‘The cast is a collection of privileged, mournful lishnii cheloveks (as the “superfluous men” in 19th-century Russian literature were known) in late middle age, squabbling in rural exile, wondering what the world is coming to and regretting the past.’
‘We are all lishnii cheloveks.’
— Guardian Weekly, 4 February 2022, p. 57
Pushkin Square, on Pushkinskaya Street in Petersburg’s Central District. Photographer (or artist?) unknown. Thanks to Sveta Voskoboinikova for pointing it out to me. Our house is on the right side at the end of the street, and I miss it and the view from it (which includes the square) very much. I’m prejudiced, but I think our Pushkin is the most fitting monument to Russia’s national poet because he is the most human and humane of the ones I’ve seen. Our Pushkin stands above us, of course, but he’s also our neighbor rather than a (literal) titan towering over us. ||| TRR
Just an hour ago, the State Duma voted in favor of a bill recognizing the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic — the Kremlin-controlled southeastern regions of Ukraine. Now, if the bill is approved, troops can be sent to the region under the pretext of an appeal to Putin by the leaders of the “independent republics.” However, I am not a military or political analyst, so I will not fantasize overmuch.
But I will note this. The bill was introduced by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation — for which supporters of “Smart Voting” and even some libertarians were so hot to trot [in the autumn 2021 parliamentary elections]. I had written earlier that we are definitely not traveling the same road as the Communist Party, that it is just as much a part of the system as United Russia. Now, it seems, no one should have any doubts that сooperating with the Communist Party in any way is tantamount to cooperating with the regime.
Ivan Astashin is a former Russian political prisoner whose story you can read here. Translated by the Russian Reader
Russian Parliament Backs Plan to Recognize Breakaway Ukrainian Regions
Felix Light Moscow Times
February 15, 2022
Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday backed a resolution calling for diplomatic recognition of Eastern Ukraine’s pro-Russian Donbas People’s Republics, raising tensions between Russia and Ukraine another notch, even as Russian troops began a partial withdrawal from the Ukrainian border.
The Russian parliament’s motion calls for President Vladimir Putin to formally recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, both of which declared independence from Ukraine in 2014. No other country currently recognizes the republics as sovereign states.
The motion, initially proposed by the Communist parliamentary opposition, attracted support from across the Duma’s five parties, including from speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
“Firefights are continuing, people are dying,” Volodin said on the Telegram messenger app in the run-up to the vote.
“We must find a solution.”
The resolution is not binding, and will now be sent to Putin for feedback.