Olivier

Olivier Food Market on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles

Russia took aim Sunday at Western military supplies for Ukraine, launching airstrikes on Kyiv that it claimed destroyed tanks donated from abroad, as Vladimir Putin warned that any Western deliveries of longer range rocket systems would prompt Moscow to hit “objects that we haven’t yet struck.”

The Russian leader’s cryptic threat of military escalation did not specify what the new targets might be. It came days after the United States announced plans to deliver $700 million of security assistance for Ukraine that includes four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems, as well as helicopters, Javelin anti-tank systems, radars, tactical vehicles and more.

Military analysts say Russia hopes to overrun Ukraine’s embattled eastern industrial Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have fought the Ukrainian government since 2014, before any U.S. weapons that might turn the tide arrive. The Pentagon said last week that it will take at least three weeks to get the U.S. weapons onto the battlefield.

Ukraine said the missiles aimed at the capital hit a train repair shop. Elsewhere, Russian airstrikes in the eastern city of Druzhkivka destroyed buildings and left at least one person dead, a Ukrainian official said Sunday. Residents described waking to the sound of missile strikes, with rubble and glass falling down around them.

A detail from Judy Baca’s Great Wall of Los Angeles. The second inscription is in Yiddish. It reads, “All Jews [united] in the battle against fascism.” Thanks to Comrade Koganzon for the translation.

“It was like in a horror movie,” Svitlana Romashkina said.

Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko urged city residents to leave, saying on Facebook that ruined buildings can be restored but “we won’t be able to bring back the lives lost.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said air-launched precision missiles were used to destroy workshops in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, including in Druzhkivka, that were repairing damaged Ukrainian military equipment.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces fired five X-22 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea toward Kyiv, and one was destroyed by air defenses. Four other missiles hit “infrastructure facilities,” but Ukraine said there were no casualties.

Nuclear plant operator Energoatom said one cruise missile buzzed close to the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant, 350 kilometers (220 miles) to the south, and warned of the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe if even one missile fragment hit the plant.

On the Telegram app, the Russian Defense Ministry said high-precision, long range air-launched missiles were used on the outskirts of Kyiv, destroying T-72 tanks supplied by Eastern European countries and other armored vehicles in a train car repair shop.

But the head of Ukraine’s railway system rejected the claim that tanks were inside. Oleksandr Kamyshin said four missiles hit the Darnytsia car repair plant, but no military equipment has been stored there. He said the site was used to repair gondolas and carriers for exporting grain.

“Russia has once again lied,” he wrote on Telegram. “Their real goal is the economy and the civilian population. They want to block our ability to export Ukrainian products.”

In a television interview that aired Sunday, Putin lashed out at Western deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, saying they aim to prolong the conflict.

“All this fuss around additional deliveries of weapons, in my opinion, has only one goal: to drag out the armed conflict as much as possible,” Putin said. He insisted such supplies were unlikely to change the military situation for Ukraine’s government, which he said was merely making up for losses of similar rockets.

If Kyiv gets longer-range rockets, he added, Moscow will “draw appropriate conclusions and use our means of destruction, which we have plenty of, in order to strike at those objects that we haven’t yet struck.”

The U.S. has stopped short of offering Ukraine longer-range weapons that could fire deep into Russia. But the four medium range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems in the security package include launchers on wheels that allow troops to strike a target and then quickly move away — which could be useful against Russian artillery on the battlefield.

The Spanish daily El Pais reported Sunday that Spain planned to supply anti-aircraft missiles and up to 40 Leopard 2 A4 battle tanks to Ukraine. Spain’s Ministry of Defense did not comment on the report.

In Kyiv’s eastern Darnystki district, a pillar of smoke filled the air with an acrid odor over the charred, blackened wreckage of a warehouse-type structure. Soldiers blocked off a nearby road leading toward a large railway yard.

Before Sunday’s early morning attack, Kyiv had not faced any such Russian airstrikes since the April 28 visit of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. The attack triggered air raid alarms and showed that Russia still had the capability and willingness to hit at Ukraine’s heart, despite refocusing its efforts to capture Ukrainian territory in the east.

When I arrived at the Great Wall of Los Angeles, I was thrilled to see so many other people there taking it in. I soon realized that they were glued to their smart phones, playing some kind of game. It was such a serious game that many of them were playing on two or three devices at the same time. None of them was paying any mind to the magnificent Great Wall of Los Angeles.

In recent days, Russian forces have focused on capturing Ukraine’s eastern cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. On Sunday they continued their push, with missile and airstrikes on cities and villages in the Donbas.

In the cities of Sloviansk and Bakhmut, cars and military vehicles were seen speeding into town Sunday from the direction of the front line. Dozens of military doctors and paramedic ambulances worked to evacuate civilians and Ukrainian servicemen, and a hospital was busy treating the injured, many hurt by artillery shelling.

The U.K. military said in its daily intelligence update that Ukrainian counterattacks in Sieverodonetsk were “likely blunting the operational momentum Russian forces previously gained through concentrating combat units and firepower.” Russian forces previously had been making a string of advances in the city, but Ukrainian fighters have pushed back in recent days.

Source: John Leicester, “Russia hits Kyiv with missiles,” Associated Press, 5 June 2022. Photos by the Russian Reader

People of Our City

When you’re a real artist, you make art with whatever comes to hand. Legendary Petersburg artist Oleg Kotelnikov (a driving force behind the New Artists of Leningrad) is definitely the real thing. Here, the late Yuri “Compass” Krasev (of the necrorealists and Pop Mechanics) displays a shower curtain that Mr. Kotelnikov repurposed back in the good bad old days. Photo by the late Oleg Kuptsov, as posted on his Facebook page on 2 June 2015.


The equally legendary Petersburg rock music and grassroots politics journalist Sergey Chernov snapped these latter-day post-Soviet “socialist” icons and posted them on his Facebook page on 3 June 2013.


Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words, as when a whole time and a place is captured in a single snapshot, as in this one taken in Petersburg by the fantastic photographer, anthropologist, photo archivist, and frequent TRR contributor Vadim F. Lurie, who posted it on his Facebook page on 3 June 2015.


On 3 June 2019, I posted this announcement from Last Address in Petersburg: “Next Thursday, June 6, at 12 p.m., a Last Address plaque will be installed at 12th Line, No. 9, on Vasilievsky Island in Petersburg, in memory of Konstantin Andreyevich Poplavsky, who served as a seaman on the battleship Marat and worked at the Bolshevik Factory. A father of two children, he was shot by order of an NKVD troika on 28 October 1938, a few days after his 28th birthday. His great-granddaughter will install the plaque for him.”

But by way of illustrating this announcement I used a snapshot I had taken in 2018 during an inventory of Last Address plaques in my neighborhood to check on their condition. (The inventory was a citywide affair performed by numerous volunteers.) The plaque pictured above memorializes Andrian Nikolayevich Paparigopulo, whose story is told on the Last Address Foundation’s website (and duplicated on the Open List project’s website):

Andrian Nikolayevich Paparigopulo was born in Narva in 1903 to a family of hereditary nobles. His father was a retired major general who died in 1915. Andrian Nikolayevich and his mother presumably moved to Petrograd in the early 1920s. His investigative file in the archives records that in 1922 they traveled to Estonia to sell a dacha located near Narva that belonged to his mother. After the sale, they went back to Petrograd without having their passports checked at the Soviet Consulate in Reval. This was regarded as an illegal border crossing, for which Andrian Nikolayevich was consequently sentenced to three months of forced labor.

After moving to the city on the Neva, Andrian enrolled at the Institute of Technology, but failed to finish his studies. On 23 March 1935, he was arrested, and later, along with his mother Vera Nikolayevna, he was exiled to Kuibyshev for five years as a “family member of a socially dangerous element.” However, a year later, the Special Council of the NKVD canceled the expulsion order, and the family returned to Leningrad.

Andrian got a job at the Krasnyi Rabochii [Red Worker] plant as a planning technician. The Great Terror did not spare him: on 23 May 1937, he was arrested for the third time. For nine months, NKVD officers cooked up a case against him that was based on two interrogations that took place in May and September 1937. During the May interrogation, Paparigopulo denies his involvement in counter-revolutionary and espionage work. The September 28th interrogation begins on the same note. But there soon appears in the interrogation record a reference to the testimony of Georgy Kirillovich Kolychev (whom Andrian Nikolayevich mentions as an artist friend in the 1935 case file): “There is a group of artists bonded by their common counter-revolutionary beliefs who organized their c-r gatherings at Paparigopulo’s apartment.” Later in the record, Andrian Nikolayevich admits his guilt: “I have to admit that Kolychev is telling the truth… Indeed, I have been an active member of the c-r fascist group and its leader since 1933.

According to the fabricated evidence, the group’s members included Viktor Konstantinovich Lavrovsky, Georgy Kirillovich Kolychev, Ivan Ivanovich Bogdanov, Mikhail Vasilyevich Ivanov, and Terenty Romanovich Romanov.

On 20 February 1938, a military collegium sentenced Paparigopulo to death in a closed court hearing for involvement in a “terrorist organization.” Andrian Nikolayevich did not admit his guilt at the trial, nor did he corroborate the testimony he had given, allegedly, during the preliminary investigation, calling it phony. He was shot on the day of his sentencing. He was thirty-four years old.

The list of items seized from Paparigopulo during the search of his home includes letters and photographs, as well as four tickets to the Hermitage. The confiscated correspondence was destroyed in its entirety on 13 March 1938, after Andrian Nikolayevich’s execution. His wife (whose name, like his mother’s, was Vera Nikolayevna) was sentenced to eight years in correctional labor camps as a “family member of a traitor to the Motherland.” She served her sentence in Karlag.

Andrian Paparigopulo was fully exonerated only twenty years later, in 1958.

Source: Last Address Foundation, “Malaya Moskovskaya Street, 4, St. Petersburg.” Translated by the Russian Reader. The pictures below were taken by Jenya Kulakova at the ceremony to install Andrian Paparigopulo’s Last Address plaque.

Russian Ways of Death

The grave of Mikhail Vasilyevich Sergeyev, the author’s grandfather

If you’re looking for something that binds the Russian people, it is, perhaps, the cult of the dead. I’m coming back now from the cemetery where my grandfather is buried. The number of bright plastic flowers, pots, baskets, and wreaths per square meter there is off the charts. As long as a person is alive, you can torment them, shout obscenities at them, and even get good and drunk and beat them up. But as soon as he or she is gone, a competition breaks out to make the most solemn graveside speeches and sumptuous graves. In a way, this is the underside of human life’s insecurity and lack of value. Death is a stable condition. As my grandfather’s widow told my father, “You can sit on the bench by a grave. The owners are unlikely to object.”

There is also a lot of ground for indulging in superstition. Should the cross on a gravestone be on the left or on the right? Can you visit a cemetery after two in the afternoon? Should a temporary cross be thrown in the trash or should it be burned? Can you drink vodka in remembrance of the dead and leave them sweets? These customs are mostly pagan, partly Soviet, and they are widespread. Nobody wants to die, and superstitions give us firm ground to stand on. They are like rules and magical charms.

And death is a serious business, of course. Less than ten minutes after I arrived, a cemetery employee drove up on a bicycle and offered his services.

Source: Alexei Sergeyev, Facebook, 21 May 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


In March, the Krasnoyarsk photographer Maria Minina got a phone call from an unknown woman. She did not give her name — she only said that she had suffered two strokes. Minina’s caller asked her to do a “Vogue-style photo shoot,” only the woman needed the pictures for her own tombstone. So Maria began providing a new service — photographing people for their gravestones. Takie Dela talked to the photographer and her clients about how they feel during such shoots and why they do them.

“I’m afraid that every day might be my last”
This past winter, Minina dreamed that she died. In her dream, she found out about her death from a work chat in which money was raised for her funeral. The dream made a huge impression on Maria, and she began thinking about what she would leave behind when she was gone. Just then she got a call from her first client who asked to take a picture of her for a future tombstone. She asked her to take the pictures in the Vogue style in which Minina works.

A “Vogue-style” photo by Maria Minina. Courtesy of Takie Dela

“I came to Masha’s photo shoot after having two strokes,” says Minina’s client Anna R., whose name we have changed at her request. “I wanted to memorialize myself as beautiful in life, I wanted to have glossy-style photos. I’m afraid that every day may be my last, so I’m doing everything to live to the fullest.”

Anna asked Minina to do a photo shoot of her for her gravestone. Firstly, she wanted to have a photo of her ready in case she died. Secondly, she decided to “train [her] psyche.”

“I thought that I would be sad, that I would feel my imminent departure, but Masha did not let me think about death for a second. During the photo shoot, I felt like a model and a woman being photographed on the red carpet. The feelings were quite strange, but I liked them.”

“They will bury me, and everything will be fine”
After Anna’s photo shoot, Minina told her subscribers on social media that she could do a similar shoot for anyone else.

“In fact, many relatives of people who have passed away ask this question: where can I find decent photos?” Maria explains. “About four months ago, my uncle’s sister passed away, and relatives could not find good photos of her, although she had lived for over sixty years. That is, there were no high-quality photos of just her.”

Maria wants to use the photo shoots to ease some of the burden experienced by the relatives of deceased people. Relatives who are preparing for a funeral will, at least, not have to look for a suitable picture, she hopes.

One of Maria’s clients is the well-known Krasnoyarsk blogger Rustam Umarov, whose Instagram account has 370,000 subscribers. He has stage four cancer, and the doctors told him that he had six months to live. That was six months ago. The diagnosis and prognoses shocked Rustam. When he got over the shock, he decided to take care of his own funeral to relieve his beloved wife of the hardship of having to organize it.

Rustam Umarov. Photo: Maria Minina. Courtesy of Takie Dela

“I have already made arrangements with a funeral service. So that if something happens to me, my wife doesn’t panic and go into hysterics. So that they call her and say, ‘Anna Igorevna, we will take care of everything. We don’t need anything from you — no money, no worries.’ They will bury me, and everything will be fine,” says Rustam.

Having set about organizing his future funeral, Umarov thought about a photo for his tombstone. He says that when he buried his mother three years ago, he could not find a single good picture of her. Because of his diagnosis, Rustam decided to do a photo shoot.

“I don’t want people to cry at my funeral. I want people to dance and smile at my funeral. I’m not going to the worms in hell, I’m going somewhere that is maybe a million times better, so why worry?” says Rustam. “Everyone has their own time on this earth. I have talked to my children and my wife. They know that I have a terminal illness, that I can die at any moment, and for them, at least, it will not be a shock. Even at the photo shoot, they knew that it was partly being done for my funeral, and partly for my family, for memory’s sake.”

“Each of our days is unique
Maria herself is certain “there is a calm acceptance of death” in the tombstone photo shoots. But, in her opinion, a person begins to work out their attitude to life’s finiteness even before meeting with the photographer, not during the shoot.

“I always try to make the shoot itself a celebration — no matter what we are getting photographed for. It is a mood-lifting therapy, a means of working out that each of our days is unique. No one in this world is immortal — the wheel of fortune can break, and life can turn abruptly in the other direction,” Minina notes.

According to her, such shoots provide psychological relief to people with incurable diseases. But among Minina’s clients there are also people who are not getting ready to die, but working through psychological problems, for example. This was why Elena D. signed up for a photo shoot with Maria. (Elena’s name has been changed at her request.)

“I asked Maria to do a Vogue magazine-style photo shoot of me for a tombstone,” says the client. “Before that, I had had a nervous breakdown. I decided to let it all hang out. I wouldn’t go to a spa or a club, but to a photo shoot with Masha! By pure chance I came across her advertisement and called her. To be honest, I don’t regret it at all.”

Maria believes that such photo shoots can interest different people for different reasons. According to her, some people really are preparing for death in advance or want to overcome psychological difficulties in this way, while others are trying to shock the people in their lives.

“Perhaps Insta divas will want to look on their tombstones the way they do now. They will want everything to be clear and beautiful. Or some will want to update their content and shock people. A blogger gets their picture taken and tells [subscribers] that it’s going to be on their tombstone, and their account goes viral,” the photographer says.

Maria is also using her new service to work through her own fear of death.

“Gradually, I began to accept that sooner or later we all find ourselves on the other side of life, but we don’t know when and how it will happen. Perhaps I will help people with the service I provide.”

“It can be important and thrillingly reconciling”
Psychotherapist Lisa Zaslavskaya deals with subject of dealing with death. The specialist notes that techniques involving photographs can actually be used in psychotherapy. These can be photos from a family archive, self-portraits or just pictures of clients taken by another person. Psychologists use such photos during therapy to treat various conditions. Zaslavskaya notes that taking pictures for a tombstone can be a therapeutic process. It can help people to realize that “death is near, that perhaps it will come soon,” and to live through it.

“It is one of the ways of abiding in the real world. And it can be useful for loved ones. After all, if this issue is talked through, if it is discussed that I am doing a photo shoot for a tombstone, it may be important for relationships — within the family, with loved ones. It can be another occasion to tell each other about your feelings and desires. It can be important and thrillingly reconciling,” the specialist argues.

When a person is photographed for their tombstone, they touch on the various fears evoked by death. Because of this, it can be difficult for others to accept the process.

“It is also important to take into account the modern context. The topic of death is taboo, and if in the past, theoretically, people saw other people dying and died at home, nowadays there are specialized institutions for this and people often die in hospitals, ambulances, or hospices. Even if a person dies at home, they are taken away. They are not left in the home after they die, as used to be the case. So, death scares us, of course. It is tabooed and concealed in everyday life,” the psychotherapist argues.

Zaslavskaya notes that there are different ways of coming to terms with death, and not all of them suit a particular person. In her opinion, the most important thing about the process is a sensitive attitude towards oneself and others.

“We need to somehow measure [how much a person is able to] withstand this confrontation with death,” she argues. “A photo shoot like this is suitable for some people, but not for others — everyone decides for themselves. There is no universal [way of making peace] with death. If it is matters for someone to be remembered in this way, in this style, it is their right.”

Source: Sabina Babayeva, “‘I don’t want people to cry at my funeral’: How Russians order glossy photo shoots for their tombstones,” Takie Dela, 17 May 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


The three Last Address plaques in the gateway to our house in Petersburg’s Central District

On Sunday, May 22, four new Last Address plaques will be installed in downtown Petersburg.

At 11 a.m., residents of Zagorodny Prospekt, 24, will install three plaques memorializing people who lived in their house and were shot during the Great Terror.

35-year-old Elizaveta Ivanovna Mullo, an ethnic Finn and at teacher at School No. 16 in Leningrad’s Volodarsky District of Leningrad, was arrested on September 5, 1937. She was shot on November 15, 1937, after being sentenced to death by a “twosome” [an NKVD officer and a prosecutor]. Her three-year-old Albert was left motherless.

Iosif Abramovich Dorner, a 45-year-old Jew, was head of the sales office at the Printing House. He was arrested on November 2, 1937, and shot on May 5, 1938. He was survived by his wife Sarra and four-year-old daughter Larisa.

Yakov Venediktovich Adamchik, a 55-year-old Pole and train conductor, was arrested on January 18, 1938, and shot on April 2, 1938. He was survived by his wife Feodosia and their four children — Olga, Mikhail, Lydia, and Nina.

All three victims were later officially exonerated for lack of evidence of a crime — Yakov Adamchik and Iosif Dorner, in 1957 and 1958, respectively; and Elizaveta Mullo, in 1989.

At 12 noon at Kuznechny Lane, 8, next to the plaque installed in 2016 for Nikolai Ivanovich Konyaev, a memorial plaque for his relative Boris Petrovich Matskevich will be installed. They lived in the same apartment and were arrested on the same day (March 11, 1935) as “socially dangerous elements.” A technician at an enterprise and a former Tsarist army colonel, Boris Petrovich was exiled to Kazakhstan for five years. In 1938, he was arrested in Atbasar and sentenced to death by firing squad. He was exonerated in both cases in 1959 and 1960, respectively. His granddaughter will be installing the plaque in his memory.

We invite you to join the installation ceremonies.

Source: Last Address in Petersburg email newsletter, 17 May 2022. Photo and translation by the Russian Reader

Moscow, May 9

For the first time in my life (I swear!) I went to the Immortal Regiment march today. Let’s just say I was strongly encouraged to do it. I hesitated, I thought it over, but in the end my curiosity won out. I have been shooting almost nothing for more than two months, because I simply lost any sense of how to go on documenting urban life and civic activism in the new reality. What did I see and hear today? I found super polite people of all ages portraying the ideal “Russian world” in its peaceful aspect. “Nobody here wants war,” a man of about forty-five, holding a portrait of his grandfather and a flag emblazoned with an image of Stalin, told me. He is one of those who sees “pros and cons” in everything and everyone, and who, although experiencing some discomfort, still fully trusts the vision of the country’s leadership. Maybe some of the marchers were forced by their employers to go to the rally, but it seemed to me that people had gone there quite willingly. They were given free food and beverages: in exchange for such generosity, one can walk in the rain and sun for a couple of hours. The Uzbek workers seemed to be happy, because on Victory Day they are allowed to join the people of Great Russia, who for the rest of the year carefully monitor and maintain the existing division of society into “homeboys” and “aliens.” When, instead of periodic enthusiastic shouts of “Hur-ra-a-a-a-h!” or “Ru-u-u-u-sia!”, the crowd started chanting “fascism will not pass” behind me, I should have fought the good fight, but instead my instinct of self-preservation kicked in and I stupidly continued to shoot.

“NOD” = the so-called National Liberation Movement

Source: anatrrra, LiveJournal, 10 May 2022. Introductory text translated and photos reprinted with the author’s kind permission. Go to the original post to see their completely stunning photo reportage in full. Translated by the Russian Reader

A Spring Rain in Mykolaiv

Vadim F. Lurie, A Spring Rain. Mykolaiv, Ukraine, May 2014
Reprinted with the photographer’s kind permission

She suffers constant nightmares that Russian troops are seizing her home city – but Katrin Kravtsov previously never thought she would see the day when she would leave her beloved Mykolaiv.

However, the 37-year-old mother-of-one decided that enough was enough when shelling hit her neighbourhood late on Tuesday.

Katrin and husband Alexey live in a modest one-bedroom flat in a Soviet-era apartment block. 

The couple and their six-year-old son Maxim spent Tuesday night in their hallway by the door – ready to run for their lives in case of another attack.

It came as speculation mounts that Russia – as part of its masterplan to seize the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine – is plotting to take this port city on the Black Sea and force the region to hold a bogus breakaway referendum.

Such a move would create a massive land corridor under Kremlin rule.

Source: James Franey, Daily Mail, 20 April 2022

Pushkin Is Stained and It’s Not My Fault

The second week of March 2022 again proved cheerless, to put it mildly, nullifying even more previously unshakable habits. Even the usual traces of the vital functions of urban birds are already causing vague fears in the wake of news reports about “foreign biological laboratories.” Of course, fear has big eyes, and there are spots on the Sun [of Russian poetry], but no matter how many worries we have, we can definitely say that nothing can spoil our hope and faith in the best outcome. Anikushin’s Pushkin is always washed in the spring, and since spring is already in full swing, he will soon be unblemished again. And then, before you know, we will be made cleaner ourselves!

Source: “Photo of the Week: Alexander Petrosyan on the Stained Sun of Russian Poetry,” 18 March 2022, Novyi Prospekt. Translated by the Russian Reader


A close-up of the Pushkin monument on Pushkinskaya Street in Petersburg, 23 March 2018. Photo by the Russian Reader

Liberating a well-fortified city with a good engineering infrastructure is a big problem for the attacking side.

Despite all the difficulties, the fighters from Chechen Republic’s security forces, fulfilling their professional duty to protect the civilian population of the LPR, the DPR, and the whole of Ukraine from the encroachments of the Banderovites, Nazis, and Shaitans, have been coping with the tasks set by the leadership of the Russian Federation.

This time, another well-fortified Banderovite base was reclaimed by Russian troops. During this brilliant operation, a large group of civilians were released, whom the Nazis had been holding all this time without water, food, and medical care.

Our brave warriors helped the destitute and abandoned people to escape from the clutches of the Nazis. There were a large number of children among them, including infants. All the rescued were put into special vehicles and taken to a safe place. Chechen fighters provided them with food, water, medicines, and medical assistance.

It was nice to hear words of gratitude from civilians for the assistance, rescue, and warm attitude of our soldiers. Most importantly, people felt how well the Chechen liberators had been brought up.

The mission of holding captured positions and rescuing the civilian population of the liberated territories in Ukraine is being carried out by our fighters at the highest level. They are in a great mood and excellent fighting spirit, looking forward to a speedy victory.

Source: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s Telegram account, 19 March 2022. Translated, so to speak, by the Russian Reader

Putin’s Plan Is Russia’s Victory

“Putin’s plan is Russia’s victory.” A United Russia campaign banner on the corner of Nevsky and Pushkinskaya in downtown Petersburg, in 2007. Photo by the Russian Reader

I suppose that none of the “analysts” who gloated — a mere week ago — that Biden was wrong about Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine will admit that they were very badly mistaken. ||| TRR

The Social Network

Alexander Petrosyan
Facebook
February 16, 2022

How intoxicating the evenings in Russia are

Comments

Omar Bayramov
I’ve never commented on your photos before, Alexander. I’ll now probably incite a whole wave of indignation against myself, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve been living in this city for 25 years out of 40 and I can definitely say that I hate it. I try not to be outside unnecessarily, everything I see in my midst is disgusting. Thank you for your photos.

Author
Alexander Petrosyan
I think that here, like everywhere, you can find both things to love and things to hate. It depends on your current state of mind.

Translated by the Russian Reader

“Lishnii cheloveks”

‘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

At the Aid Center for Displaced Persons in Kyiv


Vadim F. Lurie
Facebook
February 13, 2022

It’s quite shameful to talk about one’s own experiences of the war, which are minor compared to the experiences of people who found themselves in the war’s meat grinder. But I just wanted to say where it was that I got the strongest impressions of Ukraine’s new wartime reality . Not at the war museum in Kyiv (where the captured “export” tanks are located), not at the military hospital where I spoke with the wounded, not at the checkpoints or when I saw the aftermath of shelling in Stanytsia Luhanska and other places. And not even from the stories of survivors of the (torture) basements or the shelling. What was probably hardest for me back in 2016 was visiting the aid center for displaced persons in Kyiv, where people who had sometimes fled the war with only the clothes on their back could get basic things they needed and receive various forms of assistance. There is no forgiveness for those who killed tens of thousands of people and made millions of Ukrainians refugees.

Photo by Vadim F. Lurie. Translated by the Russian Reader