Category Archives: Russia

They’re all criminals

Years ago, I worked with a software developer from the Ukraine. We were talking about something related to Russian politicians, and he abruptly looked at me and said: “They’re all creem-een-als.” Those of you who’ve known Eastern European emigres or … Continue reading

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn, RIP

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died. More than anyone else, he demolished the belief that a pure Leninism had been debased by Stalinism, and furnished plentiful examples of the future’s discreditable past. Mr. Solzhenitsyn was a great man. Some select quotes from … Continue reading

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The Georgian godfather

I was quite interested in Adolf Hitler as a youth. I read and reread books about him. With the advent of the History (aka. Hitler) Channel, Hitler is even more fascinating to people. My theory is that much of this … Continue reading

Posted in Clive, Mugg, etc, History, Russia | 2 Comments

Such are the workings of providence

“One morning just before the October [1917] Revolution,” recalls Anna Alliluyeva, “there was a ring at the door. I saw a smallish man dressed in a black overcoat and a Finnish cap on the threshold. ‘Is Stalin at home?’ he … Continue reading

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Land of oddities, part II

Most tourists visit Moscow to see the ballet, the Kremlin, and the churches. There weren’t any Stalin tours when I was over there a few years ago. Requesting such from a Russian would prompt a suspicious retort: “Why would you … Continue reading

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Land of oddities, part I

There are some really bizarre places in Russia. Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, for one. The modern part is where the glitterati who didn’t make the Kremlin Wall were buried: Yeltsin, Khruschev, Raisa Gorbachev, Mayakovsky, Orlova, Stalin’s second wife, cosmonauts, generals. … Continue reading

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Things adults and children have done

Tim Ware notes a detail of 17th century Russian court life. [Worship] Services lasting seven hours or more were attended by the Tsar and the whole Court… The children were not excluded from these rigorous observances. ‘What surprised us most … Continue reading

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St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, we stayed at a hotel where, looking out a window, I could see one of Dosteovsky’s flats. Across the square lay majestic St. Isaac’s, commissioned by Alexander I. Not far away was Tchaikovsky’s apartment. Across a small … Continue reading

Posted in General, Glory!, History, Russia | 1 Comment

A Glimpse of Heaven in Vladimir

As always in life, the best moments are unplanned. On the way to see the lovely Russian church shown in a previous post, we stopped with our guide in Vladimir. We stepped into the medieval Assumption Cathedral, perhaps around noon, … Continue reading

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Reentering the Gulag

Every few years I re-read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago for its chronicle of heroism and mind-boggling wickedness, its powerful phrasing, its uncompromising honesty and moral beauty, its vicious wit and wisdom. It describes the criminality and crushed lives, the rottenness, and … Continue reading

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The Pearl on the Nerl

This is the 12th-century Church of the Intercession near Bogolyubovo in Russia. It stands alone in a remote field by the small Nerl river. To this eye it is one of the loveliest churches ever constructed.

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Stalin and God

Stalin’s atheism was neither abrupt nor complete. His atheism was a rebellion against God rather than a disavowal of the deity. So says Donald Rayfield in “Stalin and His Hangmen.” It is a most intruguing statement about this hard, cruel … Continue reading

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St. Mugg recalls Russia

Malcolm Muggeridge was one of the greats of the 20th century. His memoir, Chronicles of Wasted Time, is a sharp, hilarious journey through key events of the past century. Two vignettes follow from this beautifully-written book, both from his time … Continue reading

Posted in Clive, Mugg, etc, Russia | 1 Comment