среда, 24 февраля 2010 г.


In 1918 a Civil war broke out in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917. Historian Leonid Katzva mentions the following reasons for the Civil war in this country:

The confiscation of property of landowners, banks, industrial and trade enterprises inevitably sparked an armed resistance on the part of the landowners and bourgeoisie, seeking to regain their own at any cost.

Repressions against the press and the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly forced a major part of the intelligentsia to join the camp of intractable enemies of Soviet power. The policy regarding the food produce, likewise, forced a predominant part of the peasant folk and the Cossacks to join the ranks of the rabid anti-bolshevists.

Anti-bolshevist forces received considerable support on the part of the foreign states, incensed at the confiscation of their foreign property in Russia and the Bolsheviks’ refusal to pay up Russia’s debts.

In the words of historian Pyotr Deinichenko, “The first salvos of Civil war resounded as early as in December 1917, when Ataman Alexei Kaledin introduced martial law on the territory of the Don army. The Bolsheviks, who had seized power in Rostov-on-the-Don, demanded that Kaledin renounce authority. In response, the Ataman launched military action, and on December 15th his troops, as a result of a spate of heavy fighting, secured Rostov. Around that time they began forming a Volunteer Army on the Don under command of General Kornilov.

Kornilov’s political program presupposed setting up a “powerful temporary supreme power comprising people with state vision”, which would reinstate private property, curb the impulsive division of land, and in the future – elect a new Constituent Assembly. There was no mention of a return to monarchy.”

In the winter of 1918 the Bolsheviks found themselves in a dire situation. As Pyotr Deinichenko notes, “the country hadn’t yet surfaced from the mire of [First World] war. The threat of occupation still loomed large… This spelled an end to the revolution. The German powers would never tolerate the Bolsheviks. And the revolution in Germany, which the Bolsheviks laid such store by, dragged its feet. So it was imperative to put an end to the war. Peace talks with states of the German-Austrian alliance began already on November 20th 1917. And in December Brest played host to an actual Peace Conference. Still, Germany played for time. It didn’t believe the Bolsheviks would last that long. Only after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly did Germany finally come to appreciate the Soviet government as a force Vasily Chapayevto be reckoned with. While Russia was in desperate need of peace, since the army had lost all combativity.”

Vladimir Lenin’s curt instructions to the participants of the delegation at the negotiations demanded that peace be signed at any cost. The beginning of talks was marred by the suicide of one of the military consultants of the Soviet delegation, Colonel Vladimir Skalon. In a suicide note addressed to his wife he wrote:

“…I cannot continue to live and be a witness to Russia’s disgrace, and even greater disgrace that awaits her in the nearest future, so I choose to take leave of this life.”

Negotiations with the German side were conducted by a delegation of Bolsheviks. Historian Oleg Platonov insists that part of them (to be exact, Leon Trotsky, Adolph Yoffe and Lev Karahan) were directly involved with German intelligence.

“Traitors within the ranks of the delegation acted out a real farce regarding the negotiations, the result of which was a one-sided document — Russia’s avouchment to withdraw from the military action and demobilize its army,” Oleg Platonov writes.

This document, which Leon Trotsky referred to as ‘neither war, nor peace’, specifically said:

“In the name of the People’s Commissars the Government of the Russian Federative Republic hereby informs all governments and peoples warring against us, as well as allied and neutral states, that by refusing to sign the annexationist treaty, Russia, for its part, declares an end to the state of war with Germany, Austro-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. Russian troops are ordered complete demobilization along the entire frontline.”

This document was a veritable gift for the German alliance. Thanks to it, the German forces dislocated at the Russian border faced no hindrance at all – they were free to seize any Russian territory they saw fit.

“This was how the Bolsheviks footed the bill for the money received from the German headquarters in 1913 – 1917, simultaneously washing their hands of the consequences of the situation they’d provoked, since they hadn’t signed the ‘annexationist treaty’,” Oleg Platonov goes on to write. “As a result of all this the defenseless Russian land was immediately overrun with voracious German hordes. There began an all-out plundering of occupied territories.”

Eventually, in March 1918 the Brest peace treaty was signed, but on the most relentless terms for this country. Besides, Germany had seized part of the Russian lands quite unconditionally. Over 1 million square kilometers of European territory of the Russian state with a population of around 50 million – a third of the country’s population – found themselves occupied by Germany. This territory yielded 90% of the overall coal and 73% of the iron ore production in the country. Over half of all the industrial enterprises and a third of the railways Red Army on the march. 1919were also situated there. Russia’s European territory now approached the 16th century borders. The results of efforts of dozens of generations of Russian people were disposed of without a backward glance.

As if this was not enough, Russia vowed to pay a 3 billion contribution in bread, ore and other raw material, besides handing over to Germany almost two hundred and a half thousand kilos of gold.

Oleg Platonov insists that in order to maintain a hold on their power, the Bolsheviks were prepared to hand all of historical Russian territory over to the Germans. That German occupation would bring suffering to so many people of this country was the least of their concerns. The historian writes that in the case of a German advance in the spring-summer of 1918 Lenin planned to give them the territory flush up to the Urals. Lenin said to Leon Trotsky:

“We shall retreat further eastwards, set up a Urals-Kuznetsk republic, drawing on the industry of the Urals and Kuznetsk basin coal, the Urals proletariat and that part of the Moscow and Petrograd workers that we shall manage to led with us. We shall hang on. If needs be, we can move further to the East, beyond the Urals. Even if we have to go as far as Kamchatka, we shall not give up. The international situation is changeable, and from the borders of the Urals-Kuznetsk republic we shall once again expand, returning victorious to Moscow and Petrograd…”

The Russian Orthodox Church denounced the Brest peace accords, discerning in them a means of undermining the Russian Orthodox state and splitting the Russian people. Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin) addressed the parish with a message, where it was said in part:

“Blessed is peace amongst peoples, for we are all brothers, and the Lord summons us all to work peacefully on Earth; He has equally bestowed on us all his innumerable gifts… The long-suffering Russian people, entrapped in a bloody fratricidal war, desperately long for peace. However, is this the peace our Church prays for, and that the people crave?.. A peace according to which intrinsically Orthodox Ukraine is separated from fraternal Russia, and the glorious city of Kiev, the Mother of all Russian towns, the cradle of our Christianity, a vessel of holy sanctity, ceases to be a city of the Russian Empire…

The Holy Orthodox Church, that at all times aided the Russian people ingathering together and grandifying the Russian state, cannot look on indifferently as it is plundered and destroyed… This peace, signed in the name of the Russian people, will not help bring about fraternal coexistence of peoples… It contains the insidious germs of future wars and evils for all of humanity.”

According to Oleg Platonov, the Germans continued to channel financial assistance to the Bolsheviks even after the Brest peace accords. Leon Trotsky, War Commissar during the years of Civil warDoubting the tenacity of Soviet power, and fearful lest its collapse plunge Russia back into war against Germany, the German special services insistently demanded from their government more money for the Bolsheviks. Thus, on May 18th 1918 the head of the German Foreign Ministry sends out instructions to the effect that all possible support be extended to the Bolsheviks, so that they survive in power. He telegraphed the German embassy in Moscow:

“Please use large sums, since it is in our vested interests that the Bolsheviks survive. The Ritzler Funds are at your disposal. Should you need more, do not hesitate to let us know how much… As much as it is possible we need to prevent the consolidation of Russia, and for this purpose we must support the ultra-leftist parties.”

The Bolshevist coup and close cooperation of the Bolshevik regime with Germany sharply enhanced the peculiarities of the German occupationist policy, which originally started taking shape in the years of World War I. It was directed towards an artificial fanning of local separatist movements and the eventual partition of Russia. There were special secret service units operational within the German Staff Headquarters, whose job was to train activist leaders of various nationalistic movements – in the Baltics, Ukraine, Byelorussia. The chief task of these secret services was to set up marionette governments, through which the German authorities intended to govern the occupied territories. With nothing but contempt for the ‘puppet’ regimes of their own doing, German officials nonetheless continued to pump significant financial means towards their upkeep, providing them with diverse maps, training manuals, study books, pamphlets, sabotage equipment and money for personal means.

Pursuing the aim of dissecting Russia, the German Foreign ministry sent their peace negotiators with Russia the following memo on May 7th 1917:

“In order to avoid the word ‘annexation’ in negotiations with Russia, and the equally distasteful to them expression ‘correction of the borders’, its would be advisable to ‘guild the pill’ of disclaiming Kurland and Lithuania for the Russians, turning these into allegedly independent states, which shall be granted internal autonomy and their own government, yet in military, political and economic respects will be under our complete control”.

Prior to WWI no state ever disputed the legality of the Baltics being a part of the Russian Empire. Historian Oleg Platonov claims that, “the marionette ‘states’ and ‘governments’ of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were drafted by several officials at the German Staff headquarters…

In December 1917, under dictation from Berlin, the so-called “Lithuanian council” – “Tariba” – proclaimed ‘eternal, consolidated ties’ with Germany. And in June 1918 Germany took a decision to proclaim Lithuania a monarchy, offering the crown to Wuerttemberg Herzog Wilhelm von Urakh. Puppet monarchies were in the offing for Latvia and Estonia, too. The Baltic barons were foisting on the local population there notions of ‘a Baltic duchy’, linked through personal union with Prussia. As German General Erich Ludendorf later The Soviet delegation met by the Germans. Brest-Litovsk, 1918admitted, Germany sought to ‘unite the Estonians and Latvians, brought up on German culture, into one state, which would be governed by the Germans…”

Oleg Platonov stresses that “…new ‘state’ structures were of a purely nominal character. They were the direct result of German expansion and at the time received no recognition on the part of the European states. To acknowledge at the time the legality of the setting up of these states would have been equal to recognizing the legality of Germany’s occupationist policy.

A similar manifestation of Germany’s unlawful occupationist policy was the setting up of the so-called “Ukrainian statehood” under the name of ‘Central Rada’ (or, in Russian, Central Council). This state structure was set up by several socialist parties and organizations headed by freemason Mikhail Grushevsky – who served with the Austro-Hungarian intelligence. In October 1917 the Central Rada almost simultaneously with the Bolshevist coup seized power in Kiev with the help of unlawful military units funded by Germany. Kiev proclaimed a “Ukrainian People’s Republic”, initially within the fold of Russia, and as of January 1918 — an independent state. This state stole away from Russia a part of the southern lands – the so-called NovoRossiya.”

In April 1918 German forces occupied the Crimea. Ukrainian ribald groups participated in the occupation of the peninsula. They were the first to enter Crimea’s central town – Simferopol – unleashing a wave of pillaging and marauding. However, Berlin rejected all aspersions of the Ukrainian separatists to claim the Crimea as their own. In Berlin they were more inclined to set up a German colonial state in the Crimea, with the German colonists as its mainstay.

On June 13th 1918 General Kraus reported to Vienna that the Germans ‘intended to retain the Crimea for themselves, as a colony or in some other such form. They would never let the priceless Crimean Peninsula slip out of their grasp.”

As a result of Germany’s occupation of Georgia on May 26th 1918 the so-called ‘independent Georgia’ emerged. In actual fact, this was a German colonial territory, governed from Berlin. Thus, it was planned to establish a puppet monarchy in Georgia, and coronate for the purpose either one of the descendants of the Georgian Kings, or some German Duke.

And these were just several examples of Germany’s occupationist policy.

Such was the price of the Brest peace accords, signed by the Bolsheviks, for the peoples of the former Russian Empire…

Leon Trotsky’s followers hoped that the German aggression against the Soviet Russia would spur on a proletarian revolution in Germany. However, the German proletariat was in no haste to demonstrate class solidarity. While Germany advanced steadily… The Bolsheviks were forced to speedily set up their own armed forces.

The decree of the Soviet of People’s Commissars “On the formation of a Red Army of Workers and Peasants” said:

“The old army served as an instrument of class persecution of the laborers by the bourgeoisie. With the transfer of power to the workers and the exploited classes there emerged a need to create a new army, that would become the bulwark of Soviet power in the present, and a foundation for substituting a regular army with a ‘citizens-in-arms’ in the near future, serving to provide support for the looming socialist revolution in Europe.”

As historian Pyotr Deinichenko notes, “The Decree on the formation of the Red Army of Workers and Peasants was already signed in January 1918. Leon Trotsky was personally involved in its creation. The numerical strength and training of the troops, put together from workers’ volunteers and Red Guard units, was certainly not adequate to put up any resistance worth speaking of to the advancing German war machine. Still, on February 23rd 1918 detachments of the Red Army succeeded in cutting short the advance of the enemy on the approaches to Narva and Pskov. However, it was clear they would not survive a second onslaught. So Lenin’s government looked favorably on the 2,000-strong English landing party in Murmansk that was to fend off the planned German assault. The threat looming over Petrograd was quite real. And on the 12th of March 1918 the political leadership of Soviet Russia moved to Moscow. Petrograd was no longer the capital.”

Early in April, under the pretext of fighting the Bolsheviks, who had gone back on their obligations as allies, 70 thousand Japanese and 7500 Americans landed in the Russian Far East. There was no frontline there. Japan, in actual fact, was pursuing its own interests. However, this didn’t tally with the plans the USA nurtured regarding Russia, so they sought to impede the Japanese.

Besides heightened activity of the foreign intervention, the Bolshevik’s enemies inside Russia were not idle, either. A 50-thousand – strong Czechoslovak legion of war prisoners, dislocated in echelon along the entire Transsiberian artery, passed over to their side. This is what a newspaper of the Novosibirsk regional government “Vedomosti” wrote in 2003 about the history of this military formation:

“Until 1918 Czechia and Slovakia were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and experienced national oppression. This is what forced them to lay their hopes at Russia’s door. In Czechia there was a popular saying “Freedom will come when the Russian Cossack horse will quench its thirst from the waters of the Vltava river.” (Vltava is a legendary river on which the capital of Czechia – Prague — was built).

During the First World War (Under the Czarist government in Russia) the Czechs and the Slovaks willingly surrendered into Russian captivity, at times in whole regiments. They were the backbone of the 50,000-strong Czechoslovak legion, set up to war against Austria (on the side of Entente).

According to the Brest Accords, signed between the Bolsheviks and Germany, the Czechoslovak legion was to be disbanded. Those of the Czechs and Slovaks who refused to disarm were threatened with execution. The legionnaires refused to obey and decided to forcefully make their way East. Entente expressed support for the rebellious Czechoslovak Legion, announcing that it was the advance-guard of the allied army.

The Legion joined sides with the “White” movement in Russia.

The revolt of the Czechoslovak legionnaires stoked up anti-bolshevist forces in those regions of Russia, where they had their echelons – in other words, across the entire Transsiberian road – from regions in Central Russia to the Far-Eastern city of Vladivostok.

There were counterrevolutionary revolts in a number of regions along the Volga. The Cossacks of the Urals rose up against the Bolsheviks. In July 1918 in Moscow, and then in the Volga town of Yaroslavl, there were revolts organized by the leftist socialists-revolutionaries.

The Bolsheviks were successful in putting down some of the rebellions. However, across a broad expanse of territory from along the Volga to Siberia, in the Northern areas of the country and the Transcaucuses their power was overthrown, and governments of the democratic counterrevolution installed.

These governments consisted of constitutional democrats, socialists-revolutionaries, and Mensheviks, who were in favor of a democratic renewal of Russia, called for convening the Constituent Assembly, the ousting of the Bolsheviks and a struggle against the ultra-right monarchists.

In the Northern Russian towns of Murmansk and Archangelsk, with the help of Anglo-American forces, a so-called government of the Northern region was established, headed by prominent Russian socialist Nikolai Tchaikovsky.

According to historian Pyotr Deinichenko, “From that moment the armed standoff between sympathizers and opponents of Soviet power evolved into a full-scale civil war.

In these conditions the Bolsheviks were forced to reject the voluntary principle of their revolutionary armed forces and announced total mobilization into the Red Army.

Many officers of the Czarist army, particularly those who had served their way upwards from the lowest ranks, took up service with the Red Army. It wasn’t fear of possible reprisals alone that motivated their actions. Many professional army men saw this as an opportunity for a revival of the army, a chance to counter the military intervention and the dissolution of Russia.

The army was built on the principles of severe discipline. There were no Soldiers’ committees any longer, but instead there emerged ‘communist units’ and commissar-Bolsheviks.

The soldiers were guaranteed a food ration and benefits. As for the deserters (and their families) – the new authorities had no qualms about executing them on the spot.”

Fearful lest the monarchists in the ‘White Guards’ midst release the Czar’s family, the Bolsheviks rushed to execute the royal family which was in the Urals. All the more so since the monarchic inclinations of a major part of the Russian people, particularly the peasants, were still strong, just as prior to the revolution. Many peasants hoped and believed that the Czar would soon return to power, life would get back on track and everything would return to normal.

While the Russian Czar was alive, as a Supreme leader of the nation, a symbol of Russia’s unity, the Bolsheviks could not be certain of their own power and the efficiency of their measures to destroy and dismember Russia.

Later, Leon Trotsky admitted in his recollections that the Bolsheviks particularly feared the “White” movement would announce a return of the Czar and resurrection of Czarist rule, for they were convinced this would spell a collapse of the Soviet regime.

The decision to execute the royal family belonged to Vladimir Lenin and was supported by practically all members of the bolshevist leadership.

As to how the Czar’s family was murdered, historian Oleg Platonov writes the following:

“The first victim of the bolshevist plan to destroy the Czar’s family was the Czar’s brother – Grand Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich. On the night from the 11th to the 12th of June 1918 a group of members of the VCheka (The Extraordinary Commission for fighting counterrevolution and sabotage) aided by soviet militia units, took the Grand Prince and his personal secretary away to a distant location outside Perm. Here they were both killed, buried, and their personal effects shared amongst the executioners. Although the entire action was carried out by representatives of Soviet power, it was officially announced the Grand Prince had fled in unknown direction.”

According to historian Oleg Platonov, Yakov Sverdlov personally oversaw all preparations for the execution of the royal family:

“Through an old-time associate dating to the terrorist activities of 1905 – 1907 Shaya Goloshekin, Sverdlov chose the man to do the actual killing of the Czar. It was Yankel Yurovsky, grandson of a Rabbi. Yurovsky was an individual totally devoid of morals, with a manifest sadistical streak. He was notorious for monstrous punitive actions against Russian people incarcerated within the VCheka. Together with Shaya Goloshekin, Yankel Yurovsky was a Presidium member of the Urals Soviet. A special headquarters was set up for executing the plan, with the above-mentioned individuals joined by bolshevist terrorist old-timers.

Initially it was planned to kill the Czar allegedly during his attempt to escape. A false letter was specially written allegedly from the officers attempting to save him, and handed over to the Czar. Yet, the latter did not fall for the bait and so his enemies had only one option left – direct murder.

On July 16th 1918 a telegram arrived in Yekaterinburg where the royal family was kept in custody from Moscow, written in code. It contained orders to “execute the Romanovs”.

The evening of that same day Shaya Goloshekin, who oversaw the crime, gave Yankel Yurovsky the direct order to kill the royal family. Yurovsky had already prepared everything. There were two spots arranged for the bodies to be hidden.

One of the participants of the crime, guard Andrei Strekotin later recalled:

“All the arrested were dressed in clean, festive vestments. The Czar carried his son in his arms… The youngest, Anastasia, is carrying a small lap dog in her arms; the ex-Empress is striding arm in arm with her eldest daughter – Olga… When the arrested were led into the room, a group of people followed them inside. I left my post and walked after them. They and I stopped on the threshold of the room, which the arrested had just been led into.

With a curt movement of the arm Yurovsky motions where the arrested should stand, saying in a quiet voice: “Please, you stand here, and you – over here, like this, in a row.”

The arrested stood in two rows: the royal family in the first, their servants in the second. The heir sat on a chair.

The Czar stood on the right flank. One of the lackeys stood behind him. Yurovsky stood facing the Czar, his right hand in his trouser pocket. In his left hand he held a small piece of paper. Then he read out the sentence…

He had hardly read the last words, when the Czar loudly interrupted: “What? I do not understand. Please read it again.” Yurovsky read it over again. On the last word he instantaneously brought out his revolver and shot pointblank at the Czar. Several voices cried out: "Oh!" The Czarina and her daughter Olga tried to cross themselves, but it was too late.

Simultaneously with Yurovsky's shot there rang out shots made by a group of people specially summoned for the purpose. The Czar didn't survive the sole bullet released from the revolver and collapsed on the spot. The other ten people also fell to the ground. Several more shots were fired at them just in case. The smoky haze shut out the electric light and made breathing difficult. The firing ceased and the windows were thrown open to let in some air.

Stretchers were carried in and they began laying the corpses onto them. The body of the Czar was the first to be carried out. The corpses were piled into a truck, standing in the yard. When they were placing one of the daughters into the truck, she cried out and covered her face with her arm. Some of the others also turned out to be alive. They could no longer fire since through the open doors the shots would be heard out in the street. According to comrades from the group, even the first shots were heard on all inside and outside guard posts. Yermakov took my rifle with bayonet and slaughtered all those who were yet alive…”

After murdering the entire royal family, the Bolsheviks actually announced the fact only several days later, stating that “the former Czar had been executed”. They consciously and purposefully disseminated the falsehood that he remaining members of the royal family were alive and in a safe place.

On the following day after the death of the Czar's family the bolshevist leaders demanded that other members of the house of Romanov be killed, too. They were also being detained in the Urals, in Alapaevsk. After beating them up, they threw these people down a 60-metere mine shaft, following this up with a batch of hand grenades and then covering the opening up with logs and boulders. However, the agony of the martyrs continued for several days. Local residents testify to having heard muted prayers and singing coming from the mine. Having killed the Czar's relatives, the Bolsheviks lied to the world that these relatives had, allegedly, escaped from Russia on a plane.

Voicing the opinion of the supreme leadership of the Bolsheviks, Leon Trotsky wrote in his “Diary”:

“…The execution of the royal family was imperative not simply to instill fear, to shock, deprive the enemy of all hope, but also to shake up our own ranks, to show that what lay ahead was either total victory or total ruin.”

The Russian Orthodox Church responded to the murder of the royal family by condemning the criminal regime. Addressing the Russian people Holy Patriarch Tikhon said:

“…recently a terrible crime was committed: former Czar Nikolai Alexandrovich was executed… We must, in line with the teachings of the Holy Writ, condemn this action, otherwise the blood of the victim will fall on us, too, besides those who committed it… Let them brand us counterrevolutionaries for this, let them incarcerate us, execute us… We are prepared to take all this, in the conviction that the words of our Savior: "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and who are faithful to it" shall also be referred to us.

Here is the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad, expressed by Archbishop of Syracuse and Troitsk Averkiy (Taushev). According to him, the slaughter of the royal family was imbued with mystical purport:

“It was planned and carried out by none other than servants of the coming antichrist — those, who sold their soul to the devil, who are preparing for the speedy enthronement of Christ's enemy — the antichrist. They were perfectly aware that the sole obstacle in their path was Orthodox Czarist Russia. So it was imperative to destroy Orthodox Russia, replacing it with a godless, atheist state which would gradually spread its tentacles of power all over the world. In order to achieve a speedy and unfailing destruction of Russia they needed to destroy the one who was its living symbol — the Orthodox Czar…”


Illustration: “Russia. A Complete Encyclopaedic Guide.” Moscow, OLMA-PRESS, 2002

Source:The Voice of Russia

понедельник, 22 февраля 2010 г.


The city of Odessa came about on the southern fringe of the endless Russian Empire when the 18th century was already on its way out. The history of the city overlooking the Black Sea has since been determined not by the events happening in this country or even in Europe, A monument to Duke Richelieu in Odessabut, rather by the people who at various times managed it along with the entire southern Russian region. And Duke de Richelieu was by far and without a doubt the most prominent of them all…

Osip Deribas is traditionally seen as the founder of the city of Odessa but, much as he did to make the city happening, it was still Duke de Richelieu who made this Southern Palmyra one of the best known cities in the world.

In 1803 Duke de Richelieu turned 37. The scion of the legendary French family, he had received excellent education at an exclusive college named after his famous great-grandfather. At 21 he was already a senior officer in a Hussar regiment and a familiar face at the Versailles. The Great French Revolution turned his life all around and forcing the young Duke to seek a better lot abroad. Leaving behind a family estate and a plain looking hunchback wife, Rosalie Sabine, he had married six years before, Richelieu moved to Russia. There, by a whim of fate, he found himself storming the Turkish fortress Izmail. By a similar whim of fate he survived the carnage and slightly wounded, was awarded a golden sword for valor. Looking through the list of Izmail heroes, Empress Catherine II caught sight of the legendary name, had its owner ushered in and charmed by the young French officer allowed him to attend exclusive soirees she was regularly holding in her palace. Catherine also saw de Richelieu as someone who she believed would save France. With a handsome sum of money given him by the Russian Empress, the Duke joined the royalist army of Prince de Conde to fight the Republicans. Two years later the war was lost. The Russian money did not help the royalists. Disappointed as she was, Catherine still allowed de Richelieu to continue his service in the Russian army.

Fate then gave him another chance to assert himself when a fellow officer, Alexander Romanov ascended the Russian throne. Alexander I was quick to appreciate the Frenchman’s vision and statesmanship, just like his lack of interest in a military career and finally appointed him governor of a small town in the south. On March 3 of 1803 Armand Emmanuel du Plessis Duke de Richelieu arrived at Odessa…

What he saw there exceeded his worst expectations. The town was a grim assemblage of stucco huts nestled on both sides of a muddy road. The half-built carcasses of several churches started by the town’s founders offered an equally dismal sight… Whether de Richelieu was scared off by all that we’ll never know but on the next day he demanded a detailed report from the local authorities about the town was getting on. A powder factory only five people worked at was the biggest enterprise you could find there and it was owned by retired French Capitan Monsieur Pichon. There were several other such tiny factories there with a total workforce of 140 people. Everyone else subsisted on summertime jobs at the local port, small-time vending and juts stealing. The whole town looked more like a pirate island surrounded by endless expanses of virgin steppe lands stretching forever…

The new governor’s main priority was to enlist the country’s best specialists to give Odessa a much-needed facelift. More and more merchant ships were now eager to call at the local port and getting home they spread the word about the new southern city and his governor. In 1813 Governor Richelieu wrote: “Odessa and New Russia have made headway so big and so fact that no other city anywhere can boast of.” Never a bragger, the Duke was by no means exaggerating his success. According to early-19th century statistics, the commercial turnover of all Black and Azov seaports had grown 30-fold in a matter of just 17 years and customs duties increased a heft ten-fold. “When I arrived here in 1803 I took a whole six weeks to get a dozen of simple chairs which I had to order from another place,” Richelieu wrote in his memoir. “In 1813 we sent out a huge sum’s worth of furniture to Constantinople whose quality was fully commensurate with what they do in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Pray tell me of any other country that could boast the same performance!”

Coming to Odessa in 1818, three years after Duke de Richelieu had returned to France, Emperor Alexander I was so impressed by what he saw that he immediately awarded the ex-governor, who was now serving as French Prime Minister, Russia’s top award — St. Andrew’s cross. The Golden Age of Odessa impressed several generations of Russian historians most of whom attribute the city’s unprecedented success to the economic and political genius of Duke de Richelieu. This, in a nutshell, is the life story of a high-born French aristocrat who, by a whim of Fate, made a Russian city one of the most beautiful in the entire world…

Source:The Voice of Russia

пятница, 19 февраля 2010 г.


By Lyubov Tsarevskaya
"перед мощной властью красоты"
«"перед мощной властью красоты"» на Яндекс.Фотках
The river Amur

This remarkable region spreads across the very southernmost part of the Far East. In the north and the west it is encircled by the river Amur, with its tributary the Ussuri, while in the south and east – it borders on the warm Sea of Japan.

побережье 20х15
«побережье 20х15» на Яндекс.Фотках

Осень у моря
«Осень у моря» на Яндекс.Фотках

The major part of the territory is taken up by the mountains of Sikhjote-Alinj.

Башня в тайге
«Башня в тайге» на Яндекс.Фотках

The location of Ussuriysk region, its rare combination of winds, currents, terrain and water basins created a climatic anomaly that enables both northern and southern plant and animal life to populate the region side by side. This resulted in a remarkable world all its own, without analogues anywhere else.

Just imagine taiga firs embraced by graceful vines, such as wild grapes and the medicinal magnolia vine. Moreover, one of the species of vines – actinidia – grows to a diameter of 20 centimeters! The Siberian larch grows alongside the powerful Korean cedar, oaks and maples neighbor on Manchurian hazel and corkwood.

On Lake Hanka the lotus grows alongside the familiar to us sedge and reed. And certainly an unusual sight are tropical bushes of the spiky sarsaparilla.

Лотосы озера Ханка
«Лотосы озера Ханка» на Яндекс.Фотках

No less unusual is the animal life of the region: living here in comfortable co-habitat are residents of the Siberian Taiga – the brown bear, wolverine, wolf, elk, boar, squirrel, sable and such residents of the south as: leopard, raccoon dog, dappled deer and the famous Ussuriysk tiger. It is notorious not only for its size, but wondrously beautiful fur. This is a fast and deft beast. In order to preserve its population, the Ussuriysk tiger has been entered into the Red Book of endangered species.

Амурский тигр
«Амурский тигр» на Яндекс.Фотках

The central Russian adder and lizard share territory with the huge as a python Manchurian black water snake and sleep turtle. Koreans living along the Ussury have long been keeping house snakes instead of cats to keep down the rodent population.

Besides living wonders, the region is famous for the richness of its mineral wealth. It’s considered to be the third in Russia (after the Urals and Transbaikal) treasure store of semi-precious stones. In the mountains of Sikhote-Alinj they find crystal, amethysts, garnets and tourmaline.

No less remarkable is the underwater world of the Sea of Japan. Here, in Peter the Great Bay, the first Russian marine nature preserve was established. Among its inhabitants both tiny, millimeter-long, barnacles, and almost half a meter in diameter jelly fish; huge shafts of seaweed- kasteria – with a length of 1,5 meter and a width of up to half a meter. Alongside them swaying gently are long scrolls of laminaria seaweed. But the greatest numbers are represented by mollusks. These are oysters, mussels, scallops, trepan, octopus, squid, and ink fish. The breeding power of the mollusks is amazing. Thus, one female mussel is capable of producing 50-70 million spawn annually. If we take into account that mussels live for 100 years and more, you can imagine what a mind-boggling number of offspring they produce in their lifetime!

Кеккуры, бастион
«Кеккуры, бастион» на Яндекс.Фотках

Звёздный натюрморт
«Звёздный натюрморт» на Яндекс.Фотках

On the bed of Peter the Great Bay we can find numerous starfish of diverse shapes and colors, sea acorns, sea urchins, and soldier-crabs. In the tangle of eel grass the there graze the wondrous creatures — the grass shrimp — throughout their life persistently changing sex.

The remarkable world of inhabitants of Peter the Great Bay is represented in an exposition of the Museum of Marine life, situated on the nearest to Vladivostok, Isle of Popov.

For those wishing to visit the jungle, there is no need to go to Africa. One can find a veritable riot of nature, closely reminiscent of the jungle, on Russian soil, in the Ussuriysk region.

Source:The Voice of Russia

четверг, 18 февраля 2010 г.

Moscow Metropolitan

The word metro or metropolitan came into Russian either the English name of the London underground railway built in 1863 by the firm 'Metropolitan', or as a borrowing from the French, which literally means 'capital'.

There were plans for the construction of a Moscow underground railway before the revolution. At the beginning of XX century the trams could not cope with the volume of passengers in Moscow's expanding population. It was necessary to find a new means of transport to link the centre and the suburbs.

The first project for the construction of a Moscow underground was put forward in 1902 by the engineer P.Balinsky. His idea was to build a railway partly underground and partly on viaducts. The main radial line would have gone from Petrovsky-Razumovskoe to Zamoskvorechye via Red Square, where a central passenger station would be built. Two circle lines would run along the Boulevard and the Garden Rings. The total length of track would have been 100 km (60 miles).

However, this project was rejected because it was felt that it would be unacceptable to deface the city with railway lines, and threaten the stability of old buildings.

In 1912 the City Council returned once again to the question of an underground. The engineer Knorre suggested plan for underground lines from the suburbs to the centre, and also within the centre with a main passenger station in Lubyanka Square. This project was approved, but the outbreak of WWI, and later the revolution, delayed a start on the metro for many years.

The metro was turned into an underground kingdom of socialism. No expence was too much in terms of materials or manpower. The stations became luxurious palaces of the new socialist order, and they are breathtaking in the originality of their architecture, sculptures, mosaics and moulding.

Up to 1955 the Moscow underground was named after Lazar Kaganovich, but in that year it was renamed the V.I.Lenin Moscow Metropolitan Railway.

The first line, the Sokolnicheskaya, was open 15 May 1935. It had 13 stations from Sokolniki to Park of Culture, with a branch line from Komintern station (today Alexandrovsky sad) to Smolenskaya on the modern Filyovskaya line. The main sight on this line was Kropotkinskaja station (until 1957 as Palace of Soviets), designed by A.Dushkin.

It is laid out in truly sumptuous fashion, for it was actually built for visitors to the proposed Palace of Soviets. In an ironic twist of fate, its columns and walls were faced with marble taken from the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The ends of the columns were made as five pointed stars, and they support the vault of this underground palace.

Ploshchad Revolutsii, opened on 13 March 1938, is designed with great symbolism. In niches in the broad columns there are 76 bronze figures made by the sculptor M.Manizer. They show creators of the new socialist world - soldiers, workers and collective farm workers. At the top of the escalator there are sculptures of soldier and sailors who defend the young Soviet order. It is as if they are protecting everyone - the women feeding the poultry, the children and the athlets whose images are arranged in the centre and end of the hall.

The next line to be opened was Gorkovsko-Zamoskvoreckaya line. Majakovskaja is the architectural masterpiece of this line? and was also designed by Dushkin. The ceiling of the hall is decorated with mosaic panels made from the opaque squares of coloured glass, designed by A.Deineka on a theme "Day in the Land of Socialism". The idea and its execution are unique: coming from the escalator at the very beginning of the hall passengers can see a composition in light tones - sketches of the morning on a working day in the land of Soviets. Further down the hall daylight colours fade, and the lampshades are bathed in hues a peaceful and joyful evening, and then the sun rises once more.

During Great Patriotic War the metro was used as an airaid shelter. On 6 November 1941 a podium with a bust of Lenin surrounded by banners appeared in the huge hall of Mayakovskaya and an honour guard was stationed before it. Trains were stopped at the platforms, and were arranged within them. Seats were disposed around the hall, and in the upper hall there was a cloakroom. This was a ceremonial meeting for the 24th anniversary of the October Revolution. Mayakovskaya was chosen for this event because it was the command post for the municipal anti-aircraft batteries, and it was in communication with all the city's regions, and with the front. It was also one of the biggest stations on the metro.

In the war years Chistiye Prudy (formerly Kirovskaya) was used as the nerve-centre for Supreme Command HQ, and the Soviet Army General Staff.

Novokuznetskaya station was opened during the war on 20 November 1943, and was designed by I.Baranov and N.Bykova. For the Soviet people this was a sign that life was going on as normal, and so very patriotic themes were used in its design, and for the first time they included subjects from Russia's history. There were bas-reliefs of great Russian military commanders: Alexander Nevsky and Dmitry Donskoy, Minin and Pozharsky, Suvorov and Kutuzov. The mosaics to designs by Deineka were made in Leningrad during the siege by Frolov, and after his death the panels were brought to Moscow by sailor in the Ladozhskaya flotilla. The station superb marble benches were brought from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

In the 1950s the Circle Line was opened, and this contains what is probably the most luxurious of all the Moscow stations - Komsomolskaya. Its underground pavilion is based on the Petersburg (in Soviet times - Leningradsky) Railway Station, which it serves. This building, with a tall steeple, is crowned with a five-pointed star, and was designed by the architect A.Shchusev. He was also chosen to design Komsomolskaya. The ceiling of this veritable palace is decorated with mosaic panels designed by P.Korin. For the first time in Moscow the mosaics were made using the techniques of antiquity and the Byzantine masters. Not only were squares of coloured glass used, but also squaresof marble and granite.

They depicted military victories of the Russian people, with further mosaics of the Russian heroes Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoy, Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov and Mikhail Kutuzov.

One day some vigilant charwoman informed the party authorities that the artists were making icons for the metro. She was referring to the pictures of old Russian banners with Christ's face. Korin was summoned before the municipal party authorities, and the outcome could have been very serious but for the fact that the mosaics in question had made a profound impression on E.Furtseva, who was to become the Soviet Minister of Culture. She rallied to the artist's defence, and showed the panel to N.Khrushchev. He advised that banner should be depicted with some small folds, so that it would be immediately apparent that it was not an icon.

Three panels show the feats of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War: 'The Marsh of Soviet Troops on 7 November 1941 on Red Square', 'The Taking of the Reichstag' and 'Victory'.

In June 1952 Stalin, Kaganovich and Beria came to have a look at the station. Stalin looked upwards to examine the nearest mosaic - 'Victory Parad' - and was indignant that the mausoleum with the leaders on the podium was in the centre of the station, while Alexander Nevsky was at the end. 'We have waited four years for this victory!' exclaimed the architect O.Velikoretsky. Stalin smiled and made no more objections.

There was another panel in the centre of the station: 'Handing over the Guard's Banner'. Stalin can be holding the banner, while a kneeling officer kissed it. After 20th Party Congress (in which Khrushchev denounced Stalin) this mosaic had to be remade, and old mosaic was replaced by 'Lenin's Speech to the Red Guards before Their Journey to the Front'.

Novoslobodskaya was opened in January 1952, designed by the architects Dushkin and Strelkov. It is perhaps the brightest and most decorative station in Moscow's underground city. The hall sparkles with different coloured fires from the excellent stained glass windows made by master craftsmen from Riga. At the end of the station there is a mosaic panel which Korin designed, entitled 'Peace Throughout the World'.

The Moscow metro is constantly being expanded, with its branch lines extending further into Moscow's outskirts. In 1995 the Lyublinskaya line was opened , and its main sight is Rimskaya Station, which is adorned with magnificent Italian sculptures and marble facings.


вторник, 16 февраля 2010 г.

Russians abroad-Children of Harbin

English translation by Katherine Ilachinski

In the first half of last century, the Chinese city of Harbin, located in the province of Manchuria, was often called the Russian city. The point is that it was founded in the late XIX century, by the Russian railway workers, who were building and servicing the Chinese Eastern Railway. Many staff members of KVZhD with their families remained in Harbin after the October coup, and then came immigrants from Russia, torn by civil war and destroyed by terror. The percentage of Russian population was here very high.

After the occupation of Manchuria by Japan some of the Russians returned to the Soviet Union - many of them were sent to the prison camps and banishment. Some lived to the end of the Second World War in Harbin and perished in Chinese prisons, some have left after the "Cultural" Revolution in China - many inhabitants of Harbin have gone to other parts of the world…

All Harbin's children remember this city with great warmth and love. The same way as Saratov priests - Archpriest Eugene Lanskoy and Archpriest Lazar Novokreschenyh. Same way as currently living in Tokyo Doctor Eugene N. Aksenov, who visited Saratov this summer. Here you find - their precious memories of Russian Harbin. In this edition we publish the first part - a story by Father Eugene Lanskoy.

Archpriest Eugene Lanskoe.
Photo by Alexander Kurochkin

The air of childhood - the air of faith

Parishioners of Holy Trinity Cathedral of Saratov know quite well Archpriest Eugene Lanskoy who, in spite of his age helps in services each Sunday during the Divine Liturgy. They also know that during the Pascha service, he always reads the Gospel in Chinese — and all are waiting for calls "Qin!", which in translation means "Amen!", which Father Eugene always makes with great reverence…

Father inspires respect and love in all for his great life experience, unchanged sense of humor and wisdom. He speaks several foreign languages, is a connoisseur of literature, music and a wonderful storyteller.

…There exists a word: the native land. What is it for someone that - birthplace? I think, and perhaps, from the height of my life experiences I can already say that the native land - is the place where he was born. Harbin - this is the height of my dreams. I would like to return there very much. …

Harbin was a magnificent city, a center of Orthodoxy in China. After the revolution, it received many Russian priests. I was lucky to grow up in that environment. They treated me very well, perhaps because of my infancy, I was helped. I remember a paramedic - priest John Ilchuk. He was a very good priest. He diagnosed my scarlet fever, and cured it……

Above Harbin you could see cupolas of 22 churches. Now only one is open — Pokrov church, where my father, Stepan Timofeyevich, was assistant to Regent. In fact, Harbin was a Russian city. Architecturally, it was a reminder of our Volga cities: Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod. Homes low, very beautiful - in a modernist style of neoclassicism. All surrounded by greenery and gardens.

Of course, there were in Harbin, Catholic churches, mosques, and synagogues. Generally, there prevailed a fantastic atmosphere of tolerance. I still remember Harbin newsmen: boys ran through the streets with big bags and sold newspapers. At the same time in the bags they had laid "East News" - newspaper of Soviet embassy, "Our Way" - fascist newspaper, "Harbin Time" - Japanese sheet. On the street one could see a car with the swastika, in opposite direction - a car with a hammer and sickle. Nobody paid any attention, quietly accepting this. That was Harbin…

We with my sister Galya - she was two years younger than me - were born in a religious family, truly religious. I remember in the living room of our apartment - and the apartment was very good - the image of the Most Holy Theotokos was the size of a door, big. The Virgin had been depicted in full-length - in Ukrainian folk dress. I do not know if it was in accordance with the canons, but the clergy did not object. Who painted the icon - I do not know, but it was wonderful. I remember it with tender emotion to this day. Actually, there was a lot of icons at home…

My parents sung very well. My mother - Polina D. - had a wonderful contralto … My father came to China before the revolution: he was called in the royal army, served in the Russian part of Harbin, stayed there; he worked on the Chinese-Eastern Railway. And he was a Soviet subject, but this did not prevent him to go to church and believe. Mom with Grandmother, from Tsaritsino province, also moved to Harbin before the October coup. In China, my parents met and married. Mom worked at KVZhD as an accountant.

My grandmother, Christina G., was a wonderful person. She died in 1959, during a flu epidemic, not reaching her one hundredth birthday, by only three months. She was illiterate; she did not speak a word in Russian - only in Ukrainian, because my family is from Ukraine. But my illiterate grandmother kneeled, began to pray … She knew so many prayers! And recited them in old Slavonic. All of them she remembered by memory.

Almost all of my childhood I spent with the family of Archpriest Prokop Gordzievskogo - he was a fairly well-known priest in Harbin. After his death - he died in the early 30's - his matushka (wife), then already a widow, Helen Vonifatevna, brought me up in the spirit of the church. I was told that when I was very small, and coming from the church, I put a towel got up on a chair, took some chain and kadil/played in applying incense. Everybody was saying "Our Zhenyura (diminutive of Gene) will be a bishop: …

Iveron temple
in Harbin

We lived in the so-called Shamantun town - the town built by the first settlers, so the houses were made of samana?. Also in Harbin there were a Hospital town and the Military town. In the latter town there was a wonderful church - I did not see the wooden original, as it was already constructed out of stone - in honor of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. What transpired there during the parish patronal feast, August 19! There were so many fruits and vegetables. There was dean — Archpriest Alexander Kochergin…

But Helen Vonifatevna lived on Novotorgovoy street in the center of Harbin, so she took me to St Nicholas church. It was a cathedral church, consecrated in honor of the patron of Harbin, St. Nicholas. It was there that I learned and fell in love with the prayer of Saint Ephrem of Syrian "Lord and Master of my life…" - thanks to Helen Vonifatevna. She was able to explain all dogmas, religious rules and commandments in such a way that to abandon them was impossible. I think she was a philologist by training, and a person of strong faith.

I've heard that in Harbin they are going to restore the cathedral - after it had burned by the Red Guards. It stood in the city center, beautiful, surrounded by the park. The Cathedral was built on the same principles that the churches in Kizhy: made of wood and without a single nail … the place where the cathedral once stood, visitors are still calling it the Cathedral Square.

At Saint Nicholas church there were two protodeacons. One - Nicholas Ovchinkin. Bass. Second - Fr Simeon Korostelev, tenor. Beautiful, elegant. Girls asked each other: "Are you going to church today? Today Senechka is officiating". I loved St Nicholas Cathedral, where we went often with Helena Vonifatevna. At Pascha, of course, we were in Pokrov church where my father helped choir master……

On Forgiveness Sunday in Harbin, it was pandemonium: everybody in the morning, went to church and after the service, meeting each other on the streets, asked for forgiveness. This was normal occurrence, natural as breath and exhale. "Forgive me for Christ's sake". — "God will forgive. Forgive me also,a sinner". Now we do not feel the same way, unfortunately……

Three Saturdays before Great Lent, in the evening worship, one sings in churches the 136rd Psalm — "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept when we remembered Zion…". This psalm is the hymn of Russian emigration. It expressed all the plaintive longing for home. And when the choir began singing this psalm, in Harbin churches one could hear great sobbing. People gathered and wept, because they felt on shores of Egypt, exiled from the promised Land…

Harbin. View of Old Town

Great Lent begins. We children, in general, did not care anyway, because on the table there has always been such an abundance of meatless dishes, which could well compete with our modern meat table. In Harbin, fish was allowed during Lent. There was famous navaga, keta, amur and sungariyskaya muksum fish - everything was prepared very tasty.

We, the children thought that Lent stretches a century. Now sometimes I want to suspend it: "It is Holy Monday, and before you look around — it is already Cross bearing week… Then everything was different. Especially difficult was the last week: a strict fast, continually in the temple, kneeling prayer - and at the same time, the house and the neighborhood filled with unbearable aromas: the hostesses were preparing for the Great Pascha. In the courtyard we had our own smokehouse — we smoked ham surrounded by dough. They were baking kulich (special sweet bread), preparing cheese paskha (sort of cheese cake) - to us, boys, it was difficult to survive all of this, but — Pascha was coming. Holiday!

In Harbin there were amazing Pascha nights. From Great Saturday to Sunday the whole town was immersed in darkness. And exactly at midnight, when for the first time in front of locked doors of the church priests were saying "Christ is Risen!", suddenly over all the churches the crosses were lit. Illumination, of course, but there was a feeling that crosses sailing in the air, cutting the darkness.

Nativity and Pascha in Harbin is impossible to describe. In our home in the dining room stood a huge table, which at the time of the celebration was all covered by different dishes. At Christmas it was covered with straw, with white cloth on top - in the Ukrainian tradition. Table was laid already in the evening of Christmas Eve - hearty, tasty, and meatless: there were all sorts of mushroom dishes. And the next day one ate ham, sausage, and feed piglets, caviar. There were a lot of fruits: bananas, pineapples, oranges.

At Pascha all had paschal meal at night and in the morning visits began. There was this custom. The visitors got into a horse driven cart, and traveled to acquaintances. They entered, interchanged a triple kiss, had a small glass, ate and left. And then, after a few hours you can see this visitor: Chinese driver can barely take him, sleepy and happy.

China — is a nation of remarkable adaptability. I remember, they sensed: if something is needed, then immediately they prepared, did it. When in all the churches in Harbin on the Holy Thursday service of reading of the Twelve Gospels was going on, but everywhere they were selling already beautiful Chinese lanterns, so that after service the candle, not extinguished, could be put there and taken home. The entire town then was filled with tongues of light… In the morning the Chinese went through the streets of - they were called "go" - with a wooden beam across the shoulders and the two baskets. There was all the produce that was needed by the housewife for the day. The Chinese called Russian men "captain", and women — "Madama". So early in the morning, my grandmother - elderly, she did not sleep well - went to take a breath of air, stood at the gate, and "go", after seeing her, screamed: "Madama, tsibuli nema". In Ukrainian it means: "no onion".

Children of Harbin, 1920s

The Chinese treated the Russians and their faith very well. There is story with a Chinese, who begun to sink and was miraculously saved. He fell into the river Sungari, but the river is frightening, dissolved in water there is yellowish residue, wood?( some sort of plant) that is why it seems cloudy. And in one who is drowning the lungs quickly clog by this plant, and — it is the end. This Chinese man was so frightened, and shouted: "Russian grandfather, save me", he meant St. Nicholas, patron saint of Harbin. And suddenly he lost consciousness. He regained conscience - knee-deep in water close to the shore. He got up, took a breath and went to the station. There was an icon of the saint, before it is was an inextinguishable icon lamp. The Chinese man fell to his knees before the icon and the next day was baptized with the name Nicholas. By the way, very many of his fellow tribesmen then took Holy Baptism, and many - with the name of Nicholas.

An interesting story was told by the brother of Father Lazarus Novokreschenyh, priest-in-charge of the Russian church on the Krivoy street of the Green Bazaar in Harbin. In September 1945, three Soviet pilots came to church and started to walk around the church. Then they told him the story. These pilots flew to bomb Harbin, and approaching the city, suddenly behind the cloud they have seen a face of an old man, who raised his hands, and the plane refused to fly… The plane did not fall, but could not fly forward. They could turn to the right, left, back down, but not forward… The pilots returned to the airfield and did not say anything. One of them recognized the old man - Nicholas the Wonderworker… And they came to the church to worship him. They put candles and left…

Fact - in Harbin during the war there was not a single bomb dropped.

In Harbin, our director, Mr. Lindsley was studying in the English College; he walked with monocle, dressed in a strict gray suit - a typical son of Albion. He wanted his students to grow up as real gentlemen, men.

It is shameful to boast, but I studied brilliantly. Not because of unusual ability, simply it was easy for me. The college had a system of cards. Orange card - this was the top of possible achievement. Yellow - very bad, green - so-so and red - good. During the time of my studies there were only orange cards. After graduating from college they were predicting me career of a diplomat, they had planned that I go to study abroad, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs English…

Before college, I studied a year in Russian school - they have prayer services (molebens), and before the start of the school day they read prayers. In the college we were gathered in the morning the hall and prim Miss Lawson read "Our Father…" in English. After that, we bowed and went to the classes. I still can not understand how we children got along: Russian Jews, Ukrainians, Poles, Tatars — all were there. The variety of religions - and nobody disturbed anybody! Turks celebrated Christmas with pleasure, we congratulated them on Muslim holidays…

I sat at a desk with Levkov Bursuc. By nationality he was a Jew. Son of the communist. The father of Levkina being a communist had also a posh house. Levka was taken to school every day by car…

Near the college has been a botanical nursery, a whole park, we, the children, walked here. And the Chinese - they knew children - brought hawthorn, oranges in sugar. And the famous Chinese sticky candies! I still sometimes wake up at night with the taste of these candies in my mouth, as if I just ate them…

All Russians loved the Chinese city of Harbin, where they found shelter, but they loved more their homeland. And our whole family returned to Russia in 1937. My father did not want to believe that at home the bloody events were taken place: arrests, repressions…

There was a promise between people of Harbin who left and those who stayed.. If in Russia, everything was all bad, it was necessary to send to Harbin a letter with the code words: "Everything is good here, when you arrive, stay at the Kalashnikov". Kalashnikov — were white emigrants, and they could not be found in Russia, so that phrase meant: do not go. My father and my mother received a letter with this phrase, but nonetheless we went. Father wanted to go home, to the Ukrainian city of Kamenetz-Podolsk. He did not want to believe anything bad was happening there, but someone told him that in the Soviet Union the dentists were hard to find. And he took me to treat my tooth. This Harbin's filling is still intact.

Our acquaintance with Russia occurred at the station Otpor: in the car where people from Harbin were they had a search. When we arrived, it was necessary to rent a room in a ramshackle house. One month later, Dad was arrested, given ten years without the right to correspond. That meant one thing only- shooting— My mother was taken a month later. So we became enemies of the people, children of the arrested.

Mom went into Aktyubinsk camp for wives of traitors of Motherland, for short - ALGER. I and Galya were sent to an orphanage in the village Veselova close to the city of Lepel in the Vitebsk region. Here lived the children of repressed, mostly from Ukraine. When we became older, we moved to Saratov. Here from Harbin returned grandmother and aunt Xenia, my mother's sister and my godmother. But the year did not end when Galya died ...

In Saratov I was studying at school number 47. I managed to hide the truth about my parents. At first I thought, it is dishonest, I worried… but then I realized: if people were suffering for a much lighter fault than I had, though I was not to blame, what will happen to me? But I always had a cross; on the chest I carried a prayer. I prayed quietly. Nobody suspected this.

Mom came back from ALGER few days before the start of the war. I remember we, when we saw each other for the first time since the separation, began kissing, hugging, enjoying ourselves, and she suddenly asked me: "Where's the Galya?". Galya died…

When I finished school I entered the conservatory. But the war began, and I was called into the army. Served in the Soviet Armed Forces in the Pugachev, was working as company's clerk. I was retired because of complete physical exhaustion. The Conservatory was left as a dream - you had to earn money to survive. Started to work by my own initiative. I had some musical talent. I had mastered the piano and accordion, and became an accompanist. But of course, I am not a professional, no-no. It looks more like I was a ballet accompanist…

For the first time in the Soviet Union, I crossed the threshold of the church in 1970s. This was in the Lithuanian city of Druskininkai, in the church of Our Lady Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow". I could not resist it - and before that I did not even acknowledged that I was a believer… After Lithuania in Saratov I did not hide it. I went to Duhososhestvensky (Descent of the Spirit) Cathedral. And there I was noticed by Archbishop Pimen. When we met, he immediately told me: "I have seen you when I blessed people from a pulpit, and realized then that you are the future deacon". That was 1977.

A few days after our acquaintance Vladyka filed petition to the Commissioner for Religious Affairs: to have me ordained. The Commissioner refused — the problem was that I was from Harbin, I know a few languages and my father was the enemy of the people ... Vladyka Pimen then just took me to work for him at first as an archivist, then secretary, then I became some sort of personal secretary. I had a lot of work especially before Pascha and Nativity. I had to answer 600-700 letters from all over the world: from the patriarchs, bishops, academics, artists, musicians…

In 1988, all commissioners disappeared. And in 1989, during the Entrance of the Holy Theotokos to the temple, in the Trinity church I was ordained as a priest. Since that day of ordination to this day I serve in the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Only there. I gave Vladyka Pimen my word that I will never leave. Before the ordination, he wanted to make me the priest-in-charge of the temple in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Assuage my sorrows", which just had opened. But I asked him not to do so. After all, the rector, in additional to a strong faith in Christ, must have something else, additional properties of character. It is better to be the twelfth parish priest in any church.

When Vladyka Pimen died, I was attacked by melancholy; I wanted very much to return to Harbin, which I always remembered. But one woman who was there with the tour group told me that the city is just not the same that it once was. For example, the Chinese paved the embankment of Sungari River with tombstones from Russian cemetery…

My fervor quieted down. Of course, in Harbin, nothing is left of what I remember. Yet sometimes I think: if I was able to visit there, I would go from the railroad car, I would breath the air and everything would be returned. My childhood…

by Natalia Volkova
Orthodoxy and Modernity" Magazine, №9(25) 2008

понедельник, 8 февраля 2010 г.

среда, 3 февраля 2010 г.


On February 3, 1565, Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV) appointed the “Oprichnina” – a special force that reported directly to him. Though officially executing Ivan’s orders, in reality the Oprichnina went far beyond their authority, causing major destruction throughout the entire country.

Ivan was afraid of betrayal and believed treachery was everywhere, so the “oprichniks” hunted the traitors – actual or alleged – and executed them. In addition, Ivan wanted to assert his power and to get beyond the control of aristocracy. The boyars and oprichniks helped him to do it. Most oprichniks were initially not from noble families, as Ivan thought that the people who received the title from his hands would be faithful to him.

In January of 1558, Ivan IV declared war against the Baltic state Livonia for passage to the Baltic Sea. In those times, enemies surrounded Russia: Poland, Lithuania and Sweden threatened it from the West, and the Crimean Tatars regularly attacked it from the South. In addition, the country had been weakened by a dry season. The aristocracy – the boyars – started to speak about ending the war without victory, but Ivan only reproached them with indecision.

In 1564, one of the boyars, Andrey Kurbsky, the commander of the western army, betrayed Ivan, took the side of Livonia, and defected from Russia. This betrayal and the unwillingness of other boyars to continue the war served as a pretext for Ivan’s decision to stand up against the aristocracy.

In December of 1564, Ivan moved out of Moscow to Aleksandrovskaya village and sent the boyars a letter, saying that he was ready to abdicate. In that letter, Ivan outlined his disgust of all the aristocrats and the clergymen, because they did nothing but steal money from the state treasury.

In the beginning of February 1565, Ivan returned to Moscow and said that he would not abdicate if the boyars agreed to his terms. The boyars had to do it. Ivan acquired a right “to execute and exile the traitors and to take their property to the state treasury”, and the aristocracy or the clergy could not interfere with his deeds. The clergy lost the right to protect convicts from punishment. On February 3, Ivan signed the order about appointing the Oprichnina.

After meeting with the boyars, Ivan went back to Aleksandrovskaya and took 300 oprichniks with him. Ivan declared himself an abbot, and the oprichniks became his monks. It was an obvious blasphemy, but the clergy was too afraid to say a word about it.

The members of the Oprichnina behaved like a special caste – for example, one of the rules for them was “never eat or drink with the people who are not from the Oprichnina”. Every oprichnik carried a dog’s head and a broom tied to his saddle. It meant that oprichniks attacked the tsar’s enemies, like dogs, and swept the betrayal out of the country.

Ivan took the lands from some boyars and divided them among oprichniks. The former owners of those lands were sent to the frontier areas, and their peasants were killed. Month after month, the territory under the control of the Oprichnina grew, and soon it occupied more than a half of Russia. It was the “state inside a state”, ruled by Ivan, when the other lands were formally ruled by the Duma – the council of the aristocracy.

The Oprichnina brought terror to Russia. Ivan suggested treasons everywhere, and every day oprichniks carried out tortures and executions. The first to fall victim to the Oprichnina were the noble remote relatives of Ivan. Then he paid attention to the opponents of his reign. In 1566, a group of noblemen tried to forward Ivan a petition about abolishing the Oprichnina. They met their deaths for doing so.

In 1567, Ivan called one of the boyars, Ivan Fedorov, to the palace. Ivan accused Fedorov of betrayal, made him dress up in the tsar’s ceremonial clothes and sit on the throne. He then greeted Fedorov with a bow before taking out a knife and killing him. About four hundred people were executed for being Fedorov’s “allies”.

In 1570, Ivan learned that the merchants of Novgorod wanted to surrender the city to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Oprichnina headed to Novgorod. Oprichniks ransacked the city for six weeks. Thousands of people were killed in Novgorod and in the towns on the way to it.

The attack of the Tatars in 1571 put an end to the terror of the Oprichnina. The army of Khan Devlet I Geray went across the country to attack Moscow and nearly burned it to the ground. The oprichniks were not able to protect Russia, and in 1572 Ivan abolished it and prohibited even the use of the word “Oprichnina”.


Rostov enamel

The mention of Rostov enamels brings to mind precious miniatures, which have for centuries adorned church utensils, household objects and pieces of jewellery. Bright colours glowing against white enamel plaques brought to life scenes of biblical and Russian history and mirrored multifarious life and the beauty of native land. Masterful craftsmen of Rostov the Great, in which a unique technique of enameling was carried on for over two centuries, are producing these treasures to our day. In the past, craftsmen of the Rostov bishopric and the monasteries painted, on commission from the clergy, enamel plaques to decorate icons, chalices, reliquaries and other cult objects. Later on townsfolk took up the expensive craft of enameling , passing its secrets from father to son, from one generation to another.

N.Kulandin.The portrait of Maria Volkonsky. 1983

In its two-century history Rostov enamels have repeatedly gone through the periods of florescence and decline. The main theme of the craft - a tribute to the beauty of the native land and to man's lofty spirit - was, however, never abandoned. Rostov enamellers have preserved to our day and carried on the best traditions of Russian enamel miniature painting. The craft never existed in isolation: while developing the local tradition of icon painting, it came under the influence of other schools of painting. The technique of cloisonne enamel was known to have been employed in Kievan Rus way back in the 11th century. It was referred to as "finift", which is the Old Greek for alloy or shining stone. The vitreous surface of enamel, decorating old ritual vessels, women's diadems, colt-pendants, barmy-shoulder pieces and so on, indeed shone with a deep light of precious stones.

Scoop. The end of 17 century

The enameling did not start from scratch in Rostov, whose icon painters and silversmiths were well acclaimed in the past. The Rostov bishopric was known to have had an icon-painting workshop since olden days. It is hard to say when the expensive craft of enamelling struck root in that provincial town. Legend has it that an exiled Italian enameller taught his craft to local icon painters in the reign of Empress Anna Ioannovna, but there is no documentary evidence of that fact. Many scholars sought to shed light on the obscure history of the emergence of Rostov enamels. Some connected it with the activity of metropolitan Iona Sysoyevich, who contributed to the development of the Rostov bishopric in the late 17th century. The bishopric workshop was operational until the late 1780s, fulfilling clerical orders from different Russian cities and towns. After the metropolitan's office was transferred to Yaroslavl, some enamellers continued to execute the bishopric's orders, while other, such as the Isayevs brothers were granted relative independence and came to be registered at the enamel workshop of the Rostov artisan tribunal. That fact can be considered as a starting point in the development of enamelling as a full-fledged trade in the town. The Rostov bishopric workshop had an important role to play in the evolution of Rostov enamels.

E.Belova. "Russian winter". Casket. 1997

The Rostov enamel tradition is, however, far more versatile. It developed for centuries in close contact with other major art schools and grand styles. From the outset Rostov enamellers espoused the flamboyant symbol-laden baroque style and evolved, on its basis, their own artistic tradition. The pictorial style of Rostov enamels began to be renovated in the first half of the 19th century both due to a change in taste and due to the impact of the classicist principles of Rostov's temple architecture and its interior decoration. Enamel miniatures, which decorated church utensils formed but a minute segment of the entire ensemble and, naturally, adopted the pictorial idiom of the new style. Rostov enamellers used as models engravings from paintings by West European and Russian artists, as well as numerous original religious paintings that landed in Rostov monasteries and churches in the form of donations. Rostov craftsmen sold their wares in different Russian cities and towns and, when visiting the capital, could see works by Academy artists. Less tied up with religious canons, enamellers living in cities were faster to assimilate classicist pictorial techniques. They naturally took in iconography and traditional shapes, as well as the lofty aesthetic ideals of the new style.The special atmosphere of a provincial town and the affinity between the local townsfolk and peasants could not but influence the development of enamelling. Though guided in general by St. Petersburg trends, Rostov enamelling remained true to the values of local folk culture in the first half of the 19th century. By the mid-19th century there were about 50 enamellers in Rostov, some of them running their own businesses but the majority working at home. United by a trade corporation, the enamellers remained independent both in their work and in marketing their products. The best of them retained individuality and their own original idiom.

A.Toporov "Hunter". Casket. 2003

After the 1917-revolution Rostov's craftsmen formed an artel, which produced enamel caskets, boxes, brooches and cuff links. Many talented painters capable of carrying on the local tradition joined the business in the late 1960s. They analysed new possibilities for the development of Rostov enamels. A close-knit group of gifted craftsmen appeared at the factory in the 1970s and the 1980s. Graduates of different art schools, skilled in the craft, mastered the secrets of the pictorial tradition and the decorative art of enamelling. The best of them, endowed with bright creative individuality, worked to renovate the idiom of Rostov enamels and to modify jewellery designs.The decorative nature of miniature paintings, which could embellish both big and small objects, ensured the longevity and the wide application of Rostov enamels. They shine with motley hues in jewellery pieces produced by today's craftsmen. A frame of metal wire twining in fancy patterns complements exquisite enamel miniatures. The painters and jewellers pool efforts to create extraordinary integral works of art, be it a decorative panel, a casket, a portrait or women's jewellery. Though not indispensable, these things add colour to our households and life, giving joy and warmth to the inhabitants of this cold industrialised world. When we look at these miniature pictures of Russian nature or old history, we are brought back to our sources and eternal values.
The Rostov enamel business has an immense creative potential. While embracing the local pictorial tradition, every new generation of artists imparts a new world outlook and their own idea of beauty to Rostov enamels. However, like any truly folk craft, Rostov enamels retain unchanged the ideal of the beauty of Russian nature and man.

N.Kulandine.Triptych. "The bells of Rostov". 1967


вторник, 2 февраля 2010 г.

Vysotsky-The Cupolas

Тhe Сupolas.


Each January 25 millions of people in and outside Russia mark the birthday the legendary singer-songwriter and actor Vladimir Vysotsky who died in July 1980. He was only 42…

He would have been 71 now but people still love his songs; they translate and sing them in different languages, no longer told not to by government officials, and trying to find in these songs answers to the most acute problems of today’s life.

A prominent Russian actor, lyricist, and folksinger whose social and political satire spoke of the ironies and hardships of a strictly regulated Soviet society… While risking official displeasure, Vysotsky became an immensely popular figure, revered by the Russian people even after his death. A high-strung figure, quick to respond to life’s joys and hardships, he was slowly killing himself with booze and drugs. His son, Nikita, says many people see Vladimir Vysotsky as the ultimate reflection of the Russian soul.

Father’s birthday is celebrated in Moscow, elsewhere in Russia, everywhere Russian people live in the world, Nikita Vysotsky says.

Vladimir Vysotsky’s widow, the famous French actress Marina Vladi, will soon be in Moscow to present a new play of her own making based on the book she wrote, titled Vladimir or the Aborted Flight.

“These are excerpts from Volodya’s songs and poems which I sing and recite in Russian and French,” Marina Vladi says. These are my stories about our life together, about the love we shared…”

This is probably more than just a woman’s tribute to her husband’s memory; it is a tribute by a great actress to a great actor Vysotsky certainly was. The “best Hamlet” to grace the stage of Moscow’s famous Taganka Theater, Vladimir Vysotsky played the part of the tormented Danish prince a whole 317 times. Or maybe he was playing himself? That is the question…

Source:The Voice of Russia

Купола | The Cupolas

The Cupolas

How Ill see it now, how Ill breathe it in?
Air is harsh before the lightning, harsh and choking.
How Ill hear it all today, how I will sing.
From the fairy tales the wise birds are singing.

The bird Sirin is joyfully grinning,
Making happy, calling from nests.
And against him is now despairing,
Wounds the soul the strange Alkonost.

Just like seven promised strings
Ring without stop -
Thus the bird Gamayun
Imparting hope!

In the blue sky, pierced with belltowers,
Copper bell, copper bell,
Will be joyful or will be sore.
Russian cupolas are dressed in pure gold
That the good Lord would notice them more.

I stand, like before an timeless mystery,
Before great and fairy-tale country.
Before salty - bitter - sweet and sour land
Blue, spring-water, and full of rye.

Eating dirt fat till the rust,
Horses go down till stirrups,
But they pull me with sleepy great power
That has rotted, bloated from sleep.

Just like seven promised strings
Ring without stop -
Thus the bird Gamayun
Imparting hope!

The soul, beaten with losses and sorrows,
The soul, torn till its narrow,
If till blood the cloth has been worn,
I will patch with the golden patches
That the good Lord will notice it more.

Mikhail Shemyakin

Sarò perduto nella contemplazione quando inizierò a respirare?
L'aria è fredda per la tempesta, il freddo mi soffoca.
Cosa sarà cantato per me oggi, cosa ascolterò?
Gli uccelli cantano le favole del saggio.

L'uccello Sirin è una gioia, è certo che canta per me,
Mi rende felice, mi chiama dal nido.
Ma gli è di fronte, disperato e piange,
Ha l'anima ferita lo splendido Alkonost.

Come un prezioso sette corde
Ha cantato ancora una volta,
L'uccello Gamayun
Che mi da speranza!

Il cielo blu, è trafitto dai campanili,
Campanili di rame, con campane di bronzo,
Sarò gioioso o addolorato.
Le cupole sono rivestite di oro puro
Così che il buon Dio le noti di più.

Io sono come sempre davanti ad un mistero,
Il più grande e fiabesco paese.
Prima salato, poi dolce, amaro e poi aspro territorio
Blu, primavera, acqua, e abbondanza di grano.

Ho mangiato lo sporco grasso fino al fondo,
I cavalli affondano fino alle staffe,
Ma mi attirano, sono assonnato,
Li vedo zoppicare mentre il sogno svanisce.

Proprio come ha cantato il sette corde
Il mio essere risorge
Come l'uccello Gamayun
Che mi da speranza!

L'anima mia percossa e dolorante,
L'anima mia strappata, poi rattoppata,
Prima che il sangue uscisse, con pezze d'oro,
Pezze d'oro che ho pagato, l'anima mia è coperta d'oro,
Così che il buon Dio la noti di più.

the songs in different languages: http://www.wysotsky.com/