Tag Archives: United States

Learning About Russia from the Songs of its Slaves

Amanda Bellows, writing on the New York Times Opinionator blog (click the link for an audio comparison of American and Russian slave songs):

Frederick Douglass spent much of his life speaking about the hardships of slavery — but even he, at times, realized that words were not enough. Instead, he turned to music: “The mere hearing of [slave] songs,” he said, revealed the “physical cruelties of the slave system; for the heart has no language like song.” Today, spirituals like “Go Down, Moses” and “God’s Going to Trouble the Water” continue to convey American slaves’ anguish, frustration and hope.

Less familiar to Americans, however, is the music of Russia’s serfs, who were emancipated in 1861, on the eve of President Lincoln’s inauguration. Although the slaves and serfs were separated by vast distances and significant historical experiences, each group endured years of bondage by turning to song. Likening the songs of Russian serfs to those of American slaves, early 20th-century actor and slave descendent Paul Robeson observed that both groups had “an instinctive flair for music … [a] faculty born in sorrow.” But their musical traditions have striking differences, too — differences that help us understand the contrasts between the two systems.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Barack Obama, Traitor to his Country

EDITORIAL

Barack Obama, Traitor to his Country

On August 2, 2011, ITAR-TASS published an interview between its CEO Mikhail Gusman, appointed to his job by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin because ITAR-TASS is the Kremlin’s official newswire mouthpiece, and U.S. President Barack Obama.

In it, Obama stated:

I think it’s important for us to look back over the last two years and see the enormous progress we’ve made. I started talking about reset when I was still a candidate for President, and immediately reached out to President Medvedev as soon as I was elected. And we have been I think extraordinarily successful partners in moving towards reset.

Reading this statement, there is only one conclusion that a thoughtful, well-informed Russia watcher can come to: Obama is a liar and a traitor to his country who must be immediately impeached and removed from office.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: The Craven Cowards in Washington DC

EDITORIAL

The Craven Cowards in Washington DC

Here is what the U.S. State Department had to say about the Kremlin‘s barabaric crackdown on peaceful protesters on August 31st, including the illegal arrest of a former first deputy prime minister:

U.S. officials in Moscow and St. Petersburg confirmed that several gatherings took place across Russia to demonstrate support for Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. And according to our Embassy and consulate, dozens of protestors were detained in both cities. Article 31 guarantees to Russian citizens the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets. Since 2009, Russian citizens have been holding similar rallies on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days. The United States reiterates the importance of embracing and protecting universal values, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly enshrined in the Russian Constitution, as well as in international agreements with which Russia has signed.  We are concerned by actions by the Russian Government in recent years, shrinking the space for civil society. We have concerns about intimidation of citizens, intimidation of journalists, intimidations of nongovernmental operators who are working on behalf of the Russian people. It is part of our ongoing dialogue with the Russian Government, and we hope and expect that Russia will live up to its human rights obligations. We – well, through our Embassy, we have expressed our concern to the Russian Government and that conversation is ongoing.

This mealy-mouthed, craven gibberish would be unacceptable even if it came directly from the lips of the President of the United States or the Secretary of State.  There is no hint of any policy action, no naming of names like Nemtsov, and no language which would even vaguely suggest outrage.  It is the language of a small person, from a small country, a cowardly mouse hiding in the shadows.

But America did not even have the courage to let a president or secretary utter these words. Instead, they came from an anonymous underling deep in the bowels of the State Department and were heard by almost nobody, least of all anybody in the Moscow Kremlin.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Another Day, Another Nemtsov Arrest

EDITORIAL

Another Day, Another Nemtsov Arrest

Once again last Tuesday, the former first deputy prime minister of Russia was arrested and accused of “provocation” by the Putin Kremlin for daring to challenge its authority.

Before we discuss the latest incidence of jaw-dropping barbarism from the Putin Kremlin, though, let’s take a moment to reflect on amazing photograph shown above, an image captured by a Novaya Gazeta photographer at the scene of the crime.  It ought to strike sheer terror into the hearts of the loathsome reptiles within the Moscow Kremlin.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

EDITORIAL

Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

You read that right:  “Three-quarters of all Russians would like to leave Russia.”

That’s according to a poll commissioned by the Russian version of Monster.com, namely Superjob.ru, as reported by Vedemosti (Russian-language link) the Russian version of the Wall Street Journal.  Another confirming poll by rival firm HeadHunter shows the same figure, three-quarters of all Russians, would prefer to work abroad.

Of course, that’s if they had the chance.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: The Shameless Fraud called Putin

EDITORIAL

The Shameless Fraud called Putin

Mr Putin repeatedly praised the quality of the Lada car he was driving, giving valuable free publicity to the car’s struggling Russian manufacturer Avtovaz. However, he admitted he would not be personally driving the vehicle for the entire journey and would sometimes travel in his convoy of expensive foreign-made Jeeps.

Vladimir Putin was off on another one of his utterly absurd publicity stunts last week, this time driving a thousand miles across Russia in a Lada to prove how great the car is and encourage his fellow citizens to purchase one, while at the same time showing his own mettle as a he-man destined to rule Russia for life.

Except that Putin wasn’t driving a Russian Lada most of the time; most of the time, he was riding in an American-made Jeep.

Continue reading

OP-ED: Some thoughts on Russia Today’s Tomorrow

Some thoughts on Russia Today‘s Tomorrow

by Ethan S. Burger

Exclusive to La Russophobe

Ethan Burger

The Russian people have not experienced any significant benefit from the symbolic pressing of the “reset” button in U.S.-Russian relations. Just ask any Russian citizen what they think about the necessity of urging the work force to stay home or establishing 120 “anti-smog centers” in Moscow as a result of the fires near the capital. This situation in Moscow is being well reported by the foreign press and Russia Today, can the same be said of the state-owned media?

I have often wondered what the Russian leadership thinks it gains from placing special supplements of Russia Today in major newspapers like The Washington Post and the New York Times.   Most U.S. newspapers are struggling, as Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker, this did not prevent The Washington Post from undertaking a comprehensive investigation analysis of the wasteful homeland security complex (both governmental and private-sector, largely government-funded) that has emerged post 9/11. It is doubtful that any Russian media outlet that reaches a large segment of the population would ever have the courage to undertake a comparable effort about the fires currently spreading through the country.

Continue reading