the most wanted toy for walks was a little shovel. Snow banks and piles were often full (grown-up) human length high. Snowballs were our outdoor game number one, and there were lots of snowmans (and snowwomen!) around there. And -20 centigrade was normal, while -30 was considered as quite a minor disaster ('cause sometimes temperature could fall to -35 and even lower), and schoolchildren were allowed to stay at home if it was -28 and lower.

Only trees and bushes look like in the good old times.
And what we have now? Now we have the first somewhat real snowfall in Moscow on December, 10, and the temperature about -2 centigrade!

That's hilarious and ridiculous! Give back our winter without that dark-brown muddy pap on the roads!

They Say

One of these days a Russian online magazine and news aggregator Tjournal published an interview with Jovan Savovich, a Bosnian Serb who immigrated to Russia from former Yugoslavia early in 2000-s and started some very successful Internet sites, among which invitation-only Leprosorium and a very popular (hundreds thousands visitors) community

I am not going to translate the full inteview, it would take a lot of time and makes no sense for me, as Internet issues and mentioned sites are not what I am concerned about. Just a couple of paragrphs that fit the topic of my blog.

Here I am, a Serb who came to Russia from Bosnia, and for 13 years I've been running a web site visited by hundreds thousands people daily, and they write whatever they want, and nobody touches me. So every time somebody slanders the freedom of speech in Russia I just feel lack of words to say — my personal experience is different.
Just like every one who slanders medical service in Russia, goes against my personal experience. In Russia one can do whatever he or she wants with more freedom than anywhere else in the world, and then Russian doctors will save him from any shit, when the others would say "Just take him the f*** out to the morgue".
Surely, many people have different experience, but my personal one is more or less like that. So I live here, and not because I still have not decided where to escape, but because it's cool here.
They say various things about Russia, just like about all cool places, but in practice I do not know a country which is more free. Evidently, I am a very vatnik*. And we the vatniks are for freedom.
*Vatnik (pronounsed ['vut-nik] — a quilted (cotton wadded) jacked, used by Red Army as a part of winter uniform, cheap and warm enough for frosty weather. Vatniks were (and still are) widely used in all regions of Russia with harsh winters by all people, from prisoners of legendary and heavily mistificated GULag to free workers and peasants of both genders.
Since 2011 is used as a derogatory and offensive term for people with pro-Soviet and patriotic mentality. However, after the Ukrainian Maydan events the word is widely used by pro-Ukrainian (I mean the current Kiev regime) propaganda for anyone supporting Russia, Putin, Novorossiya, Donetsk and Lugansk Republics and ideas of the so called "Russian World". So is used the basic word vata ['vuh-tuh], literally 'cotton wool'.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

23 Years Without the USSR

23 years ago, on December 8, 1991, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich and President of Russia Boris Yeltsin signed so called Belovezha Accords, which put an end to about 70 years of the history of the USSR.

“Signing the Agreement to eliminate the USSR and establish the Commonwealth of Independent States”.
Viskuly Government House in the Belorusian National Park "Belovezhskaya Forest".
U.Ivanov/Ю.Иванов - RIA Novosti; from Wikipedia.

My personal feeling does not principally differ from that of our President Putin; I do think this was a real geopolitical catastrophe. It led to hundreds of thousands of deaths both from firearms and starvation. Aftershocks of this catastrophe are still shaking the world, but this is not that the very point I'd like to talk about.

I'd like to remind one event that took place about 9 months before Belovezha, namely, on March 17, 1991.
Voting paper of March 17, 1991 referendum.

There was a referendum on the future of the USSR, and the question read:
Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?

The total amount of registered voters, that is electorate, was more than 185,6 millions.

Five republics of the USSR, namely Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova (except for Transnistria) and Georgia (except for Abkhazia and South Ossetia) boycotted the referendum.

Nevertheless, more than 148,5 mil. people gave accepted votes, about 80% of registered electorate. 2,7 mil. people more spoiled their papers or left them blank.

There were 32,3 mil. votes (22,2%) against the Soviet Union, and 113,5 mil. of Soviet citizens (77,8%) voted for. One hundred and thirteen point five million votes. Clear majority.

What is a referendum? Isn't it the absolute way of direct democracy, when people express their will directly? Definitely so; it's way more democratic in comparison, say, to presidential elections in the USA.

If we lived in a truly democratic world, the openly expressed opinion of Soviet people (at least of 10 republics, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) should be respected.

Nine months later the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was killed by leaders of three republics that were the very core of the USSR. The fourth biggest and strongest republic of Kazakhstan had nothing to do but to accept the news.

Democracy, you say? Forget about it; it's just a fairy tale for romantic students and popular masses.

P.S.: As for me personally, I was too young then and gave too much weight to my personal opinions, not realizing some of them were artificially created by a heavy anti-Soviet propaganda; I considered the question of referendum wrongly formulated and took the paper with me. Now I feel shame that my vote is missing from those 113,5 mil. votes.

Though I understand it means nothing.