The photo was taken a week ago when it was overcast. Today is sizzling hot, so this gentle reminder of a summer breeze is precisely what I need.
I’m doing my first proper excursion this Tuesday in the district I treasure and love. I came there in September 1997 as a History student, and I keep coming here as a poet, a writer, a researcher, and a Muscovite. I “served” as a Moscow expert for a student TV report back in May, and at the end of June I’m about to repeat it.
After a short siesta today I’m going to carry on with my tasks for the day. One of them is to take the books back to the library. I’m revisiting some topics I read in at the university.
Oh, and I also had my first public lecture last week. It was on the subject of the Crusades, and, being read at 10:30 on Sunday, attracted a lot of people.
The City of Optimists was the name of a small article I wrote for a Russian magazine in 2003. Years after I had started writing essays about my life in England I finally began to publish these accounts in Russian in a draft electronic version of the book under the mentoned title.
I’m in the process of uploading different chapters, so there’re some chapters on Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, and London.
Manchester’s Urbis is on the cover; I took this photo in 2008.
The link to the draft copy. The full English title reads The City of Optimists and the rest of England, to say nothing of London. I don’t think I need to say what book title inspired it. Wales is not included, as I’m writing a separate book on it.
June 1st is celebrated as the International Children’s Day. In Russia, we traditionally pay much attention to this festival, as children are believed to be the future.
Volunteers in my district today handed out small chocolates to kids and organised an event for all children who were outside at around 4pm. I was sitting in the park reading some Art History books and listening to happy cries and music. On my way back I took some photos of the lavishly blossoming trees.
As for me, in 2016 I organised a special drawing competition among the children in my district. We asked them to illustrate the poems by the famous Soviet poet, Agniya Barto. See the gallery below; it is always touching to see how children see the characters of their favourite poems. Back in 2016, this competition marked both Barto’s 110th anniversary and the International Children’s Day.
Today I look at these images (and I’ve got many more) from a different angle. We must ensure that children, wherever they live, have the right to their basic freedoms. At its heart, the world is not as multifaceted as today’s political agenda proclaims. All children still need two parents of different genders, they need a family, they need access to education and medicine. Above all, they need security and peace to grow and later discover their potential.
One of the central Moscow rivers, the Yauza, flows near the Library for Foreign Literature. I went there today to study for my upcoming paper on Wales in painting in late 18th – early 19th cc. And on my way back I couldn’t help capturing these ephemeral clouds that reminded me of the fog in the Welsh mountains drawn by J. M. W. Turner.
May is blossoming slowly this year, and May evening is cold and dry. We haven’t had enough rain, so the leaves are taking time to appear.
I’m going to resurrect my Neighbourhood Cam and Moscow Cam rubrics to get you acquainted with my native places. I will also update some posts where the text was previously lacking, to make them more informative and enjoyable.
The place in the photo (which was actually taken in 2018) is within a 10-minute walk from my house, right opposite the place where I taught English and French for four years. In the vicinity are a few shops, many blocks of flats, a church, and two railway stations.
On May evenings like that in the picture one always wants to slow down. The sunset is about to begin, and, as the evening is cold, the sky is going to turn purple-red. The wind is getting chillier, the cars are few, and so are people. I usually take in this cool air and gaze on the horizon as if it were my personal Waterloo Sunset. I know I am in Paradise here, although it was only recently that my district has become resplendent and posh in some aspects. But I like it this way.
Today we celebrate the 77th anniversary of Victory against Nazi regimes in Europe. We should not forget that Nazist and Fascist ideologies swept across the whole of Europe. Soviet troops coming from the East and inner Resistance movements worked to extort inhuman regimes not only from Germany, but from France, Italy, and other European countries. Sadly, they were not always successful, and in Spain General Franco’s regime survived until 1970s.
But we celebrate our Victory, and we shall not let anyone to dispute, distort, diminish, or altogether deny it.
The Immortal Regiment has returned to the streets of Russian towns and cities, as well as to those countries whose leaders were not afraid to pay homage to the courage and selfless service of the Soviet soldiers. And we shall not forget this.
And if you want to watch Moscow’s Victory Day Parade, below is a video by one of Russian media channels, TASS. The organisers had to cancel the aerial parade due to overcast. The Immortal Regiment soaked wet in a short spell of heavy rain, but then the sun came out, and it has not rained since 3pm this afternoon.
As per tradition, special civil memorial services were held in all districts near the cenotaphs and monuments. These commemorate soldiers and civilians who gave up their lives to save the world.
In his address on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the Victory in the Second World War, the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken notably accused the Russian Federation of thwarting the events of the bygone days to “justify” a special operation against the neo-Nazi government of Ukraine.
Yes, I know that in the West the war is thought to have been fought and won by Britain and the U.S. It is also a well-known secret that Britain and the U.S., the so-called allies, were waiting to see whom to support, Hitler or Stalin. By doing so, they donned their taciturn support to Hitler. This was these nations’ own “war effort” until it became clear that the Red Army was about to sweep across Europe in its victorious march. The allies jumped on the bandwagon to keep the Western part of Europe in their sphere of interests.
The Victory in the Second World War is unthinkable without the USSR for the simplest reason: the allies were clearly going to collaborate with Hitler, had he suppressed the USSR. And it was only because the USSR courageously fought for its independence and sovereignty that we have been celebrating the Victory over Nazism for the last 77 years. Unfortunately, we are fighting against the same plague now – and we are going to win again, this time decisively.
So, lest the Secretary of State Mr Blinken forgets what the allies’, and particularly the American, war effort was really like, here are pictures of Soviet Russian children near their ruined and burnt houses in 1941-1943. Such was the beginning of life for these children – death, hunger, and ruins. And it was because the allies were calmly waiting to see whose side to join.
The Russian soldiers fought not only for their Motherland, as we call our native country. They fought for these children, they took revenge for their ravaged childhood, and it was the Russian soldiers who raised the red Victory banner over the Reichstag as the symbol of Victory against Evil. Sadly, the evil has since resurrected, so the Russian soldiers will have to raise the banner again.
We have never taken revenge on the dead enemy, and we have always striven to keep peace with the living adversaries. But in memory of thousands of children who were killed by the Nazi army – and by the allies’ appeasement – we will always remember and remind others of the real price of British and American Imperialist interests.
The price has been the death and poverty of children – everywhere, from Europe in two World Wars to Vietnam, Middle East, Serbia, and Donbass, throughout the entire 20th and 21st century. This must end soon.
Graham continues his selfless service as a journalist in Donbass, and this time he has interviewed Aidan Aslin, a British mercenary in the Ukrainian service.
At the very beginning of his interview Aidan acknowledges that he made a mistake by joining the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He is a professional soldier, a mercenary, but he claims that he used to be pro-Donbass until his colleague managed to convince him to join the other side. He states that the Ukrainian soldiers wear Nazi symbols and, in fact, imitate the Nazi forces in every possible way. He strictly disapproves the torture and killings of the Russian soldiers captured by the Ukrainian forces. He also states that he wanted to desert immediately as the Russian special operation began but he never found a chance to do it due to lack of transport. Eventually, he was captured in Mariupol by the Russian side. His mother Angela and his sister Sharon can for a moment be calm because he is alive and probably safer in captivity.
We urge all people to watch and share this interview that sheds tons of light on what is really happening in Ukraine and what has been going on in Donbass for the past 8 years. I am in the process of collating the instances of Ukrainian legislation that effectively legalized Nazism. We want all people who cannot be fooled by the media outlets to understand that it was the rejuvenation of Nazism and the evidence of development of biological weapons that forced Russia to enter Ukraine with a special operation.
Back in the days of the Iraqi war I wondered why the soldiers would not refuse to go in Iraq, especially since that war never received an approval from the UN. I was told it was their job to do what their government told them to. But here we are clearly dealing with the comeback of ideology that once killed what could be a hundred million people altogether. If now British and other mercenaries would turn against their governments and help the Russian army to suppress the Nazi batallions in Ukraine, then we would plainly see that British and Russian nations can really be allies in the fight against the evil.
A British reporter visited the Chernihiv region a few weeks before the Bucha massacre, and in the video he shows the actual interactions between the Russian army forces and the civilians. His conclusion is obvious: there is absolutely no chance that the same military men would kill the people.
Also, people warn the civilians in other areas that they should leave together with the Russian army that is currently retreating from some outposts:
After the Russians retreat from the villages, the Nazis go there and kill everyone. Please let people know that they should leave, too. This is done upon Zelensky’s orders, to kill all civilians in the villages left by the Russian army.
Meanwhile, the Russian forces are storming the Azovstal plant. This is in line with Russia’s decision to only bomb the military bases. This steel plant is one of the biggest in Europe, and it should not be destroyed. Unfortunately, it has been used as a stronghold by the Azov batallions, which personify the Nazi forces and are not controlled even by Kiev. They deftly use the plant’s territory to move about, to hide, and to shoot the Russians. The Russian army plans to either neutralize (kill) or capture the Azov soldiers, thus avoiding the plant destruction.
Seeing that they do not even want to destroy the plan, it is highly unlikely that the Russian army could kill civilians. This is another proof that the “Bucha massacre” is a war crime by the Nazi forces orchestrated by their Western advisors.
I moved to my vKontakte account in April. I have been busy with work and, on the other hand, I wanted to gather the sentiment about the unfolding events in Ukraine.
In brief, this is what I have to say:
I support Russia’s special operation against the neo-Fascist regime in Ukraine. In the years since the first negotiations in Minsk all the opportunities to peacefully resolve the conflict in Donbass have been exhausted. Meanwhile, not only did Ukraine legally proclaim the criminals of WW2 as the country’s national heroes, it has also opened the doors to experiments with biological weapons in its territory. As you might remember, my maternal grandfather was born in Ukraine, and his parents were the prisoners of war in Germany. I sympathise with the people of Ukraine insofar as they have not managed to organize anything similar to the Resistance movement of the past war, so they now have to hide in cellars instead of helping the Russian army. But I do not sympathise with anyone who wants to somehow draw a line between the country and its legislation. In case with Ukraine, the legislation has commemorated those who orchestrated the carnage in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine itself. And I personally do not want to tolerate this for whatever reason.
Secondly, I realise that I have not written much about it here, for this blog has always been about Arts&Culture, not a place to discuss dubious Wikipedia articles on politics. But things are different now. The first thing I want you to know – especially those of you who have known me for a while – is that, since I returned to Moscow in 2010,I have always voted for Vladimir Putin. I voted for the new Constitution of Russia in 2020. I support the idea of a strong national state. And I certainly stand for the idea of internationalism and the national equality. I have always supported these ideas, and I have always cited the Equal Opportunities Act in Europe as an example of a guarantee of equality to various minorities. But I cannot support the present-day “cancel culture” whereby The Russian Dancers by Edgar Degas are renamed into The Ukrainian Dancers by the National Gallery, and the works of Tchaikovsky are withdrawn from concerts. I cannot and will not support this morone attack on my country and my values.
Finally, for now, I’d like to leave all you intellectual and open-minded people with one question to answer. I first came across the British mentality and culture in 2000. For the past 22 years I have often heard you slagging off the British and American media for bias and lies. You are aware that your media and your governments can lie just about anything – from little-known celebrities to biological weapons in Iraq. Why now, then, do you believe everything you see and read about what is happening in Ukraine? You are now listening to the talk about “the Ukrainian Srebrenica” – and you don’t even pay attention to the fact that the NATO country, in cold blood, uses the NATO’s war crime incident to draw parallels with today’s carnage! It was so hard to effectively divert the world’s attention from biolaboratories in Ukraine that the NATO media were not too proud to use their own war crime to put it on Russia.
Of course, in this day and age I will have to take precautions, so I will double my posts here on my LCJ page in vKontakte. I don’t use VPN, so I will not be able to answer any comments on Facebook or Twitter. But you can contact me by email, and I will take the opportunity to be your first-hand source of news and commentary.
As you may notice, I do not blame anyone for their views. Indeed, there is often a huge chasm between the Anglo-Saxon view of things – and that of the rest of the world. I do not expect anyone to turn against their media or government just because I say something. But I keep being told that we, Russians, are brainwashed by the Kremlin propaganda. Well, perhaps, it’s not just the Kremlin that engages in propaganda – and we, Russians, are not the only victims thereof.
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