This is a blog for use in both of my HIS 241 and HIS 242 Russian history survey courses at Northern Virginia Community College.

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21 May 2009

Lenin Statue in St. Petersburg Damaged

Well, someone with an axe to grind blew a large hole in one of the few remaining Lenin statues in Russia, this one famously in St. Petersburg, home to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. See Bomb Blows Hole in Lenin Statue.

20 May 2009

Kremlin Still Re-Writing History

In yet another attempt by the Putin-Medvedev regime to control ideas in Russia, see
Medvedev Creates History Commission, an article which recently appeared in the Wall Street Jounral online. From what we have seen in the past both in Russia and also on a larger scale in the world, these kinds of thought-control activities can work in the short run, but do not work in the long run.

19 May 2009

Weird Anti-Khrushchev Conversation Taking Place in Russia

See the recent article, The Trial of Leonid K. Amazing how the ghosts of a missing-in-action Russian airman from World War II can animate political discourse in contemporary Russia.

17 May 2009

Nikolai Gogol and Taras Bulba

I'm a little late on this but back in April Russia unveiled a new, blockbuster film version of Gogol's short story Taras Bulba. The story which loosely fits into the late medieval period of Russian-Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian history deals with a rogue Cossack who sallies out to do battle with the Poles--not quite in the nature of a Robin Hood. Russia designed the film for overtly nationalistic and patriotic intentions to show a mighty Russia (that of course included Ukraine) defending church and state from the infidels from the west. Gogol's intentions are a bit murkier, and his writings caused a lot of uproar back in their own day. He straddled the fence between Russia and Ukraine, between support for the tsar and critique of the system, between support for the system and critique of the tsar. Critics and commentators both in Russia and Ukraine and also abroad have made much of the cultural overtones of the film and the intentions of both countries to claim Gogol, but everyone makes films like this. Look no farther than such stuff as The Patriot (2000).