The Workers’ Marseillaise

The Workers’ Marseillaise was a Russian revolutionary anthem first written and set to the tune of the French Marseillaise in 1875. It proved extremely popular and was sung frequently during the Revolution of 1905; famously, Maxim Gorky wrote of it in his 1906 novel “Mother”:

“In this song there was nothing from the old, slavish world. It floated along directly, evenly; it proclaimed an iron virility, a calm threat. Simple, clear, it swept the people after it along an endless path leading to the far distant future; and it spoke frankly about the hardships of the way. In its steady fire a heavy clod seemed to burn and melt—the sufferings they had endured, the dark load of their habitual feelings, their cursed dread of what was coming.”

Subsequently, it served as a temporary national anthem for the new government after the February Revolution in 1917. After the October Revolution, it slowly fell out of use, and by 1918 it was entirely replaced as an anthem by the Internationale.

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Lyrics

Отречёмся от старого мира!
Отряхнем его прах с наших ног!
Нам не нужно златого кумира;
Ненавистен нам царский чертог!
Царю нужны для войска солдаты,
Подавайте ему сыновей;
Царю нужны дворцы и палаты,
Подавай ему крови своей:

Вставай, подымайся, рабочий народ!
Вставай на врага, люд голодный!
Раздайся, клич мести народной:
Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд!

Кулаки-богачи жадной сворой
Расхищают тяжёлый твой труд.
Твоим потом жиреют обжоры,
Твой последний кусок они рвут.
Не довольно ли вечного горя?
Встанем, братья, повсюду зараз —
От Днепра и до Белого моря.
И Поволжье, и Дальний Кавказ —

Вставай, подымайся, рабочий народ!
Вставай на врага, люд голодный!
Раздайся, клич мести народной!
Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд!

И взойдёт за кровавой зарёю
Солнце правды и братской любви,
Хоть купили мы страшной ценою —
Кровью нашею — счастье земли.
И настанет година свободы:
За эпохой кровавой борьбы,
И сольются в едином народы
В царстве славы, труда и борьбы!

Вставай, подымайся, рабочий народ!
Вставай на врага, люд голодный!
Раздайся, клич мести народной!
Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд! Вперёд!

English translation

Let us renounce the old world!
Let us shake away its dust from our feet!
Needless to us is a golden idol;
Loathsome to us are Tsarist palaces!
For the Tsar armies of soldiers are necessary:
Give him your sons;
For the Tsar palaces and halls are necessary:
Give him your blood!

Arise, awaken, working people!
Arise against the enemy, hungry folk!
Ring out, cry of the people’s vengeance!
Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward!

The kulaks-wealthy ones of greedy packs
plunder your hard work.
With it the gluttons then fatten themselves;
they tear apart your last piece of bread.
Is it not enough of eternal misery?
Let us arise, brothers, everywhere at once —
from the Dneiper unto the White Sea,
and the Cisvolga, and the far Caucasus —

Arise, awaken, working people!
Arise against the enemy, hungry folk!
Ring out, cry of the people’s vengeance!
Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward!

And for a bloody dawn there rises
the sun of truth and brotherly love,
although we bought it with a terrible price —
our blood for the happiness of the Earth.
And the time of freedom will arrive
in an epoch of bloody battle,
and nations will unite into one
in the tsardom of glory, labour, and struggle!

Arise, awaken, working people!
Arise against the enemy, hungry folk!
Ring out, cry of the people’s vengeance!
Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward! Forward!

Thanks to Advesperation for the upload and the annotation.

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“Congratulate Me, I’m a Foreign Agent” (Dront Ecological Center, Nizhny Novgorod)

Congratulate Me, I’m a Foreign Agent
pippilotta-v-r.livejournal.com
May 14, 2015

It was to be expected, of course, and we all knew quite well approximately what would be written in the Ministry of Justice’s certificate of inspection, but for some reason it was unexpected all the same. Like a knife in the back.

Dront’s certificate of inspection was brought to our offices on Tuesday. I felt very bad about it all day. Plus, there was a lampoon on a stupid Nizhny Novgorod site (which I will not advertise here, of course) in which I was targeted personally. I even recalled the favorite joke of my youth, which I haven’t recalled for over ten years.

Piglet comes to Winnie the Pooh’s house and sees that the whole place is filled with blood. The bear is lying on the floor, his stomach ripped open, his guts hanging from the chandelier.

Piglet anxiously asks, “Winnie, Winnie, do you feel bad?

“Do I feel bad? Do I feel bad? Yes, it’s curtains for me!”

Because the problem is not the obvious disadvantages of this status, which we will legally challenge, of course. The problem is “faith in humanity.”

For an evening I lost my faith in humanity.

What has to be going through a person’s head to seek proof of “political activity” amongst people who protect nature on behalf of all citizens, and hence them as well? What kind of person do you have to be, for example, to classify money paid to do an analysis of a proposal to raise the level of the Cheboksary Reservoir as foreign financing, since the money came from the WWF (the Russian office of WWF, by the way)? I just hope that those three beauties from the Ministry of Justice who inspected us live somewhere in the Leninsky District, and their houses will be flooded when the reservoir rises.

Oh, to find out where they live and never to stand up for that corner of the city again. Let them build all the auto service centers and waste incineration plants right there!

And why do so-called patriots (we were inspected at the behest of the National Liberation Movement) so hate the natural environment in their own country? On the other hand, they love power in all forms. This phenomenon, incidentally, has haunted me for a while. So some people have decided they are “Russian patriots,” and what do they do? That’s right, they set out to spoil the lives of people trying to do something good for their country. I still remember those young men, “Russian patriots,” who six years ago tried to attack me, a pregnant Russian woman, just because my female friends and I were coming back from a protest rally against a nuclear power plant. Of course, there are different views on atomic energy, and debates can be very emotional, but it’s a matter for debate, damn it, not a matter for a fist fight. And they would have attacked us, and maybe even stabbed us with something, but we ran and got on a bus, and the driver closed the door on them. One young man with wicked eyes kept banging his fists against the windows, spewing out his anger and hatred. Roman Zykov, that wasn’t you, by chance? And now you’ve grown up and become an informer?

During its April 17, 2015, broadcast, the NNTV program Itogi nedeli aired a segment on the “foreign agent” case against Nizhny Novgorod’s Dront Ecological Center. The segment begins at the 1:40 mark, with the presenter explaining that the Ministry of Justice launched its audit of Dront after receiving a complaint from Roman Zykov of the National Liberation Organization (NOD). Zykov is interviewed on camera beginning at the 5:25 mark. He is identified as NOD’s “information officer.”

To be honest, I don’t understand any of this. I can’t get my head around it. I don’t believe there are people who really are happy, for example, if a highway or an asphalt plant is built near their home in place of a forest. People can be indifferent to environmental topics or indulge in pessimism because “everything has been decided, nothing can be changed.” I have seen this many times. But for people sincerely to desire the deterioration of their habitat, that I can not imagine. And I don’t understand how it can be called “patriotism.”

Well, the heck with them, the informants.

So the certificate of inspection was delivered to us. Here it is, this wonderful document. Of course, we have proven to be “foreign agents”: the law interprets the concept as broadly as possible. The inspectors had to prove a quite simple theorem: that we have foreign money (we can check off that box), and that we are engaged in political activity, that is, that we haven’t exactly been sitting on our asses but have been doing something. (Here we could check off a hundred boxes if we so desired.)

And the law does not require a logical connection between these parts of the theorem. It matters not a squat that the money was for one thing, and something else was deemed “political activity.”

Damn, when I was in university, “politics” meant being involved in the struggle for power. Nowadays, if you say it would be good idea to amend a law, you’re already a nasty political intriguer. And even if you praise a law, you’re an intriguer as well, because it is none of your damn business to evaluate laws.

You might think that all Russian environmental legislation is absolutely perfect: that it was handed down to us in the sacred tablets, and each word was cast in gold. This, to put it mildly, is not true. Moreover, these laws are constantly amended and changed, meaning the authorities are aware of their imperfections. It suffices to mention the new law on waste management. It was completely turned inside out and redrafted. I don’t really understand why we should stop criticizing  laws.

The whole business with foreign money is also ridiculous.

After all, it doesn’t matter to the inspectors that the funds have been earmarked, for studying turtles, for example. (And, in fact, protection of animals is not deemed political activity, and that is stipulated in the law.) Or for seminars on sustainable development. Or for a public impact assessment of the proposal to raise the level of the Cheboksary Reservoir. No one except the WWF provided any money for this—no state agencies, no legislators, no businessmen—although the entire Nizhny Novgorod Region rose up as one against the proposal.

And it doesn’t matter that all these funds were not only earmarked but were quite small sums (less than one percent of our annual budget) and could not significantly have impacted our operations. We would have criticized the same laws even without this money. But who is interested in logic if you just have to tick off some boxes?

In short, the young female inspectors proved the theorem to their own satisfaction. But I just don’t have the heart to call them lawyers, because, for example, they don’t distinguish between federal and municipal (i.e., local) government. (Maybe employees of the Ministry of Justice don’t necessarily have to have a law degree?) Apparently, the way they see it, all power is sacred and should be beyond criticism.

Well, my depression has passed. It has been nice to see that many people support us and have stood up for us. It has been nice to read your kind words.

P.S. I will not approve any vicious comments, if they show up.

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NB. You can see the list of Russian NGOs included in the registry of “foreign agents” (as of May 15, 2015) here. This list is constantly updated, apparently.

The Putinist Economic Miracle

As Inflation Soars, One in Five Russians Can Only Afford Bare Necessities
Delphine d’Amora
May 14, 2015
The Moscow Times

Many Russians flocked to stores late last year as the ruble plummeted against the euro and dollar, eager to get the most out of their savings before the prices of imported goods rose.

Nearly 20 percent of Russians can now afford nothing more than the absolute necessities as double-digit inflation erodes their spending power, a survey by consumer research firm Nielsen found.

The figure is a record high for the survey, which has been conducted regularly since 2005. Even in the first quarter of 2009, in the depths of the previous financial crisis, only 4 to 7 percent of Russians reported having no spare income after paying for basic items such as food and accommodation.

putin icon

Runaway price rises are making it harder to make ends meet. Consumer price inflation was running at 16.4 percent in April this year after hitting a 13-year high of 16.9 percent in March, according to state statistics service Rosstat. Prices have been driven up by Russia’s ban on a range of food imports from the West — a response to Western sanctions over Ukraine — and a steep devaluation of the Russian currency.

High inflation has depressed real wages, which fell 9.3 percent year-on-year in March, according to Rosstat. It has also encouraged some unwise behavior — Many Russians flocked to stores late last year as the ruble plummeted against the euro and dollar, eager to get the most out of their savings before the prices of imported goods rose.

This wave of spending is now coming back to haunt consumers, Ilona Lepp, Nielsen’s commercial director for Russia, said in a statement.

“After spending a lot at the end of 2014, Russians ran up against a significant rise in prices on the most essential goods in the beginning of the year, which means the drop in real wages was felt particularly hard,” Lepp said.

Russians’ consumer confidence fell to a record low of 72 points in the first quarter on Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index, a seven-point dip from the previous quarter.

With falling real wages forcing Russians to reduce spending, 55 percent of respondents to the survey said they would cut back on entertainment outside the home. Fifty percent said they would save on clothing purchases and 48 percent planned to switch to cheaper food brands.

Such cutbacks brought overall consumer spending in Russia down 8.7 percent year-on-year in March, damaging a key sector of the economy and deepening an economic slowdown that is expected to shrink the country’s gross domestic product by up to 5 percent this year.

The survey, part of Nielsen’s global consumer confidence study, was carried out among Internet users between Feb. 23 and March 13 of this year. The margin of error did not exceed 0.6 percent.

Icon by artist Sergei Suksin

Lev Rubinstein: “Rehabilitation” of Nazism

Lev Rubinstein
May 12, 2015
Facebook

Criminal prosecution for “rehabilitation of Nazism,” you say?

Well, it’s a respectable cause. Especially in a normal country, where the main features and properties of Nazism itself have been clearly defined, articulated and, more importantly, grasped by public opinion.

In a country where, on the contrary, the president of another country is referred to as a “black monkey” quite openly and with impunity, in a country where state TV facilely reports that the people of a neighboring country are a historical misunderstanding, and their language a parody, in a country where a classified newspaper ad that reads, “Apartment available for rent to Slavs,” is considered quite normal and natural, this talk about “rehabilitation” is rather strange, because there is nothing in particular to rehabilitate. And if anyone is going to be tried for such a crime, there aren’t enough judges for the job.

The point, of course, is something else.

11182204_864970266884978_1670294015098677080_nVictoria Lomasko, In the Neighborhood. View at the exhibition Post-Soviet Cassandras, Berlin, April 2015

The fact is that their “Nazism” is not Nazism in the conventional sense of the word, but what they themselves define as such or have already defined.

“Everyone” knows that a Nazi regime is now blossoming, for example, in Ukraine. And denying or even questioning this “indisputable fact” amounts, apparently, to rehabilitating Nazism.

Or doubting the divine origins of the main antifascist of all time can easily be identified as Nazism.

And who knows what else. Why give them suggestions? Let them figure it out for themselves.

It’s a shit issue, as certain rude people would say.

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Hyvää paivää, Pakkasukko

pakkasukko

 

Good Day, Ded Moroz
Aulikki Oksanen

—Good day, Ded Moroz!
What have you brought with you?

—A whole big brotherly family
New Year’s gift bag.
Wheat breads from Russia,
Meat stews from Lithuania.
Sugar from the Ukraine,
Butter from Byelorussia.
Silks from Uzbekistan.
Karakuls from the lands of Kazakhstan.
Apricots from Armenia.
Grapes from Georgia.
Oil from Azerbaijan.
Coal from Tajikistan.
Herds from Kirgizia.
Steel ships from Latvia.
Maize from the lands of Moldavia.
Rugs from Turkmenistan.
Fish from the shores of Estonia.

—What else have you brought with you, Ded Moroz?

—Books and plays,
And scientists’ inventions.
Wealth and health,
And the friendship of neighbors.
Fishing rods and lures,
And little children’s skates.

source: Aune Morozova, Suomen kielen oppikirja 5, Petrozavodsk: Karjala, 1987, p. 92

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Punatähdet, “Hyvää päivää, Pakkasukko” (music, Kaj Chydenius; lyrics, Aulikki Oksanen). From the LP Punainen joulu (2001)

The Ninth of May

anatrrra
May 9, 2015
LiveJournal

The Ninth of May
Seventy years of victory. An even more years of sorrow. But sorrow has no place on the ninth of May. People rejoice. This is a holiday. The veterans, to whose stories the younger participants in today’s festivities listened with curiosity, were the same age back then as some of the young women in these pictures are now. I wonder what kind of victory they will tell youngsters about in seventy years?

9mai15_20 9mai15_25 9mai15_47 9mai15_106 9mai15_183 9mai15_228 9mai15_266

anatrrra’s photographs are reprinted here with their kind permission. Their complete poignant photo reportage of grassroots Victory Day festivities in Moscow can be viewed here.

Red Poppies vs. St. George’s Ribbons

Remembrance Poppies versus St. George’s Ribbons
Sergey Chernov
Special to The Russian Reader
May 8, 2015

Petersburg police detained two activists and a photojournalist near Park Pobedy metro station on May 8 as pro-Kremlin provocateurs attempted to prevent Democratic Petersburg activists from handing out buttons and leaflets dealing with the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The Democratic Petersburg coalition, which opposes Russia’s current Second World War victory symbol, the St. George’s Ribbon, claiming it is “distinctly militarist,” passed out buttons featuring the red remembrance poppy, a European symbol for war victims, and leaflets explaining its meaning.

In 2014, Ukraine had rejected the St. George’s Ribbon, used by Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and Russian officialdom, choosing the remembrance poppy instead.

The buttons the activists handed out were emblazoned with the red poppy and the phrase “1939–1945 Never Again,” in Russian and Ukrainian, while the leaflets, which quoted John McCrae’s famous poem “In Flanders Fields,” described the symbol’s history and meaning.

Poppies-4892Buttons reading “1939–1945, Never Again” in Russian and Ukrainian

“We believe the St. George’s Ribbon, which has a distinctly militarist message, should also give way in Russia to the red poppy, the universal symbol commemorating those who perished in the most terrible war.”

Activists said Victory Day should be commemorated on May 8, because Russia was part of Europe, rather than on May 9, in keeping with Soviet tradition. According to them, what Russians have usually called the Great Patriotic War was in fact part of the Second World War and was launched in 1939 by both Germany and the Soviet Union, rather than in 1941, when Germany suddenly attacked its formal nominal ally the Soviet Union.

The pro-Kremlin provocateurs, mostly young people, who were apparently led by two older men, were already waiting outside the metro station, sporting St. George’s Ribbons, when the Democratic Petersburg activists arrived to hand out leaflets. The provocateurs approached them and started an argument, justifying Joseph Stalin and promoting what they saw as the Kremlin’s current interpretation of the war’s history. Some of the provocateurs took photos and videos as the argument proceeded. However, when asked, one of the young provocateurs said he was “just passing by,” denying he had come deliberately with the others to harass the Democratic Petersburg activists.

Poppies-4925Pro-Kremlin provocateurs harass democratic activist Igor “Stepanych” Andreyev

Within minutes, police had arrived at the scene, led by a colonel, the head of Precinct No. 33, whose beat includes the Park Pobedy station. The colonel argued with the activists before detaining 76-year-old activist Igor “Stepanych” Andreyev and, seconds later, our correspondent, who had attempt to photograph Andreyev’s arrest.

While the two detainees were held in the police room inside the metro station, police detained Anton Kalinyak, an activist who had been wearing a large red poppy on his lapel, allegedly for “using coarse language in public.” According to Democratic Petersburg, one of the provocateurs filed a false complaint with the police against Kalinyak, while the police officers at the scene corroborated his accusations.

Poppies-4999Andreyev detained by police

The detainees were taken to Precinct No. 33, where they were charged, correspondingly, with “smoking in a public place” and “using profane language in a public place.” After about two hours in custody, Kalinyak was fined 500 rubles (around $10) on the spot, while the formal written charges against the other two detainees will be sent to their respective local police precincts. They face small fines of between 500 and 1,500 rubles.

All photos by and courtesy of Sergey Chernov