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Victory Day – 2022

Victory Day Parade and the Immortal Regiment have returned to Red Square on May 9, 2022. We celebrate this day with our veterans and children.

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.

Victory Day

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.

The Immortal Regiment marching in Tverskaya St, Moscow, 9 May, 2022

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.

Victory Day Parade in Red Square, May 9, 2022

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.

More on Russia.

The Allies’ Approved Of the Death of Children – Remember this, Mr Blinken

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.

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.

A woman with her children on the site of their destroyed house in Orlov Region, Russia
Russian children of the Great Patriotic War

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.

The Soviet soldier raising the Red Banner over the Reichstag in Berlin, May 2, 1945

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.

The Alley of Angels in Donetsk, the People’s Republic of Donetsk (former Ukraine), commemorates children killed in the shellings and bombings by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The average age is 5 years.

More on Ukraine.

More on Russia.

Ukraine: My Views + My Contacts

I support Russia’s special operation against the neo-Fascist regime in Ukraine and its war crimes against the Ukrainian population.

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.

This is Kiev’s Maidan place back in 2014.

In brief, this is what I have to say:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Benefits of Planning

This year I have an undated notebook for long-term planning and taking notes and a dated planner for everyday life.

I have lived by planning for over a decade. There was a time when I only had to remember which lessons I had on which days, but that ended after I graduated from the University of Manchester. When I worked at APPCO in 2010, I wrote detailed daily plans in a simple notebook. Then I came to Moscow, and planners entered my life and stayed there for good.

Admittedly, I was never a fan of dated planners. I much preferred writing the dates myself… which on occasion meant that I would skip planning, especially at weekends.

For the past two years I had my daily and weekly planners and a notepad all in the same notebook, which was undated. It was alright, but I felt I needed to bring more organisation and, erm, planning in my life. So this year I have an undated notebook for long-term planning and taking notes and a dated planner for everyday life.

planning
This ISN’T my planner, and I don’t use colours. Via Pinterest.

I’m only past January, but the benefits are already there:

  • I did a lot of translation;
  • I did a lot of copyrighting for different clients;
  • I started a book for those who are studying the English language;
  • I am in the process of collecting my own art essays to publish them as a book this year;
  • and I am in the process of doing something very creative that I have rarely done before. It will be in Russian for the first time, but if it goes well, I’ll probably add an English version to it.

I can also see what I have little time left for and think about alternate routes.

Better yet, I am writing my personal diary again, and this time I pay more attention to my everyday life. It’s heartening to contemplate how decades later scholars may really use it to reconstruct my “womanly” part of life.

So, if you have been thinking whether or not to use planners and diaries, I hope this has inspired you enough.

More about my Experiences.

Epiphany 2022

January 19th is a fixed date in the Russian Orthodox calendar. On this day we celebrate Epiphany – the moment when Jesus came to be baptised by St John in the waters of the Jordan River.

You have likely seen the reports of people bathing in the cold water on Epiphany. Bearing in mind Russia’s climate and severe wintery frosts this bathing ritual is more of a popular tradition rather than a requirement endorsed by the Church. In other words, if one doesn’t bathe on Epiphany, there will be no negative implications for their soul.

I have never gone to a designated bathing place but I did take a shower at home at midnight on January 19th. Yet this year I chose to skip doing so, and turned out so did President Putin!

What I did do as usual was to go to my local church for the so-called holy water. This is your regular water that was blessed by the priest. There are usually crowds of people standing in long queues, so I tend to go there late in the evening.

This is what my parish church of St Nicholas looked like on the evening of Epiphany. I’ve just caught myself on a thought that, while I was studying the Tudor period, I was quite fascinated by the terms “parish” and “parishioners”. Even though I was quite irreligious in those days I evidently loved the idea of a community where a church was a perfect gathering place, where people sang hymns and attended sermons. And see, two decades later I’m a parishioner myself…

Winter Holidays End

And I don’t know if I had enough rest, but I have a feeling it was good enough. And this is the most important thing.

As of 2021, Russian winter holidays now officially last from December 31st until after January 7th. And although this does not seem like too long a period, it seems I managed to take some rest. If you follow the link to 2021 Xmas category at the end of the post, you will read about what I did. I wanted to visit GUM and to walk in the forest and maybe have a ski walk, but I didn’t. I have some time for a walk, and I might still visit GUM, and hopefully I’ll give a brush to my skis, but in the meantime these are mere plans.

GUM Christmas Trees.

This is what I did:

  • sat in solitude and silence with a garland and a cup of tasty coffee;
  • read a lot;
  • framed my diplomas;
  • walked a lot;
  • ate 3 big cakes;
  • translated a lot into English, including a Bowie-inspired Space O;
  • blogged here practically every day;
  • slept to my heart’s desire.

And I don’t know if I had enough rest, but I have a feeling it was good enough. And this is the most important thing.

winter-holidays
My winter holidays were something like that, cuddled with lots of soft cushions. Courtesy of Tartanscot

More posts in 2021 Xmas.

Julia Shuvalova – Space O

Space O by Julia Shuvalova is a fictional account of David Bowie composing one of his most famous songs, Space Oddity. #bowie75

Space-O-Julia-Shuvalova

I wrote the story “Space O” in Russian in late February 2021, upon learning about a literary contest dedicated to the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight to space. The contest was organized by Litres.Samizdat, a Russian platform for self-published authors, and Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency. It was shortlisted for the final and was eventually published in a separate collection of novellas by other contestants. Apparently, this collection has recently been delivered to the ISS, too.

space o
A cover of the original Russian story

As I was thinking about the subject for my story, I went through some notebooks but I did not find anything that caught my attention. It had to be a short story or a novella. I began to think “outside the box”. I did not want to delve into too many technical aspects of space flights, nor did I want to populate the story with extraterrestrial characters. I wanted something creative, daring, and utterly humane. Suddenly Space Oddity came to mind…, and I wrote this story overnight.

This is obviously a fictional account of David Bowie’s composing one of his most famous songs, but I did some research for the fictional part. All aspects of the first three chapters fell together almost by themselves, I only had to write it all down. Along the way I realized that I walked the same streets in Soho, I lived in Bromley, accessed from Victoria Station, for 2 weeks in 2004, so I was a regular at Victoria Station, too. The pub I depicted was a beer hole I visited once, but it was probably in Greater Manchester where I lived between 2003 and 2010. And I saw many loaders, like “Major Tom”, in my 7 years in England. After I submitted the story for the contest I decided to check when the first British person went to space. Turned out it was a woman, and her mission was mutually financed by the UK and the USSR, and it took place… on May 19th, 1991. 30 years after the first flight. “Majors” had to wait for a long time.

Space O is a story about dreams – and what breaks them. It is about love and poverty – the topics that Robert Burns was very much aware about. It is about inspiration and thirst for life. And it is about the Earth and space – for “the whole space is about Earth.” And on occasion of David Bowie’s 75th birthday I translated the story into English and share it now on this blog.

More on the topic:

60th Anniversary of the first space flight

Most posts about space

Russian Orthodox Christmas 2022

The Russian turn-of-the-year holidays are drawing to a close. Today we celebrated the Russian Orthodox Christmas. I didn’t go to the Mass this year, but I sent the cards to my friends and relatives.

I had a walk in the day, and in the evening I enjoyed watching magnificent snowfall. The temperature is falling slowly, it is -12 at the moment, and I am going to have a cup of hot tea before retreating to bed.

Christmas is always about silence and solemn solitude, especially if you celebrate it as a religious festival. But even if it is a secular, family festival for you, it is a good moment to stop and reflect on the values of union, family, childhood, and faith. We live in the time when it is important to have a solid foundation, and Christmas is the moment to think about it.

Three Pleasures a Day

Three Pleasures a Day is a nice psychological habit to keep yourself in a good mood each day.

Last year I joined a community of female entrepreneurs. The topic of female business is flourishing in Russia, and there are two kinds of ladies in the game. One is male-like, dominating by force of money and “connections”. This type is all about goal-setting and overachievement.

Another type acknowledges the importance of hard graft but prefers to dwell on a more feminine side. Rather than delaying gratification, this type enjoys the ride, knows what it wants, and takes it easy. It avoids spreading itself thin for the sake of achievement… and surprisingly, often achieves more than the first type, if only because it doesn’t burn out.

One way to avoid the burnouts is to allocate time to 3 pleasures a day. Mine have been:

  1. Tasty coffee.
  2. Silence.
  3. Garlands.

Yes, they are very simple but they please me a lot. The idea is to find something that will generate “good vibrations” every day. We don’t need to go out of our way to find these simple pleasures. Watching the snowfall is good, just as dancing to your favourite tune.

And, as we all agree, 3 simple pleasures a day at this time make a lot of difference. Positive feelings and emotions bring health, but they are not sold in pharmacies. We make them happen.

By the way, I put my 3 pleasures in my daily planner, and I am very glad when I tick them off!

Do you practise this habit?

Tartans and Furs

As much as I like the concept of minimalism, I prefer to surround myself with things I love. I like Welsh and Scottish music and language, and throwing tartans around myself feels like travelling in time and space.

Tartans and furs make my heart beat faster. Once in a while I look at minimalist interiors and think just how nice it is to have so little stuff around! I once browsed a book by a diehard minimalist. So devoted he was, in fact, that he moved into a studio with no decor and furniture whatsoever.

I like it when there’s little stuff but I can’t bring myself to live in a nun’s cell. I mean, when I decide to live like a nun I’ll join a nunnery. But while I lead this profane secular life I strive for comfort.

tartans and furs

And in this photo you can see some of the things I love and eagerly have in my life. Tartans and lush cushions – oh, they are my staples! This year I bought myself 3 throws as a Christmas present. I sleep under a single-coloured one, and I use a tartan one to cover my shoulders or legs in the day. Another tartan throw, in green and red, is waiting for its turn. The cushions I made for my knitted throw 13 years ago I now use to support my back.

So, as much as I like the concept of minimalism, I prefer to surround myself with things I love. I like Welsh and Scottish music and language, and throwing tartans and furs around myself feels like travelling in time and space.

What are your favourite household articles that create the atmosphere?

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