Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

25 August 2015. Translated Russian Demot… Anglo-Saxon Logic Doesn’t Change

00 henry viii 250815


Now, WHO was “The Terrible?”


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Killing Irony with Ivan Grozny and an Orthodox Activist

00 Tsar Ivan Grozny Kills... All meme. 09.10.13


Ivan Grozny lived a long time ago and the passage of time does distort historical figures… sometimes, truth is hard to separate from fiction. Still, probably, it’s safe to say that Ivan Grozny wasn’t a fan of pluralism and open socio-political discourse. Keeping that in mind, it’s particularly interesting to observe the scandal around Ilya Repin’s iconic painting of the man, a work colloquially known as Ivan Grozny Killing His Son (the “official” name of the work is Ivan Grozny and His Son Ivan, 16 November 1581). The painting purports to show the immediate aftermath of Ivan Grozny’s fatal attack on his son following a heated argument. A bleeding Ivan Jr dies in his father’s arms with a look of acceptance on his face, whilst horror and grief overcomes the tsar himself. Indeed, the question of whether Ivan Grozny did kill his son was the subject of historical debate. Some experts say that it’s possible that Ivan Jr, the heir apparent, died of an illness and that someone invented the story of an accidental killing later.

Today, the debate surrounding the painting isn’t so much historical as it’s hysterical. A prominent Orthodox businessman, Vasili Boiko-Veliky, demanded that the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow remove the painting from its collection, calling it “unpatriotic” and “slanderous”. According to Boiko-Veliky, Ivan Grozny was an upstanding and just Russian ruler who couldn’t have killed his son. Boiko-Veliky told Gazeta Metro Rossiya (Газета Metro Россия), “People… especially, young men and women… come to the Tretyakov Gallery and on a subconscious level internalise this [image] of a cruel and barbaric Russia, the country where we live. This is slander… not just against Ivan Grozny, but against our country, against our people, against our statehood”.

Already, plenty of people have made fun of Boiko-Veliky’s position. A popular internet meme that existed before the latest scandal surrounding the painting (this isn’t the first time that someone attacked this particular work by Repin… someone slashed it with a knife in 1913) is once again making the rounds in response to the controversy. Titled Ivan Grozny Killing… All (Иван Грозный убивает… всех), the meme features Photoshopped images of the grief-stricken tsar embracing everyone from Kenny from South Park to the figure in Edvard Munch’s The Scream (formal title, The Scream of Nature). The head of Mitki, a renowned alternative painters’ collective in St Petersburg, sarcastically offered to paint a “bundled-up, rosy-cheeked” baby that could replace the Repin painting in the Tretyakov’s permanent collection. The Russian edition of GQ magazine also got in on the act, featuring a selection of other paintings that we should also ban, if we follow Boiko-Veliky’s logic. Amongst them is the Mona Lisa (because she doesn’t have eyebrows and could, therefore, warp young women’s views on personal grooming) and Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (because the man in the painting looks too much like Putin).

What’s fascinating to me here is the logic behind Boiko-Veliky’s insistence that we remove the Repin painting. Boiko-Veliky, a dairy magnate with considerable clout, could’ve easily sponsored, say, a book on why he thinks the Repin portrait isn’t historically accurate. He could’ve called a conference, created a seminar, or, hell, just paid a bunch of modern artists to paint different, more “patriotic” works on the life of Ivan Grozny. The great thing about money is that it can go a long way… particularly, where artists are concerned, as they’re usually broke. Alas, Boiko-Veliky isn’t interested in scholarly discussion or fostering an environment where different accounts of Ivan Grozny’s life can compete. Indeed, it’s probably safe to say that Ivan Grozny would’ve himself banned such a painting (and probably had Repin executed, had they been historical contemporaries), so, perhaps, Boiko-Veliky is more like the tsar than he realises. The ironic thing is that Repin’s painting did more than merely keep thousands of Russian schoolchildren marginally aware of Ivan Grozny’s historic persona. The immense power of the painting, the terrible, stricken look of nearly animalistic grief on Ivan’s face, did more to humanise the tsar than any other historic portrayal. In his patriotic desire to defend the tsar’s memory, Boiko-Veliky didn’t just overshoot the mark… he missed the point entirely.

8 October 2013

Natalia Antonova



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

8 October 2013. Perhaps, the Most Fave Internet Meme in Russia… “Иван Грозный убивает… всех” … “Ivan Grozny Kills… All”

00 Ivan Grozny Kills... the Statue of Liberty. 08.10.13

Ivan Grozny kills… the Statue of Liberty


00 Ivan Grozny Kills... R2D2. 08.10.13

Ivan Grozny kills… R2D2


00 Ivan Grozny Kills... Kenny. 08.10.13

Ivan Grozny kills… Kenny


It’s one of the most fave internet memes in Russia. It’s gotten even more popular after the recent kafuffle concerning Repin’s painting. If you don’t believe me, run a Google search on Иван Грозный убивает… всех (you have to do it in Russian for it to work properly). Most of ’em are a hoot-and-a-half, and you’ll laugh your fool head off at some of them (I certainly did). There’ll always be a Russia… thank God for that! Have a smile…


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Putin Sez Re-Educating Youth Is Answer to Russia’s Moral Crisis

00 Vladimir Putin. 06.12. judo dojo. kids


On Wednesday, in his state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said that Russian society lacks the “spiritual braces” to hold it together, and that we should look to education and “traditional values” to change that situation, saying, “It pains me to speak of this… but Russian society today lacks spiritual braces… kindness, sympathy, compassion towards one another, support, and mutual assistance; it lacks those qualities that always made us stronger throughout our long history”.

Putin went on to say that whilst government interference in people’s convictions and views smacks of “totalitarianism” and is “absolutely unacceptable”, the state should focus on strengthening society’s “spiritual-moral foundation” through education and youth policy. He instructed the government to prepare a supplementary educational programme focusing on “vospitanie”… a Russian cultural concept that refers to preparing young people for adulthood, usually through moral upbringing and conferring rules of etiquette, values, and traditions. Putin pointed up that schools are losing out, in terms of impact on young people, to the internet and electronic media, and that we should restore the “unconditional value” of the schools by updating their curricula and by offering a wide range of electives, accessible to all children, regardless of family income.

He also stressed the importance of teaching history and Russian language and emphasised the need to strengthen national identity, in part through connecting “historical epochs into a single whole”. In that vein, Putin proposed creating a memorial to the heroes of World War I and restoring famous tsarist-era military units, including the Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments, founded by Pyotr Veliki. Whilst Putin didn’t explicitly refer to religion during the live broadcast on state television, the camera panned to a group of clerics as he spoke of support for “traditional values”. Without elaborating, Putin said, “We must wholly support institutions that are the bearers of traditional values and have historically proven their ability to transmit them from generation to generation”. He also praised grassroots charity activism, which is on the rise in Russia, and promised a separate meeting with volunteers in the unspecified near future.

12 December 2012



Editor’s Note:

There are four towering figures in the history of the Russian stateIvan Grozny, Pyotr Veliki, Vladimir Lenin, and Vladimir Putin. Ivan founded the modern Russian state as we know it. Pyotr set out Russia as a member of the Great Powers. Lenin launched Russia on a course of being at the forefront of the modern world. VVP… even though he’s still in power, he has earned his place in history as the Great Preserver. Gorbachyov was the Great Destroyer… he ripped apart the Soviet state, making the present world of American-fomented permanent warfare possible.

VVP is taking the good from all epochs of Russian history… including the Soviet Union. No future history or ideology in Russia will be able to deny the great achievements and glories of the Soviet state. Indeed, to try to destroy the Soviet legacy is insane… much good came from it, and the present radical rightwing deviation in world history is ending. The grasping oligarchs want MORE… and they don’t care if they crush the rest of us under to do so. It’s most advanced in the USA… since 1981, the country’s been on a radical libertarian course that led directly to the 2007 Great Meltdown.

VVP, on the other hand, is weaving together a New Russian/Eurasian synthesis that’ll replace the present oligarch system in due course. Whatever his personal fate, he has his place in history. He saved Russia from cultural subservience to the USA and the West, and that’s a good thing in itself. Any man who’s remained at the helm of a major power for twelve years is no lightweight, no matter what you might think of him.

The New Synthesis is becoming clearer… a Russia that is:

  • Socialist
  • Religious
  • National-minded

We are on the verge of a New Soviet Union… but it won’t be called that. However, it WILL oppose the greed of Godless America. Yes… America’s godless… it doesn’t follow the Christianity of the Ages, all too many follow a made-up phony pseudo-religion of a tribal deity called Jayzuss who anoints America as the leading country of the world and who hands out “prosperity blessings” (I kid you not, the Evangelicals truly believe such mind-numbing treacly rot).

Reflect on this, some Orthodox here want to ally us with god-denying Evangelicals… that means that America is a hotbed of Sergianism… sucking up to the powers-that-be for personal advancement. I could name them, but I think that you know them. A Russian monk in exile once said, “What started in Russia will finish in America”. That is, godlessness will reach its apogee in the USA… after seeing the antics of Franklin Graham, Grover Norquist, Willard Romney, George W Bush, and the Tea Party, one can see that the good monk was correct. Remember, most Russian communists are believing Orthodox Christians… most American crapitalists are unbelievers (notice their actions, not their words). Do ponder that.


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