Voices from Russia

Monday, 22 September 2014

22 September 2014. The “Quiet Hunt”… That be “Mushrooming” for Them Not in the Know…

00 mushrooming in Ivanovo Oblast. Russia. 22.09.14

Mushrooming in Ivanovo Oblast

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Russians are PASSIONATE about mushrooms… we love ‘em! No, we LOVE ‘EM! Any which way we can get ‘em, and any which way you care to prepare ‘em, most Russians are the head of the queue when it comes to mushroom appreciation. If you go mushrooming, ya gotta wear yer grubbies and your rubber wellies… no two ways about it! Use a wicker basket to carry your prizes… if you use plastic bags, they turn into undifferentiated goo. This is the most popular “hunt” in Russia, hands down… them griby be Good Eats…

BMD

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Ethnic Cleansing of Russians… Habsburg-Style

00g Memorial to Talerhof. Hanging of the Martyrs

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Editor:

Don’t believe a word that you hear from “Ukrainian Orthodox” or “Ukrainian Catholics”. Do note that they say nothing of their roles as rat finks for the Habsburgs or as willing bully boys for the Nazis. They scream, “A knife for the Moskals!” and “Ukraine for Ukrainians only!” If you support them in any way, you support racism of the most rancid Nazi sort… Hitler WAS an Austrian, wasn’t he? Talerhof was an Austrian death camp… fancy that…

Никто не забыт и ничто не забыто. No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.

BMD

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September 2014 marks one hundred years since the foundation of the first European concentration camp, Talerhof. Indeed, in fact, it was the first death camp in history. For us, this date is of particular importance, as the Habsburgs created this camp for those who considered themselves Russians. Its main objective was genocide of the Russian people, to carry out the Ukrainiasation of Western Rus, owned at the time by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Ukrainianism is a peculiar ideology, it appears as a form of national patriotism, but in fact, it’s rather the opposite, having its basis in the rejection of a real native tradition. Primarily, this is due to the absence of a real ethnic identity on which it could draw upon for the basis of building nationhood. In other countries, nation-states arose on the foundation of already-existing historical traditions of ethnic and national identity, but Ukrainian nationalists had to “start from scratch”, they had to graft upon the local population a new, not previously existing, sense of self-identity and self-awareness. Historically, at the end of the 19th century almost nobody in Galicia and Bukovina considered themselves Ukrainians… only a small handful of people who participated in the so-called “Ukrainian” political movement thought of themselves as such. In general, their ideology stipulated that the Russian people of Southwestern Rus were entirely different from the Russian people in Northeastern Rus, as they needed to find a different name for themselves and create a distinct self-identity. From the 1890s, Vienna began to support these ideas actively and even helped to implant such notions officially, as it gave them an opening to try to overcome pro-Russian sentiments in the eastern Slavs of their empire, in an atmosphere of deteriorating relations with Russia amidst expectations of a major war.

Thus, as the Ukrainian movement lacked a real social base, its first steps in politics were concerned with changing the traditional ethnic identity of the population from its previous perspective. The only way to create a new Ukrainian people was through the ethnocide of the local Russian population. In reality, Ukrainians are inseparable from Rus… because that’s their very basis. Moreover, as even very harsh ethnocidal measures wouldn’t be enough to get millions of people to abandon their ancestral identity, there were times when those who approved of the so-called Ukrainian project needed to utilise direct genocide, that is, the physical destruction of particularly recalcitrant elements. Today, we see how governmental elements spread the Ukrainian ideology throughout the former Ukrainian SSR, and how they moved to outright extermination when the people in the Donbass resisted the violent Ukrainiasation of their region. The most important feature of this persecution, attesting to its genocidal character, is that this destruction isn’t just amongst active political and public figures; it applies to the whole population… children, women, and old people. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised at the numerous bombardments of residential areas… the killing and expulsion of civilians is the most important goal of the current hostilities.

The Talerhof anniversary reminds us that policies favouring the ethnocide of Russian people have been around for a long time. The first large-scale actions of this nature occurred a hundred years ago in Austria-Hungary, but the preparations for them took a few years. Waves of arrests began in 1909, the majority of Russian organisations had to suspend activities, they expelled Rusin MPs from Parliament, and everyone suspected of pro-Russian sympathies ended up on police lists. The Austrians treated Russian self-identity and the Orthodox religion as treason. We should note that commitment to traditional ethnic identities and religion didn’t always mean that one was a Russophile, as it came from loyalty to local traditions, not from a geopolitical orientation. However, the Viennese authorities considered any manifestation of Russian tradition as dangerous… so, they considered this traditional orientation criminal. Most often, they charged “Russophiles” with spying for Russia, although it’s clear that there couldn’t be thousands of spies. Another typical charge found in this campaign was “propaganda of Orthodoxy”, as we see in a series of high-profile political trials. From the very beginning of the 20th century, in all the Russian lands of the empire, there was a massive return of Uniates to Orthodoxy, so, Vienna decided to resist this with the harshest methods possible. The era of Western religious wars seemed long gone, but in the early 20th century, the Habsburg persecutions of those holding the “wrong faith” became the norm.

However, truly massive repressions began only with the beginning of the war. In the early stages, the police carried them out using pre-prepared lists, drafted after receiving reports on “politically unreliable” subjects from Polish and Ukrainian political activists. During the first days of the war alone, the police arrested about 2,000 Russophiles in Lvov alone. Soon, the prisons held a significant part of the Russian intelligentsia. The Austrians arrested thousands, including peasants, although they mainly carried out massacres in villages on the spot. There wasn’t enough space in the normal prisons for such a large number of suspected “traitors”, so, the Austrian authorities decided to build concentration camps. The first camp appeared in Talerhof, near Graz in Styria. The Austrians adopted the idea of concentration camps from the British, who were the first to apply this innovation at the turn of the 20th century during the Anglo-Boer War. However, Talerhof was the first concentration camp in Europe. It’s noteworthy that neither the South African nor the Austrian camps were POW camps or prisons for convicted criminals; their sole purpose was to isolate and destroy populations suspected of showing sympathy for the enemy.

The first prisoner convoy arrived at Talerhof on 4 September 1914, the day after Russian troops occupied Lvov. Soon afterwards, another camp for Russophiles opened in Terezín in northern Bohemia. Here prisoners had relatively better conditions as it was a prewar fortress. Many prisoners went to Terezín first, then, to Talerhof, where there wasn’t even barracks until winter 1915… the prisoners slept on the ground under the open sky. Thousands of people from Galicia, Bukovina, Podkarpatskaya Rus, and Lemkovshchina suspected of pro-Russian sympathies landed in concentration camps. There were even mass roundups of entire villages. Amongst the prisoners, there were many women and children. Just at Talerhof, from 4 September 1914 to 10 May 1917, by the most conservative estimates, more than 20,000 people passed through the camp, a few thousand of them died. Prisoners were systematically beaten and tortured, executions occurred regularly. The camp invented a number of new types of execution (for example, a kind of hanging on poles), which were then often used in both World Wars. Due to terrible unsanitary conditions, people died in large numbers from disease. In the winter of 1914-1915, there was a typhus epidemic. Creating conditions for the death of prisoners from disease was typical for the German concentration camps in Poland and its POW camps for Red Army men, but the first use of such was at Talerhof.

At the end of May 1915, German troops retook eastern Galicia. After the Russian troops withdrew, the Austrians intensified their repressions. Many Galicians fled to Russia. This movement pleased Vienna, as it helped them in their main goal… cleansing Galicia of all pro-Russian elements. Since the line between “Ukrainians” and “Russophiles” often ran between brothers or generations in the same family, the repressions affected almost all the Eastern Slavic population of the region. In general, during the First World War, from 30 to 40,000 Russophiles ended up in camps, and the total number of repressed according to the Talerhof Almanac, was more than 120,000. However, in the countryside, the Austro-Hungarian army often destroyed entire villages, and these victims aren’t included in the calculation of the repressed. The Talerhof camp closed on 10 May 1917 under the new emperor, Karl I, who wrote in his decree that the camp didn’t imprison the guilty, but the authorities arrested them precisely so that they wouldn’t commit crimes. Because of this genocidal campaign, the proportion of Eastern Slavs who lived in Lvov shrank by one-half, and the Ukrainian movement, which incited hatred of all things Russian, grew from a marginal movement to the predominant force in the region.

During the interwar period, a Talerhof Committee existed in Lvov, comprised of former prisoners of the camp. Their purpose was to document war crimes and to reinforce the memory of the genocide. They managed to publish four issues of Talerhof Almanac, which published evidence and eyewitness accounts of the tragedy. In 1928, the Talerhof Museum opened in Lvov. On the anniversary of the opening of the camp, the Russian community in Lvov held Talerhof Memorial Days. Later, under the Soviets, such activities became impossible. In interwar Poland, the authorities favoured a split amongst eastern Slavs, so, people with Russian and Ukrainian identity in Galicia were approximately the same in number, as evidenced by the 1931 Polish census. However, communist Moscow dealt the “Old Russian movement” a final crushing blow. They closed all Russophile organisations; the majority of leading Russophiles landed in Soviet camps or they fled abroad. After moving the majority of Poles in Galicia to the Polish People’s Republic, in a couple of decades, the Communist Party and the Soviet authorities created an almost purely Ukrainian Galicia… a result that radical Ukrainian nationalists of previous decades didn’t even dare to dream of.

Today, the Graz-Talerhof airport obliterates the site of the concentration camp, and its runways are as smooth as is the Galician historical memory. Back in 1934, a modest monument to the Talerhof victims was set up in Lychakovsky Cemetery in Lvov, which you can see today. However, modern Lvov is unaware of it. Even graduates of the local history department and historians are surprised when they hear something about Talerhof… it’s removed from the memory of local residents. The total Ukrainisation carried out under the Soviets erased this memory, because this memory undermines the Ukrainian national project. However, we should nevertheless note that at the beginning of October, 2004, on the eve of the “Orange Revolution”, the Verkhovnaya Rada adopted a decree, “On the 90th anniversary of the Tragedy at the Talerhof Concentration Camp”, which quite honestly said, “The Austro-Hungarian authorities repressed those citizens of its Empire who considered themselves Rusins, who saw themselves as part of the undivided Russian people”. This document included efforts to perpetuate the memory of the victims of the Habsburg terror. Further developments opened a new page in the history of the modern Ukraine, then, it became quite problematic to mention the country’s real history. The 100th anniversary of the tragedy didn’t lead to any formal decisions or official statements in the Ukraine.

Unfortunately, in our own days in Russia, the memory of the first European camp that was designed to torture and kill those who confessed a Russian self-identity and the Orthodox faith, is relevant for a very small part of informed society. The efforts of a few activists to educate Russians about the history of this tragedy and honouring its anniversaries haven’t yet attained the proper results. In general, we think that this terror killed about 60,000 victims, although exact figures aren’t available. However, we have to admit that this genocide was very successful, as evidenced by its results. Russophilism, Orthodoxy, and traditional identity virtually disappeared in Galicia, and took a heavy blow in neighbouring areas. Sadly, the predominance of the so-called Ukrainian movement in modern history only testifies to the effectiveness of such measures. In our days, events in Novorossiya show us that the Ukrainian leadership approves of the destruction of the “very stubborn” to cleanse the region. On the 100th anniversary of Talerhof, we see similar ideas and methods of the Habsburg terror campaign carried out in other regions of the Ukraine, on its opposite end. If it’s successful, then, a few decades later, only a few will remember that people in the Donbass used to speak Russian.

14 September 2014

Oleg Nemensky

Russkaya Vesna

http://rusvesna.su/recent_opinions/1410684097

Paffso’s Old Monastery to Face Wrecking Ball

00 point reyes monastery. 20.09.14

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An anonymous developer wants to tear down the remnants of an old monastery in Inverness Park CA to build six new structures, totalling 8,300 square feet of building area. The 17-acre parcel near the start of Drakes Summit had been the home of St Eugene’s Hermitage, a Christian community that lived in cramped cottages, made candles, and whispered prayers in a small white chapel since 1951. The monks departed in 2006 after repeated attempts to expand provoked neighbours’ ire, leaving the property unoccupied and littered with fir needles for the past several years. The new owners, Hidden Dragon, LLC, submitted designs to county planners last month to demolish the four existing structures and build a 5,494-square-foot two-story home, a second 750-square-foot residence for the caretakers, a 1,316-square-foot detached studio for art or writing, two garages, a lap pool, and a “meditation hut”. They also plan to install two septic systems, two 5,000-gallon water tanks, a 1,000-gallon propane tank, and four parking spaces for guests. They want to remove four dozen Douglas-fir, California bay, coast live oak, and madrone trees, 31 of which have protected status due to their size; they’d replant 28 California live oak big leaf maple and buckeye trees.

The Inverness Association’s design review committee will look at the application over the coming weeks, said Bridger Mitchell, the group’s vice president. The Community Development Agency is accepting comments on the application’s completeness and the project’s merits until next Friday, 12 September. Designed by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, whose other residences the New York Times described as “ruggedly elegant” and “uncomplicated” in form, the primary residence is a steel and concrete structure with a painted metal roof. Its walls would feature an aged-wood siding to match the dense forest around the home, and its rooms look out onto the landscape through large windows. Architect Steve Grim said that his design intends to be a transition between the meadow and the forest on the parcel, a mediation “between those two experiences while being in and of both”. It utilises a pavilion structure to reduce bulk and keep a low visual profile from the street. Inspired by the J B Blunk house, Mr Grim said that the design means to be “sustainable, healthy, and visually unobtrusive”.

Chris Stanton, who represents the titleholders through his San Rafael CA-based firm, Inverness Construction Management, wouldn’t disclose the names behind the limited liability corporation. According to the California Secretary of State’s records, the agent behind the LLC is Whitney Rugg, who lives in a luxury Presidio Landmark apartment recently remodelled from a dilapidated graffiti-painted hospital in San Francisco. The home will be their secondary residence for now, but the owners plan to retire here, Mr Stanton said (a young couple with a child who previously lived in West Marin will be the property’s stewards and live fulltime in the second cottage). In that sense, the property is returning to its oldest use… Inverness began as a hideaway, or a hermitage, if you will, for those in “the Establishment”, as historian Jack Mason wrote in Earthquake Bay. During the summer, “bankers, doctors, and judges from San Francisco and the Valley cities, and academicians from the Berkeley scene” retreated to their Inverness houses, which “reflected taste and affluence that set the town apart from the jerry-built summer colonies elsewhere in the county”.

James Cobb, who worked in the insurance business and lived in Berkeley with his wife and five children, built the first house on the parcel, which appears to still be standing, in 1920. During the summer town’s heyday… between the building of a horse-and-wagon stageline to Point Reyes Station in 1905 and the downturn after the Great Depression that bankrupted the hotels… the house was a vacation home, presumably, or even a rental. A later owner, Maria Lurie of San Francisco, gifted the property to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1951. She named it St Eugene’s as a memorial to her son Eugene Lurie, an infantryman killed on the last day of World War II only hours before the declaration of peace.

The first inhabitant, Rev Dimitri Egoroff, built two small cottages… one with a chapel suitable for one person to occupy and another with a kitchen and reception area for guests. In a 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri recounted, “In the California forest, on the small hill on which the monastery stands, an air of detachment from one’s surroundings, which were somewhere down below, wafted. The place reminded one of something Athonite (a holy mountain in Greece with twenty Orthodox monasteries) and breathed an untroubled peace”. Under vows of poverty, chastity, and solitude, Fr Dmitri lived alone, praying the morning matins and the nightly even-song until his health began to decline after 18 years. At each sunset, his chanting, “Thou makes darkness and it is night”, echoed through the forest accompanied by floating trails of incense.

After the founder left, several monks trickled in and out until a group of nuns moved from Calistoga in 1983. They resumed a years-long project to build a small chapel suitable for services. Completed in 1988, they built it around the cupola from the belltower of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, where the young Mr Lurie had been a member of the congregation before his death. A relic with a piece of a saint’s toe and painted icons of Jesus surrounded the walls, all lit by beeswax candles on silver bases. When the nuns could no longer care for the property and moved to Santa Rosa, the Monastery of St John took over operations in 1996. They continued to make candles in a rusting shipping container and pray in regular devotions, but the growing organisation of about a dozen monks needed to expand beyond the original dwellings, intended for one or two people, and had since fallen into disrepair due to crude construction and an infestation of black mould after years in fog. The monks’ plans faced continual rejection… “stymied by Marin County officialdom”… and eventually, fed up, they dismantled their small chapel, loaded it onto the back of a flatbed truck, and carried it off with them north to Manton, a remote town in Tehama County, in 2008.

Mr Stanton said the new owners, like the holy men before them, have “concerns” about how their plans will be received, saying, “I wouldn’t equate it with the chapel, a residence, and having 30 people at the site, but you know, it’s West Marin, and so we plan to see some objections raised”. One wonders how the men and women in black robes would react to seeing their cottages bulldozed, how the monks who renounced this world to instead plead daily for repentance would feel observing the new owners towel off from the pool and retreat into their own meditation hut. In his 1956 sermon, Fr Dmitri gave his own arguments justifying a “small, modest, secluded” life. He preached, “A person in the world becomes accustomed to the world and starts to live by its interests, but we know that everything in the world is temporary and swiftly passing. As for man, his days are as the grass… as a flower of the field, so shall he blossom forth. For when the wind is passed over it, then it shall be gone, and no longer will it know the place thereof”.

4 September 2014

Christopher Peak

Point Reyes (CA) Light

http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/proposed-inverness-park-home-would-raze-historic-retreat

Friday, 5 September 2014

5 September 2014. Some of My Favourite Things… “The Battle of Choirs” in Moscow

01 melancholy music red rose

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