Moscow Old and New (A Travelogue “La Russie en 1839” by Astolphe Custine and a New Understanding of Russia)

I have just finished reading the book “Empire of the Czar” (A Journey Through Eternal Russia in 1839) by the Marquis de Custine, Copyright @1971 Princeton University Press, Published by Doubleday, New York, 1989. Listen to the song    Old Russia The book was banned in Russia, where even discussion of it was forbidden. Why? Because… Continue reading Moscow Old and New (A Travelogue “La Russie en 1839” by Astolphe Custine and a New Understanding of Russia)

Sokurov’s Movie “Russian Ark” (2003) and the Russian National Identity

A central issue in “Russian Ark” is the spread of enlightenment through and the rise of the nation-state, and with it various forms of nationalism. Accompanying the age of the nation-state-first its emergence from under the tutelage of Empire, and second its ferocious return after the fall of Soviet-styled socialism – there has been an… Continue reading Sokurov’s Movie “Russian Ark” (2003) and the Russian National Identity

“Now About Those…” by Bella Akhmadulina, “the Best of the Living Poetesses” (Joseph Brodsky)

Vitas- reads a poem Such a comment I got last night from Kseniya and today I am putting  it into my post. Here it is a portrait of Bella Akhmadulina.                                                                                                                                            Dear Valentina! First I would like to thank you for your warm reception, for your hospitality and openness. For that energy and fullness of the… Continue reading “Now About Those…” by Bella Akhmadulina, “the Best of the Living Poetesses” (Joseph Brodsky)

“…and Raising up to the Highest Level of Madness” (About Poetry)

First I would like you to listen to the song with the lyrics on poem by a great Russian poetess Marina Tsvetaeva “And on leaving I will say” to attune your ear to poetry . А напоследок я скажу Then I wrote a letter to Canadian poet John Woodsworth and he answered me, both letters… Continue reading “…and Raising up to the Highest Level of Madness” (About Poetry)

Mark Twain or Dostoevsky? Parallel Lives of Great Nations

My interlocutor today is Ivan Semyonovich, a big politics fan and literature admirer and we are talking about   Mark Twain (1835-1910) and Dostoevsky ( 1821-1881), about America and Russia. I.S. A cosmic Plutarch writing “The Parallel Lives of Great Nations” could not find a more rewarding subject. Perhaps it could be called Mark Twain or… Continue reading Mark Twain or Dostoevsky? Parallel Lives of Great Nations

The Haunted City of St. Petersburg which once became Leningrad…

Listen to Vitas We stopped in front of the too celebrated statue of Peter the Great, placed on its rock by the Empress Catherine, then St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Winter Palace; another mighty result of human will applying human physical powers in a struggle with the laws of nature, severe Northern climate in winters and… Continue reading The Haunted City of St. Petersburg which once became Leningrad…