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Moscow: Russia’s capital and symbol

Russia’s capital is both the founder city and the symbol of Russia. It has been also been the ideological capital of world Communism. Today it is free for the first time to be not just a symbol but the capital of modern Russia.

Catherine Brown

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Russia doesn’t do towns. There are no Russian Granthams, Great Yarmouths, or Leighton Buzzards. Its vastness prohibits such chirpy, middling, interconnected entities. Instead, its farmers live in villages whilst everyone else huddles in metropolises. Despite the unlimited, dirt-cheap land across which they might spread themselves, the Russians pile in their hundreds of thousands in tower blocks, like stakes in a metal paling guarding an older, wooden centre and its kremlin from the near-empty expanses near-infinitely around.

For all their apparent isolated independence, these cities have an undisputed tsar: Maskvà. Since it replaced Kiev as the capital of the Russians in the thirteenth century, Moscow has directed the expansion of its people. Most of Russia’s cities owe their existence to it, and all remain culturally, politically and economically subordinate to it. In the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, Moscow was metonymic of Russia, and symbolic of dictatorial rule.

Yet there was an interlude. After Peter I trumped Louis XIV’s moving of his court to a new palace fourteen miles outside Paris, by moving his court to a new capital four hundred and fifty miles outside Moscow, the latter city was left behind. Sankt Peterburg, as young as New York and more ambitious, represented Germany, Europe, neoclassicism, modernity, multiculturalism, multilingualism, the military, money, and the Petrine aristocracy. Moscow became a backwater, whilst remaining the home of Russia’s oldest families, kremlin, churches, monasteries, and beliefs. It was Russian; St Petersburg was cosmopolitan. St Petersburg was the head; Moscow was the heart. St Petersburg had been built with forced labour in a cold swamp where no metropolis had any business to exist; Moscow had developed organically over centuries.

No wonder that Russia’s conservative-patriotic nineteenth-century novelists gave St Petersburg a bad rap (slum-riddled and psychically-threatening in Dostoevsky; corruptly glamorous, frivolous and faithless in Tolstoy). How different Moscow’s reputation in those two demoted centuries to what it had been and would become. It was quiet, pacific, of ontological rather than pragmatic importance. When Napoleon came and – according to Tolstoy – looked down on Moscow from the hills South of the city, he saw it as a woman waiting to be raped:

At ten o’clock on the 2nd of September the morning light was full of the beauty of fairyland. From Poklonnaya Hill Moscow lay stretching wide below with her river, her gardens, and her churches, and seemed to be living a life of her own, her cupolas twinkling like stars in the sunlight.

At the sight of the strange town, with its new forms of unfamiliar architecture, Napoleon felt something of that envious and uneasy curiosity that men feel at the sight of the aspects of a strange life, knowing nothing of them. […] Every Russian gazing at Moscow feels she is the mother; every foreigner gazing at her, and ignorant of her significance as the mother city, must be aware of the feminine character of the town, and Napoleon felt it. This Asiatic city with the innumerable churches, Moscow the holy. Here it is at last, the famous city! It was high time.

[War and Peace, trans. Constance Garnett]

The mother was soon to be burnt by its own inhabitants in their tactical retreat from the French army. The rebuilt ‘old’ Moscow that the nineteenth-century writers knew was architecturally younger than St Petersburg. Yet its place in the body of the country remained unchanged. Romanticism projected through the Russian prism gave Moscow the aspect of antiquity, and its ‘Soul’ the aspect of mysterious profundity. When Alexander II was assassinated by anarchists in 1881, the Church of the Spilt Blood on the bloody spot in St Petersburg imitated Red Square’s St Basil’s, in order to assert Russianness in the face of Western ideologies that inspired murder.

Yet after the Revolution had exploded in, and renamed, St Petersburg, Moscow became the world’s capital of an internationalist ideology written by a German. It simultaneously reinvented the autocracy for which nineteenth-century Russia had been notorious, whilst St Petersburg in its turn sank into a backwater, its hypnotising neoclassical facades slowly decaying, its pace of life gradually slowing. It was gripped by a sudden nine hundred days of pain during the Second World War; then the process resumed. The very historicism with which the tsarist summer palaces, destroyed by the retreating Germans, were respectfully reconstructed, confirmed the city’s place in the past.

Soviet Communism was directed from and exemplified by Moscow. There the metro was at its oldest, deepest, and most chandeliered; the Terror claimed the most victims; the Lubyanka tortured the most people; education was the best; living standards were the highest. It is a little-known fact, though recorded by the novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, that the devil and his retinue visited Moscow in 1937; but the Communists, being rationalists, have always denied this.

The Ostankinskaya television and radio tower broadcast the Communist message to all in the world who – to absorb or fight it – would listen. East Berlin’s Fernseherturm, huge though it was, was only two thirds of the height and a fraction of the authority of the Ostankinskaya needle, from which it took its message.

Moscow remained the promised land for Russians: a hugely exciting place to visit, and highly desirable place to live, but for many – as for Chekhov’s three sisters – hard to get to; distant; unaffordable; requiring a permit; a once-in-a-lifetime place for a holiday. Most people knew two metropolises: the one they lived in, and a semi-mythologised Moscow.

Then came the collapse. Communism crashed and Goldman Sachs arrived. Capitalism rocked up with its gloves decidedly off. Western products and ideologies sold for many times the Western price. Western cars arrived, with native oligarchs and mini-garchs to drive or be driven in them. Anti-Western Communist propaganda had never rung truer than when it was silenced. The death rate soared. The birth rate collapsed. Unemployment exploded, especially for women, who starved themselves into attractiveness to potential foreign husbands or paying johns. Food markets were taken over by Caucasian gangsters. Literally legless Afghan vets dragged their torsos around on skateboards to beg. Professional musicians busking in subways. Professional ballerinas stripped in nightclubs.

Moscow became the interwar Weimar of the nineties and early naughties: devastated, exhilarated, febrile, unstable, unequal, racy. Its nightclubs popped up and popped down, with feis-control to select sexy women and rich men, paid dwarfs in leopard-print thongs, male and female strippers, girls from the provinces looking for loaded lovers, semi-lit unisex toilets, strenuous imitation of a pornographically-imagined West. Western men discovered that sex was on tap, and would stay for a few years before – as novelist A.D. Miller put it – ‘they retreated to service more reputable crooks in London or New York, sometimes as a partner in Shyster and Shyster or wherever, taking with them a handy offshore bank balance and some tits-and-Kalashnikov Wild East stories to console their live-long commutes’.

Then, mercifully, the post-Soviet period became the post-post-Soviet one. Capitalism found its gloves and put them back on. A younger generation of musicians found its way back into the Bolshoi, and the ballerinas dropped their second jobs as strippers. The business culture and night-clubs became more civilized and less inter-connected.

Middle-aged men no longer drank themselves to death out of heartbreak as once they did, nor are ‘snowdrops’ – frozen corpses – discovered in each spring’s snowmelt as once they were. The birth rate and life expectancy have risen every year in this millennium. Beggars are not visible in Moscow any more.

Moscow is no longer a cipher for anything. Despite recent Western attempts to generate a phoney neo-Macarthyism, it is now a complex, not a simple, signifier. It no longer represents Orthodoxy, autocracy, serfdom, Communism, ‘diky’ (wild) capitalism, or any other single or simple ideology or phenomenon, either in Russia or the world at large. Its government is rightly complained at in the regions for not lifting provincial living standards faster closer to its own, and for not allowing the regions more power. Yet Moscow itself is still loved, in simple and unsimple ways.

Red Square remains a place of national pilgrimage. The Alexander Garden on the Kremlin’s West wall is still the place where the country’s couples want to kiss, and Gorky Park is still where the country wants to ice-skate. The Sparrow Hills remain a place from which to gaze at the city on arrival (like Napoleon), or departure (like Bulgakov’s Satan and his retinue).

Moscow is at the heart of ‘European Russia’. It had to be located in the West of the country for the same reason that Washington had to lie in the East of the US; ethnic Russians are Europeans who spread East, just as European Americans, largely at the same time, spread West. But Russians refer to Europe as somewhere else, and it is fitting that Moscow does not lie as far West as Smolensk.

The four hundred miles that today separate Moscow from NATO represent a psychological distance. The country that Moscow rules and represents is its own thing – interactive with but not to be reduced to Europe or China. The nineteenth-century anguish over the question of whether Russia is European or Asian has now disappeared, and with it the fetishisation of Moscow as the guarantor of Russianness; globalisation has undermined the very sense of the question.

That loss of urgency gives the Russians a breathing space, and Moscow – still physically heavy with Soviet and tsarist symbols – is now free, for the first time in its history, to be not a symbol, but to finds its way as the complex heart and head of a complex country.

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Every dirty Democrat trick shows in bid to oust Kavanaugh

American democracy truly is mob rule now, and the mob is stupid, with no one taking a moment to truly consider the situation.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The most amazing thing about what is ostensibly the last minute “Hail Mary” smear campaign by the left against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is how utterly transparently partisan it is. Let’s look at the list of tactics used thus far in this very dirty escapade:

  • Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein sat on this allegation for three months, until after the confirmation hearings were over (and after no other barnstorming tactic during the confirmation hearings worked against the nominee).
  • The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, is a registered Democrat, and a feminist. RT notes that she appears to have a strong interest in politics.
  • Reports of “death threats” against Dr. Ford have been reported. This is a common feature of any anti-Trump attack, to relate him to some sort of “right-wing” radicalism. This radicalism does not exist among conservatives, but the media is determined to say otherwise.
  • Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, naturally, believes Ford’s story.
  • Every Democrat senator is in agreement that this matter should table the confirmation vote. Some Republicans were at first but appear to be backing away.
  • A woman Democrat senator,  Mazie Hirono, went on record telling men to “shut up and step up.” It seems abundantly clear that this assumes that there can only be one “step” that the men are expected to do. A second lady senator , Patty Murray of Washington, gave all men a warning against stepping off the plantation by saying “Women are watching.”
  • The Senate Republicans offered a chance for Dr Ford to testify on Monday. She refused, but now she is offering to come “next Thursday” – this is ten days later, past the October 1 start date of the US Supreme Court, and closer to the November Midterm elections.

We interrupt this list to make this point. The issues at hand are threefold.

First, the Democrats and other left-wing activists are terrified that they will lose the “Warren Court”, which is the name of the Supreme Court Justice who was a major left-wing judicial activist that enabled the Court to “legislate from the bench” along liberal policy lines since 1969. If Kavanaugh comes in, even if President Trump is somehow magically removed from office, his mark will remain on the Court for at least a generation. Of course, the removal of President Trump is predicated on the Democrats regaining control of the House, which actually looks somewhat likely if polling data is to be believed, and of course a Democrat Senate. (The actual tiny caveat that the President has done absolutely nothing which warrants impeachment will not be taken into consideration. He is to be eliminated. That is Democrat point number one, and make no mistake.)

Second, if the Judge is confirmed, it will look great on the President’s achievement list and energize his voter base even more than it already is. The result could be that the Senate expands its Republican majority, and gains Trumpian conservatives in its ranks, which would likely help the President continue his really great agenda. A defeat in the House that holds or expands GOP, again with Trumpian conservatives, would solidify this, and make it more difficult to stop Trump’s re-election and further solidification of reforms in 2020.

Third, and probably even more important, is that the possibility of a third seat getting vacated on the Court in the time period between now and 2024 is relatively high. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest Justice on the Court, and she is a raving liberal. If she retires (which she promises not to do), or if she is retired by the processes of old age, Trump can score a three-peat and get a third constitutionalist justice into the Court and that will signal the closure of one of the biggest avenues of liberal activism.

To return to the list, some of the further characteristics that make this situation patently obvious are these:

  • As reported in The Duran, the smear job is looking a bit ragged around the edges as time goes by. President Trump called Dr Ford’s bluff by saying he is interested in having her come to testify and that it would be “unfortunate” if she didn’t do so. Ford’s response was as shown above, to try and delay this testimony.
  • The Hollywood “sisterhood” is on record defending Dr Ford. For them, she’s right. She said Kavanaugh did this, so she is right. And why? Because she is a woman, a feminist and a Democrat. She is one of them. It would very interesting to know if the sisterhood would stand behind a conservative woman raising such a concern against a Democrat, but we have President Clinton to show how well that all went.

This by no means concludes the list of characteristics, but as noted earlier here, anyone that does even just a little critical thinking about this can see that this issue is no moral outrage, it is strictly partisan hackery, making use of the greatest weapon against conservative men put in use over the last fifty years – the sexual allegation from a woman, who must always be believed, because the woman is always right. 

The unfortunate truth is that this tactic works. It works because most men are actually gentlemen. We honor women, and we are taught to defer to them in America, because that is what a gentleman does. Feminism takes this characteristic of men, especially in modern times who really want to make sure they treat the ladies right, and it throws it back in their face in contempt. It is so bad it even has a physiological effect on men, who are now marrying less, and having fewer kids. There are even physiological changes that result from this abuse.

Further, there is an appalling lack of critical thinking in our society. The British news site, The Independent offers a poll with questions about the Kavanaugh case. The astonishing lack of critical thinking is clearly evident as the reader votes his or her thought and then sees the results for that question. Going through the questions and observing their responses can be very illuminating.

Dr Ford is demanding an FBI investigation, but she has no date, time or location attached to the incident she accuses now-Judge Kavanaugh of perpetrating. Rush Limbaugh did a great job at showing just how absurd this demand actually is, given these glaring areas of non-knowledge and we include some of that transcript below:

What would happen, let’s say — I don’t know — in the last 10 years up to last week if any woman had walked into any FBI office in the country and said the following: “Hi. I’m here to report that I was abused 35 years ago. I was — I was — I was at a party. Uh, I was 15, a little bit to drink, and a 17-year-old guy pushed me down on top of a table and laid on top of me. And then — and then and then I think — I think — a friend came in and did something and anyway they left and I was left locked in the room. And I want to you to investigate.”

Do you think if somebody shows up at an FBI office with that story, if they show up in person with that story, that the FBI is gonna give it any time whatsoever? The agents are gonna look at each other with kind of wary eyes and they’re gonna crack silent jokes to one another. I’m not kidding. You take this out of the realm of a letter to a crazed, partisan United States senator, Dianne Feinstein, and just move this into the victim walking into an FBI office, “It was 35 years, 34 years. I’m not sure where. But I know that when I was 15, I was at a party, and some guy jumped on top of me.”

So let’s say the FBI agent decides to actually take this further and in a very respectful way says, “Well, Miss, were you raped or injured?”

“Uh, no, not really.”

“Did you report this or tell anyone at the time, 36, 35 years ago?”

“Uh, no.”

“What year was this, again, that this happened?”

“Uhhh, I’m not — I’m not sure. I think it was 1982.”

“Where did this happen?”

“I don’t know! I don’t know. I was so traumatized; I don’t remember any of it. I just remember some guy jumping on me and I was drunk and — and I don’t know. But I want you to investigate it.”

“Okay. Ma’am, were there any witnesses?”

“Just the one friend of his that pushed him off, and then they left before he could do anything.”

What would the FBI do with this, if that scenario happened in one of their field offices? I will tell you what they would do: Zip, zero, nada. And the reason for bringing it up this way is to try to shine some kind of a different light on this and try to put this kind of allegation in some kind of context. The president is handling this in a quite fascinating way. He’s saying, “I hope she shows up. I want to hear what she has to say. I really hope she shows up. I’m very interested in what she has to say. We all are. And if she shows up and if she’s credible, why, then we’re gonna have to do something about that.”

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Russian Hierarch explains Ukrainian issue in detail (VIDEO)

A Russian Orthodox Hierarch explores the incursion of earthly politics into the life, pastoral activity and needs of the Orthodox Church.

Seraphim Hanisch

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RT’s “Worlds Apart” interview program recently interviewed Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), a hierarch who heads the Department of External Church Relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. The Duran has covered the crisis in Ukraine surrounding the activity of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, of Constantinople, intended to create a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This effort falls completely outside the normal and authorized operating procedures of the Orthodox Church, but to the lay listener it is difficult to understand what the fuss really is all about.

Metropolitan Hilarion and Oksana Boyko do an excellent job with both the answers, but more importantly, the questions, since Ms. Boyko asks the questions that someone who knows nothing about the Church might ask. This situation is completely about politics and not about the true work of the Church, and Met. Hilarion answers these questions very completely and thoroughly.

One of the really interesting points that Met. Hilarion makes is the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarch seeks to bring about the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church from these four groups:

  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (which is canonical and which has not requested self-rule, called autocephaly
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Kyiv Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko, which is a completely schismatic group. This group, and Filaret, are leading the charge.
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church – another schismatic group that is not in communion with Filaret’s church
  • The Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine – and this is truly interesting, because this group is not even Orthodox, but is an Eastern Rite group under the Pope of Rome, and is in fact Roman Catholic.

The notion of bringing together such a disparity of groups is stunning to the Metropolitan, and yet he understands the motives of the men driving this idea, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew, and Filaret Denisenko.

While the United States is not mentioned in this interview in any prominent sense, it should be noted that this move also does have strong US support as the American political leadership has been advocating for the Poroshenko government in an effort to continue to surround and isolate Russia. As we have noted elsewhere, this series of moves may well create more problems for Russia, by design.

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James Woods Suspended From Twitter Over Satirical Meme That Could “Impact An Election”

James Woods crushes Jack Dorsey: “You are a coward, @Jack.”

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Outspoken conservative actor James Woods was suspended from posting to Twitter over a two-month-old satirical meme which very clearly parodies a Democratic advertisement campaign. While the actor’s tweets are still visible, he is unable to post new content.

The offending tweet from July 20, features three millennial-aged men with “nu-male smiles” and text that reads “We’re making a Woman’s Vote Worth more by staying home.” Above it, Woods writes “Pretty scary that there is a distinct possibility this could be real. Not likely, but in this day and age of absolute liberal insanity, it is at least possible.”

According to screenshots provided by an associate of Woods’, Twitter directed the actor to delete the post on the grounds that it contained “text and imagery that has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election.

In other words, James Woods, who has approximately 1.72 million followers, was suspended because liberals who don’t identify as women might actually take the meme seriously and not vote. 

In a statement released through associate Sara Miller, Woods said “You are a coward, @Jack,” referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “There is no free speech for Conservatives on @Twitter.

Earlier this month, Woods opined on the mass-platform ban of Alex Jones, tweeting: ““I’ve never read Alex Jones nor watched any of his video presence on the internet. A friend told me he was an extremist. Believe me that I know nothing about him. That said, I think banning him from the internet is a slippery slope. This is the beginning of real fascism. Trust me.”

Nu-males everywhere non-threateningly smirk at Woods’ bad fortune…

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