Posts tagged Lenin

Be Careful and Be Warned Anti-Abolitionists!!!

I don’t even know where to begin. Why are westerners complacent about human trafficking? Is it because they think slavery has been abolished and totally eradicated with the passing of time since the Civil War in America? Was that not a war worth fighting for? Some people in their ivory towers believe that we should NEVER, ever be in war, no matter what is at stake, even freedom for those less fortunate or less educated.  Apparently these same, self-acclaimed peace-niks believe they are absolved and have moved on to a higher plane with electing a “black” president. All past pain is forgiven and forgotten? But my question is: “Shouldn’t there be an all out war and campaign against human trafficking?”

Instead some “intelligent” people war with their words and put down our best efforts as abolitionists while we try to make others aware of the sin in our fallen world.  However, just because they don’t believe in sin or our fallen natures and they don’t believe in God either, they feel off the hook ethically and morally.  Twisted logic would have them parrot the following questions when they are caught in their painted-in corner, “Why does God allow suffering in the world?  OR Where is YOUR God now?” They have such audacity to ask these type of questions when they have no solution to help those who are not free to help themselves.

Who is morally outraged about the poor people in today’s world who are conscripted to work on ego building projects? Mere statistics who somehow disappear because these people are just numbers and not your own son or daughter, husband or wife.  How can insensitive people continue to laugh at sasha cohen who inflamed the honor and dignity of Kazakh people by filming his movie titled Barot? This despicable movie was actually filmed in Romania and NOT in Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, the Romanian people continue to suffer (read human trafficking BIG time in that last statement).  Please read this interesting blog about what the Romanians remember of their suffering under communism even 23 years after their “beloved” leader succumbed to the “people’s wishes.”

For now, I would hope that my dear Kazakhstan has not fallen into a similar plight that Romania was led down with all their building projects under a egomaniac. Trafficking has been rampant in both countries.  Yet I’m proud to report that there are some people in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, who are trying to raise awareness, money and donations of clothes for those victims who are in transition in trafficking shelters.  Read the latest upbeat report about what just took place.

“NU hosted a concert in aid of human trafficking awareness on May 4 in the Atrium. NU has been active in collecting clothes for victims who have been rescued or escaped from conditions of sex or labour servitude which has been much appreciated by the organisations active in this area.  Adila and Medina, who are well known to many in NU, opened the concert before a short speech from Olga, the local organiser for the International Organisation for Migration thanking NU for its continuing assistance and interest, then Serik & Kana performed Russian Bard music   The evening finished with a collection in aid of a legal aid fund for rescued victims of trafficking in north Kazakhstan currently involved in a court case to which participants responded generously!”

My last plea would be to those smart, but godless, people who think they know so much about how to solve the world’s problems without God. They seem to believe that certain leaders in our world can save us from ourselves, but just look at the recent history of Mao Tse Tung, Lenin, Stalin AND of course Hitler.  We, as Christians, understand that the Bible has valuable lessons recorded from ancient history so we can learn about what effective leaders and selfish leaders did.  King David was a man after God’s own heart but he eventually sinned, he fell from God’s grace and paid for the consequences.

Hopefully our nation of the U.S. will not have to pay similar penalties for its willful ignorance about slavery (sex trafficking) going on in the rest of the world and in our own country.  I challenge the agnostics and atheists who read my blog to give me an answer to why they do NOTHING to help others out of slavery while blaming God (who they don’t believe in) for the problem. Spit in the eye of freedom because Someone else died for you so that you can be hasty in your judgment of me as a Christian abolitionist.  Be careful and be warned.

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“The Way Back” or “The Long Walk” of 4,000 miles out of Siberia’s prison

Last night we watched “The Way Back” starring Ed Harris and a superb cast of actors (including one 16 year old girl). The movie is based on a true story of an original group of 7-8 men who walked away from an Siberian prison camp in 1941.  My husband, as a young boy, had read the book that was first published in 1955 titled “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom” written by Ronald Downing.  That alone clinched our decision to experience this epic journey through cold, mountain passes and thirsty, Mongolian deserts. My husband wanted to see how close the movie fit to his recollection of reading this book 45-50 years ago.

Interestingly enough, Ronald Downing had started his own quest in Tibet of the legendary abominable snowman. However, he instead started gathering information about a Polish man, Slavomir Rawicz, who had walked across eastern Siberia to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, through China, Tibet and the Himalayans to finally gain his freedom in India. That was more compelling to write about than a snowman.

No doubt the film’s director Peter Weir had some parts of Downing’s book “Hollywood-ized”  However, the main meaning comes across in the special features after the movie.  That is, the inhumanity present in 100s of concentration camps throughout the Soviet Union is little known by people from the West.  I’m guessing for every 100 movies about Nazi atrocities in concentration camps, you have one movie about what Stalin did to his own people of the U.S.S.R. with the Siberian gulags. (That would also include Kazakhstan’s KARLAG system too)

The Soviet system was extremely brutal to their political prisoners who were imprisoned alongside REAL criminals of thieves and murderers.  There is one character, Valka, in this story who owned a knife, he called it “the wolf.” He also had tatooed on his chest the faces of Lenin and Stalin.  Though he believed in communism, he actually helped the other “politicals” survive in the wilds with the use of his knife. Yet he turned back once they got to the Trans-Siberian railway which they thought was the end of the Soviet Union and walking into freedom…sadly Mongolia had been taken over by USSR and so their trek to freedom continued.

The movie skipped over the Himalayans since the over two hour long movie had already shown its audience enough of the bitter cold of Siberia and reaching Lake Baikal and then the dry desert scenes. Also, I don’t think the actors or camera and production crews could fathom doing more marathon type survivalist living in the mountains.

The real hero of this story (played by Jim Sturgess) in both the movie and the book was Slavomir Rawicz, this Polish army officer who had been captured by the Red Army and accused of being a Nazi. His wife had been tortured to create a false testimony against him and Slavomir was summarily imprisoned by the Communists out to Siberia. He successfully trekked 4,000 miles after escaping from a Siberian prisoner of war camp. He survived the ordeal which lasted about a year because he knew how to live in the outdoors and survive on nature’s food and water.  He was accused by the Ed Harris character, known only as “Mr. Smith” of not being able to survive in the prisoner’s camp because he was too kind and helped other prisoners.  Perhaps his kindness and knowledge of how to survive is what eventually prevailed and got the two other men out alive with him.

Apparently, the older American, dubbed “Mr. Smith” had earlier watched his 17 year old son die at the mercy of communists then he was sent to the gulag and once “free” went on the Lhasa, Tibet. We don’t know if he survived once he parted ways with Slavomir and the others.  Also, I’m not sure if the movie ended accurately which showed how Slavomir had waited until Poland was free from the bonds of communist oppression to see his wife again after being separated for almost 50 years.  I would like to get a copy of the old book titled “The Long Walk” to read what my husband had read 50 years ago.  Such a remarkable story had a great impact on him.  The movie may have a profound impact on many other westerners as well.

Why don’t more people in the West know about the gulag system that happened throughout Russia and Kazakhstan?  Little is written because few people survived the cruel brutalities!  I would highly recommend watching this movie “The Way Back.”

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What else I learn from my adult learner students

The other day was a potpourri of various talents who showed up for English practice that is meant for advanced speakers once a week.  Some of these university employees were more shy to speak up once the talkative ones found their stride.  Represented were those from Center for Energy Research, Economics, Admissions, Legal department, Strategic planning and the Library.  We got on the topic of occupations as a kind of carry-over from the week before when we discussed teachers and builders.

The conversation went all over the place from talking about Kazakhstan’s sports like boxing, football and hockey to the recent Asian Winter games to Tour de France, to Roza Bagnalova’s son to the profession of policemen to the upcoming presidential election.  Finally an hour was up and we were talking about Olympics and the Goodwill Ambassador Vladimir Smirnoff who represented Kazakhstan.

One of them asserted that the most popular professions in Kazakhstan are lawyers and economists, especially looking at what students are majoring in for their subjects at university.  Others didn’t agree so we quickly moved into sports.  Apparently the most famous footballer is Pele whose name means “useless” or perhaps “crafty.”  We talked a long time about his name and how his name means smart but doesn’t let on that he is, like in Russian (heat-tree.) I can’t tell from my notes because I had to write fast with six people all having an opinion about this athlete.  Supposedly he was quoted as saying that if Russia wins the World Cup, then Brazil will have a hockey team in hell.  Something like that, like I said, my notes after trying to decipher them 24 hours later leave much to guess work.

This I DO know they talked about and was new information for me, that the Klitschko brothers who are so famous in Ukraine for their boxing feats were actually born in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. Their father was a military man and it is said as a kind of joke, I’m not sure if this actually happened.  One of the Klitschko brothers ran into Sasha Cohen in New York City, who made that despicable movie about Kazakhstan (which really wasn’t true to Kazakhstan and was filmed in Romania).  Anyway, since Klitschko is really a Kazakhstani, he had some strong words for Cohen and it put the fear into him.  You don’t want to mess with a boxer if you get him riled. Maybe this was just a joke but the point is, that the film has done little to bring good repute to Kazakhstan.

One thing that was supposed to bring Kazakhstan’s reputation up a notch or two was the Tour de France that was won by a Spaniard Cantador while he was biking for Team Astana last year.  We shall see who will rise from the Kazakh athletes to take over in cycling.  A nice stadium that was built just down the road from the university for the ice skating for the Asian games is really for cycle races.  It looks like a bike helmet from the outside.

We moved on to what all Kazakh people know internally but is little known in the western world about Roza Baglanova who died just last week.  She was a much loved singer and represented Kazakhstan in the former Soviet Union.  Apparently one of my adult learner “students” went to school with her son Tarzhen.  When he was born his grandparents went to register him with a good Kazakh name but when the father found out about it, he was furious and had it changed to a good communist name, Tarzhen. I’m unsure of the meaning but it sounds like Tarzan to me.  Apparently Tarzhen didn’t follow in his mother’s footsteps in music but his father’s as a businessman.  He is entrepreneur and his quiet and keeps to himself, a good father of 3-4 children.

Then we got into the subject of names of Kazakh children and what it was like in the past if you wanted to appear politically correct.  I mentioned that during the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s many young girls were called “Hong” for Red.  Someone said it was true in the USSR’s past that many had the names related to Lenin or Marx.  One poor lad was named after Albert Gore after he visited Kazakhstan.  With the Asian games now over, some girls are called Aizada (Asia) or boys might be called “Summit” after the OSCE summit last December. Or parents might use the word “Khan” or “Bai” or Abai going back to ancient times.  Some babies are given the name of the day of the week that they were born.  This has deep Kazakh roots to give names that honor an event.  Being BORN is an event here in Kazakhstan!

Somehow our conversation was directed back to occupations and several of these Kazakh people drive cars, so we talked about policemen.  After a Kazakh driver is stopped by a man with a white and black baton, the requisite forms are filled out. Some said they never pay a fine and talk their way out off whatever ticket.  Others who are in a hurry will pay the bribe just to get back on the road again.  You see, if you don’t want to go through all the steps of going to the bank and the police office to get the necessary paperwork down, you can give 1,000 or 2,000 tenge to the officer. However, this is NOT usually done directly, it might be slipped into a book or it might be left in the back seat of the squad car.

If you were to pay directly and officially with all the extra time spent to do it, it would cost about 6,500 tenge.  In the capital city of Astana it is not as bad to pay bribes to police officers as down in the south of Kazakhstan, like in Almaty. Perhaps this doesn’t happen in Astana because the police are more tightly controlled or they have other more important functions to deal with such as security for the president and other VIPs.  Maybe they are better paid than those officers to the south.

We talked of other things of course, such as the football match with Tartastan where the Dutch played in Moscow and the temps were -20 C and they played in the cold and mud with a score of 2-0.  Better than the score during the Asian games where a hockey match was 30-0. That would have been no fun to watch but one of my “students” witnessed that lopsided game.  Others saw the same ice skaters I did and we all talked about the opening ceremony.  I was surprised that one Kazakh woman didn’t even watch the Asian Games Opening ceremony on her t.v. I think she is too busy with her job and raising a family.

That’s it, from Lake Kaz-be-gone.

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part VIII – final)

This book by Walter Duranty has certainly created a life of its own with my blogging about some of his more “radical” statements that are out there for the whole world to see (except for those six pages that the scanner didn’t scan and make available on the Web)  Finding those pages might yield a sequel of this series of posts once I get my hands on a real copy of this 1935 book with the above title.  Difficult to do right now as I live and teach in Astana, Kazakhstan.  Libraries brimming with books in English, especially OLD books, are a next to rare sight in this part of the world.

Yes, page 333 is missing and it is getting to the juiciest parts where Duranty really does write the way he wants, no holds barred.

Missing page 333???

p. 334 Lenin thought his body would be burned instead it was embalmed and placed in a 1 million dollar mausoleum [WD leaves out the fact that Stalin had created this hero worship. Stalin knew that the Russian people needed someone or something to worship besides God, might as well be a dead man. I saw Lenin’s waxened body when I toured Moscow in the summer of 1976]

Steamer Chelyuskin was caught in the Arctic ice just north of Behring straits

p. 336 – Soviet stratosphere flight

p. 337 – fighting plane across Front in 1918 taking greater risks than Lindbergh, Miss Earheart, Admiral Byrd or Amy Johnson.  [WD doesn’t understand the competition of trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flights, apparently Stalin had gotten involved in the competition by supporting the best pilots experimenting with faster planes]

great airplane Maxim Gorky crashed in spring of 1935

“Rodina” – birthplace or homeland  – of USSR, used to be called “Socialist Fatherland”

p. 339 the thing that distinguishs a real working Socialist system from a pseudo-Socialist system is the abolition of the power of money and the profit motive and of the possibility for any individual or group of individuals to gain surplus value from the work of others.

David Lawrence in July 20, 1935 Sat. Evening Post

p. 340 – not a question of “I do on what I get but of what we do and what we get – definite of the difference between Socialism and individualism

WD asked “Am I wrong in believing that Stalin is the greatest living statesman and that Litvinov is the ablest foreign minister?” [K.N. answer to W.D. “YES!”]

W.D. relates a Russian folklore of Koshchei Bea smetny Koshchei the Deathless revived smiling after decapitation, life was found in the duck’s egg, but Hero crushed egg and giant died. Where is life found for the young Soviet nation? Worth as a diamond “Not mine for me but ours for us.” [K.N. what I want to know is did W.D. share the profits of this book with other people or did he have a little nestegg to retire with on his own?]

Deathless life of USSR.

The end!!!

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part VII)

The philosophical question was posed by Walter Duranty of “Does the end justify the means?”  What were the “means” used?  That is why I am glad I read what Duranty wrote in this book published in 1935 despite the six or so pages missed by the scanner.  I am on a quest to find out what might have been purposely left off for the Web readers to know. Anyone can download this book by the above title, all 347 pages of it.

So, W.D. answers that perplexing question with the Soviet Goal being for the “betterment of humanity there can be no loftier aspiration.”  Yet earlier he wrote about the human cost.  My husband, ever the economist, claims the price of the Soviets replenishing not only the human capital wasted but also the livestock killed off took a staggering amount of time into many decades to return to what it used to be when it was just individual peasants in the vast land of the former Soviet republics.

WD wrote a poem in ee cummings style to writing a piece he didn’t believe in 1917 about the war, but he got good marks for it from his editors “I plead guilty to adding a little color on occasion.” [if that is not an admission to lying, as Malcolm Muggeridge claimed Duranty did, I don’t know what is]

p. 310 – American objection to communism, it is not only foreign but coercive and therefore repugnant to our love of personal independence

p. 310 Bridge from “rugged individualism” to “capitalist collectives” without involving coercive or violence or any of the sufferings which during past five years have attended the birth pangs of Soviet socialization. [these were not “birth pangs” as if a hopeful child was born but the death throes of civilization!!!]

p. 314 – W.D. asks the question “Why did Russian people endure such hardship without revolt?”

1) ruling forces had no choice Lenin’s famous speech of “Kto Kavo” (who beats whom?) according to him, no compromise was possible

2) poor peasants had more to give than those who were not as poor

3) propaganda – emotional “sturm and drang” of Great War of West

Sabotage trials – Kulak hate, Japan threat, rise of Hitler, machivation of foreign capitalists

Lenin solved puzzle – communist party + 100,000 tractors and modern farm machiner = rural socialism

Soviet War fought on two fronts – industrial and agrarian

Turning point of industrial victory came in the beginning 1932

Initial success in Moscow, Leningrad [used to be called St. Petersburg] and Kharkov [city in Ukraine]

Bob Lamont – son of Secy of Commerce in 1932, made a trip to stock raising  station, NE Caucaus, conditions not so bad, hearkens back to 1921 Famine or whitewash stories sort of modern Potemkin village.

Kalmikov – president of autonomous republic of Kabarda – heart of cattle country

p. 317 – Bob Lamont said when livestock dies wholesale “You can’t treat your pigs the way you treat your peasants. Pigs won’t stand for it, can’t coerce them with exile.”

WD had not been back in NY since 1926 much better conditions than Soviet press led to believe.

W.D. had admired Hoover because of his help in A.R.A. up to this point but then he did not agree with Hoover when he said that Russia was an “economic vacuum”

W.D. also didn’t like when Ogden Mills – Secy. Of Tres. told him that the US will never stand for diplomat relations with a government of atheists and unbelievers

July of 1932 W.D. was invited to Albany, NY by Gov. Roosevelt – W.D. found him broadminded – profound knowledge of Soviet affairs [that’s probably because he read whatever Duranty wrote in the New York Times]

p. 323 – Kaganovich – Political Tractor – Finish five year plan in four years

W.D. in April 1933 – flew through Ukraine on way to Constantinople – Solution to agrarian problem

WD asked about mortality rates in Ukraine when he stopped through

p. 324 – nobody knew – new people had come to Ukraine in place, so 9/10s were really new and didn’t know how many Ukrainians had really died during the starvation period of 1932-33

Roosevelt recognized USSR in 1933.

p. 325 one of sorrows of life of a conscientious reporter is that sensational stories are always the most interesting but the drab ones often the most true. [not sure what W.D. meant by that]

WD accompanied Litnivov to D.C. who claimed it would take a ½ hour to work things out with the two countries in talks, it took 10 days

18 month stagnation of being after agreement

July 1935 Litvinov and Am. Ambassador Wm. C. Bullitt

p. 328 in Britain – the British Fear God and human thinking while the U.S. – Americans Honor the President as People’s Choice

p. 329 – possession of wealth is regarded as a shame, the attempt to use wealth for personal gain or advantage is juridically a crime

What I don’t understand about Walter Duranty is that he criticized rugged individualism while he was trying to make his mark in the world by reporting what he thought on the “Soviet experiment.” This book titled “I Write as I Please” essentially would make him money or at least personal gain.  I’d be curious to know how much money he DID make and how he lived into his final years.  I understand that he died in the 1950s in Florida.  Any historians are welcome to help me out on this, I’m loathe to go to Wikipedia to find out what might be a slant on this man in his favor.

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book (Part II)

Walter Duranty was a good observer of the Russian people, I would term him a Russophile.  Maybe he sold his soul to be able to be a New York Times correspondent in Moscow at the time when so much was happening so quickly.  I have taken many notes off of the electronic pdf version of “I Write as I Please.”  What is interesting to me are the pages that were missed in the scanning process such as:  p. 48, 77, 230, 242, 333. There may have been others, I’m just saying that the person who scanned this whole 1935 edition didn’t want some things known about Duranty.  The following are my very rough notes from what I read relating to the Russian mentality from Duranty’s perspective:

p. 118 explanation of rushing the process of nationalism wanting to hasten the communist millennium

political anarchy replaced by order and strong central authority But: economic self-sufficiency had vanished

p. 125 – Russians are a romantic folk whose innate sense of drama is stronger than their regard for truth.

p. 126 Potemkin villages

p. 144 – They were Russians, you see, whose racial quality is to live intensely in the present and dismiss doubts or fears or horrid memories with the easy insouciance of children – Nichevo which means:  what of it or no matter

p. 146 – In 1921 – Red Army soldiers in uniform back from fighting Moslem rebels in Central Asia or from “liquidating” Makno’s anarchist movement in Ukraine

Ch. 14 – Red Star – Report the facts as I saw them but to avoid quoting statements of Soviet spokesmen or newspaper, “we do not want to risk the New York Times a vehicle for Bolshevik propaganda”

p. 166 Stalin 1933 said to Walter Duranty – “You have done a good job in your reporting of USSR although you are not a Marxist.”

Walter said of himself “…I’m a reporter, not a humanitarian, and if a reporter can’t see the wood for trees, he can’t describe the wood.”

p. 169 – Wm. Bolitho had taught me [WD] to think for myself or merely that the facts of the last 2 years spoke louder for the Bolsheviks than words create impression that I was tinged with pink myself.

The Wobblies or I.W.W. were not so long in the ideological theory stuff as the Russians

Russians “most would sooner talk than work, or even eat.”

“When you come to know more you will understand the superiority of Marxists in two respects of immediate practicality.  They know what they want and why the want it and are determined to sell it by fairness or foul.

Lenin speech in autumn 1921 – “Kto Kavo” “who beats whom?”

Sent it “mulnia” lightening – where news sent triple urgent

p. 194 Catherine the Great  said one good harvest in Russia atoned for ten years of bad politics

p. 196 W.D. gives Kulak definition

p. 197 “Do you really think America will ever go communist?” W.D. refused to be sidetracked by moral issues or by abstract questions

Chapter – A Prophet with Honor

p. 202 – spring of 1922 – chasm between West and Soviet thinking – Polish Catholic priests were given capital punishment

p. 203 – “Who were these foreigners anyway who dared to tell Russians how to conduct their own affairs?” He [the main priest] has abused Russian hospitality if it is a bigger crime and he is a foreigner

West thinks “anyone accused is innocent until proven guilty” but in Eastern countries and in Russia, “the accused is guilty otherwise he would not be at trial.”  Anglo-Saxon race fights savagely against pre-determined by a preliminary inquiry, otherwise it is injustice

After priest was killed one Russian who worked with foreigners said, “Life of one man had robbed the Soviet of the fruits of 2 years of patient diplomacy.”

Buchkevich execution did more to retard American recognition of USSR for 10 years

(to be continued)

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“I Write as I Please” 1935 book by Walter Duranty

Anyone who has followed me and my blog for any length of time starting in 2006 in Kyiv, Ukraine knows that I am NO FAN of Walter Duranty. As many of my readers might or might not know, he was a British man who wrote articles about Russia for the New York Times.  I downloaded off the Internet [must be public domain by now] the book Duranty had written that was published by Simon and Schuster in 1935 in New York titled “I Write as I Please.”  Dedicated to Duranty’s friend and mentor, Bill Ryall, who later was known as William Bolitho, it was an interesting read for me just looking at the chapter titles.

I need to look up and order the book written about Duranty titled “Stalin’s Apologist.” In one of the last chapters of his own book, where he wrote the way he wanted to, Duranty claimed he was not Stalin’s apologist. “I had no intention of being an apologist for the Stalin administration” [p. 278]  That may be true at the beginning of his journalist career in Moscow but after each progressive year he became more PINK!  The more recent book about Duranty should shed some more light as to what he was doing in the pocket of Joseph Stalin.  Thought the chapter titles were enlightening:

Ch. 1 – Baptism of Blood

Ch. 2 – News Not Fit to Print

Ch. 3 – Enter Litvinov

Ch. 4 – White Front!

Ch. 5 – Balts, Barons and Bolsheviks

Ch. 6 – “The Poor do Stink”

Ch. 7 – Exclusive

Ch. 8 – The Brave Man Dies But Once

Ch. 9 – From Bolitho to Lenin

Ch. 10 – “The Bad Years”

Ch. 11 – Volga Famine

Ch. 12 – From A.R.A. to N.E.P.

Ch. 13 – Love Among the Ruined

Ch. 14 – Red Star

Ch. 15 – Lenin and Stalin

Ch. 16 – The Founding Fathers

Ch. 17 – A Prophet with Honor

Ch. 18 – Lenin’s Funeral and Trotsky’s

Ch. 19 – A Cantor with Pegasus

Ch. 20 – I Write as I Please

Ch. 21 – Retreat from Moscow

Ch. 22 – War of the Titans

Ch. 23 – Collectives Spell Civilization

Ch. 24 – I Re-Write as I Please

Ch. 25 – Moscow Re-visited

Ch. 26 – Time Forward

More quotes from this book from the notes I took after I read through the downloaded version.  Who needs a Kindle? You may be wondering what this has to do with Kazakhstan. I’m glad you asked. I am trying to get to the bottom of this mystery of cover-up and what was REALLY happening in Russia, Ukraine AND Kazakhstan during these trying years of the 1920s and 1930s leading up to WWII.  Unfortunately, Duranty was a Russophile and there is not much he wrote about Ukraine or Kazakhstan.

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Three More Kazakh Teachers Write About Grandparents’ Past

The other day I met nine Kazakh teachers and asked them to choose between two questions and answer in only one half hour’s time.  I was happy to see the quality of their writing. I hope to take them a step further with working on different kinds of essays, portfolios, action research all the while using research databases and other academic material.  An exciting time for all of us as we launch into these educational waters that might get choppy if the Internet doesn’t work or if we can’t tap into the databases.  All these things take time and a sense of humor.  I look forward to getting to know more about these Kazakh teacher who have been entrusted to me.  As a student-centered teacher, I will learn much from these teacher-centered teachers turned student.

“Write about your grand grandparents or grandparents past, what did they do, what are/were their thoughts about the Soviet Union?”

Teacher #4 – “My grandparents were teachers, who devoted their whole life for teaching.  In fact, they lived during the Soviet Union and their thoughts about it had never changed, especially about the education system.

Well, in terms of their thoughts education was free for everybody and everyone could have an opportunity to get free and qualitative education.  In this way CIC (Soviet Union countries) developed their own curriculum, which was accessible for all countries mentioned above. Actually, my grandparents have another negative thoughts about educational system, particularly, equipments namely, CDs, IT-boards, computers which did not exist during the Soviet Union.

They compare the educational system of that period with nowadays, when all that equipment above has been facilitating teachers’ work.

In my opinion, I agree with them, notwithstanding, that I’m a teacher.  And educational system has grown up in Kazakhstan more and has become better than in the years of the Soviet Union and accordingly teaching techniques and methods, which are considered to be the main factors to contribute in education.” Word Count: 169

Teacher #5 – I would like to write about my grandparents.  Telling the truth, I don’t really remember them because my grandfather had died before my birth and my grandmother died when I was 5 years old.  So I can say that I know my grandmother better than my grandfather, but I heard a lot about him.

My mom told me that my grandfather, his name was Joldybek, participated in World War II and even he was honored as one of the heroes of that war.

Now it is hard for me to say if I am proud or not of my grandfather because even if he hadn’t died during the war, his life had been changed a lot after he came back from the war.  He started drinking alcohol a lot and he didn’t know what to do and even he didn’t take proper care of his children, there were eight of them.

I think the reason it happened so that the war stole his life, his aim, his dreams and his thoughts, as he was always thinking of the war.  And I can say that he can be related to the lost generation.  My grandmother had to work hard to supply the children with food and clothes.

I am not really sure what their thoughts were about Soviet Union. To my mind they didn’t think of it anything, as it was the world where they had to live and accept it the way it is.  It’s laws, its rules and its leader.

Being a pupil of the 2nd grade, I remember when the Soviet Union was knocked down.  My mother and other people surrounding me were lost.  They said, “How will we live now, what should we do?” And I am sure if my grandparents are alive at that time, they would have had the same reaction to it.” Word Count: 308

 Teacher #6 – “My grandparents lived during the Soviet Union time.  They thought it was a good time because they lived in a peace time.  My grandfather was a veteran of the WWII.  He participated in a war, he lost a lot of his friends.  He valued life which was after war.  He was a communist, he appreciated the Soviet Union leaders like Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev.  My grandparents had 10 children.  My grandmother was a housewife.  They had a very happy life, they respected each other.  Their grandchildren made them happy too.  I remember how my grandparents gave me their suggestions, supported me, waited for me…and were very happy when I visited them.  I think their life was short but very bright.  I am proud of them.  They had 19 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t see their four more great grandchildren.  My grandfather was the head of a milk factory.  He liked his job.  Every time he taught me to be honest with people, respect them and not to be afraid to start to do something.” Word Count: 176

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Astana Billboards of Vets from “Great Patriotic War”

Yesterday’s bike ride along the highway to Astana’s airport yielded many photos of true heroes. Bold and honorable men and women who loved their Motherland enough to fight for their freedom against the Nazi Germans. That is, if you believe the Soviet version that the freedom they gained from the Bolsheviks (means “majority” in Russian which Lenin’s cohort wasn’t really a majority against comrade Kerensky who originally overthrew the Russian czar) was TRUE freedom.  Confused yet?

Let me explain, before the 1917 revolution there were many Kazakh nomads on the steppes who moved their sheep and cattle around and had strong connections with their property and their families that went back many thousands of years. Tradition, tradition!!! My husband (an ex-Sovietologist)  is currently studying about agriculture in Kazakhstan, something he did back in 1992-1995 when he first came to the Almaty area.  My sad and despairing point is that many of these Kazakhs or Kazakhstanis were forced to fight in a war after their nomadic lifestyle had been decimated by the collectivization policies from Moscow. Those who fought in what we as westerners know as World War II was necessarily dubbed “Great Patriotic War” by Leader Stalin (Ironman) as if to rally the troops around the concept of patriotism and love of the Motherland.  If these veterans in Kazakhstan are still living, they probably have many sad stories to tell even before they witnessed the bloodshed of the war on USSR soil.  That was sad enough, the reason I blog is to highlight the neglected facts from a Kazakh perspective that seemingly are covered over by history books written in the Soviet Union’s favor.

I draw my readers’ attention to the misnomer of the name of the war while at the same time I do not wish to negate the tragedy of those who bravely fought in it and saw many of their own die on the battlefield.  They are all heroes and many of those lived on after the war are much loved by their families.  I know, I have all my Kazakh students write about their grandparents and I get story after story about how these vets are greatly admired.  I will feature their photos the next several days to honor these vets as well.

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“The Whisperers” (Part II)

Here’s a continuation of yesterday’s blog about Orlando Figes’ book titled “The Whisperers.”  I love some of his quotes because whatever he uncovered from his research about Russian families is even more true about Kazakh families.

p. 1 “In these circles, where every Bolshevik was expected to subordinate his personal interests to the common cause, it was considered ‘philistine’ to think about one’s personal life at a time when the Party was engaged in the decisive struggle for the liberation of humanity.”

p. 3-4 “In their utopian vision the revolutionary activist was the prototype of a new kind of human being – a ‘collective personality’ living only for the common good – who would populate the future Communist society.”

p. 4 “According to the Bolsheviks, the idea of ‘private life’ as separate from the realm of politics was nonsensical, for politics affected everything; there was nothing in a person’s so-call ‘private life’ that was not political. The personal sphere should thus be subject to public supervision and control.”

p. 8 “As the Bolsheviks saw it, the family was the biggest obstacle to the socialization of children.  ‘By loving a child, the family turns him into a egotistical being, encouraging him to see himself as the centre of the universe.’ Wrote the Soviet educational thinker Zlata Lilina.

p. 14-15 The Bolshevik idealists of the 1920s made a cult of this Spartan way of life.  They inherited a strong element of asceticism from the revolutionary underground, the source of their values and their principles in the early years of the Soviet regime.  The rejection of material possessions was central to the culture and ideology of the Russian socialist intelligentsia…in the Bolshevik aesthetic it was philistine to lavish attention on the decoration of one’s home.”

p. 20 “…to inculcate in them the public values of a Communist society. ‘The young person should be taught to think in terms of “we” and all private interests should be left behind.” Anatoly Lunacharsky, the Commissar for Education, 1918

Political indoctrination was geared towards producing activists.  The propaganda image of the ideal child was a precocious political orator mouthing agitprop.

p. 22 “A pioneer of Soviet pedagogical theories and a close associate of Krupskaia in her educational work…her theories were derived largely from the ideas of Pyotr Lesgaft.

p. 24 schoolfriend’s comradeship – “we had no need for calculated strategies or conspiracies, we lived according to an unwritten code: the only thing that mattered was loyalty to our comrades.

p. 25 oath learned by heart “I, a Young Pioneer of the Soviet Union, before my comrades do solemnly swear to be true to the precepts of Lenin, to stand firmly for the cause of our Communist Party and for the cause of Communism.”

p. 27 “According to the psychologist and educational theorist A.B. Zalkind, the Party’s leading spokesman on the social conditioning of the personality, the aim of the Pioneer movement was to train ‘revolutionary-Communist fighters fully freed from the class poisons of bourgeois ideology.”

Subbotniki = voluntary work which was really Saturday labor campaigns, not just days but weeks were set aside when the population would be called upon to work without pay.

p. 29 “Members of the Komsomol were supposed to put their loyalty to the Revolution above their loyalty to the family…it provided volunteers for Party work as well as spies and informers ready to denounce corruption and abuse….members were charged with exposing ‘class enemies’ among parents and teachers and as if in training for the job, took part in mock trials of ‘counter-revolutionaries’ in schools and colleges.

p. 30 ‘abolish individualism’ in moral terms too, they were absolutists, struggling to break free of the old conventions…Those who showed off or complained were called rotten intellectuals. “Rotten intellectuals’ was one of the most insulting labels.  Only “self-seeker” was worse.”

p. 32 However, the children of Party members had a well-developed sense of entitlement.

p. 33 “Whatever the case, Communist morality left no room for the Western notion of the conscience as a private dialogue with the inner self.  The Russian word for “conscience” in this sense (sovest) almost disappeared from official use after 1917.  It was replaced by the word soznatel’nost’ which carries the idea of consciousness or the capacity to reach a higher moral judgement and understanding of the world.  In Bolshevik discourse soznatel’nost’ signified the attainment of a higher moral-revolutionary logic, that is, Marxist-Leninist ideology.

p. 37 “Everything in the Party member’s private life was social and political; everything he did had a direct impact on the Party’s interests…Yet in reality this mutual surveillance did just the opposite: it encouraged people to present themselves as conforming to Soviet ideals whilst concealing their true selves in a secret private sphere.  Such dissimulation would become widespread in the Soviet system, which demanded the display of loyalty and punished the expression of dissent.  During the terror of the 1930s, when secrecy and deception became necessary survival strategies for almost everyone in the Soviet Union, a whole new type of personality and society arose. But this double-life was already a reality for large sections of the population in the 1920s

p. 41 “For the older generation the situation posed a moral dilemma; on the one hand, they wanted to pass down family traditions and beliefs to their children; on the other, they had to bring them up as Soviet citizens.”

In the words of the poet Vladimir Kornilov “it seemed that in our years there were no mothers, There were only grandmothers.

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