Russian craftsmen in Kaliningrad shall recreate parts of the legendary Amber Room, a Tsarist-era antiquity looted by Nazi Germany during World War II. The restoration plan by the Kaliningrad Oblast government is part of a campaign to stop illegal mining in amber-rich areas near the Baltic coast. The region has the world’s largest-known amber deposits. Experts estimate that criminals mine 60-100 tons of amber illegally every year in Kaliningrad Oblast, which holds more than 90 percent of the world’s total known amber reserves and is home to the world’s only natural amber strip-mine.
King Friedrich I invited German craftsmen to decorate the main hall of his palace with amber panels shortly after his accession to the Prussian throne in 1701. However, after the king’s death in 1713, his son Friedrich Wilhelm I put an end to the expensive work, and put the amber panels on the walls of a small room of the Stadtschloss (City Palace) in Berlin. Three years later, he gave the panels as a present to Tsar Pyotr Veliki, who stored them in his Summer Palace, at Petergof. It was only in 1743 that Tsaritsa Yelizaveta Petrovna decided to use the amber panels to decorate one of her main chambers in the Winter Palace. Craftsmen expanded on the original decorations, eventually turning them into the legendary Amber Room, often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world”.
The Wehrmacht looted the decorations during World War II, and took them to Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), where they were lost in the fierce fighting and air raids at the end of the war in 1945. Eventually, the Russians only rediscovered two small parts of the room’s decoration and returned them to Russia. According to the Kaliningrad Oblast Culture Minister Svetlana Kondratyeva, the Amber Room replica will be in the 1899 building of the Königsberg State Amber Factory, which, following its renovation, will then house the Kaliningrad Amber Museum. Museum visitors will be able to watch the craftsmen at work replicating the room through glass panels.
14 May 2013
So, You’re Really Going to Believe in an Animal!
I guess that you can deduce Yolkin’s “take” on Groundhog Day… he doesn’t “believe”. I think that Punxsutawney Phil has to make a house-call in Moscow… oh, yes… the octopus tentacle is a reference to Paul the Octopus (a resident of the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen in Germany), who “chose” the winners in the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches. Fie on the RIA translator… they distorted Yolkin’s intent, yet again. There’s none of the disdain of the original Russian in their English rendering (changing it into an innocuous wistfulness). They’re namby-pamby… they fuck up Yolkin’s plays on words and make no attempt to carry over the “atmosphere” of the original into the translation. What a buncha maroons…
Today, people believe that some animals have supernatural abilities allowing them the ability to predict the weather or the outcome of a football match, because in an age of modern technology, there’s a lack of the miraculous, and there’s not enough connection with the natural world. Psychologists told RIA-Novosti ahead of Groundhog Day that people are inclined to believe in animal oracles such as Punxsutawney Phil and Paul the Octopus because they bring magic into everyday life.
1 February 2013
Recently, one of the Cabinet told me about the passing of a relative who’d fought in the VOV with the RKKF. His ship was torpedoed and he spent 24 hours clinging to wreckage in the sea until another Red warship picked him out of the water. This wasn’t an untypical story… it was repeated thousands of times… on many fields, on many seas, in the sky over many lands. Literally, we owe our comfortable lives to those who fought in the Anti-Hitler Coalition. Whether it was in the British, American, Soviet, Chinese, or other Allied forces, they fought objective and demonstrative evil. Thank them before it’s too late to do so… they made our world possible.
To the living victors… вечная слава!
To the victors who’ve passed… вечная память!
Not one of them is forgotten… nothing of their deeds is forgotten.