Posts Tagged ‘Russia’


December 30, 2014


The Russians Get There First

Leafing through this month’s Commentary magazine, I came across James Kirchick’s review of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev, a television producer who was attendant to much of the political doings in Russia during the first ten years of this century.  Apparently the thrust of this book is to chart the accomplishments of Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s political general.

Kirchick writes: “He is the “political technologist” responsible for the concept of “sovereign” or “managed” democracy – a post-modern apparatus of fake parties, fake parliaments, and fake dissidents.”  … “The man’s “genius,” Pomerantsev writes, is to “use the language of rights and representation to validate tyranny.”  …”Pomerantsev writes, “The Kremlin’s idea is to own all forms of political discourse, to not let any independent movements develop outside of its walls.”  The state throws support to transgressive artists while simultaneously funding the Orthodox Church, whose leaders protest those very artists’ exhibitions.”  …”The Russia Pomerantsev paints is a morally corrupt bizarro world that actively discourages integrity of any kind.”

Photo from Google Images

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

June 16, 2011

Rita in the Forest


“After work I used to drive to the mountains past North Bend. I had a favorite spot there. That was before they made a rule that you can’t go there.
There was a spot in the mountains that I went to every day it was clear. I sat there and looked at the sky. 
I made friends with a couple of cougars that lived there. After a while they let me know they were there and that they wouldn’t hurt me. So I would come there and say Hi to the cougars and look at the sky. The couple of cougars sat on a ledge about 10-20 feet up. The first time I saw them I got very scared, but then I kept coming back, I don’t know why, and we reached an understanding: the cougars were my friends, it was like back in time when I was a kid. I feel like I am still a kid.”


"Some time later I was resting in the woods. I looked up and saw a man, he was very pale with very dark hair, he just appeared among the trees."

“I would walk down a path. I’d come to a canyon and follow the side. Deep down there is a creek meandering. I am walking along a very narrow path. There are huge trees and my little path is so narrow. The path goes into the woods. I’m getting scared because it’s getting dark. Suddenly there is a horse riding down the path. The rider stops and says, “Get on.”
The rider reaches out to me, I grab his hand and he pulls me on the horse. 
It gets darker. I hold on. The horse gallops. We get to a cabin in the woods, we get off the horse. The rider tells me to go inside. 
The cabin is very cozy. I sit down and listen to the conversation.
I guess I am kind of shallow, because I can’t follow the conversation.
The man that brought me comes in.
I am trying to remember, trying to understand.
I am very sleepy, but I want to understand what happened.
I am sitting on a bear rug, I am trying to understand where I was.
This is so strange. I know exactly what happened, but anytime I’m trying to get any kind of a location, I lose my memory.”

Photo by Carl Nelson of Professional Model

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

June 15, 2011

As a Child, Rita Loved to Wander Alone

The Woods of Russia

When I was a kid in Russia my mom believed I needed to spend time in the country. I did, I did. My mom rented a room for me and my grandma in Zelenogorsk, north of St. Petersburg, for the summer. She came down on weekends.

There were woods, mountains and swamps, and the best part – I was allowed to go alone in the woods! Now, that must seem unbelievable to people like us in the present. It even seemed unbelievable to me when I got back to the city in the fall. I would go in the woods in the morning and came back in the evening. It was like a full-time job. Of course, there were no cell phones then, no way of knowing if something happened.

Everyone trusted me more with being in the woods alone than with someone. Once my grandma’s friend invited us to go hiking with her, then she got us lost in the swamp. We ended up in the middle of a huge swamp, we had to cross this creek about 6′ wide, that looked very shallow with a nice sandy bottom, and my grandma’s friend said, “We can walk right across.” But I shook my head and stuck my walking stick into the creek, and the stick was sucked out of my hand like by a powerful vacuum cleaner. I said, “If we have to get across, that would be the way,” and I pointed to a skinny tree crossing the creek, which was obviously a quicksand. My grandma and her friend felt real stupid. We crossed the creek on the tree I suggested, and from then on no one ever doubted my abilities to walk in the woods alone.

One weekend when my mom came over we went hiking. It was hot, so after a while we stopped to rest, I wanted to go explore while my grandma rested. My mom came with. We walked just a little bit into the woods and stopped at this huge funnel. There was a lake at the bottom and moss and young fir trees (christmas trees) surrounding the funnel. We were standing at the top looking down. My mom suddenly felt very scared and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
I said, “Why? It is so pretty.”
My mom said, “Don’t move. Turn around.”
I looked at her incredulously, but did as she asked.

Mom left back to the city the next day and I went back to that place in the woods. I knew exactly where it was, I walked up, down, sideways, but the lake didn’t exist. Not even a dent in the ground.

Next weekend when my mom came over I told her, “That lake, it disappeared.”
I could hardly believe what my mom said, she said, “Good.”

I thought about it later, and I saw many strange things in those woods. I walked for 20 miles through the woods and came out at another train station, and I haven’t found that lake again. I figured it out – it was a doorway to a parallel dimension. My mom didn’t want me to go there because she knew what it was. If I went there, I couldn’t come back. But something lingered, something wanted me there.

Some time later I was resting in the woods. I looked up and saw a man, he was very pale with very dark hair, he just appeared among the trees. I knew that humans were dangerous, so I jumped up and ran. I ran very fast, I didn’t stop until I was among houses and civilization.

I would run away from a person, because a guy in the woods means trouble, just like anywhere. So I couldn’t talk to a humanoid in the woods. The contact I made was not human. I was picking berries around a large stump and suddenly I heard something. I stood up and stared into the face of the biggest viper. (Viper is like a rattle snake, but doesn’t rattle, and it’s black with light diamonds on the back, but bigger and more poisonous). I stood up and was only about 6 inches away from viper’s face. First I was enthralled by the beauty of the snake. Now, this is the weirdest thing ever: I see this big fat snake curled up on a stump, I know it is stupid to move, so I just stand there. This is where it gets really weird: the snake starts talking to me. Telepathically. Somehow I understand, so I talk to it. Snake asks me, “Who are you?”
I reply, “I am a child. I go to school.”
Snake says, “I know what child is. What is School?”
I try to explain, “We have 40 kids in a class. We do math and spelling and…”
The snake is asking lots of questions, and I keep babbling on, explaining.
Then the snake says, “Make one step to the left, I don’t want to hurt you.”
I make a step to the left.
The huge snake unravels itself, jumps and plops on the ground where I was standing. It is truly huge, at least 6 feet long.
I run back to my mom and tell her what happened. Mom and the grandma both seem weird for a minute, like they don’t understand anything. I shake my head and keep walking.

It was understood that I must go in the woods and everyone must leave me alone. I loved that freedom. No one bothered me ever again.” – Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 19, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Rita grew up in Russia.  She has a very ‘unvarnished’ perception of the world.  And I thought it would be interesting to hear a little bit about her background.  And, it is!  Here is the first of a few bits Rita has sent me:

Life as I Know It

“What I’d like to know is how many people out there can’t remember their early childhood, or is there something wrong with my brain?
Because out of first 6 years of my life I only remember 4 snapshots:
A huge pink piglet chasing me every time he sees me, and I’m running away from him, screaming, scared to death. (I was avenged – I was told the piglet was eaten the following winter. I was glad at first, but later felt a bit sorry for him.)
 I’m sitting on the swing talking to a deaf and mute little girl, my mom stops by and asks me how I can be talking to her, and I’m surprised to learn of her condition.
My mom throws away my toy mouse because it has a big hole, but I still love that mouse more than anything in the world and nothing can replace it.
Being in the hospital with the pneumonia and screaming bloody murder every time a nurse has to give me a shot or give me a bath.
That’s all, just those 4 things and nothing else, absolutely nothing, as if I didn’t exist.
Is that weird or is it just me?
As I got older, I remembered a little more. Not much more, though. The first 6 years of school I only remember day one of the first grade and then a bit from this or that year, but no idea which year – only the event itself, and sometimes a name of some person to go with the event. Actually, no names at all for the first few years of school, no names come to mind until maybe 5th grade. Except our dog Tim, and my mom’s second husband, Aleksei Nikolaevich – they were obtained by my mom when I was in 1st grade. I liked them both very much, Tim a little bit more. When they got divorced, both left together, the man and the dog, and my mom wouldn’t let me get another dog until she got her 3rd husband. I wonder why buying dogs was always connected to her getting married?

Funny… Somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade I remember the name of the girl I wanted to be friends with: a popular blond girl Marina Mironchikova, but don’t remember the name of the girl I was friends with. Well, not really friends – I mean, she wanted to be friends with me, and back then you had to have a friend, if you didn’t, you were considered weird. So I basically allowed that girl to think she was my friend, just during school, but avoided her after school. I also remember Marina’s best friend’s name – Natasha Nikolayeva. Natasha jealously guarded her Marina, and during school wouldn’t let me near her. So Marina ignored me while at school, but outside of school, when Natasha wasn’t around, she cheated on her friend and played with me in secret from time to time. Marina liked me too, because we both were artistic, but she explained that, naturally, because she was friends with Natasha much before we met, she had to be faithful to Natasha and couldn’t be my best friend, and because Natasha was very possessive of her, we had to act distant during school. The friendships among girls were sort of mimicking marriages – all that loyalty and jealousy and cheating…
I kept watching Marina all day with admiration and thinking how unfair life was, because we were so much more alike than her and Natasha. More out of affection than animosity we kept fiercely competing at singing and drawing, and she kept besting me at singing, but I did at drawing. She hated me being better at drawing, because she wanted to be best at everything, and that bit of resentment peculiarly accounted for her spending a bit more time with me than she would otherwise. Natasha hated it all, because she wasn’t really good at anything, except she always did her homework and had decent grades. One time when I drew a picture for Marina to give her as a surprise present and put it in Marina’s desk, Natasha found it first, crumpled it up and threw it away, without telling Marina about it. I was very hurt, because I thought Marina threw away my drawing.” – Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

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