Shrinkage of the Aral Sea: Detrimental Effects

Elizabeth Lowman

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, their rule was marked by the desire to control everything, including nature. What resulted is what demographers Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly referred to as “a sixty-year pattern of ecocide by design.”[1] Ecocide is the practice of destroying an environment’s ecosystems. Alternatively, sustainability is the practice of taking no more from the environment than can later be replaced. The Soviet Union abandoned the idea of giving back to the earth by taking as much as they could to make a profit.… Read the rest here

Shhhh…It’s a Secret Speech

Khrushchev’s secret speech, given to party officials but not published for the general public, showed his desire for de-Stalinization.  Basically, Khrushchev has the same criticisms about Stalin that the rest of the world had: he was paranoid, rude, and killed too many people. Khrushchev believed that Stalin had given the world a bad example of socialism.  He also stated that many innocent lives had been lost.

When Khrushchev is speaking, he is careful to maintain the language of the party.  … Read the rest here

European Dictators: The Worse of Two Evils?

While viewing pictures of the gulags on gulaghistory.org, I was reminded of the pictures of Auschwicz  I had seen in high school during our holocaust unit. The starvation, disease, and forced labor I read about on the site, as well as in the book A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich seemed reminiscent of the Nazi concentration camps.

These facts made me wonder why in American culture Joseph Stalin’s crimes often seem to be minimized.… Read the rest here

Shrinkage of the Aral Sea

My final report is about the shrinkage of the Aral Sea.  I will be concentrating on four points.    The first point is the cause of the shrinkage of the Aral Sea.  I will discuss how the Soviets in Moscow wanted to harvest great quantities of cotton from Central Asia.  In order to do this, they used the Aral Sea for irrigation to such an extent that the sea’s area shrank by 44%.  This caused many health and environmental consequences for Central Asia.… Read the rest here

Ex Convicts Running in Elections?

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ex-convicts-regain-right-to-run-in-elections/487696.htm

Today I found this interesting article in the Moscow Times.  Apparently, on Thursday, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that ex-convicts have the right to fun for offices, including the office of president. This ruling was a direct response to the ban Vladimir Putin placed last year on ex-convicts running for office (which just happened to outlaw the leader of the opposition party from running in the future).

According to the new law, only people who are sentenced to a life in prison are banned from running for office.… Read the rest here

Beating the System: Socialist Realism

During the Soviet Union, especially the Stalin era, the state controlled members of all professions- including artists, architects, writers, musicians, and directors.  Members of these professions were forced to join unions and would be expelled from the unions if they did not follow their strict rules.  Basically, the rules stated that all art had to glorify the state.  Artists who wrote about other topics were expelled from the unions and their careers were ruined.  Artists who dared criticize the state were sent to the gulags.… Read the rest here

Russia and Religion

Today in class, we had a very interesting discussion about Russia and religion.  Basically, throughout its entire history, Russia’s relationship to religion has been extreme, almost bipolar.  In tsarist Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church was the only acceptable religion, due to its strong link with the tsar. During this time, Jewish people were heavily persecuted in the pogroms.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Communist Party made atheism the official belief system of the Soviet Union.  … Read the rest here

The Russian Working Class

Both “We Grow out of Iron” by Gastev and “Chapaev” by Furmanov dealt with the feelings of the working class during the Soviet takeover of Russia.

“We Grow out of Iron” is a propaganda poem glorifying hard work, an idea that was spread throughout the Soviet Union.  While this poem could be dismissed as a piece of propaganda, it is more than that.  Gastev was from the poor, working class.  Without the breaking down of the class system, he would most likely have never been able to write his poetry.  … Read the rest here

Natalia Goncharova

Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) was born in Nagaevo, Russia.  Her great-grandfather was the famous poet Aleksandr Pushkin.  She enrolled in the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture.  She and her lifelong partner, fellow painter Mikhail Larionov, helped found the Russian avant-garde movement.    Goncharova was best known for Primitivism, but she also painted in the Cubist, Cubo-Futurist, and Rayist styles.  Aside from painting, Goncharova also designed sets and illustrated books.  She finally married Larionov in 1955.  She died in Paris.… Read the rest here