Category Archives: History, Soviet Union

Paul Grenier: “A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology)”

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Subject: A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 From: Paul Grenier <psgrenier@gmail.com> A Conservative Russia? This Means War! (The Tragedy of American Ideology) By Paul R. Grenier Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues. After advanced study in Russian affairs, international relations and geography at […]

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The New Face of Appeasement

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 10, 2015) It is time to give Nevil Chamberlain a rest as the sole poster child for appeasement. Yes, he appeased Hitler in a hopeless quest to avoid war. He even was honest enough to say that was what he was doing. But when Hitler violated Munich and seized all of Czechoslovakia, […]

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Interfax: Comintern’s archive goes online

File Photo of Joseph Stalin and Sergei Kirov as Part of Group of Five, Next to Bust of Lenin, with Faces of Other Attendees Partially Blurred

MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) – The electronic archive of the Communist International (Comintern), with a database containing 1.5 million pages, has become available for free use on the Internet, says Andrei Artizov, the head of the Federal Archive Agency. “In accordance with the agency’s decision, the new electronic archive resource was converted on a new electronic platform and is now […]

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Nemtsov: Kremlin-Watchers Find Eerie Parallel In An 80-Year-Old Murder

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar – March 1, 2015) On December 1, 1934, a killing took place that would set the stage for one of the blackest chapters in Soviet history. The victim was Sergei Kirov, the popular head of the Leningrad Communist Party and one of the few men who could stand toe-to-toe with the increasingly powerful Soviet […]

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Putin Evokes Tolstoy 26 Years After Soviet Troops Pulled Out of Afghanistan

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 16, 2015) President Vladimir Putin marked the 26th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan Sunday, vindicating his country’s involvement in the Afghan War and praising novelist Leo Tolstoy’s moral teachings. “When years pass and more facts become known, we more clearly understand the reason why Soviet troops were sent to Afghanistan,” Putin […]

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Moscow Times: Five Cases of the U.S. Arming Foreign Fighters, And What They Led To

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated with Flags Behind

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Richard Ensor – February 10, 2015) With violence escalating in eastern Ukraine, the United States is considering sending lethal arms to Kiev to counter separatist forces that Washington claims are backed by Russia. The United States has a record of giving weapons to its allies around the world, but the strategy has not always been […]

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Interfax: Gorbachev says USA draws Russia into “new cold war”

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Interfax – Moscow, January 29, 2015) The USA has already draw Russia into a “cold war”, one cannot rule out that they may “take the risk” of taking further steps towards a real war, former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev has said. “Now one keeps hearing about sanctions against Russia from America and the European Union. Have they really completely lost […]

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Interfax: In 2008 crisis also came from abroad, Russia resolved problems by itself – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 21 (Interfax) – The current, critical situation in the Russian economy was provoked from abroad, President Vladimir Putin believes. “I want to remind you that this is not the first situation of its kind which we are going through. We went through the same thing in 2008 and 2009. Then the crisis also came from the outside, it […]

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Interfax: Monument to victims of political repression will be created in Sakharov Prospekt – Pamfilova

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – Russian human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova said the Russian administration has decided to erect a monument to victims of Soviet repression on Moscow’s Sakharov Prospekt. “We discussed several options and we decided that the Sakharov Prospekt is the best place. The president agreed with the proposal made by the working group. A political decision has […]

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Interfax: Putin to not attend Auschwitz liberation anniversary events in Poland

Auschwitz Concentration Entrance with Sign Arbeit Macht Frei

(Interfax – January 13, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland on January 27, although the Russian leader attaches great importance to all commemorative events, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Interfax on Tuesday. “The president’s schedule does not include such a trip,” he […]

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RIA Novosti: Rostislav Ishchenko, 2015: Year of a Fundamental Turnabout

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(RIA Novosti – January 6, 2015) The world is entering 2015. People hope for better, but are preparing for the worst. It is hard to be optimists when the year is beginning to the salvoes of the incessant civil war in Ukraine, to Kiev’s threats to settle the problem of the Donbass and Crimea militarily before the end of 2015, […]

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In it together: How communal apartments shaped the outlook of generations

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – by Georgy Manaev- January 5, 2015) Communal apartments, where strangers lived as one big family, shaped many generations of Soviet and Russian citizens, and continue to exist even today. The lack of a private life, a striving to dole out rights and responsibilities equally, snitching, and a willingness to help one’s neighbors were […]

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Interfax: Ukraine crisis caused by USSR’s “reckless” dismantling – Gorbachev

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Interfax – Moscow, December 30, 2014) Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev believes that the world was on the brink of a major disaster in 2014. In an interview with Interfax he said this concerned not just relations between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, but events in global politics as a whole. As for relations between Ukraine and […]

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Russian Ruble’s 800-Year History Haunts Current Plunge

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 11, 2014) Sergei Sorokoumov has devoted the last quarter of a century to an attempt to raise Russian’s pride in the ruble, the country’s national currency since the 13th century. Recently Sorokoumov’s efforts seem to have become a thankless task. The Russian currency has lost over 40 percent against the U.S. […]

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Moscow Times: Theory Blaming West for Collapse of Soviet Union Gaining in Popularity, Poll Shows

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 3, 2014) More Russians blame the collapse of the Soviet Union on a “conspiracy” of hostile Western forces than seven years ago, in a sign the wave of anti-Western state media coverage unleashed during the Ukraine crisis is influencing Russians’ view of the past. A report published Monday by independent pollster Levada Center showed […]

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Historian on Spies and ‘Sosedki’ in Soviet 1960s

Stylized Artis Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Aliide Naylor – December 2, 2014) Historian Sheila Fitzpatrick first arrived in Russia as an Oxford student at the end of the 1960s. Before she and other students went, they had a meeting. “We were all summoned to the [British] Foreign Office to have a briefing. … We were taken down into a basement, with […]

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De-Stalinization Hasn’t Been Completed in Russia, Lukin Says

Joseph Stalin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 23, 2014) De-Stalinization will have occurred not when everyone denounces Stalin in a chorus at the direction of the state but rather when each person can assess him in his or her own way and have debates about him, Vladimir Lukin says. Unfortunately, Russia has not succeeded in taking that step […]

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Don’t speak, memory: Voice against Stalin’s crimes may soon be silenced

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – November 21, 2014) Russia’s supreme court is preparing to examine the lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Justice requesting to liquidate Memorial, Russia’s first organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Stalin’s repressions and victims. RBTH reports on who else is telling the truth about the past […]

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The difficulty of “Restoring Names” of the oppressed in today’s Russia

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – November 12, 2014) Crimes? What crimes? In 1997, the then prime minister of Sweden, Goran Persson, heard on the radio the results of a survey that Swedish youth knew next to nothing about the Holocaust. Outraged by the finding, he got the support of parliament to create a national […]

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Re: Churchill and War with USSR

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Crowd of Military Officers

Subject: Churchill and War with USSR Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2014 From: Jake Kipp <jacobkipp@cs.com> In May 1945 before he knew about the atomic bomb, Churchill asked the British General Staff under Field Marshal Alan Brooke to do a study of a possible war between attacking British, US, German, and Polish forces against the USSR with a start date of […]

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Putin’s Valdai Speech Echoes Not Churchill’s at Fulton but Hitler’s at Berchtesgaden, Illarionov Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 9, 2014) Some Moscow commentators have compared Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Valdai Club meeting in to Winston Churchill’s 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Missouri, but the Kremlin leader’s remarks in fact are far closer to those delivered by Adolf Hitler to Neville Chamberlain at Berchtesgaden in 1938, according to […]

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Russians Dream of ‘Soviet Empire without Communists,’ Commentators Say

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 8, 2014) What Russians now have in the Russian Federation is a Soviet system without communism and its administrative arrangements, and what they dream of is “a Soviet empire without communists,” an entity not equivalent to the tsarist empire as some think but one that reflects their memories of the USSR. […]

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Interfax: Russians see historic significance of fall of Berlin Wall in Germany’s reunion – poll

Map of Germany

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians (85%) know that the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, in November 1989, while 13% learned about the fact from the Public Opinion Foundation during a poll. Thirty-eight percent of the 1,500 respondents polled in 43 regions in November thought that the historic significance of the fall of the Berlin […]

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Russia Reenacts WWII March After Putin Defends Nazi Pact

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 7, 2014) Russian troops marched in Red Square to commemorate a World War II parade held under the noses of German invaders in 1941 two days after President Vladimir Putin defended a 1939 non-aggression pact with Hitler. Six thousand soldiers and cadets accompanied by World War II-era warplanes and other weaponry today […]

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Stalin Invented Hybrid War, Not Vladimir Putin, Archival Record Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 4, 2014) One of the most frequently invoked explanations for the inability of leaders to cope with a challenge is that it is something fundamentally new that they could not have been expected to recognize, understand, and know precisely how to respond. That has been the case in Ukraine and the […]

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Victims of Stalinist repressions remembered at Moscow ceremony

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 30, 2014) Every year on October 30, Russia marks the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression. The day before, on October 29, a day-long demonstration called ‘The Return of the Names’ is held in Moscow, where people gather on Lubyanka Square to read out the […]

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Half of Russians Expect Repeat of Soviet-Era Repression, Poll Says

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 30, 2014) Nearly half of all Russians believe that a return to Soviet-era repression is possible within their lifetime, a poll by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation revealed Wednesday. The poll, titled “Mass Repression in the Soviet Union,” examined the public’s perceptions and interpretations of Soviet-era repression. Millions were persecuted for […]

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Red Square Exhibit Sheds New Light on Soviet Cult of Lenin

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Kevin O’Flynn – October 28, 2014) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/leniniana-returns-to-red-square-to-dispel-myth-of-beloved-leader/510079.html] Everyone knew what was in the redbrick 19th-century building by Red Square in Soviet times. It was the Lenin Museum, the home – together with the nearby mausoleum – of the Lenin cult, to which a visit was a rite of passage for Soviet children, sculpting […]

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Kremlin-Run Generational Change in Regime Reproducing Soviet-Era Nomenklatura, Pastukhov Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 14, 2014) A revolution is taking place in Russia, but it is not in the streets but in the halls of government where the Putin regime is bringing into positions of power a new generation of officials who are more like the Soviet-era nomenklatura than like the people they are replacing, […]

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Moscow Times: Ex-Soviet President Gorbachev Says ‘Disunity’ With Russia Weakens Europe

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 16, 2014) Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russia and the West to put an end to their war of words and retaliatory sanctions over Ukraine and discuss a practical solution to the crisis. “How can you conduct a dialogue if you ‘punish’ the people in power who influence politics?” Gorbachev said […]

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Interfax: Europeans may have ancestors in Siberia – Russian Academy of Sciences

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Interfax – October 14, 2014) A comparison of genomes of ancient Europeans and people living in contemporary countries has shown that a Siberian tribe is an ancestor of modern Europeans, said Olga Posukh, senior research fellow of the human molecular genetics laboratory of the Cytology and Genetics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian branch. “A certain genetic component of […]

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Honored Burials, Mass Grave for Theater Greats

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – October 13, 2014) Yury Lyubimov once told me about meeting the great director Vsevolod Meyerhold. This happened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1987. I paid Lyubimov a visit to talk about his old friend, the playwright Nikolai Erdman, but the conversation, naturally and fortunately, took plenty of detours. The story in Lyubimov’s words […]

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Down with Lenin!

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

As they are toppled one after another in cities across the country, statues of Lenin are becoming an endangered species in Ukraine. But Lenin the political symbol is still alive and kicking. (opendemocracy.net – LEONID RAGOZIN – October 13, 2014) Inside a granite pyramid on Red Square, in front of the Kremlin wall, lies the mummy of a short bald […]

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Nazi death squad leader: The musical

Map of Latvia and Environs

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – BALTIC BLOG: Mike Collier in Riga – October 9, 2014) If you are constantly battling to try and disprove Russian claims that your state is essentially neo-Nazi, it doesn’t help if an evening of musical entertainment then pops up giving Nazi death squads the razzle-dazzle of a Broadway musical. That’s exactly what has happened […]

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RIA Novosti: Former Soviet Leader Gorbachev Out of Hospital, Back at Work

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told RIA Novosti on Friday that he has left hospital and is back at work. “Now I am out of hospital,” Gorbachev said. Answering a question about how he is feeling, the former Soviet leader stated that “well” would be an overstatement. “If I could reach the party assessment […]

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Business New Europe: Lenin again! Lenin statue to be re-erected after toppling in Kharkiv

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Business New Europe – October 2, 2014) Kharkiv authorities have said they will re-erect the central square statue of Vladimir Lenin that was toppled by pro-Ukraine activists. Kharkiv deputy head Ihor Terekhov said that “understanding the illegality of the monument’s toppling, the city authorities have ordered scaffolding to be put in place around the pedestal and in the immediate future […]

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We have made today’s Frankenstein with our own hands

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Kantor – September 29, 2014) Maxim Kantor is a painter, novelist and playwright. His latest novel V tu storonu (In that direction), which explores the parallel between the financial crisis and a malignant tumour, will be published in Russia shortly. When communism ended, Russia’s people wanted democracy. Instead, they got the market and neoliberalism. Now, it appears, […]

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Another Lenin Down, but How Many More Remain?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, September 29, 2014) The demolition of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has attracted international attention, with some seeing this as a provocation by one or another side in the war in Ukraine and others viewing it as an indication of the maturation of the Ukrainian revolution and […]

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Re: South shore of the Kola peninsula

Map of Russia

Subject: South shore of the Kola peninsual Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 14:09:31 -0500 From: William Brumfield <william.brumfield@gmail.com> David, below is announcement for the latest in my RBTH series. A stunning part of northwest Russia. Regards, William —— My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the south shore of the Kola Peninsula. Located near the Arctic […]

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When literature came under state control: 80 years since the First Congress of Soviet Writers

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – August 27, 2014) When literature came under state control: 80 years since the First Congress of Soviet Writers When the First Congress of Soviet Writers opened on Aug. 17, 1934 in Moscow, it marked a watershed in Soviet literature. The artistic freedom that had characterized the turbulent 1920s was now gone, replaced by forced […]

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Opposition Must Admit Most Russians Were Deceived about What 1991 Meant, Eidman Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 20, 2014) “It is time to acknowledge the responsibility of the successful minority before the 90 percent of [Russian] citizens, whose hopes for a better future were deceived” following the collapse of the Soviet system, and for that minority to make changes “in the interests of the majority which suffered these […]

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Interfax: Poll: Russians say Aug 1991 events are tragedy, not triumph of democracy

File Photo of Parliament Building Billowing Smoke in 1993

(Interfax – August 19, 2014) A relative majority of Russians (41 percent) see the August 19, 1991, putsch in the former Soviet Union as a tragedy which had harmful implications for the country and its people. The number has grown 14 percent in the past 20 years, from 27 percent in 1994, the Levada Center pollster told Interfax, referring to […]

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The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster?

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

Subject: The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster? [Adomeit’s second note] Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) The collapse of the Soviet Union: What was it — the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century or simply a major disaster? Hannes […]

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AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note][re: editorial policies, Putin, Soviet collapse, translation]

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: AW: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List [Adomeit’s first note] Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Hannes Adomeit (hannes.adomeit@t-online.de) From a senior German Russia expert: I completely agree with the observation expressed in yesterday’s issue of the senior U.S. official and the senior U.S. academic about JRL’s loss of impartiality. The bias is also amply reflected in the inclusion of those poisonous […]

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language, again [re: Putin and Soviet collapse, translation]

Vladimir Putin file photo

Subject: language, again Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 From: Harley D. Balzer <balzerh@georgetown.edu> Patrick Armstrong issued a major attack on Aslund’s characterization of Putin’s comment about the destruction of the Soviet Union. He states: So it is now perhaps time to see what it was that Putin actually said. Here it is: first in Russian, “Прежде всего следует признать, что […]

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“Krupneyshaya katastrofa” translation

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: “Krupneyshaya katastrofa” translation Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 From: Serge Markov <semar1@comcast.net> On the matter of Putin’s 2005 characterization of the fall of the Soviet Union, any educated native Russian speaker will tell you that krupneyshaya katastrofa can be rendered either as “a major” or as “the greatest catastrophe” depending on context. Methinks the context of Putin’s address favors […]

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Debate over Putin quote on the Soviet collapse

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Subject: Debate over Putin quote on the Soviet collapse Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:29:30 -0400 From: Steve Shabad <steve.shabad@verizon.net> As a Russian-English translator for my entire adult life (almost half a century), I feel compelled to weigh in on the debate between Anders Aslund and Patrick Armstrong over the famous Putin quote on the fall of the Soviet Union. […]

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Moscow Times: How & Why Russia Forgot The Great War

Romanov Family Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 1, 2014) Russia lost 3 million people in World War I. But it also provided examples of explosive military strength and economic resilience that would make any nation proud. And yet, though the 100th anniversary of the war – which Russia joined on Aug. 1, 1914 – has revived some interest […]

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[Patrick Armstrong: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2

Vladimir Putin file photo

From: Patrick Armstrong (gpa@magma.ca) Sent: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 Subject: DEADLY QUOTATIONS PART 2 A number of people have challenged my (and the official Kremlin translators’) choice of “a major” for “krupneyshey” in Putin’s famous sentence “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.” I stand by what I said: he did […]

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[Anders Åslund: re: Putin, Soviet Geopolitical Disaster:] RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

Subject: RE: 2014-#166-Johnson’s Russia List/Patrick Armstrong Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:31:4 From: Anders Aslund <AAslund@PIIE.COM> Dear David, Absurdly, Patrick Armstrong attacks me (JRL 166 #6) for translating Putin’s words “крушение Советского Союза было крупнейшей геополитической катастрофой века” with the words “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century.” Well, that is how it […]

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