Posts tagged Medvedev

Astana All A-Buzz After the Summit

One of my regular taxi drivers this morning was in earnest to talk to me about the GREAT summit which finished yesterday in Astana. Over fifty-five countries were represented with some of their top leaders.   EVERYONE in Astana is still talking about it and even with my limited Russian listening comprehension and the driver’s German-Russian-English-Kazakh combinations of speech, Yaheya got some of his points across.  As we drove the short distance from my flat (worth 500 tenge to him) this morning to the university, we saw policemen in their blue camo uniforms still standing at every bus stop and police cars everywhere.  I can only imagine that it was even more heavily secure during the two days of the summit.  I wouldn’t know, I was cooped up for those days in my flat. Yaheya explained there were police who were brought in from neighboring cities. We were ALL made to feel secure, that’s for sure.  Those poor policemen standing outside for hours on end would have been cold too because it was a very harsh, strong wind from the west.  How did they cope those two LONG days during the summit?

How did the people who attended the LONG summit, cope? My loquacious driver wanted to talk about Hillary Clinton. Yes, I’m sure she made quite a hit and now she is in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Brave woman. The name Monica came up and so I knew where our conversation was heading. I insisted I didn’t understand what he was saying. I actually feel sorry for Hillary, she has had the equivalent of wikileaks 100 times over throughout her very public life, so she must have a very thick skin by now. Enough about Hillary, or is it?

Had fun in my Friday class of English for some of the university librarians who need to brush up on their speaking skills.  On one of the handouts I used today with a few of my remedial learners, the questions were such 1) what is your name? 2) How old are you? 3) Where do you live? 4) Do you have a car? 5) What languages do you speak? 6) Do you smoke? 7) What music do you like 8 ) What TV programmes do you like? 9) What food do you like? 10) What newspaper do you read? 11) What sports do you play?  With four women, some older and others younger, I was able to give them different identities based on the latest Summit.  The first was to answer all 11 questions as if she were Hillary, next we had Sarkozy represented, then Medvedev and finally Yanokovich from Ukraine.  We were laughing at the creativeness of the answers, thinking how absurd some of the questions were posed to these very important people.  When asked about which cars they drove, the one person answered, Zaparocha, Lada and Niva.  When asked about food, the person in French character said escargot and then the Russian word for frogs.  What we really laughed about was one of the characters when asked about what newspaper he read – “nothing.”  Oy, one of these politicians is known to my adult learner students as a non-reader.  Anathema to librarians!!!

If you really want to know more about why the banners, displays and billboards all over Astana, go to the following website.  http://www.osce.org/ Alexandre Keltchewsky, the Ambassador of this organization in Kazakhstan came and talked to our international women’s group in October.  I have my notes about what he talked about somewhere, I may retrieve them and blog about it tomorrow. To sum up, this was the seventh such Summit in this organization’s history. Previous summits were held 1975 in Helsinki, 1990 in Paris, 1992 in Helsinki, 1994 in Budapest, 1996 in Lisbon and 1999 in Istanbul.

Then for my last class of the day today, I had my PDP students look at the results of my survey in ppt format on Web Survey Master.  I got 26 responses so far from my expat friends in Astana and Almaty about “expat’s impressions of Kazakhstan.” Some of the answers were hilarious, others candid and sincere.  One of my students said this wasn’t PDP class anymore but “laughing class.”  We had a good time talking about the results while I was trying to stress true and accurate statistics.  We ended on an even higher note with watching Sir Ken Robinson giving a talk on Ted.com about “Education Kills Creativity.”  Quite a funny speech with very good examples.  We clapped at the end just like the audience did.  So ended our day, a post-summit kind of day with more excitement to come next week…stay tuned!!!

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Solzhenitsyn’s Writings (Part III)

The following is the third of a four part series of notes I took on Solzhenitsyn while at Hoover Institute June of 2005.  I looked through the archived files of Alvin Kapusta to find that he had followed this famous Russian Solzhenitsyn very closely.  Even though Kapusta was a Ukrainian diaspora from North Dakota originally, he must have seen how Solzhenitsyn’s cause he championed would help that of the forgotten Ukrainians during the 1930s.  As I recall, Kapusta had a State Department position in Washington, D.C. so I’m sure he may have had an opportunity to meet with Solzhenitsyn at some point during his career.  The following are mostly titles and/or quotes taken from different articles from newspapers covering Solzhenitsyn’s recent arrival to the U.S. in the 1970s. 

1) The Listener April 29, 1976 “Lenin’s false promises—Solzhenitsyn on his new book” interview with Robert Robinson with A.I. Solzhenitsyn

 

2) Los Angeles Times Sun. April 25, 1976 “Lenin in Zurich”-Demythifying Supermarx” by Robert Kirsch – Lenin in Zurich

 

Book reviews Times Literary supplement London, April 1976 “A single-minded man” by Michael Scammell

Last paragraph – Nevertheless Lenin in Zurich is not, in the last analysis, history, nor is it biography.  For not the least of Solzhenitsyn’s audacities is the proud claim he is making for the art of fiction. History, he seems to be saying, is not up to this job, has made a hash of the past.  Biography likewise.  Now it is time for the artist to take a hand.  Impertinence? Certainly. And again one is reminded of Tolstoy, particularly, the Tolstoy of War and Peace.

 

3) The Japan Times Monday, April 19, 1976 “Solzhenitsyn on the Attack” by Max Lerner

 

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is again waging a one-man campaign, as he did inside the Soviet Union.  This time it is a campaign to awaken the West—the western European peoples and America as well—to the dangers of its own weakness in the face of Soviet expansionism

 

“Solzhenitsyn Working in California” by John Berthelsen, May 6, 1976

The Hoover center’s most prized collection on the revolution is the Okhrana archives, the files of the czarist secret police. “Not even the Soviets themselves have these documents” they were received during the 1920s from the last czarist ambassador to France, who moved to Switzerland after the fall of the imperial Russia.  Their existence was concealed from the world until the death of the ambassador, who feared that the Bolsheviks would kill him when they learned of them.  Contained in the files, are czarist secret police dossiers on the full range of Russian revolutionaries, including Lenin and Stalin.

Solzhenitsyn was working on a volume of his book on the year 1917

 

4) April 4, 1976 Washington Post “Solzhenitsyn Warning”

Last summer Alexandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s speech to an AFL-CIO banquet became Washington’s political event of the year.  In a fiery, largely extemporaneous address, the exiled Russian writer sounded a passionate warning: “freedom, he said, was in retreat all over the world; détente was turning out to be a policy of surrender.; the West must make a firm stand against communist totalitarianism.

 

Another review of A.I.Solzhenitsyn’s book Lenin in Zurich by Bertram D. Wolfe, professor of Russian History emeritus in University of California Davis and presently senior researcher at Hoover Institution.  Author of  An Ideology in Power also writing a book “A Life in Two Centuries

 

5) The following are titles of various newspaper articles and t.v. interviews with Solzhenitsyn:

Book reviews Modern age, Chicago, Summer 1976 “The Anatomy of Perdition” by J.M. Lalley

The Gulag Archipelago: an experiment in literary investigation vol. 2

 

Solzhenitsyn In Zurich, an interview “Encounter” April 1976

Lenin in Zurich is a sequel to August 1914

 

Here is not the Vladimir Ilyich of the “little Lenin library” and the Soviet hagiographers, or even the two dimensional portraits of western historical biographies.

 

Radio tv Reports In. 4435 Wis. Ave. NW, Wash. D.C. 20016

Program Firing Line

March 27, 1976

Full text transcribed of interview with Malcolm Muggeridge and Mr. Levine and Solzhenitsyn was interviewed by Buckley, Conducted by Michael Charlton of the BBC staff

 

The Washington Post, Sat. March 27, 1976 “The ‘Imminent’ Fall of the West” by Richard M. Weintraub

Muggeridge went so far as to call Solzhenitsyn, the “greatest man alive today”

 

La Quinzaine Litteraraire, Paris, March 16, 1976

The Solzhenitsyn Line by Roger Dadoun translated from French into English

 

Medvedev vs. Solzhenitsyn. March 13, 1976

 

Historian’s criticism points up differences among dissidents by Peter Osnos, Washington Post Foreign service

Medvedev denounces Solzhenitsyn and is lighter on Andreis Sakharov, the Nobel prize winning dissident physicist

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