The Beginnings of Change

1. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev decided to reform the Soviet Union.  These reforms were called “glasnost” or openness.  They were both social and economic reforms designed to allow more political freedom to the people of the Soviet Union.  Because of this, other communist countries were forced to give in to their people’s demands for reforms in one way or another. In East Germany the people and reforms were trying to be suppressed completely.

2. Gorbachev made it clear that the Soviet Union would no longer militarily intervene if any satellite states had a reform movement or if the government wanted to reform.  … Read the rest here

The Genocide Convention

1.  I thought it was interesting that the act of trying only to exterminate part of a population was considered genocide as well as forced sterilization of certain individuals in a population.

2.  Publicly urging on or advertising of genocide was also punishable rather than just the act itself along along with complicity.  Even saying something out, serious or not, could get one punished for a public display of genocide without having actually killed another human being .… Read the rest here

Abdication of Nicholas II

Author: Nicholas Romanov II (Николай Александрович Романов) was the last Emperor of Russia. He also given the nickname Bloody Nicholas because of his violent tendencies. He ruled from 1894 to 1917 and saw the total collapse of his country from a world power into an absolute crisis. He abdicated his thrown after a humiliating defeat in a war against Japan and the February Revolution of 1917. The Romanov family was captured and executed along with the higher ranking servants in 1918.… Read the rest here

Spirituality and Art

Author: Wassily Kandinsky, Васи́лий Васи́льевич Канди́нский.  Kandinsky was born in Moscow and attended the University of Moscow where he studied law and economics.  He began his painting studies at age 30 but was fascinated by art from childhood.  He then moved to Munich to pursue his passion for art and painting but retuned to Moscow after the beginning of the first World War. He then moved back to Germany and then on to France where he became a French citizen in 1939.… Read the rest here

The Leisure Class

Author: Thorstein Veblen was an American economist and sociologist who is famous for his combination of Darwinian theories and institutional economics. He was born in 1857 in Wisconsin to Norwegian immigrants.

Context: The Theory of the Leisure Class was written in 1899 during a boom in industry called the Gilded Age.  It also brought a great many immigrants with a promise of abundant new jobs.

Language: He makes fun of the “leisure class” calling them rather useless to society.  … Read the rest here

Labour, Industry and the Error of Man

Both Robert Owen and Comte de St. Simon talk about the natural ways of man.  Owen especially talks about the natural errs of man and that a bloodless revolution is possible if society rejects the “system” and adopts better principles.  He rejects the industrial man and states that this is the last thing he wants people to subject themselves to as it will make a slave of them.  Marx takes more of a stance against politics and the economy saying the only things it “sets in motion are greed, and the competition against greed.” He compares the workers to commodities and the more they produce, the poorer they get.  … Read the rest here

Do The Eagle and The Bear Really Get Along?

At the Clark Forum that I attended tonight there was a lot more cooperation between the U.S. and Russia then I previously thought.  Still, their progress and relationship is limited and in the developmental stages.

Putin has now agreed to meet with President Obama twice this year.  This will be a limited partnership with Russia. Like most European countries the U.S. has no plans to become their ally.  The Russian – U.S. relationship has been a steep and slippery slope since the down fall of the Soviet Union, but both sides have wanted to resolve the situation as much as possible and are disappointed it has not come to fruition.  … Read the rest here

The Anti-American Russia

Today I read an article assigned by my Russian 100 professor about the recent legislation pushes against the United States by Russia.  To the Kremlin, being free of American influence is essential for the free will and sovereignty of the country. Russia now no longer wants to part of the west and no longer wants to be recognized as a prominent country in the west.  Instead it wishes to become its own entity.

In a way I see this as a relapse of the not-quiet-dead-yet Soviet ideals of the last century.  … Read the rest here

The Iron In Literature and Music

After reading We Grow Out of Iron and seeing Chapaev as well as clips from various movies in class, I have come to realize that the correlation between the two artforms in the aspect that they both the directions of “industrialization” themselves.  They both changed with the times and grew to reflect the ways of the working class people.

The literature, We Grow Out of Iron, took a more literal approach in the sense that it described the worker as becoming one with the machinery and with the metal itself.… Read the rest here