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Messages - Silja

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16
Imperial Russian History / Re: The Russian Soul
« on: August 24, 2010, 05:03:18 PM »

 Orthdoxy is not interested in creating Rawlsville but in creating a Christian society. The ideal for Orthodoxy is theosis -- not a "this worldly" ideal of social justice and the like. I would argue that one can't properly understand the Slavophiles' critique of the West or the writings of Dostoyevsky and Pobedonostsev without undestanding why they prefer monarchy to democracy. Since monarchy ideally represents the Law of God and the Law of God provides for the salvation of Man, social inequalities are simply not as relevant.

So what are your thoughts on this subject?

I do think that the passive nature of the Russian "soul" has a lot to do with hundreds of years of Russian Orthodox culture. As Orthodoxy doesn't strive to abolish social injustice but to “teach” people that the essence of life is to strive to become a better Christian,  and to create the "Christian Society", the entire culture is marked by this orientation towards self-improvement.

As Dostoyevsky writes in his Writer's Diary: "If there were brothers, there would be brotherhood. But if there are no brothers, you cannot obtain brotherhood by whatever 'institution'. "

This is diametrically opposed to Western thinking.

So according to Dostoyevsky the Russian social ideal has ist basis in Christ and the idea of personal perfection.

But if your aim is personal perfection (in the religious/ethical sense) this will hardly make you stand up against outward social injustices or general shortcomings or even make you perceive those shortcomings as the central problem. This doesn’t mean those injustices are not perceived or not regretted, but as long as the person is conscious of the fact that as a Christian he retains his dignity he will never inwardly feel as a slave even if he may be or appear as one outwardly. Men are equal as Christians before God, so the social circumstances are not so important. Besides, if “brotherhood” cannot be achieved by changing social conditions but only by personal change, what use is there in striving for the abolition of social injustices?

THIS is the ideal, not the reality, but IMO the ideal or the propagation of this ideal, has left its mark on Russian culture in general.

17
Forum Announcements / Re: German and French speakers?
« on: August 24, 2010, 02:54:33 PM »
Kammerjunker war ein Hofrang unter Kammerherr (der normalerweise eine erwachsene oder ältere Person war), aber über Kammerpage (der meistens eine ganz junge Person war). Deshalb Junker - junger Herr. Puschkin war Kammerjunker!

Ah so.  Danke. Klingt aber komisch. ::)

18
Forum Announcements / Re: German and French speakers?
« on: August 23, 2010, 01:53:49 PM »
Wollt ihr auch statt Newbies/Neulinge und Grafen lieber Kammerjunker und Geheimräte sein?

Geheimrat? Nein, ich bin lieber Graf :) :). Was ist eigentlich ein Kammerjunker? Ich kenne nur Kammerherren oder Junker - haha.

19
Imperial Russian History / Re: Stalin's Legacy
« on: August 17, 2010, 05:13:56 PM »
It seems that even now, almost exactly two years after the Russian invasion of Georgia, major tensions remain in the relations between the two countries. One expression of this, Kirchick argues, is the continuing debate about the legacy of Stalin. While Russia "has been busy rehabilitating Stalin" in recent years, he says,


Not surprisingly, also in the new Ukraine of Viktor Yanukovich, where the clocks are going backwards again, Stalin is now beginning to be rehabilitated. Only recently a new monument to him has been erected in the city of Zaporozhye.

http://www.zeenews.com/news624414.html

20
Having Fun! / Re: Famous Habsburgs in movies/plays/cartoons
« on: August 16, 2010, 03:13:14 PM »
GermanTV yesterday showed the rather good recent Austrian film about the romance between Archduke Johann and the postmaster's daughter Anna Plochl.

http://shop.orf.at/1/index.tmpl?shop=orf&SEITE=artikel-detail&ARTIKEL=4953&startat=1&page=1&zeigen=t&lang=EN

It's definitely well worth seeing.

21

plus a documentation I've seen a few months ago in german TV.

Which channel was it on? I always check for respective programmes on my favourite subjects, but there was no programme I came across in the last few months. Would be annoying to know to have missed it.

22
The Russian Revolution / Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« on: August 09, 2010, 02:51:55 PM »
Very valid points, Silja.
 Reactionary , as I use it, means extremely conservative and nationalistic. In Hitler's case.  it was his view on Germany's defeat and humiliation  from  WW1. He saw Communism as a threat and used them as a target. As we all know, he was  part of that revolutionary change. BTW, the term  goes back to the French Revolution  I think.
 Yes, he used any means he could to get to his ends.  Including National Socialism. He did not invent that party, he used it.

Hm, yes, that's the common definition, extremely conservative and nationalistic. But actually I wouldn't consider him as such. Definitely not conservative. The nationalsocialists saw themselves as a revolutionary movement, and their party programme would express this. The idea of the "national community" bears more resemblance to communism than to conservatism. And I think it is quite characteristic that Hitler regretted he wasn't quite the "revolutionary" Stalin was (see Elisabeth's earlier comment).

The nationalsocialists, or most of them, were certainly nationalistic, but in fact Hitler himself cared nothing for Germany. It's one of the great myths of history that he was a great nationalist, and he made the Germans, his enemies and even his own adherents and fellow party members believe he was.  Hitler believed in the master race embodied by the SS-type of man. But whether these SS "supermen" were Germans or other "arian" people he wouldn't have cared.  

23
The Russian Revolution / Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« on: August 08, 2010, 01:46:24 PM »
I disagree, TimM, Hitler & Stalin were definitely not  "cut from the same  mold" Stalin was a committed revolutionary, Hitler an extreme reactionary.  

Could you please define what you mean by "reactionary"  with regard to Hitler? I wouldn't necessarily call Hitler "reactionary". He at least would never have perceived himself as such, nor would his adherents. Nationalsocialism has actually always been a left wing movement and only our and the post war generation (and probably contemporary communists) created the right vs. left categories with regard to the NS and communist regimes. Hitler and the nazis actually hated and despised the presumably "reactionary" sections of society: the aristocracy, the respective parts of the upper middle classes, parts of the church and also the military (the latter of which he was nevertheless afraid in a way). They used them all of course and ingratiated themselves with them, but they never had much in common with them.

24
The Russian Revolution / Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« on: August 08, 2010, 01:20:49 PM »
Quote
Stalin is another matter altogether. Not a few Russians [mainly older, from the WW2  generation]  see him as the saviour of Russia

Yeah, but this generation is dying off. 

And a new one is growing up! In fact Stalin is  being increasingly more respected again among young Russians as a "great man" who had to be cruel to defeat the nazis and to make Russia great. These attitudes owe a lot to the new Russian history books which have become very popular with some teachers. The historian responsible for the book said the aim of the textbook was to make pupils love their country. So a lot of Russian students will be internalising again that the end justifies the means.

As a matter of fact Putin has recently initiated an anti-Stalin campaign. This is indicated by the new policy of the Russian government that excerpts from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago will now be mandatory reading for all high school students. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and "Matryona's Home" are also commonly taught in Russian secondary schools these days.

I sometimes wonder if Putin is not an incredibly canny politician, who realized very early on that an anti-Stalin program in Russia would be premature at the turn of the century, when he first came to power, given the Russian taste for nostalgia (not only for Stalin, by the way, but also for Alexander III and Nicholas I!). But such a program has certainly started now. And it's my impression that it's really only people over the age of fifty who hold Stalin in any high regard - i.e., a generation rapidly dying off, given Russians' short life expectancy.

Putin and Medvedev even publicly declared Stalin to have been a criminal. Yet they deliberately helped issue these text books and they have no intention of withdrawing them again. They obviously want to have it both ways. And it is rather tactical. A Russian population which has learnt to appreciate or at least grudgingly accept any policy that will “make Russia great” will also continue to support the policies of the current administration even if these may not actually be very democratic.

No, indeed lots of young Russians have a rather positive opinion of Stalin again. At least this comes across from  various interviews and programmes on current Russia being shown on German TV.
 
 
 

25
The Russian Revolution / Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« on: August 07, 2010, 12:42:20 PM »
Quote
Stalin is another matter altogether. Not a few Russians [mainly older, from the WW2  generation]  see him as the saviour of Russia

Yeah, but this generation is dying off. 

And a new one is growing up! In fact Stalin is  being increasingly more respected again among young Russians as a "great man" who had to be cruel to defeat the nazis and to make Russia great. These attitudes owe a lot to the new Russian history books which have become very popular with some teachers. The historian responsible for the book said the aim of the textbook was to make pupils love their country. So a lot of Russian students will be internalising again that the end justifies the means.

26
The Tudors / Re: Elizabeth I.
« on: August 03, 2010, 11:50:22 AM »
Henry VIII called Mary ilegitimate when he knew that Catherine of Aragon wouldn't be able to gave him a son (before that I read that he loved his daughter very much) perhaps a similar situation happened with young Elizabeth, but really I'm not sure

When his marriage to Anne was annulled Elizabeth naturally became illegitimate, but Henry VIII never disputed his paternity. He continued to love both his daughters (or what he would consider love) but became furious with Mary when she wouldn't submit to his will.

27
Alexandra would certainly have used the King James Bible. I believe the Hesse family was officially Lutheran - presumably she would have used their Bible (not sure which one that is)


Ann

The Luther Bible I assume, which is used by German Protestants.

28
The Tudors / Re: What Got You Interested in the Tudors?
« on: July 29, 2010, 04:11:56 PM »
It was utter bunkum but, look, it got people interested in something enough to delve further........

Haha, yes.

29
The Tudors / Re: Lady Jane Grey
« on: July 29, 2010, 04:09:49 PM »
I've read about her mother Frances Brandon! That woman... needed help! Doesn't just take the movie Lady Jane to figure that out!

Leanda de Lisle and also Eric Ives draw a more balanced picture of her. In fact we know very little about her to be able to really judge her. She may not have been much worse than most aristocractic mothers.

30
The Tudors / Re: What Got You Interested in the Tudors?
« on: July 29, 2010, 03:53:12 PM »
I had just gotten and watched the movie The Other Boleyn Girl with Natalie Portman. Up until then I'd had absolutely no idea who Anne or any of the Tudors were. I actually thought the movie was complete fiction then I read the summary on the back of the DVD and found out it wasn't.

I actually thought it WAS complete fiction - or at least almost . . .

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