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Articles tagged "Ussr"

On the Use and Abuse of Letherburg for Life

You will have had no difficulty recognizing the German crib tacked onto Daniil Kharms's neologism in the title of my remarks. It is Nietzsche's essay "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life," written in 1874 and published in the collection Untimely Meditations. In the essay, Nietzsche warns of the dangers that arise when a self-sufficient sense of history turns excessive. This historical sense tends to degenerate into an uncritical, antiquarian attitude, which undermines...

Pears from Gudauty

We could hear the dry coughing of our landlord, Khuta Kursua, through the partition wall, and Mother's eyes were wide with fear. I was ten, my own lesions had barely healed, and now we were neighbors of tuberculosis again. Our landlord was a handsome, thin man, all smiles with his paying guests but ferocious with his wife, although, actually, I was not too interested in the people around me. I had seen the sea for the first time that year and spent the rest of the month savoring the...

The Man Who Couldn’t Die

It had been Marina's idea. Keep Alexei Afanasievich from finding out about the changes in the outside world. Keep him in the same sunlit but frozen time when the unexpected stroke had cut him down. "Mama, his heart!" Marina had pleaded, having grasped instantly that, no matter how burdensome this recumbent body might be, it consumed much less than it yielded. At the very first, clear-eyed Marina may have been moved by more than this primitive practicality. There had been a period...

Avatud!

On April 27th the Estonian government took down a statue of a Russian soldier in a small park next to the national library in the capital city of Tallinn. Local Russians, nearly a third of the 1.5 million population, had taken to gathering at the monument to hold rallies calling for a return to the good old Soviet days. Since the Soviet Union gave up their occupation of Estonia in 1991, many Russians chose to stay in the newly free country, since it had far more opportunities than their...

I Am Spartan

To you, my friend Spartan, Sofia said to Sandra, reminding her of snowbound icy Moscow where she was trained as a StalinistFidelistaSpartan in long lines at thirty below zero with ever-enraged watchmen and the smell of booze but with professors who were scholarly and stifflyaffectionate, with nice fat wives who only ever smiled after knowing you for a long time because they don't trust anyone, and Sandra had come from Cuba so trusting and Spartan to begin with, having spent two years...

You’ve Never Seen Red Like This Before

I At ten o'clock on a fine sunny morning I went out for a stroll and, as luck would have it, ran into Marina in front of the big department stores in the city center. My friend was wearing a magnificent gray dress I'd bought for her from a band of gypsy women during a trip to Tashkent. It was probably the finest item in her wardrobe and suited her marvelously. I would never have dreamed that it actually was made in Tashkent. But I was the one to discover the real label beneath a...
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