The Most Educated Nation on Earth

Natalia Sharina, librarian and
Natalia Sharina, librarian and “extremist”

Only pure Nazi scumbags arrest librarians. I say this as someone who worked for four years in a public library. I cannot imagine anyone ever arresting our librarians at a big public library in the Pacific Northwest for any reason related to their professional duties.

This should be yet another signal to Russians (“the most educated nation on earth”) to get off their self-satisfied butts and send the current regime down the drain, but they really, really like the freedom from responsibility that “life under dictatorship” gives them, so this story will be another source for sustained yawning here (if even that), like nearly everything else that has happened since Putin was triumphantly “elected” to a third term, including the recent abduction, murder, and gutting (“autopsy”) of a 18-month-old Tajik baby by Petersburg police and medics, who will all be getting off scot free for their hideous crimes, because they are normal “white” people, not “black asses.”

In response, I am expecting another vigorous round of whataboutism from many of my “progressive” Russian and Russianist (i.e., for all intents and purposes, Putinist) friends. They will be furiously searching for stories about the horrors of life in “enemy” countries like the US and Finland or wherever.

(Or Norway, Sweden and Denmark: for “progressive” Russian patriots, the Scandinavian countries are a special imaginary hell on earth they have to keep picking at rhetorically like a scab they do not want to heal ever. Search me why this is the case. Maybe it has something to do with the terrible “betrayal” to the international communist cause represented by social democracy, but look where we are now, my communist comrades!)

But no sensible leftist, liberal, hip contemporary art curator or just plain person on earth is going to keep buying this Russian “progressive” political song and dance at this mind-numbing rate of total societal breakdown. People who do not want to deal AT ALL with their own homegrown Nazi scumbags have no right to comment on the political affairs of other countries or hop around the globe preaching the evils of capitalism and “neoliberalism.”

A librarian. Unbelievable.

Photo courtesy of Rushincrash

Remembering (and Forgetting) Beslan

Remembering (and Forgetting) Beslan
David Frenkel
Special to the Russian Reader
September 9, 2015

On September 3, several dozen Petersburgers came to Malaya Sadovaya, a pedestrian street abutting the city’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospect, to remember the victims of the September 2004 Beslan school siege.

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Activists lit candles and rolled out a banner featuring photographs of 334 victims. People who attended the event placed flowers and water bottles in front of the improvised memorial.

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The number of people who came on purpose to remember the most devastating terrorist attack in Russian history was few. Most passersby who reacted to the memorial made scornful or indifferent comments such as “Again…” and “Ah, it’s Beslan.”

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Though the event had not been coordinated with the authorities, police did not interfere.

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Country of Victory, the Country’s Victory, the title of an open-air photo exhibition featuring portraits of Russian Olympic champions and Vladimir Putin, was visible behind the mourners.

All photos by and courtesy of David Frenkel