Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky Записки из Мёртвого дома

The Stetson University Chamber Orchestra is performing Leoš Janáček Idyll for string orchestra on April 3rd 2012. In order to become more familiar with the works of Janáček
I listened to a CD of his opera I had bought while I was in high school. When I found out the libretto and contents of the opera are based of a Russian writer's work I had to post the connection. This is the last opera that Janáček wrote before he died, it is said he read Dostoevsky's novel in Russian so that he could translate himself, when preparing to write the libretto.

The opera itself is very dreary in context and very static in character development and story. There are essentially four characters, all of whom are prisoners, who relate the reasons for why they are currently imprisoned. What follows is the overture to the opera, the music is not like Janáček's fello Czech countrymen, Smetana and Dvorak, the music is very drab yet fiery. One can hear that he was on the last few months of his life in the music.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Say Gay No More: Censorship in Saint Petersburg

As a group, we naturally have different tastes in religion, politics, and human morals. There's undoubtedly people in our class that feel that homosexuality is something that is against the will of God and man. But I think we could all agree, regardless of this orientation, nobody has the right to silence another human being -- especially about what they consensually do in their personal lives.

The petition was what enlightened me to the idea, and I by no means am asking one to sign it -- it was just where I got the information from. I feel that they express their concerns adequately, and not even from a point of view that's trying to justify homosexuality:

"Conservatives in St. Petersburg intent on passing this 'gay gag rule' believe they can casually dismiss calls from world leaders - and even the country's own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression. But at the same time, Russian leaders recently announced that they want to invest $11 billion dollars to build their international reputation and attract tourists from around the world. St. Petersburg, Russia's cosmopolitan "window to the west" is key to that strategy.

But they can't have it both ways - a thriving tourist economy can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in - or visit - the city."

I couldn't agree more. Shouldn't a country attempting to become progressive and grand act as such? Where is this archaic desire for wrong censorship coming from?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Unit 7 Blog Post-Russian Cartoon

Videos that stay on the internet like these, that show opposition make it hard for Putin to have a control on the Russian regime and pose a danger to Putin's election coming up soon. So we'll see if open internet is a threat he'll continue to allow...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Russian National Orchestra

The Russian National Orchestra premiered in Moscow of 1990 and has been in demand all over the world ever since. They were the first Russian orchestra to perform at the Vatican and also in Israel. RNO keeps an active international tour schedule and they also feature many different conductors and solists of different origins and ethnicities.

Ashley Johnson-Unit 6 Blog Entry: Siberia

Siberia makes up about 77% of Russia's territory with the size of the land spanning over 13.1 million square miles. The Siberian territory is so large that it takes up about 10% of the Earth's land surface, however, only about 28% of Russia's population lives there. Most of the population that does live in Siberia generally resides in the south. Siberia has several different lakes and rivers and has 13 mountain ranges, one of which, the Ural Mountain range, is considered its East territorial boundary. The environment in Siberia is mostly taiga and tundra but in certain parts of the territory are temperate forest, and the overall climate is subarctic. Because Siberia is so vast, the weather patterns vary from location to location although as a whole, precipitation is low all year round.

Mikhail Prokhorov

 An interview with Russian oligarch and presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov. Personally, I like him, but that's probably just because he makes me laugh. I have no idea what his politics would be like.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Russian Orthodoxy

Russian Orthodoxy
For the past millennia, Russian Orthodoxy has played a vital role in forming the history and culture of modern Russia. In the late 8th century, the Orthodox Church converted most of the nobility of the Kieven Rus' turning into a Christian state. Kiev at that time was the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, but after the Mongol Invasion, the center of the Church was moved to Moscow. It was during this period when Russia was under Tatar rule that the Church played a pivotal role in keeping the Russian people and spiritual life intact. Following this period, the Church helped to defend and expand the authority of the Russian State over its people and much of the western territories. By the 16th century, the Russian Orthodox Church had established a powerful religious supremacy over the government and people of Russia leading many to believe that Moscow had become the Third Rome.
Soon the Orthodox Church had managed to establish a patriarchal see in Moscow, which brought about a period of great progress in church power. The growth included geographic expansion into western areas like Alaska or Kamchatka and spiritual revival through the growth of monasteries and Christian traditions.  The Church maintained this level of supremacy over Russia for several years after until the Bolshevik Revolution. Once the Bolsheviks took control, they declared separation of church and state effectively ending the Orthodoxy’s dominion over the state. The Soviet Union then began to effectively remove all religious influence from society and delegitimize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church. Toward the end of the Soviet Era, much of the Church’s influence was extinguished by oppressive Communist policies. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Church has managed to regain some of its original power through filling in the ideological vacuum left by the previous era. Today, the Russian Orthodox Church stands as a living testament to the resilience and endurance of the Russian nation.
-Anthony McRae

Emmy and Billie Dialogue unit 6


We did dialogue 4 on pg. 196

WE DID DIALOGUES (expletive deleted)!!!

Ten Days That Shook the World

Also known as October, this was Eisenstein's first film after his masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin. It's pure propaganda, which isn't surprising but the editing and montage in October are not nearly as dynamic or interesting as in a few of his other films. There are a couple of scenes where his masterful crowd direction remind us of the great things he could do.



Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal. The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association soccer.

The game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a soccer field. Each team has eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A standard bandy match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. The offside rule is also similar to that observed in soccer.

Bandy is considered a national sport in Russia. Although the modern rules were written in England, the Russians claim to be the inventors of the game.

In the link you will find the homepage to the Russian team's Bandy site.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Awesome Russian Photos! (Unit 6)

I stumbled upon this website which I think is pretty awesome.
This man named Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii who was a chemist turned photojournalist took these pictures of pre-revolution Russia from 1909 through 1912.
But perhaps the coolest part (especially if you're a photography nerd like I am) is that color film wasn't invented yet so he made his own. He would take color-filtered glass plates and photograph a scene. He would photograph a subject in all red, blue, and green and then put them together to make colorized prints.

They're pretty fun to look at and a genuine look at Russian history. (In Color!)


This is Halloween(I wish)

So most people know of Tim Burton's epic stop motion film "The Nightmare Before Christmas".... But what I didn't know was that it was translated into so many different languages. Now this all came about when I was searching youtube for disney songs(i'm a dork and i'm proud of it) in different languages and one thing led to another and before I knew it I somehow got linked to Nightmare Before Christmas. Now the original is evil and menacing and wonderful as only Danny Elfman can do... But then I stumbled onto this... This is quite possibly the most menacing and truly downright creepy version of this song I have ever listened to(and let me just say it's not that pretty in Japanese either) But anyway... I thought it was interesting that movies we all know and love are enjoyed around the world... Even something as obscure as this :)

Who will win? Russia, America or Britain?

All three countries have set out for Antarctica to see who will be the first to find life under the Antarctica ice sheet. So far Russia has reached the frozen tundra first and managed to pierce the icy crust to find a freshwater lake which should hold old or new kinds of life. However, America and Britain can still steal Russia's thunder because both countries are sure their technology will give them faster results and analyses. It's almost like the space race all over again.

Deanna Wotursky The Interim Country

Presentation of Kyrgyzstan
The Interim Country in central Asia known as Kyrgyzstan is dealing with nationwide turmoil that many feel will not subside for years to come. This has stemmed from its ethnically fueled separation of the north and south, its economy and its newfound independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Before the fall of the Soviet Union and sometime after the documentary described Kyrgyzstan as a “state in waiting” and the “Switzerland of Asia”. This quickly changed when Kyrgyz took over the majority of government jobs, and two thirds of the Russians left in consequence. The internal Kyrgyzstan system is dealing with a type of government and economic corruption that is criminally fueled with unethical leaders.
The development of Kyrgyzstan took a U-turn when the Soviet Union took over. The Russification of Kyrgyzstan changed its very core even till this day. The interviews with the people of this country showed how much they would welcome Russian authority of the state once again, most likely due to the failure of keeping a moral government. One of the interviewee’s statements argued that it is fascism not democracy, which brings to question the validity of the root of democratization for countries going through similar turmoil.
The former president Bakiyev set in place a government ran on corruption that has seemingly torn the country apart to the point of no return. In April 2010, when the people spoke out against Bakiyev and took to the streets they were hoping for change, not the unfortunate outcome of violence and lives lost. This violence didn’t stop there, either. The government’s sheer internal and external instabilities resulted in an ethnically incited conflict between the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz which displaced mostly the Uzbeks in Osh. The conflict questions whether the intervention of Russia would be beneficial to not only cease the turmoil and stabilize the state but fulfill the desire of the people of Kyrgyzstan.

Corrine Garwood Ypok 6

Here is a blog from my big Rachel's adventures in Moscow while studying abroad. It may give you some insights to the fun an American can have in Russia. Some key points:
1. Being kicked out of a monastery
2. Copious amounts of public intoxication
3.How to snag a Russian boy for all you girls in the class.

For more: Go to the link.

Metro 2033

The year is 2033, the setting is the metro system of Moscow, Russia, and you are the 20 year old soldier, Artyom. You live underground with your station now, because this is not the civilised world anymore: this is a world filled with Soviets, Nazis, and aliens.

File:Metro2033 wiki.jpg

2033 is a newly released first-person shooter/survival horror game based on the book of the same title. My boyfriend got it a couple months ago and I've been translating the Cyrillic signs over his shoulder and watching the progress of the game. It has great historical context, and the setting is extremely interesting; as a player, you navigate through the tunnel systems and fight aliens known as the Dark Ones, all while attempting to avoid aforementioned Nazis and Soviets, who are warring above ground. It's an EXTREMELY unsettling game, for when you're in the tunnels, it is literally pitch black, and you have to depend on nothing but a flashlight, while above ground, the air is entirely toxic, and you have to cycle through gas masks to make it out alive.

The game's purpose is to set off a missile silo that will destroy the Dark Ones, basically, but by the end, it can take two routes: the Dark Ones will send you a "hallucination". You may now either choose to detonate the missile silo, and kill them all, or abort the mission (this is technically the good ending, because it turns out that the aliens were only trying to peacefully communicate).

What I found really interesting about it, apart from the whole Nazi/Soviet dynamic and plethora of Russian weaponry, was the fact that it took place in the Metro system. Alina mentioned in class how Russia's subway system is absolutely beautiful and pristine, while above ground it was pretty trashy and had a bunch of homeless people -- so it was really bizarre and unreal seeing how decrepit it was underground, and how there was suddenly a society of Russians living there.
For comparison:


This week the weather in Russia is kinda terrible.

Tonight Feb 13               Tue 14                          Wed 15                        Thu 16                            Fri 17
SSE at 5 mph

SE at 9 mph

ESE at 11 mph

SE at 6 mph

ESE at 6 mph




UV Index:

1 - Low

0 - Low

1 - Low

1 - Low
8:00 am

7:58 am

7:56 am

7:54 am

7:51 am
5:28 pm

5:31 pm

5:33 pm

5:35 pm

5:37 pm
12:15 am

1:40 am

2:58 am

4:07 am

5:02 am
9:25 am

9:55 am

10:34 am

11:26 am

12:29 pm
Waning GibbousWaning Gibbous

Last QuarterLast Quarter

Waning CrescentWaning Crescent

Waning CrescentWaning Crescent

Waning CrescentWaning Crescent

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Банк Империал

You're in Russia. The year is 1995. After being late to work because the gangster driving in front of you was gunned down at point blank while at a stop light, you go to get lunch. You arrive at McDonald's and pay 50 Million rubles for a Big Mac. On the way back to work you see babushkas selling playboys to survive and men in tracksuits smoking Беломорканал cigarettes.

Later, you go home and watch on your new TV this commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_oTsEcGZxk

This epic commercial advertises a bank. In the chaos of post Soviet Russia many weird things happened and these commercials are one of them. Using a dramatically filmed episode from history, they illustrate majesty, power, or humor in order to sell Bank Imperial. Note how they never reference it's services though.

They were all directed by the same director (Timur Bekmambetov)
and won numerous awards throughout Europe. Sadly though, they did not keep Bank Imperial afloat and the bank disappeared.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Babi Yar

Babi Yar is a ravine in Kiev that was the site of a series of massacres against the Jewish people during the 1940's. Though the majority of the people killed were Jewish, other nationalities such as Ukranian, Romanian as well as political Soviet POWS and communist were killed as well. An estimated 100,000 people were killed. In 1961 the Russian Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote one of his most famous poems entitled "Babi Yar". Yevtushenko, speaks of not only the atrocities committed by the Nazis but also those committed by the Soviet Union against the Jewish People. Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, included the text of Babi Yar as well as several other poems of Yevtushenko, in his 13th Symphony also entitled "Babi Yar".

the following is an audio recording of Yvevgeny Yevtushenko reciting Babi Yar in a combination of Russian and English with excerpts of Shostakovch's Babi Yar.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brittany O blog post-portfolio 6

Vladislav Nekliaev (Vlanes) was born 9/28/1969, in Astrakhan, Russia. In 1986 He became a student of the Department of journalism of the Urals State University. He then pursued his education to get his masters at the Philological Department of the St. Petersburg State University. He is currently not only a poet and an author, but a translator of poetry, and currently working on completely translating “The House of Life,” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, into Russian of the sonnet sequence.

Run and Won by Vlanes

When you entered the workshop, I was already here.
How many statues, and torsos, and heads!
Like remains of the battle that never ends.
I am giggling into my beard. Wind's fluffy plume
is struggling with the curtain. I know you can hear
both, not becoming distinct, no matter for whom.

I wanted something glamorous, significant
for my tomb. But now I'm not sure any more.
Maybe, a small chamber with a wooden door
would be best. Plant around it something nice,
bring my hour-glass, my favourite rolls in it.
Keep around a couple of cats, for the mice.

Or rather let us order an alabaster
vase, with my name carved on the outside of the rim.
And something brief, impressive, like "I adored him.
Gone, but never forgotten." Of course, in Greek.
I am at last my own judge, my own master.
So much freedom it makes me sick.

Eros is shooting at me, the boy pink and tender.
For the first time his puny arrows cause me pain.
Here, here he's aiming at me again,
while you are standing in the doors, with your forced smile,
talking politely to the sculptor, so warm and slender
that I'm bleeding all over, fuming like a torch. No, I'll

never, never, never leave you. I'll never leave you.
Let them all come after me, let them all drag me away.
I'll come back as a breeze, I'll come back as the smell of hay,
as anything with legs to crawl, wings to push down the stubborn wind.
I'll tear up the mouldy roll of my fate, I'll start it all anew.
I'll not go anywhere. I'll not leave you behind.

I think you have paid him too much. It is only an advance.
You'll see, he will ask for more when the work is done.
I approve of your choice. "His life's race is run and won."
In plain Latin, accessible. Me as a young athlete,
with a huge laurel wreath, looking a bit askance
at the other runners. Yes, there is something in it.

To be honest I really had no clue what I was going to put a blog entry about, but I was looking up poets because I know a lot of people including myself enjoy a little poetry here and there. When reading this poem my initial thought was that he was portreying the little things in life are the most valuable, however, I could be wrong. Vladislav is a famous Russian poet that has taken his work abroad and is now in Australia. Not only does he write poetry but he writes books and translates poetry from English to Russian.

Баста - Райские Яблоки

A really interesting video, sort of a poem that wants to become a song (albeit a rap song, but a song nonetheless). Just thought I might it share with you guys!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Unit 6 Bolg Post--My Favorite Christmas Song!

В лесу родилась ёлочка,
В лесу она росла,
Зимой и летом стройная,
Зелёная была.
    Метель ей пела песенку:         "Спи, ёлочка, бай-бай!"      Мороз снежком укутывал:         "Смотри, не замерзай!"         Трусишка зайка серенький        Под ёлочкой скакал.             Порою волк, сердитый волк      Рысцою пробегал.                 Чу! Снег по лесу частому        Под полозом скрипит;            Лошадка мохноногая              Торопится, бежит.                Везет лошадка дровенки,         А в дровнях старичок,           Срубил он нашу ёлочку           Под самый корешок.               Теперь она, нарядная,           На праздник к нам пришла        И много, много радости          Детишкам принесла
In the forest a Christmas tree was born,
In the forest, there she grew up,
In the winter and in the summer she was skinny,
She was green

The (blizzard) sang her a song,
Sleep, Christmas Tree, Bye Bye!
Frost and snow wrapped her up,
Look, don't be (really) cold!

A gray rabbit hid under the Christmas Tree,
And from time to time a wolf
was running past

The snow around the big woods
Is shaking under the sled
A hairy horse runs up,
In a rush, indeed!

Lucky little horse,
a man in the wooden sleigh
he cut down our Christmas Tree
At the very bottom

Now she is covered up
On the big dinner she came to us
And the kids were brough great joys

Sounds much prettier in Russian!