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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30 November 2010

Nukes and Russian Posturing

Medvedev sees arms race if missile shield not agreed. That was the recent headline by BBC news. Further, the article began: "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said a new arms race could begin in the next decade if Nato and Moscow fail to agree on a joint missile shield." Really, a new arms race?

28 November 2010

Back to the Katyn Forest

There was a recent news story, "Russian parliament: Stalin ordered Katyn massacre," last week that explained that Russia is still dealing with the repercussions of the Katyn Massacre, which occurred during World War II. Former Russian President Eltsin had initially taken steps in the direction of acknowledging Russia's responsibility for the crime, but since 2000 little had been done. Then earlier this year, there was the disaster of the Polish airliner, with key Polish government officials crashing on their way to a Katyn memorial. This happened just outside of Smolensk. (There is a wiki entry on the crash.) Now the Russian Duma has passed some sort of statement noting that yes, it was Stalin, that ordered the massacre.

18 August 2010

Russia Burns

It has been a record-setting summer temperature-wise for most of Russia, and this has lead to the outbreak of forest fires everywhere. The most dangerous were in the western reaches of the country where much of the area had been contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl accident back in the 1980s.

11 April 2010

Unrest in Kyrgyzstan

Trouble has again erupted in the former Soviet republic (now an independent country) of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic). Since independence in 1991, and then the subsequent Tulip Revolution of 2005, political stabiity has been difficult to come by, primarily because of ongoing corruption issues and the failure to the government to develop any sort of firm economic basis for the country's citizens.

Katyn Tragedy Redux

As if the first Katyn Forest massacre was not enough, Poland now must mourn again. A plane of Polish army and political leaders crashed in heavy fog conditions as they were on their way to a memorial service at Katyn (60 years since the original massacre in 1940 of Polish military leaders by the Soviet secret police and military on the orders of Stalin). The memorial service was to be attended by PM Vladimir Putin himself as a gesture to improving Polish-Russian relations, which have tended to be quite frosty over the years.

18 January 2010

S novym godom

Happy New Year. I have not been very good about posting to my blog about events in Russia. Mostly because I have been swamped with grading (end of semester in December and start of semester in January). We have been having pretty good enrollments in our online HIS 241 course (History of Russia I) the past few semesters of about 20 per semester--not that many actually finish the course. HIS 242 (History of Russia II) usually enrolls fewer, about 7-10 students.
In the meantime, Russia is experiencing an economic crisis,much like most of Western Europe and the United States, but a recent article pointed out how much of the economy has turned "underground" or non-official or illegal.