The fabulous Royal Russia blog I’ve written about before has a fabulous post about a memorial to Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, at Alexandrovskaya Station in Tsarskoye Selo. This station is where the Romanov family was put on a train and sent to their eventual deaths in Yekaterinburg.
The memorial on the left says “Emperor Nicholas II. A grateful Russia.” The one on the right says, “Forgive me, my sovereign.”
I haven’t really had much to blog about recently. I am enjoying being at home and reveling in the fact that when I do go back to school, I only have eight weeks left. Then it’s graduation time (which I do not plan to attend) and I’ll be done with the dreaded graduate program.
Anyway, I had to take a break from writing during exam week so I could study. The break actually turned into two weeks, as there was a lot of material to study, but that’s over with now.
I had a decision to make regarding my novel that I hope to publish this year. A few weeks ago, I read this blog entry on Roz Morris’ excellent Nail Your Novel blog. She basically says that if you spend a long time working on one novel, there may be shifts in tone throughout. I know this is the case with me: I started working on this novel in 2008, before I started college. (I still haven’t finished it, six years later. That’s embarrassing.) I know my style has changed—and hopefully improved—over the years. I also know that my novel suffers from a lack of consistency.
This is why I am going to rewrite this novel from scratch. A rewrite will help even out consistencies and I can incorporate new plot elements. I also had an epiphany about what to do for the plot: I think I am trying to stuff two books into one and have been rushing through some important stuff that needs to be fleshed out more.
It’s times like this that I sometimes feel I will never be done with this book…
After multiple flights and hours in airports, I finally arrived home yesterday evening. I’ll let you guess where I am right now:
a) continental United States
b) US Virgin Islands
c) Sochi, Russia
d) none of the above
Here’s a generic photo of a sunrise to inspire your guessing.
I am too overwhelmed to write a review of Stalingrad right now. I saw it yesterday and it was so amazing and so powerful. I will write something at some point, but for now, just read this review: ‘Stalingrad’ a superb war film.
A pretty photo of Sevastopol to distract, at least temporarily, from the problems Ukraine is having.
On February 22, I wrote a post called “Yanukovych Legally Still Is President of Ukraine.” To put it mildly, it kind of went viral. I don’t mean viral as in millions of views (I’ve never had that many views before!), but I had a substantial number of views on this post. Heck, I even made it to the front page of Google News the day I published it. So my first order of business is to thank everyone who shared it. You know who you are. Mark shared it on his blog (twice, I think). A commenter by the name of Rob shared my post on a few forums. Other hits came in through Facebook, so at least one person shared it on there. Again, thank you so much for sharing and reading. It really means a lot to me.
As a lot of events have happened since February 22, I thought I’d post an update with my thoughts on Ukraine. So here goes:
- I stand by what I said in the aforementioned post, i.e. that Yanukovych was illegally deposed. You can love him or hate him, but the fact remains that his ouster was not legal.
- Yanukovych was fairly elected in 2010. This fact caused controversy on Twitter about a week ago when I mentioned it. I was accused of being “ignorant” and worse. This is not an opinion, though—at least, it’s not my opinion. International observers said the election was free and fair. Again, if you don’t agree, that’s okay. Just don’t blame me for saying it. Take it up with the international observers.
- I wouldn’t support Yanukovych in a future election. Yes, it may be surprising, but I actually think it’s better for Ukraine if he goes. I just wish it had been done legally. For a fledgling democracy such as Ukraine, it is important to elect leaders and remove them in accordance with the law. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a constitution if one is going to ignore the rule of law on certain occasions?
- The protestors were not peaceful. A lot of people in the West try to paint them as martyrs murdered by a dictatorial regime. This is patently untrue. The news just broke today that those snipers so condemned by the international community were, in fact, acting on the protestors’ orders, not Viktor Yanukovych’s.
- The old government was corrupt, but the new government won’t be much better. That is the main reason why I am so disgusted with Ukrainian politics. It’s corrupt to the core. Do you really believe Tymoshenko or Yatsyenyuk will be any better for the country? Corruption runs so deep over there. It’s really depressing if you sit down and think about it.
- There are troubling anti-Semitic elements in the protest movement. The main culprit is the Svoboda [Freedom] party, led by Oleg Tyagnibok. Tyagnibok has a history of making anti-Semitic statements, such as: “They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”* What a lovely individual, right?
- There was Western involvement in the protests. As in, the EU and the US supported the protestors.
- I have deeply mixed feelings about the Russian incursion into Crimea. I don’t want there to be a war or anyone else dying. The main question for me is: does Crimea want to join Russia? Technically, if the Crimeans want to secede, it’s hypocritical for the West to condemn that because of our record on supporting Kosovo’s secession. Right now, what I’m most unsure of is whether there is a majority in Crimea in favor of leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.
That’s all I have for now. Honestly, I am just so annoyed about what’s going on over there and the shoddy coverage in our media. It frustrates me immensely.
*Original text: Вони не боялися, як і ми зараз не маємо боятися, вони взяли автомат на шию і пішли в ті ліси, вони готувалися і боролися з москалями, боролися з німцями, боролися з жидвою і з іншою нечистю, яка хотіла забрати в нас нашу українську державу. Found here. Aside from insulting Jews, he also insulted Russians—Moskali is an insulting word in Ukrainian that refers to Russian people.
This is happening tomorrow, people.
Russian version of the poster for Stalingrad
Yes, that’s right: I’m going to see Fyodor Bondarchuk’s epic Stalingrad tomorrow and I can’t wait. It’s only playing in IMAX 3D where I live, so I’ll have to pay an arm and a leg for it, but that’s okay. It’s Russian. I’ll do just about anything to see a Russian film.
I have a request for my readers: if you have a link to a video of the recent speech Yuri Sergeyev, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the UN, made earlier today (Monday, March 3), please let me know. I would love to watch the speech but have had trouble finding it online.
Thank you! Спасибо! Дякую!
I have a major accounting exam today, so no posts about Ukraine or anything else interesting until this evening at the very earliest. This exam is going to be hard, so wish me luck.
Note: I used to write a semi-popular blog. Then I stopped writing it and started writing this one. I wrote a ton of posts on my prior blog, though, and some of them were quite good, if I don’t say so myself. I am going to reprise some of them here in the “Blast from the Past” series. Here’s the first one, a review of Vladimir Nabokov’s magnificent memoir.
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, Everyman’s Library, 1999 edition.
I realize that it is almost sacrilegious to even attempt to review Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiography, Speak, Memory, as I cannot hope to approach his level of prose or command of language. Even though I am a native speaker of English, I do not have nearly the vocabulary, the sheer facility with language, that he possessed.
Speak, Memory is Nabokov’s autobiography, covering his life from his idyllic childhood as an upper-class Russian, growing up in a beautiful house in St. Petersburg (“the only house in the world,” according to him) to the end of his first period as a White Russian émigré in Western Europe. (His first period of of European peripateticism was to end with the Second World War and his last-minute escape to the United States, where he would go on to teach in universities, discover new butterflies, and write more books, including his most famous work, Lolita.)
I tweeted these earlier. I also know I will forget/lose them in a few days, so I’m posting them here.
The first is a map of where Ukrainians have raised Russian flags in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the original source has been lost—I found it via a Russian man on Twitter, @Yuri_Romanov.
Click to see larger
The second is a comparison between Russia and Ukraine with some nice economic and military facts. Allegedly it’s from this website, International Spectator (which I know nothing about).
Click to see larger
I’m not trying to make any sort of political point with these—I just think they’re good information and I didn’t want to lose them in the deluge of tweets that happens on a daily basis.