Reuters blog archive
from The Great Debate:
The words “communist” and “socialist” are now used so recklessly in the United States that their meaning has been devalued. But Eric Hobsbawm, the British historian who died Oct. 1, was the real deal.
Born in 1917, the year of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Hobsbawm used Karl Marx as the inspiration for both his personal politics and his successful transformation of our understanding of history. He was an unabashed and unwavering supporter of communism in theory and practice, who only let his party membership lapse at the final moment, when the Berlin Wall fell.
His singular contribution to the telling of the human story was to reject the traditional method of viewing history through the actions of great men and women, in favor of describing the larger economic and social tides on which leading figures are often mere flotsam. Though history was usually taught through the lives of kings and queens, Hobsbawm demonstrated that economic and social history offered a fuller explanation of why events happened. He also gave prominence to previously ignored political agitators, whose courageous actions obliged leaders to agree to benign reforms.
His quest for discovering explanations for historical movements beyond the usual bold-faced names was inspired by his personal experience as a young Jewish man growing up in Austria and Germany, when Hitler and Nazism were on the rise. His choice to join the Communist Party in 1936 was both an act of faith and a practical solution to his personal dilemma. Though moderate opponents of Nazism were soon swept aside in their attempts to counter the threat to freedom by democratic means, Communists offered firm, direct action to subvert the burgeoning Nazi state.
from Fan Fare:
He's a physiotherapist by day and a filmmaker by nights, weekends and everything in between. Semyon Pinkhasov has captured facets of Soviet life that rarely get shared beyond Russia's borders, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
(For story, click on http://r.reuters.com/qac34m)
The self-taught, self-financed, award-winning amateur documentary filmmaker has seen his films shown worldwide at festivals and on Russian and English-language television channels. Focused on the arts and the sport of fencing (U.S. Olympic Team Coach in 1984), he tells stories about Grigory Fried, who has run a music appreciation club in Moscow for 45 years without taking a kopeck; Tikhon Khrennikov, the first and last secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers; and Boris Efimov, perhaps Stalin's favorite cartoonist.
from Oddly Enough Blog:suing a radio station for negative comments about his grandfather, who was, let's see just a minute here, Josef Stalin....Wait a second. Did I read that right?
Well I'll be damned, that's what he's doing. It seems it's the second libel action Dzhugashvili has taken against the media for unkind remarks about the late dictator, blamed for killing millions in gulags, mass executions, famines, etc.
Yikes. If this guy succeeds, what next? A class action on behalf of the descendants of Vlad the Impaler, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot and Idi Amin, against anybody who ever bad-mouthed those guys?
I'm sorry, Mrs. Impaler... I must advise you and the little Impalers that it could take some time to restore Great-Grandpa Vlad's good name, but we'll get there....
Lower your expectations, then join the Oddly Enough blog network
from Global News Journal:
Tributes have been pouring in for Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian author, former Soviet dissident and Nobel Literature prize laureate who died on Sunday aged 89.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, described the author of "The Gulag Archipelago" and "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" as a man of unique destiny and said: "He was one of the first people who spoke up about the inhumanity of Stalin's regime with a full voice, and about the people who lived through this but were not broken."