Categories
history

Three historical notes on Putin’s 2022 Victory Day Parade Speech

Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day speech tells stories of how Russia has responded to threats by embracing multi-ethnic, multi-national traditions.

Categories
history literature

The Irony of Chekhov

Something tells me Chekhov and the innovations in drama he bequeathed to us may appear in my podcast series on the gifts of Russian culture.

Categories
history

How Lenin on the Train began a 100 Years War

Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train (2016), which I finished reading last night, is a very fine book. It is a gem, and perhaps ought to be recommended as among the very best introductions to the history of the Russian Revolution.

Categories
literature

A relic of another time

The Russians with Attitude podcast released to their subscribers a feature this week on the Russian writer and mystic, Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov made his way from a medical student in Kiev through the Civil War in Russia and Ukraine to a difficult life as a writer for newspapers, theatre and novels in the 1920s and 1930s. He wrote a great account of the Civil War in The White Guard, and of course the masterpiece for which he earned posthumous fame, The Master and Margarita. [Read more]….

Categories
history

The World Crisis, 2022, A Personal Record

“Everyone was dreaming, ruminating, full of foreboding, feeling his way.” (Nikolai Sukhanov on February 1917 Russian Revolution). Does this not feel a lot like us today? Do we all not feel the world is unfolding in surprising directions, and among our more difficult tasks is to feel our own way through these events?

Categories
history Personal story What I am reading

Colour Revolution on a Chaise-Longue

I took to reading Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train (2016) this morning while reclining on a scarlet chaise-longue and bathing in autumnal sunshine. The cat was on my lap, but my attention kept slipping…. [Read More]

Categories
Flowers of the Mind history

Flowers of the Mind 24

So much of the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the tragic encounters of the elites of empires and ethno-linguistic national identities. We are seeing a new version of this struggle between confected social media national identities, concealing troubled and exclusive ethno-lingusitic reasoning, and collapsing imperial orders.

Categories
Flowers of the Mind history

Flowers of the Mind 18

Operation Barbarossa and war on the Eastern Front in World War II and its relevance to popular memory and geopolitics. Joint statement of Xi-Putin summit comments on history of WWII. The Anglo-American illusions of Munich: the edge of war. Russophobia and the collapse of Anglo-American diplomacy.

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Flowers of the Mind

Flowers of the Mind 17

A holiday of regeneration. The crisis in Europe, Ukraine, the failure of American diplomacy and the end of NATO. The Siege of Leningrad, Vladimir Putin, Operation Barbarossa, and Dmitri Likhachev on the Russian Soul. Elena Shvarts and the Flora of Ukraine. Russian Ark and the survival of culture in the floating hermitage of the Neva.

Categories
Flowers of the Mind

Flowers of the Mind 15

Elena Shvarts, New Jerusalem Monastery, Patriarch Nikon and the Resurrection of religious life in Russia. A definition of empire. Olga Tokarczuk and the Books of Jacob. Please consider purchasing my collected poems, Gathering Flowers of the Mind, and listening to my podcast, The Burning Archive. Best wishes for renewal in the New Year.

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Flowers of the Mind

Flowers of the Mind 13

Dominic Lieven, Napoleon vs Russia, and the eastward expansion of NATO. The Hundred Years Cold War. Mary Sarotte, Not One Inch, James Baker and Mikhail Gorbachev. Totalitarianism and public health.

Categories
Flowers of the Mind

Flowers of the Mind 6. Asvina (week 4) 2021

Glenn Greenwald, Havana Syndrome and Anglophone Russophobia. Vladimir Putin, Nikolai Berdyaev and the Free Academy of the Infinite Conversation. The return of history and the last democracy. Woke cults. Saint Thomas More and Thomas a Kempis. Elena Shvarts. Culaincourt and the retreat from Moscow…. and Afghanistan. Gideon Haigh, Melbourne lockdowns, wastelands, and the false freedom event.