Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Russian round up

Of sorts. I haven't been able to do a proper comic post because I've been reading less JLE since my laptop was making odd noises and I just haven't had a chance to write thoughts about last week's comics, (which were very good incidentally, but more of that on another date). So, here is a pile of links which I have found interesting recently:

Russian Oligarch buys the Evening Standard. Oh and he's an ex KGB agent too. Hmm. How did this not get more coverage? This can't be a good thing, he's ex KGB - I'm assuming he has a rather dodgy set of ethics. Of course, he may have changed since he was a spy, but I doubt it, I don't think people can shed personalities, habits and values that easily. The BBC article reports that the paper will "establish a new editorial committee to "safeguard the principle of editorial independence". I wonder what that will actually mean?
Of course all this kerfuffle kind of presumes that the UK doesn't have it's own spies and has never acted immorally. Which is naive of me.

Stalin nearly gets named greatest Russian in a recent poll

So when I was shocked at this I knew I was naive. The issue here is that Stalin was in the lead early on and only narrowly missed winning, so the Communists have argued that the poll was rigged. I also think it's worth noting that Lenin came sixth. The named winners are:
1: Alexander Nevsky, a medieval warrior
2: Pyotr Stolypin, an early 20th Century Prime Minister
3: Stalin
4: Alexander Pushkin
6: Lenin
11: Catherine the Great

Now, I have no difficulty with accepting that the votes were rigged in order to get Putin approved personalities to win, especially in light of the view that Stolypin seems unlikely to be rather more loved than Stalin, Lenin or Pushkin.
What I do have a problem with is accepting that that many people do actually still love Stalin. He murdered millions. Surely the Russian population know this? How can it be swept under the carpet? I know he was responsible for industrialising the country, and he did modernise Russia and did bring it up to speed somewhat, but c'mon. The terror? The polarising of society? The completely avoidable famine? The wiping out of the kulaks? The mass murders? The paranoia, the insanity? The rewriting of history? How is he still revered within the popular imagination?

And this man received more votes than Lenin? Lenin who they still have on display in Red Square? Who incidentally is very waxy, and very very awesome. I thought Krushchev had successfully discredited Stalin, to the point where his cult of personality was dismantled and not to be retrieved again at later date. Obviously I was wrong and need to go back and research this some more.

On a brighter note, damn this girl works hard. She's British and has won herself a place at the Kirov Vaganova ballet school in St Petersburg. God she's dedicated. And brave.

Lastly, there's this article on how Russia needs a renewal of the feminist movement. I haven't read this yet but it looks like it could be interesting.

I wish I could go back to Russia. My plan is to save for a 2 week language holiday, stay with a Russian family somewhere outside of St Petersburg or Moscow. God it will be wonderful. But it will take a looong time to save, because I'm going to Japan first.
On the plus side this site gives prices and it's not too expensive. Minimum of 800 quid, in Novosibirsk. But 800 for two weeks, including lessons and accommodation, is, I think, very reasonable. I really want to go. :(

Currently listening to: Lots of 90s indie - Geneva, Marion and Ash. Ahh, wonderful times. A friend is getting rid of a bunch of CDs so I rifled through them first, came home with 40 odd.

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