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‘Russia has no culture,’ says disgraced former British politician Louise Mensch – here’s how wrong she is (VIDEO)

Russia’s culture is one of the richest in the world. Russian music is particularly prolific. A disgraced British politician turned American political hooligan disagrees. Here’s why she is wrong.

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Over the last 24 hours, a former British Member of Parliament has slandered Russia in a manner that is racist, ahistorical, insulting and downright bizarre. Her name is Louise Mensch and having totally failed as a member of Britain’s Conservative party, she rushed to America to campaign for Hillary Clinton. That was fail number two.

Now though, she’s re-emerged praising Donald Trump and saying some terrible things about Russia. She has said that Russian culture has contributed nothing to the world and called Russia joyless. In one of her anti-Russian rants, she  went on to say that the late Leonard Cohen was American when in fact he was Canadian and then she implied that Trump has ‘slapped down Putin’ when no such thing has happened.

Her anti-Russian rants went on for hours in a manner that was downright incoherent. I am not sure if some hacker has taken over the Twitter account of Louise Mensch or if she has decided to rekindle her self-professed former addiction to dangerous narcotics. Both of these scenarios could explain the madness coming from her Twitter feed.

But since I’m not her doctor, I’d like to take this time to educate Louise Mensch on some of the wonders of Russian culture, focusing on my personal passion, music.

— Mikhail Glinka: The Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842), performed by Yevgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic. Glinka was the first of Russia’s great romantic composers. His works inspired a generation of Russians to composed orchestral music, opera and ballet based on traditional Russian themes and culture in the context of the large modern romantic orchestra. In particular he inspired the so called ‘Mighty Handful’ also known as the ‘Great 5’ composers: Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, César Cui, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Borodin.

–Modest Mussorgsky, The Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov (1874), performed by Nikolai Golovanov and the Orchestra and Chorus of the Bolshoi Theatre.

In many ways Boris Godunov remains the finest of all Russian operas. The most popular version was orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov, a monumental composer in his own right. This particular version is conducted by my favourite conductor of all time, Nikolai Golovanov. Whilst there are comparatively few recordings of Golovanov, the ones that do exist are peerless. I highly recommend getting your hands on any and all of his recorded works.

— Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies 4 (1878), 5 (1888) and 6 1893), performed by Yevgeny Svetlanov and the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR.

Tchaikovsky is Russia’s most famous composer and a gift to the world. What Beethoven was for the late classical period, Tchaikovsky was for the high romantic period. Tchaikovsky truly had it all. He was a master of melody, leitmotif, orchestration, rhythmic intrigue and narrative. It is personally difficult to narrow down his great legacy to a few works, but generally, his final three numbered symphonies ought to serve as a good introduction.  After Golovanov, Yevgeny Svetlanov remains my other favourite Russian maestro. His command of the orchestra is magnificent, his ability to take the  music to exciting heights is simply, magical.

 

Sergei Taneyev: Overture to Oresteia (1895), performed by Gennady Rozhdestvensky and The Grand Symphony Orchestra of All-Union Radio and Television,

Taneyev was a student of Tchaikovsky and from his teacher inherited a brilliant sense of melody, moving chordal textures and sheer aesthetic romanticism. The overture to the opera Oresteia is sublime as is Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s deeply visceral interpretation of it.

–Alexander Scriabin: ‘Prometheus: The Poem of Fire’ (1910), performed by  Yevgeny Svetlanov and the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR.

Scriabin brought the Russian orchestral tradition into the 20th century and remains one of the finest composers in history. Throughout his five symphonies and scores of solo piano compositions, Scriabin musically evolved from b being a late romantic to a pioneering modernist over the course of his life. His use of dissonance, the octatonic scale and unique orchestrations make him a wonder to behold. He was also a pioneer in the field of musical- kinetic art.

His final symphonic poem, Prometheus was intended to be performed alongside a ‘light organ’, a machine which would throw light onto the stage behind the orchestra to reflect the changing dynamics and moods of the piece. Scriabin developed a precise system in which each note in the musical scale would be represented by a corresponding colour. Whilst the light organ was not ready for the 1910 premier of the work, later performances did employ it. Scriabin’s theories on light and music proved to be highly influential on the great Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.

–Aram Khachaturian: Symphony 3 (1947), performed by Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Some may object to me putting this on the list as Khachaturian was an ethnic Armenian. However, he was born in Tiflis in the Russian Empire (later Tbilisi in what is now Georgia) and spent his career in Moscow. Khachaturian is another great modernist whose musical sophistication is often overlooked in the west. His use of octatonicism is often jazzy whilst many of his themes are unmistakably Armenian.

I find all of his symphonic works to be deeply moving. They are sonically challenging yet deeply emotionally accessible. His 3rd Symphony is actually symphonic poem which is thrilling, moving, enraging and calming, all at once. Kirill Kondrashin is one of the finest Soviet conducts and his interpretation of the work remains the best.

Alexander Alexandrov: The Sacred War (1941).

Alexandrov is best known as the founder of the Alexandrov Ensemble, often referred to as the Red Army Choir. The Sacred War is a beautiful song which holds a profound meaning to many as it was written during the height of the Great Patriotic War. Below is a video of it performed on the 9th of May.

The Singing Guitars

The Singing Guitars were one of the most famous of the so called ‘VIA’ pop groups which emerged in the late 1960s, the easy listening though highly enjoyable sounds won acclaim throughout the world. A playlist is below

Horizont: Horizont (1977).

Horizont were one of Russia’s first and finest progressive rock bands. The use of synthesisers and processed guitar makes of rich tapestry of sounds where an era when rockers dared to dream.

Autograph: We Need Peace (1986)

Autograph were a great late-prog rock band from Russia, their songs are sophisticated, global and very catchy.

Viktor Tsoi and KINO

Viktor Tsoi is quite simply, a legend. His poetic lyrics and charisma endeared him to the hearts of millions around the world. Russians of all ages rocked out to his music and in spite of his tragic death at the age of 28, his music remains popular. KINO were the Russian Beatles in many ways. They’re just ‘the rock band’. Here’s a live performance from 1990, later that year Tsoi would die.

So there you have it. A very short list of some of the wonders of Russian culture which according to the moronic Louise Mensch do not exist. I started writing this piece feeling quite angry, but after listening to all of this wonderful music, I can’t say that I am any more. The joys of Russian music are an antidote to the joylessness of a failed western politician.

I’ll end with another piece by Alexander Alexandrov, the anthem of the Soviet Union (from 1944) and the current anthem of the Russian Federation. There are many beautiful anthems in the world, but for me and millions of others this is simply the best. It is a work of art and it is difficult to hear with dry eyes. Enjoy!

For further listening please see this Spotify Playlist for more than 90 hours worth of Russian music.

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Well Fong26 I think you have well and truly proved that you are an expert on lack of culture.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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