One day, I hope, someone will explain to me why “progressive” Russians find the English words speak, speaker, speech, etc., so sexy and exciting that they have to incorporate them needlessly into Russian every chance they get.
Do they know that, in English, these words are less evocative than three-day-old bread, duller than dishwater?
In this case, hilariously (and awkwardly, too: “speak” appears after chas, generating an awkward phrase that translates as “hour of speak” or “speak hour,” although it’s supposed to be a play on the idiomatic phrase chas pik, meaning “rush hour”), the word “speak” adorns Sergei Medvedev’s reflections on the “imperialist mindset.”
Thanks to TP for this gem of Rusglish.
Below, you can watch the actual interview (in Russian, not Rusglish — well, almost), which, if for no other reason, is interesting because it was posted almost three months before Russia invaded Ukraine. ||| TRR
In an interview with Nikita Rudakov, he explained:
Why the idea of Russia’s “civilizational superiority” is so popular
Why propaganda encourages the ideological complexes of Russians
How the elite of the 2000s is trying to turn back history.
00:00 Chas Speak: Sergei Medvedev 01:40 The imperialist mindset and the idea of Russia’s greatness 06:10 Is there no place for nationalism in the imperialist mindset? 08:05 “Russia colonized itself” 14:03 The superiority of big ideas: why didn’t the USA become an empire? 21:02 The ideological complexes of Russians 25:41 “We rise from our knees via military achievements and parades on Red Square” 26:50 “Lukashenko does with us what he will”: Russia and Belarus 30:56 “Russia wants to live in the myth of 1945” 34:40 “We were unable to create a nation state”
Book reading and experience sharing program at Russian House
On December 29 Russian House in Kathmandu conducted a book reading and experience sharing program in collaboration with Half Tone Design Private Limited.
The event featured an interactive group discussion program with a brief introduction of the Russian library, books, authors, quotes, and poem recitation. There were over 40 people: authors, students, poets, and professors. The main purpose of the program is to build reading habits and share experiences. In the program, many of the audience suggested their favorite books, which are as follows:
1. How to win friends and influence people — Dale Carnegie, and Bhagwat Gita by Mr. Indra Prasad Adhikari.
2. Ramcharitra Manas. By Mr. Rudra Dulal.
3. Jeevan Yatra by Mr. Bhola Shrestha.
4. Muna Madan, Aamai and Paheli by Mrs. Goma Banjade.
5. Mother – Maxim Gorky by Ms. Mira Pokherel.
6. Guna Ratna Mala by Mr. Narayan Thapa.
Source: Russian House in Kathmandu, Facebook, 29 December 2022
Ukrainian officials said that over 120 Russian missiles had been launched at the country’s cities. Explosions were heard in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Zhytomyr. The mayor of Kyiv said that three people had been taken to hospital, and that 16 missiles were destroyed in flight by the city’s air defences. On the southern front Ukrainian officials urged residents of Kherson, which they liberated just six weeks ago, to evacuate their city as Russian forces escalated mortar and artillery attacks.
Source: The Economist, “The World in Brief” email newsletter, 29 December 2022
Mikhail [Lobanov] telephoned. He says that he has been charged under Article 19.3 of the Administrative Offenses Code.*
Mikhail managed to convey that during the search he was beaten in the face and chest. There was blood on the floor of the apartment.
Source: Mikhail Lobanov, Facebook, 29 December 2022. Translated by TRR
The home of Mikhail Lobanov was searched today. Mikhail’s [legal] status and the article of the criminal code [which he is being charged with or suspected of violating] are not yet known.
Mikhail was taken to the Ramenka police department.
During the search, the investigator mentioned the name Ponomarev (probably referring to Ilya Ponomarev), with whom Lobanov is not acquainted and is not connected in any way. All electronic devices were removed from the home.
The security forces quickly sawed down the door and talked with Lobanov in the apartment for more than three hours. They did not allow him to contact a lawyer, demanded that he sign some papers, and behaved heavy-handedly, Mikhail’s wife Alexandra Zapolskaya reports.
Source: Mikhail Lobanov, Facebook, 29 December 2022. Translated by TRR
Four and half years ago, I had to renew my Russian permanent residence permit. The procedure had changed considerably since the last time I’d applied for the permit. Among the changes were two written exams that applicants were now required to pass — a Russian language exam and a Russian civics exam. I decided to study for them by doing practice exams that I found online. One of the civics question was “Question 5,” screenshotted above. It’s a multiple choice question. The examinee must decide whether the “RF” (the Russian Federation) is a) a totalitarian state, b) an authoritarian state, c) a hybrid state, or d) a democratic state. To be honest, I no longer remember whether this particular question came up in the actual exam, which I passed with flying colors. But I thought that you, my readers, might find it productive to ponder this question while reading the following three items, ripped straight from this week’s headlines in the Russian media. At the end of this post, you’ll see what the “right” answer was (in 2018, at least) and the answer I tried to give when taking the online practice quiz. ||| TRR
The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has identified 17 priority topics for state financial support of film production in 2023.
The procedure and conditions for selection competitions in 2023 will be announced at the end of December 2022.
“We publish a list of topics before the start of competitions for financing production, hoping that filmmakers will take into account the priorities of state support for film production when developing projects. The Ministry of Culture continues to support such important topics for society as the protection of family values, patriotic education, preservation of the traditions of Russia’s regions, the success of domestic science, and popularization of the professions of engineer and teacher. Given modern realities, we consider it necessary to focus as well on countering attempts to falsify history and modern manifestations of the ideology of Nazism, to talk about the heroism and dedication of Russian soldiers during the special operation and the work of front-line brigades and volunteers,” said Olga Lyubimova, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Some priority topics have been established pursuant to the Decrees of the President of the Russian Federation: “On the Approval of the Foundations of State Policy for the Preservation and Strengthening of Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values,” dated 09.11.2022, No. 809; “On the Announcement of the Decade of Childhood in the Russian Federation,” dated 29.05.2017, No. 240; “On the Announcement of the Decade of Science and Technology in the Russian Federation,” dated 25.04.2022, No. 231; and “On Holding the Year of the Teacher and Mentor in the Russian Federation,” dated 27.06.2022, No. 401.
The list of priority topics includes:
1. Russia’s culture. The preservation, creation and dissemination of traditional values.
2. The decade of childhood. Families and children, their protection and support.
4. Historical cinema. History lessons, memory lessons. Countering attempts to falsify history. Russia’s peacekeeping mission of Russia. Russia’s historical victories. The eightieth anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Soviet soldier’s mission of liberation Generational conflict, generational continuity.
5. Russia as a modern, stable and secure state that provides opportunities for growth and self-realization.
6. The heroes among us. Stories of modern Russia’s outstanding individuals. Popularizing the teaching profession. School and college as important stages in social adaptation and personal orientation. The role of teachers and mentors in shaping the individual.
7. Motivating young people to master manual trades and engineering jobs. Improving the social status of the manual worker and the engineer, of research and innovation.
8. Film chronicle. The current state, culture and traditions of Russia’s regions. Development of the Far East and the Arctic. The life of small towns and villages, life in the provinces. Little Russia as a historical region of Russia.
9. Adaptations of works of Russian classical literature, including with the use of animation.
10. Films about outstanding figures in history, culture, science and sports. Popularizing the medical profession. Films about sporting achievements and victories.
11. Countering modern manifestations of the ideology of Nazism and fascism. Popularizing heroism and the dedication of Russian soldiers during the special military operation.
12. Popularizing service in the Russian Armed Forces of Russia. Society’s unanimous support of the army (front-line brigades and volunteers). Strengthening the status of the military profession as based on historical events and recent history.
13. The spiritual, moral and patriotic education of Russian citizens. Countering extremism. Images and models of behavior and creative motivation for modern youth. Spiritual leaders. The volunteer movement in Russia and the CIS countries as an international popularization of volunteerism.
14. The neocolonial policy of the Anglo-Saxon world. The degradation of Europe. The formation of a multipolar world.
15. Society without borders: the self-realization of people with disabilities. Volunteering in Russia. Active longevity.
16. Films about teenagers. Formation of values in life and guidelines while growing up. Disorientation in public space, information overload, forming one’s own way of thinking.
17. Modern society. Moral and ethical choice. Civic engagement. Social unity.
At a secondary school in the Leningrad Region, the Agalatovo Education Center, students were quizzed about racism, Russophobia and the emotions provoked by songs about the Motherland. A photo of the questionnaire, entitled “Patriot and Citizen,” was sent to Rotunda by the parents of one of the schoolchildren. Here are some of statements the children had to evaluate by answering “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.”
🇷🇺 Those who criticize what is happening in the country cannot be considered real patriots. 🇷🇺 I owe a lot to my country. 🇷🇺 Sometimes I get very excited when I hear songs about my Motherland. 🇷🇺 We are a strong military power, and that is why we should be respected. 🇷🇺 If I go abroad, I will try not to be seen as Russian. 🇷🇺 I am ready to defend my Motherland in case of serious danger. 🇷🇺 Most of the crimes in our city (village) are committed by outsiders and immigrants.
🇷🇺 Our athletes are often judged unfairly at international competitions, because no one likes Russians. 🇷🇺 If we take into account all the pros and cons, the storage of foreign nuclear waste in Russia brings more financial benefits than it does environmental harm. 🇷🇺 There are nations and peoples who do not deserve to be treated well. 🇷🇺 Vandalism is one of the forms of youth protest. 🇷🇺 It is unfair to put people with dark skin in charge of white people. 🇷🇺 There can be only one true religion.
🤦 The school confirmed to Rotunda that they had conducted such a survey. They agreed to communicate with us only by mail. In a written response signed by the vice principal, they claimed that the questionnaire was needed “as background for a faculty meeting.” The school did not answer questions about how correctly or adequately the questionnaire was worded. Rotunda was unable to contact the school’s principal, Svetlana Sergiyenko. She is a supporter of the United Russia party and has run for election several times on the party’s ticket.
📌 The questionnaire itself seems to have been found by the educators on the internet. In 2014, Belarusian media reported that a similar survey (only with Belarus instead of Russia) was conducted in schools in Minsk.
There is a belief that the Russian elite under President Vladimir Putin has only ever been interested in money. Yet Putin’s militant, anti-liberal, anti-Western, isolationist, paternalistic, and harshly authoritarian regime has always had an ideology.
This ideology is not systematized, but it does exist, and snippets of it can be found throughout Putin’s speeches, articles, and interviews. Now the war in Ukraine has necessitated a more articulated ideology, however.
The initiative to systematize and codify Putinism has led to a presidential decree listing Russia’s “traditional spiritual and moral values,” as well as the development of a new ideological curriculum for colleges.
It is no longer enough to indoctrinate children in kindergartens and schools. It is now time to unify the worldviews of college students, and, by extension, those of their professors, whose ranks will inevitably be purged. A similar course taught during the Soviet era was known as “Scientific Communism.”
The name for this new curriculum is “Fundamentals of Russian Statehood,” though it might as well be called “Scientific Putinism.” It is composed of four units: “History” – historical policy as the imposition of a mythologized official version of history, which is one of the instruments for manipulating the mass consciousness of Russians; “Cultural Codes” or the “traditional spiritual and moral values,” around which Putin has ordered federal and regional governments to unify; “Russia and the World” — a justification of isolationism, anti-Westernism, and jingoism; and “Vision for the Future,” which sets out what the state hopes to achieve beyond victory in Ukraine and the destruction of the “fifth column.”
The curriculum justifies the cult of the eternal leader and doubles down on the idea that Russia is fighting the forces of evil in Ukraine in an effort to “de-satanize” the country. However, at the same time, Scientific Putinism lacks key components such as development goals or a vision for Russia’s future, focusing as it does almost exclusively on the past.
During Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency, there were teams working on a future-oriented ideology and making road maps based on the idea that Russia would fast-track the modernization of the state and society. Putin’s ideology, however, is one that fundamentally opposes modernization.
Putin has successfully convinced a significant portion of the population that Russia must regain its status as a great power, and that Russia is under attack by both the liberal West and traitors at home. As the regime has grown more authoritarian, its ideology has also become more archaic, its propaganda more obtrusive, and any hopes of modernization have dwindled.
An ideology that consists of historical, cultural, and religious myths, bogus traditions, and resentment seeks to legitimize an authoritarian regime and delegitimize those who oppose it.
Such an ideology makes it possible to label nonconformists as enemies, and to divide people into “us” and “them.” The division into “us” and “them” doesn’t just provide a marker for self-identification, it also serves to convince the public that there is a certain majority from which they should not stray.
In the past, the only requirement for being part of the “us” was passive, silent, conformist support. Today, however, this is not enough: Russians must surrender their very bodies to be cannon fodder in the supreme leader’s holy war against the “satanic” forces of the West. This is no longer authoritarianism; it is totalitarianism.
Imperialism and colonialism are key components of Putinism and key factors in the war. There is nothing new about this ideology; it comes almost verbatim from Stalinism and from earlier Eurasian and Slavophile narratives.
The war is being passed off as striving to restore historical fairness, as defensive and preventive, and as liberation. According to Putin, the land of the empire must be “returned and reinforced.”
In just a few years, the regime has evolved from a cult of the victory of 1945 to a cult of war itself, and Putin has managed to persuade a large segment of Russian society that the “special military operation” of 2022 is a natural continuation of World War II. In essence, it is an existential war between Russian and Western civilizations.
Putin has started to refer to Russia as an entire civilization. The state is not just sacred and worthy of the ultimate sacrifice; it is also a separate and superior civilization with a “thousand-year history” and its own special path.
Within this history, cultural codes are being passed down from generation to generation as part of the country’s political DNA. This state-civilization has its own pantheon of heroes unchanged from the Soviet era: Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Joseph Stalin, and Yuri Gagarin.
This state-civilization has always been under attack by enviers and foes, making its state of permanent conflict critical, and not simply limited to the battlefield. The state must win in all aspects — in culture and in sports, in the construction of Olympic facilities, and in the war against Ukraine and the West.
To defend the sovereignty of this state-civilization, the Kremlin is counting on the security services, or siloviki, who have been given additional funding and are reinforced by spin doctors and so-called “journalists” in the Kremlin’s service.
The Culture Ministry, the communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, and the Russian Orthodox Church are becoming de facto siloviki themselves, enjoying as they do the right to block or ban media, restrict the sales of books by authors who oppose the war, and decide who can perform on theater stages.
The ideology has become corporeal, bolstered by political and military acts, such as the annexation of Crimea and the “special military operation.” In short, the special ideological operation is ongoing, and it seems to be faring rather better than the military one.
This article was originally published by the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace.
Back in the summer of 2018 I tried to answer Question 5 truthfully, replying that the Russian Federation was an “authoritarian state.” But the right answer, then, was “democratic state,” as it turned out. Again, I don’t remember now whether this question on the actual civics exam that I took, but there were several other “ideological” questions like it, which I would have answered “incorrectly,” thus jeopardizing my chances to get a residence permit, if I hadn’t been schooled in advance by the practice quizzes I’d found online. ||| TRR
Digging a pit?
Fell in the pit?
Down in the pit?
Need a ladder?
Wet in the pit?
How's the head?
So you are safe?
Well, okay then, I'm off!
Putin last week took part in a meeting with the mothers of soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine. The title “soldiers’ mother” carries a lot of influence in Russia — and Putin was famously humiliated by a group of soldiers’ relatives in his early years as president. Unsurprisingly, Friday’s meeting included only those trusted to meet Putin and the gathering passed off without awkward questions. Putin — who now rarely communicates with anyone outside of his inner circle — once again demonstrated a complete detachment from reality.
The Russian authorities have been nervous of organizations of soldiers’ mothers since the mid-1990s. During the first Chechen war (1994-1996), in which the Russian army was humiliated, the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers was one of the country’s leading anti-war forces and held the state and the military to account.
For Putin personally, any encounter with soldiers’ mothers stirs unhappy memories of one of the most dramatic incidents of his first year in the Kremlin. In August 2000, the inexperienced president was subjected to a grilling by the wives and mothers of sailors who died in the Kursk submarine disaster. The transcript of the meeting immediately appeared in the press and a recording was played on Channel One, which was then owned by Kremlin eminence grise Boris Berezovsky. Presenter Sergei Dorenko subsequently claimed that, after the broadcast, Putin called the channel and yelled that the widows were not genuine and that Berezovsky’s colleagues “hired whores for $10.” Ever since that encounter, the Russian president has avoided in-person meetings, favoring stage-managed gatherings with hand-picked members of the public.
This time, of course, there were no surprises. The Kremlin carefully selected the soldiers’ mothers who were invited to attend. At least half of those at the meeting turned out to be activists from the ruling United Russia party and members of pro-Kremlin organizations.
The most striking speech at the event was close to parody. It was given by Nina Pshenichkina, a woman from Ukraine’s Luhansk Region whose son was killed in 2019. Pshenchkina later became a member of the Public Chamber of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and has attended almost every official funeral and official celebration. She told Putin that her son’s last words were: “Let’s go, lads, let’s crop some dill” (in this context, “dill” is an insulting nickname for Ukrainians).
Putin’s speech was also striking. First, he told the assembled mothers that Ukrainians were Nazis because they kill mobilized Russians soldiers who did not wish to serve on the front line. Then he embarked on a long, strange discussion about why we should be proud of the dead. “We are all mortal, we all live beneath God and at some point we will all leave this world. It’s inevitable. The question is how we live… after all, how some people live or don’t live, it’s not clear. How they get away from vodka, or something. And then they got away and lived, or did not live, imperceptibly. But your son lived. And he achieved something. This means he did not live his life in vain,” he said to one of the mothers.
Why the world should care
It would be an error to assume that Putin has completely abandoned rational thought. However, it is instructive to watch him at meetings like this, which provide a window onto the sort of information he consumes. At this meeting with fake soldiers’ mothers he quoted fake reports from his Defense Ministry and, seemingly, took it all seriously.
Source: The Bell & The Moscow Times email newsletter, 28 November 2022. Written by Peter Mironenko, translated by Andy Potts, and edited by Howard Amos. Photo, above, by the Russian Reader
Moscow’s effort to seize the high ground of technology has failed miserably. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, an American, was elected secretary-general of the ITU in September, winning 139-25. A challenge from Rashid Ismailov, a Russian former deputy minister of communications, collapsed after the invasion of Ukraine.
The ITU drubbing extended to components of the regulatory body. At the ITU’s September-October meeting in Bucharest, Russia failed to win a seat on the group’s 48-member council, its 12-member Radio Regulations Board or any of its three oversight bureaus. It was a shutout for a country that last year boasted it would “develop and implement legal norms and standards in the field of internet governance.”
Russia’s other internet initiatives have also stalled. Moscow’s plan to write a new U.N. pact to replace the 2001 Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is on hold. The Moscow daily Kommersant noted this week that its proposal to continue overseeing internet issues through a Russian-backed “Open Ended Working Group” was supported by only 12 nations, while a U.S.-backed alternative had 50 sponsors.
The spreading stain of the Ukraine invasion has affected Russia’s involvement in other U.N. activities. In April, the General Assembly voted to suspend it from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. That same month, Russian candidates were rejected for seats on four organizations of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, and Russia was suspended from the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.
What are we fighting for? Russia is a huge, rich country. We don’t need foreign territories; we have plenty of everything. But there is our land, which is sacred to us, on which our ancestors lived and on which our people live today. And which we will not surrender to anyone. We are defending our people. We are fighting for all of our own people, for our land, for our thousand-year history.
Who is fighting against us? We are fighting against those who hate us, who ban our language, our values, and even our faith, who spread hatred towards the history of our Fatherland.
A part of the dying world is against us today. It consists of a bunch of crazy Nazi drug addicts, the common people they have drugged and intimidated, and a large pack of barking dogs from the western kennel. They are joined by motley pack of grunting piggies and narrow-minded philistines from the disintegrated western empire with saliva running down their chins due to degeneration. They have no faith and ideals, except for the harmful vices they have contrived and the standards of doublethink they impose, which deny the morality bestowed on normal people. Therefore, by rising up against them, we have gained sacred power.
Where are our former friends? We have been abandoned by some frightened partners — and I could not give a flying crap about them. That means they were not our friends, but just random fellow travelers, clingers, and hangers-on.
Cowardly traitors and greedy defectors have bugged out for the back of beyond — may their bones rot in a foreign land. They are not among us, but we have become stronger and purer.
Why were we silent for a long time? We were weak and devastated by hard times. And now we have shaken off the sticky sleep and dreary gloom of the last decades, into which the death of the former Fatherland had plunged us. Other countries have been waiting for our awakening, countries raped by the lords of darkness, slaveholders and oppressors who dream of their monstrous colonial past and long to preserve their power over the world. Many countries have long disbelieved their nonsense but are still afraid of them. Soon they will wake up once and for all. And when the rotten world order collapses, it will bury all its arrogant priests, bloodthirsty adepts, mocking henchmen, and tongue-tied mankurts under the multi-ton pile of its own debris.
What is our weapon? There are various weapons. We have the capacity to dispatch all our enemies to a fiery hell, but that is not our mission. We listen to the Creator’s words in our hearts and obey them. These words give us a sacred purpose. The goal is to stop the supreme ruler of hell, no matter what name he uses – Satan, Lucifer, or Iblis. For his goal is destruction. Our goal is life.
About one hundred thousand Russians have signed a petition to the president demanding that they be paid 10 thousand rubles [approx. 163 euros] for children’s school expenses as was the case in 2021.
But instead of Russian families, this year parents of schoolchildren from the parts of Ukraine occupied by the Russian army will receive 10 thousand rubles each, while Russian citizens are being expressly told to go to war so that they can afford to send their child to school.
We calculated how much it would cost to send off a pupil to school in Russia’s regions, and we talked with the parents of schoolchildren.
What we learned:
In twenty regions of Russia, buying everything needed for school costs more than the average per capita income for a whole month. For example, in Tyva, one family member has an average income of 15.5 thousand rubles [approx. 253 euros] per month.
This money is usually spent on the bare necessities: food, clothing, medical treatment, transport and other needs. A schoolchild’s kit in Tyva costs almost 24 thousand rubles [approx. 393 euros] — money that parents don’t know where to get. In another fourteen regions, more than ninety percent of income will be spent on school-related expenses.
Parents toldiStories that many goods, especially clothes and notebooks, have risen in price twofold or more. And yet, wages have not increased, and some parents have lost their jobs altogether due to sanctions.
Many parents have had to take out loans for everyday needs (this is corroborated by the data: before the start of the school year, the number of applications for consumer loans increased by 20%) and scrimp on vacations.
Prices have increased by thirty percent, but I have no salary, so I’ve felt the difference enormously. The option that I found this year is credit cards. And we scrimped on vacation, of course. It has become quite expensive to take the children somewhere and liven up their leisure time. Whereas earlier I could afford to spend the weekend with my children somewhere in a holiday home in the Moscow Region, now we choose places without an overnight stay, and we take food along with us.
You take shoes for physical education, light sneakers. The kids hang out in them all day [anyway], so you save money on school shoes.
I tried to tell [the children] that war is always a very bad thing, that you should aways try to negotiate.
On average, I spent around 35-40 thousand rubles [approx. 660 euros] on everything. Clothes have become much more expensive compared to last year, and the quality has become worse. […] I am now on maternity leave, raising the girls alone. I get alimony. We have spent all the new allowances for children between 8 to 17 years old on school expenses. […] I think we will cope with it all. Everything will end and be fine — [the war] will not affect us in any way. I think that everything is being done here [in Russia] so that we do not feel the effect of special military actions.
In which regions of the country does a schoolchild’s kit cost more than the average per capita monthly income?
Could the Russian state afford to cover the expenses for all 15 million Russian schoolchildren?
Source: iStories, email newsletter, 29 August 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
Igor Stomakhin, from the series When we leave the schoolyard… Moscow, 1980s
My street exhibition will open on the fence of Danilovskaya Alley on September 4 at 1 p.m. as part of the project #SundayKhokhlovskyStandoffs. Photos from my Moscow cycle of the 1980s–1990s will be presented. At 2 p.m., I will give a tour of the show beginning with an account of the capital in that vivid period when Soviet stagnation was replaced by Gorbachev’s perestroika. The defenders of Ivanovo Hill will treat guests to tea from a samovar, so you can bring sweets to share. Address: Kolpachny Lane, between house no. 7 and house no. 9.
Source: Igor Stomakhin, Facebook, 1 September 2022. Click the link to see a dozen more photos from Mr. Stomakhin’s poignant perestroika-era Moscow school series. Translated by the Russian Reader
Source: Current Time TV (Radio Svoboda), Instagram, 1 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
“A Russian national passport = social stability and security. Kherson Region: We’re together with Russia!” reads this purported (but, sadly, all too believable) billboard in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson, on which someone has written “Russia [rasha] is a shit hole [parasha], ZSU [Armed Forces of Ukraine],” in the lower right corner. Source: Nash Kherson (“Our Kherson”), Facebook, 20 August 2022
While its war rages in Ukraine, Russia is struggling to stabilise its conflict-battered satellite in the Middle East, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is meeting his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, in Moscow on Tuesday. Syria wants assurances that Russia will not divert more forces away from Mr Assad’s civil war to the front in Ukraine. The Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian-backed private security contractor in Syria, has already scaled back its operations. Syria’s cash-poor government also desperately needs grain.
But Russia has demands, too. Turkey’s membership of NATO and location on the Black Sea makes its co-operation critical for Russia’s war in Ukraine. So Russia wants Mr Assad to make peace with his foe, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president. That would require Mr Assad to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey and start reconciling with the Turkish-backed rebels in Syria’s north. But so far Russian efforts to push Mr Assad to accept a political settlement have come to nothing.