Happy Labor Day!
It has been a long hot Summer! And it isn’t yet over, with California fires and all. Alas, not much good news from America.
1. America’s malaise
Chris Hedges: America’s Death March. August 10, 2020
Regardless of the outcome, the U.S. election will not stop the rise of hyper-nationalism, crisis cults and other signs of an empire’s terminal decline, writes Chris Hedges. The terminal decline of the United States will not be solved by elections. The political rot and depravity will continue to eat away at the soul of the nation, spawning what anthropologists call crisis cults — movements led by demagogues that prey on an unbearable psychological and financial distress. https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/10/chris-hedges-americas-death-march/
Elsewhere, Riot declared, dozens arrested and officers injured in Portland, Seattle, Chicago protests/ AP. Aug. 17, 2020
Dozens were arrested over the weekend in major cities including Portland, Seattle and Pittsburgh amid demonstrations over systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody. Video taken Sunday showed a confrontation blocks away from a peaceful protest in Portland after police declared a riot overnight Saturday. Protests, often violent, have happened nightly in Portland for more than two months after Floyd's death on Memorial Day in Minneapolis.
Personally I feel especially disturbed by such news from the cities I have known since late 1960s – early 1970s where I spent my student years. That’s where the seeds of violence today were then planted. The year 1966, my first in the US, I spent at the U of Chicago. Even then the gang of “Blackstone Rangers” encroached on the university campus. The next five years--at the U of Washington, Seattle--were in the grip of anti-Vietnam war movement. Legitimate antiwar protests among students were infiltrated by radical left. My professor’s office was attacked and vandalized for he taught a course about Soviet influence via CPUSA. At one time Seattle claimed the largest number of home-made bomb explosions, including on campus, in the country. Eldridge Cleaver’s pro-gang and pro-rape book “Soul on Ice” was the rage of town. He was then the Black Panther Party leader. When a few years I met him at the Hoover Institution, he greatly mellowed in his views. He had travelled to a number of Communist countries and found out that the racial discrimination was not confined to the USA. I was delighted to hear that he and his wife became admirers of Solzhenitsyn. Read my article Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Relevance Today
You may want to glance at the book Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, the two New Left leaders who later changed their mind. They may not have made amends about their destructive activities against their country but, like Cleaver, they had “second thoughts about them. For more details, read my recent article, Sighing-and more- at the Secrets of Jewish Genius: Vladislav Krasnov’s Rebuttal to Bret Stephens’s The New York Times’ article.
This time I suspect there are again some influential moneyed people who want to inflame the racial issue by any means, including falsifying George Floyd’s cause of death. I hear it from various sources, including Destructive Generation, an American antiwar activist and RAGA’s long-time supporter. Ray unequivocally states “George Floyd was NOT ‘murdered’. He was not even ‘killed’. He ‘died’ of catastrophic heart failure while being arrested for criminal behavior. He had a heart attack, after he went violently berserk and violently resisted arrest.” His article is aptly titled “The Forest is Over Yonder, Right Behind Them Trees”.
In his article “Seattle's Bolshevik Revolution” Mike Whitney is exactly right when he says “These aren’t protests, this is political warfare the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1960s. Peaceful protesters” do not attack police stations with crowbars and firebombs, they don’t vandalize Starbucks and retail shops, and they don’t lay siege to public land and declare their own sovereign state. These are fanatical ideologues who believe the system must be obliterated and replaced. They are today’s Bolsheviks and they mean business.” See Mike’s full article “Seattle's Bolshevik Revolution”
However, the Russians can hardly gloat over America’s political disarray, domestic violence, civil strife, cultural chaos and MONUMENTAL confusion.
ALASKA: Sitka to remove monument to Alexander Baranov, first Russian governor of Alaska. 5 Jul, 2020/The city council in Sitka, Alaska has decided to remove a statue of Alexander Baranov, the explorer and first governor of Russian Alaska. The resolution lists a number of serious accusations against the man. Baranov worked for the Russian American Company, which was the vehicle for the Russian government’s effort to expand into the Americas. For almost three decades he was the de facto governor of Russian colonies on the continent. Sitka – called Novoarkhangelsk by its Russian founders – served as his capital.https://www.rt.com/usa/494777-sitka-baranov-statue-removal/
I have been to Alaska a couple of times. In 1987, I visited Sitka where met some members of the Tlingit Indian tribe and had a friendly conversation with its chief. I was impressed that they were Russian Orthodox Christian; many bore Russian names, even though their knowledge of Russian language was very limited. It’s true that they did not prosper, but I did not feel any hostility to Russians or white Americans for that matter.
Now take a look at Last year ‘Cultural diplomacy’: Russian America holiday proposed by Defense Ministry to promote ‘humanitarian cooperation’ 15 Oct, 2019 https://www.rt.com/russia/470962-russian-america-day-celebration/
There is a lot more to it! WHY Russia Saved the United States: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood. By Matthew Ehret. August 23, 2020. Via The Duran https://theduran.com/why-russia-saved-the-united-states-the-forgotten-history-of-a-brotherhood/ ?
Why did Russia’s Czar Alexander II deploy the Russian navy to the coasts of the USA during the height of the Civil War in 1863? What dynamic shaped the rise of the great rail building traditions across Russia, the USA, Germany, Japan and France in the 19th century and how did this process shape the sale of Alaska and planned Bering Strait rail connection between old and new worlds?
As a matter of fact, even the anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist Marxist-Leninist ideology of the Soviet Union did not stop it from celebrating Russian exploration of Alaska. As Wikipedia says, Juno and Avos (Russian: Юнона и Авось), a popular Russian-language rock opera first staged in 1981, celebrates another Russian explorer, Nikolai Rezanov, and his love affair with a daughter of the Spanish governor of California.
Moreover, having spent a major part of my life in California, I was always grateful to its government for preserving Fort Ross, a former Russian fortress turned into Fort Ross California State Park. This is a unique cultural monument that testifies to the openness of American people to other cultures. As a member of the Congress of Russian Americans (https://www.russian-americans.org/) feel the need to preserve Baranov’s monument in Sitka, Alaska, I sighed the petition below and hope you do the same
As a Russian American, I am just as concerned with the preservation of Fort Elizavety (Fort Elizabeth)), the last remaining Russian fort on the Hawaiian islands, built in the early 19th century by the Russian-American Company/
Today’s fashionable trend to reject the colonial heritage of America beginning with Christopher Columbus and George Washington, with its emphasis on the abuse of the non-Whites, is as ill-informed as it is childish. Hey, the Vikings had explored America even earlier, around the year 1000 AD. Had the Africans or American Indians the same level of ship-building skills, they would have done about the same if landed in Europe. In fact, Hannibal did invade the Roman republic from Africa and Shakespeare’s Othello was not exactly an angel.
2. Racial tensions flair up
Teaching Russian Studies at US universities I had a number of Black students who, on the average, performed, perhaps, slightly better than the Whites. They certainly took pride in the fact that Russia’s greatest poet Aleksandr Pushkin was partially Black as his maternal great-grandfather was African-born (Ethiopian) general Gannibal who was named after Hannibal!
In fact, Thomas Sowell, an outstanding Black American economist and social thinker (he turned 90 on June 30, Happy Birthday, Tom!) was one of my favorite scholars at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He was one of the few avowed anti-Marxists and I wrote a salutary review of one of this many books, MARXISM: PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMICS. (Review by: Vladislav Krasnov, International Journal on World Peace, Vol. 5, No. 3 (JUL-SEP 1988, https://www.jstor.org/stable/20751285?seq=1)
So, the real issue is not genetic, ethnic or racial differences but rather the ethical standards. That’s why I dedicated my recent article to “Mahatma Gandhi and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ” to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr, a political leader who, at the time of civil and racial strife, reminded the USA that the Gandhian philosophy of Non-Violence harks back to the fundamental Christian commandment to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” and even “to turn the other cheek” to the offender to show him your superior determination. (http://www.raga.org/news/mahatma-gandhi-and-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn and also at a site in India http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=4950)
I believe that the great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008) may provide a spiritual guidance to the people of the United States right now, just as he was able to provide such guidance to the Russians when they were chafing under the yoke of Marxist-Leninist theory of violent world revolution. “It is in our human nature to … apply ordinary, individual, human values and standards to larger social phenomena and associations of people, up to and including the nation and the state as a whole,” he wrote in 1973 when he was still in the USSR. “Whatever feelings predominate in the members of a given society at a given moment in time, they will serve to color the whole of that society and determine its moral character. And if there is nothing good there to pervade that society, it will destroy itself, or be brutalized by the triumph of evil instincts.”
So wrote Solzhenitsyn in his underground essay REPENTANCE AND SELF-LIMITATION IN THE LIFE OF NATIONS when he was still in the USSR
After his forced exile and settling in the USA he elaborated on the topic in Harvard Commencement address A World Split Apart (1978)
“The split in today's world is perceptible even to a hasty glance. Any of our contemporaries readily identifies two world powers, each of them already capable of entirely destroying the other”, observed Solzhenitsyn about the Cold War chief antagonists during the 1970s. “However, understanding of the split often is limited to this political conception, to the illusion that danger may be abolished through successful diplomatic negotiations or by achieving a balance of armed forces. The truth is that the split is a much profounder and a more alienating one, that the rifts are more than one can see at first glance. This deep manifold split bears the danger of manifold disaster for all of us, in accordance with the ancient truth that a Kingdom -- in this case, our Earth -- divided against itself cannot stand.” https://www.solzhenitsyncenter.org/a-world-split-apart
3. A Need for a Cure
On a personal level, faced in the 2016 presidential election with the choice of Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump, I backed away from both and voted for the Green Parry’s Dr. Jill Stein. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Stein As RAGA’s president, I chose the one who promised the best chance for improving US-Russia relations. I also liked her critical attitude to GMO, Wall Street, as well as her approval of whistleblowing dissidents and defectors, like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Still, my choice was instinctually prompted by the awareness that the country needed a medical DOCTOR to heal its aggressive policy abroad and social, racial and inter-ethnic conflicts at home. It needed it then as a preventive measure. It needs a medical attention now even more for healing and convalescence.
If Solzhenitsyn is not enough then, perhaps, the testimony of the US born Thomas Ggovio (916 – 1997), an American Communist who went to the USSR looking for the Utopia of social, racial, and economic justice. Read his 1979 book with the long title. Dear america! Why I Turned Against Communism The Odyssey of an American Communist Youth Who Miraculously Survived the Harsh Labor Camps of Kolyma – January 1, 1979.
4. But what’s New in Russia?
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was poisoned, German hospital says. Published: Aug. 24, 2020 By Associated Press, 39 Doctors said they do not believe his life is at risk.
Russia's most famous opposition leader, @navalny, has been rushed to the hospital, with reports that poison is suspected. If confirmed, it is a crime against the whole of Russia. There can be no democracy without dissent. Edward Snowden @Snowden
As before, I let the Canadian Russia watcher Patrick Armstrong report:
CONSTITUTION passed comfortably. The ads varied between happy families and – the one projected on the US Embassy facade – in 1993 we were yours and now we’re ours. Sums up the main changes. As to the term reset many argue that it is designed to kill any succession in-fighting (or foreign fiddling): even if Putin quits after this term, he can still come back. I still see it as a cheap trick. https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2020/07/09/russian-federation-sitrep-9-july-2020/
RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 870K; total deaths 14,606; tests per 1 million 203K. Russia has done 29.7 million tests (third after China and USA); among countries with populations over 10M it’s second in tests per million and of those over 100M first. The Health Minister says mass vaccinations will begin by October. https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2020/08/06/russian-federation-sitrep-6-august-2020/
Also Aug. 13, 2020. Moscow (CNN)Russian officials in Moscow tell CNN they have offered "unprecedented cooperation" with Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the US multi-agency body set up to accelerate access to effective Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. But the officials told CNN that the "US is not currently open" to the Russian medical advances." https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/13/europe/russia-us-coronavirus-vaccine/index.html
Aug. 17: Vietnam's health ministry is looking to buy a bulk order of Russia's coronavirus vaccine, state media said, despite global skepticism over its effectiveness and safety. President Vladimir Putin announced Russia is first in the world to approve a vaccine. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/08/17/coronavirus-in-russia-the-latest-news-aug-16-a69117
There are, however, other approaches to COVID-19. Ellen Brown, an Attorney and prominent alternative author, describes one, while warning against a potential abuse of COVID by “Police state”. Read:
From Lockdown to Police State: the “Great Reset” Rolls Out
ELLEN BROWN • AUGUST 22, 2020 •
Mayhem in Melbourne. On August 2, lockdown measures were implemented in Melbourne, Australia, that were so draconian that Australian news commentator Alan Jones said on Sky News: “People are entitled to think there is an ‘agenda to destroy western society.’”
Brown finds a plausible alternative in Sweden’s approach to COVID-19. According to her “Not restraining the populace has allowed Sweden’s curve to taper off naturally through “herd immunity,” with daily deaths down to single digits for the last month.” I am inclined to agree. I lived in Sweden, speak Swedish, and learned to respect this nation for the daring to go its own way, be it in social-democracy, political neutrality or just reliance on common sense.
In any case, Ellen Brown is right to warn: “Life as we know it will change. We need to ensure that it changes in ways that serve the people and the productive economy, while preserving our national sovereignty and hard-won personal freedoms.” I am proud to be her colleague in the Global Harmony Association.
Ellen Brown is not alone. Listen to Atty. Thomas Willcutts on Science Propaganda Machine & COVID Censorship/August 18, 2020 Kevin Barrett at https://kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/
One way or another, these days Russia seems to be doing, at home and abroad, better than the USA.
5. No wonder that a large number of prominent Americans declare: It’s Time to Rethink Our Russia Policy
America’s current mix of sanctions and diplomacy isn’t working. An open letter on how to reconsider our approach to Putin—and whoever comes next was originally signed By ROSE GOTTEMOELLER, THOMAS GRAHAM, FIONA HILL, JON HUNTSMAN JR., ROBERT LEGVOLD and THOMAS R. PICKERING. August 5, 2020 in POLITICO
…U.S.-Russia relations are at a dangerous dead end that threatens the U.S. national interest. The risk of a military confrontation that could go nuclear is again real. We are drifting toward a fraught nuclear arms race, with our foreign-policy arsenal reduced mainly to reactions, sanctions, public shaming and congressional resolutions. The global Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting serious worldwide economic decline, rather than fostering cooperation, has only reinforced the current downward trajectory…
...Restoring normal diplomatic contacts should be a top priority for the White House and supported by the Congress.
This is music to my ear. That’s what RAGA has been saying since 1992. Among a hundred plus prominent Americans who joined the call are people I like to quote in RAGA Newsletter, especially, in the RAGA Antiwar Antidotes series running since about 2014.
In addition to my former colleagues at the Monterey (now Middlebury) Institute of International Studies Anna Vassilieva and Bill Potters, I was glad to see the names of Tom Graham and Robert Legvold, as well as Matthew Rojansky, The Kennan Institute; Dimitry Simes, Center for the Nat. Interest; Stephen Walt, Harvard University; John Mearsheimer, U of Chicago. However, I did not see there—wonder why-- Stephen F Cohen, Nicolai Petro, Gilbert Doctorow nor Nikolas K. Gvosdev. Should not the drive to enroll the support of prominent Russia specialists be intensified before the Presidential elections?
6. Belarus is close to my heart. As a student of ethnology at the U of Moscow in the late 1950-s I spent several summers there doing research on their ethnic self-awareness. We went to all major towns from Minsk and Mogilev, Gomel and Grodno, Lutsk and Brest. We did the field research in the countryside. We found no significant difference with the Russians of the RSFSR. Russian was spoken everywhere, even though some intellectuals in Minsk insisted on using Belorussian. At the Moscow U student dormitory I had Belorussian room-mates. During the 1990s I served as interpreter for Belorussian groups touring the USA and always sensed the feeling of mutual goodwill.
7. Dmitri Trenin, Director, Carnegie Moscow Center, reported via David Johnson’s Russia List on August 17, 2020
Game Over for Lukashenko: The Kremlin has had enough of Lukashenko, but it cannot allow Belarus to follow the path of Ukraine and become another anti-Russian, NATO-leaning bulwark on its borders. https://carnegie.ru/commentary/82493
Putin: Russia is ready to provide security help to Belarus
By: By YURAS KARMANAU and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
August 27, 2020 MINSK, Belarus — (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that he stands ready to send police to Belarus if protests there turn violent but sees no such need now…“We have agreed not to use it until the situation starts spinning out of control…,” he said. https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/putin-russia-stands/7ODQZLQKXYUR2FZBF5VLARQS7M/
8. A View from outside of Europe. Belarus: Scramble for heart of Europe. AUGUST 4, 2020 BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR
By all indications, change is in the air in Belarus. For good or bad --
one cannot tell — the ground beneath the feet of the Belarus strongman
President Alexander Lukashenka is shifting…Belarus under Lukashenko
preserved the former Soviet system in the westernmost edge of the
extinct empire — no oligarchs, state-owned industry, stable employment
and social security but economic stagnation and repressive state
security apparatus. http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article9775.html
Ajal Goyal, an Indian friend of Russia, writes from Moscow re Belarus:
There are such amazing pictures and videos... I would never support Maidan type foreign sponsored violent coup and protests. But these non-violent, peaceful, civilized and cultured protestors (compared with Maidan, Yellow Vests, and Black Lives Matter) are very Gandhian and they deserve love and sympathy of everyone. Hope neither Lukashenko nor Poles or Lithuanians will push violence because that will be end. Peaceful protests should continue and there should be no violence against them. There should be no manipulations or infiltration of these protests by Europeans or Americans either.
9. For several years RAGA has been affiliated with the Global Harmony Association founded in 2005 by Leo Semashko, a former professor of philosophy in Sankt-Petersburg. The GHA’s goal is to beat the emergency of COVID-19 in spite of growing nuclear arms race, the impotence of the UN and general chaos and unpredictability of global powers. Below is the Anti-Nuclear Gandhian Manifesto launched by the GHA.
We, the Nobel Peace Laureates (NGOs and persons),
Call the nations, governments, UN and Security Council to stop the 75 years world's “heading toward nuclear death” and to ban nuclear weapons! Can our reason, will, responsibility, humanism, conscience and human moral come to reconciliation with nuclear suicide, which has been generously funded by “a seriously ill humanity” during 75 years? How much money and attention we devote to the Covid-19 epidemic and how stingy and indifferent to the genocidal nuclear epidemic.
We call to re-prioritize the humanitarian threat of the two epidemics and to focus of political will, science and funding on banning nuclear weapons and joint building a global security/peace system. Banning nuclear weapons will free up significant investment to fight Covid-19, economic crisis and environmental catastrophe.
Our "Anti-Nuclear Manifesto" is the development and substantiation of the great legacy of global security/peace and “new thinking” of Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, the IPPNW founders and others, whose ideas became prisoners in the 75-year-old Babel Tower of the military-industrial complex silence/oblivion. Banning nuclear weapons will change strategic, long-term priorities, liberate the peaceful legacy and free humanity from the genocidal weapons hostages in XXI century.
Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, NGO Nobel Laureate 2017,
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Laureate 1976,
John Avery, Nobel Laureate 1995,
Ernesto Kahan, Vice President of IPPNW, NGO Nobel Laureate 1985.
Preparing nuclear weapons,"we are already living in the rubble of World War III.
Nuclear weapons are all nations shared enemy."
1985 Nobel lecture
Vladislav Krasnov (aka W George Krasnow), Ph.D., historian, anthropologist, President of the Russian-American Goodwill Association, RAGA, www.raga.org, USA, email@example.com https://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=752
“The need for nuclear disarmament has always been recognized by the leaders of the United States and Russia, the two powers possessing 95% of their nuclear potential. At one time, the USSR responded to US atomic strikes against Japan with its own nuclear arms race. The Soviet leaders justified it with the Marxist-Leninist ideology of irreconcilability with capitalism, which supposedly inevitably degenerates into imperialism. But even during the apogee of communism in the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev made significant progress in curbing the nuclear arms race. Awareness of the growing risk of nuclear war forced them to abandon ideological schemes for a pragmatic goal: the survival of their own countries—and of life on Earth!
Since 1992, our peacekeeping organization of Goodwill between the United States and the post-communist Russia (www.RAGA.org) has been looking for every opportunity to control nuclear weapons up to their complete ban on the entire Planet. That is why we joined the coalition of the Global Harmony Association (GHA). Alas, now the whole world is on the edge of the abyss.
The "Peace/Cyberspheronics Manifesto" (30 pages), created by the GHA, is the Manifesto of Gandhian Non-Violence. It demands the prohibition of all nuclear weapons and poses a historical question: Will former ideological opponents be able to find common ground in eliminating this mutually deadly weapon? The same question I asked in my 2019 article “Gandhi and Solzhenitsyn.” https://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=884
If some 35 years ago the USA and the USSR had a modicum of mutual trust, today it is practically nonexistent. All past restrictions on nuclear weapons have been dismantled, opening a new race for Weapons of Mass Destruction. This brought humanity to the precipice of a nuclear disaster. According to nuclear scientists (Mecklin, 2020), there are only 100 seconds left on the Nuclear Disaster Clock. It is high time to understand the salutary role of our Peace/Cyberspheronics Manifesto, with its focus on global security.
Only mutual concessions between the United States and Russia can restore trust, ensure good political will on both sides, and revive the atmosphere of cooperation that existed under Reagan and Gorbachev. Otherwise, the risk of nuclear war will grow like a snowball until it buries everyone under its avalanche. It is the will of every citizen that determines the shift towards cooperation that this Manifesto breathes. Our optimal goal: Voluntary mutual renunciation of all nuclear weapons and their complete ban in all countries in the coming years.
Our efforts toward nuclear disarmament can hardly be successful unless we also strive for social, ethnic, racial, and religious harmony and justice in each and every nation of the world. We work in coalition and synergy with other holistic movements, such as "The Third Way" economics formulated by Louis Kelso and his successor Norman Kurland. We are guided by Gandhi's advice: "The Satyagrahi's goal is to convert, not to coerce, your opponent." https://peacefromharmony.org/
I was delighted that my statement was next to that of my American colleague Norman G Kurland, JD, President, Center for Economic and Social Justice, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are excerpts
Norman Kurland, JD, President, Center for Economic and Social Justice, email@example.com,
“The elimination of nuclear weapons, as well as complete/general disarmament, by and large, are impossible without a fundamentally substantiated common and holistic scientific platform/theory of the “Global Security/Peace” system. But this system …(must) ensure global economic equality and economic property rights for every person. Their well-founded theory and convincing practice over several decades in the United States was presented in the works of Kelso (1958, 1968), Kurland (1982, 2014, etc.) and many of their followers. This theory allows us to answer the question: After the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we unite to build a more just future for every world citizen? https://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=414
10. History, August 19, 1991: The “White Russians” arrive at Moscow
It was in August of 1991 when the relations between the USSR and the USA have already taken a turn to the better, I was a lucky witness and participant of a truly historical event. I was among over 400 “White Russian” émigrés delegates who on the wave of Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost were invited to Moscow for The First Congress of Russian Compatriots (Первый Конгресс Соотечественников: read a memoir of Mikhail Tolstoy in Russian https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/pervyy-kongress-sootechestvennikov). The event was sponsored by the Parliament of the Russian Federation (RSFSR) then headed by Boris Yeltsin (1931 – 2007). Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the USSR, was at the time on a summer vacation in the Crimea. The Congress by itself was a unique historical event as it was the first organized meeting of Russians of different ideological persuasions since 1922 when Lenin ordered the expulsion of hundreds of dissident Russian “philosophers” (actually, all sorts of anti-Communist intellectuals) shipped to Germany.
For almost 70 years Soviet leaders forbade all contacts of Soviet citizens with the Russian émigrés, allegedly in order to prevent an infiltration of spies and just to keep Marxist-Leninist purity of the country. With the policy of glasnost by 1991 the prohibition became ineffective. Still, inviting so many “White Russians” (in fact, among us there were some Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews etc.) for formal meetings in Moscow was unprecedented: after all, among the invited there were many of noble origin, including even some from the Romanov Tsar dynasty.
In addition to being Professor of Russian Studies at the Monterey Institute of International StudiesI, I represented the Congress of Russian Americans as its Board member. Apparently, the suspicion of treason as a defector and the author of Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List, was lifted as I was also allowed to visit, in addition to Moscow, my native Perm for the first time in 29 years—at the expense of the government!
11. August 19 is The Day of Transfiguration
Foreign delegates, including myself, were housed in Hotel “Moskva” (later razed) near the Kremlin Wall. As we were waking up on the morning of August 19, 1991, the rumors spread of a chaos in the streets. Later we learned that it was the coup d’etat against Gorbachev by orthodox Communists. Nonetheless we continued to walk, in small groups of acquaintances, across the Red Square to the famous Dormition (Uspensky) Cathedral inside the Kremlin Wall for a formal opening of a week long program. We passed by several armored personnel carriers with their crews in disarray, and often engaged into small non-threatening talk with crowds of onlookers.
As we approached the Cathedral, it became clear that we will not be greeted by Boris Yeltsin, the official host. He was too busy dealing with the coup. But Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II was on hand and he greeted us wormy. The spiritual symbolism of his greeting more than recompensed for Yeltsin’s absence. As the fate decreed, August 19 is the Day of Christ’s Transfiguration, a major Orthodox Christian holyday. In our day and in our presence it augured the coming Transfiguration, a metamorphosis in Greek (preobrazhenie in Russian), of the avowedly atheist and even anti-religious Soviet regime into a New Russia, a secular country to be sure, but fervently seeking a spiritual rebirth.
The Patriarch indeed played a significant role in squashing the coup attempt, as “he denounced the arrest of Mikhail Gorbachev, and anathematized the plotters. He publicly questioned the junta's legitimacy, called for restraint by the military, and demanded that Gorbachev be allowed to address the people. He issued a second appeal against violence and fratricide, which was amplified over loudspeakers to the troops outside the Russian "White House" half an hour before they attacked. Ultimately, the coup failed, which eventually resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarch_Alexy_II_of_Moscow
A couple of days later, after Yeltsin took charge and managed to defuse the coup, he triumphantly addressed the full assembly of “White émigrés” in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. The climax was his announcement that the Russian republic inside the USSR is reverting from the Red Flag of Communism to the old imperial tricolor of Russia as its state symbol. When the audience broke into a tumultuous applause, Yeltsin assured the “Russian Compatriots Abroad” that the demise of Communism would not lead to the demise of Russia’s great power statue.
I was among several émigré delegates who wanted personally to thank Yeltsin for a patriotic speech in which he sought to overcome ideological and political divisions for a future Russia. At the very last moment, I managed to get onstage and went straight to Yeltsin surrounded by body guards and well-wishers. I caught his attention by saying that, “like you, I am a native son of the Perm region but currently reside in California. That’s where I wrote a book about the evolution of the USSR from the Red flag of Communism to Russian national tricolor,” I told Yeltsin while handing him a freshly printed copy of Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth.
I don’t know whether Yeltsin noticed my lapel button on which the American flag and CRA Russian national tricolor were already joined together.
12. Back to Perm, the home town
The Soviet sponsors of the Congress were provident enough to allow Russian émigrés delegates to visit not just Moscow but their birth place and relatives, if any. It was my first chance to visit my native Perm since 1962 when I escaped from the USSR. My parents were already dead, but my two sisters and brother waited for me there as I knew from letters exchange. After the Congress program was over on August 28, I took a Trans-Siberian train to Perm, the last major city on the European side of the Urals. I stayed there just few days, August 30 to September 4, to re-connect with my relatives, fellow high-school students and neighbors.
My main mission was to lay memorial wreath on my parents’ grave. However, I ordered yet another wreath to remind the citizens of Perm that the last de-jure Emperor of Russia was Michael II. After all, Michael Romanov was assassinated in Perm on June 12, 1918, that is five weeks prior to the Yekaterinburg massacre of his brother Tsar Nicholas and his family. So I called up a dozed of my relatives and friends, including a priest and a former GULAG prisoner, and then we had a somber ceremony of honoring the memory of Michael and his secretary Brian Johnson by affixing another memorial wreath on the wall of the sinister building on Karl Marx Avenue 5. Later in the year Perm citizens followed up by mounting there a memorial plaque and restoring to the street its historical name, Sibirskaya.
I have written more on the historical role of Perm in the aftermath of the Bolshevik 1917 revolution in my article Emperor Michael II in the Solzhenitsyn House - Author: Vladislav Krasnov
More about Perm in post-Soviet Russia you can find in the article below
Jon Basil Utley at 80 “He is One of Us” (Memoirs of Two Trips to Russia) 8/7/2014 A Tribute by W. George Krasnow at Jon’s birthday party in Washington on March 12, 2014
Sadly, Jon Utley, my dear friend and RAGA associate passed away in late March 2020. So let me augment the above praise with the obituaries
Antiwar.com on Twitter: "RIP Jon Basil Utley, A great freedom ...
twitter.com › antiwarcom › status Mar 24, 2020 - RIP Jon Basil Utley, A great freedom-fighter and peace activist. Read a tribute to his life by Eric Garris, his friend and editor of http://Antiwar....You may also like to read an obituary by Doug Bandow “The Passing of a Great Advocate of Liberty and Peace: Jon Basil Utley, RIP”.
As I have done it before, I am happy to present how Historian and architectural expert William Brumfield takes a photographic excursion into the past of my native PERM. TRAVEL JULY 24 2020
Since this major city of the northern Urals is my native city of Perm, I am particularly grateful to Professor Broomfield for doing a fine job of both taking new photographs of Perm and juxtaposing them with those taken by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky before the October 1917 Revolution. It is a double achievement in preservation of Russian architectural monuments and making them known to the outside world.
It may be useful to recall some historical facts and legends about Perm as a town and region:
--10th Century: it first appeared in the ancient Russian chronicle as a name of a “far east” region among several united by the Kievan Rus;
--in 11th century Icelandic sagas mention Bjarmaland as the easternmost region of Viking expansion;
--16th century: Yermak Tomofeyevich (Ерма́к Тимофе́евич), a Cossack ataman, used the Perm region’s major rivers the Kama and the Chusovaya River as a springboard to cross the Ural Mountains and conquer West Siberia, making the Perm region Russia’s main gateway to the East;
--The year of 1723: Emperor Peter the Great gave to ore excavating metallurgical factories near today’s Perm a township status;
--1781: Catherine the Great elevated the city of Perm to the seat of General Governorship stretching across the Urals to wide expanses of Western Siberia.
--1885: George Kennan, an American explorer, visited Perm during his journey across the Empire. Generally critical of Tsarist autocracy, he found Perm to be the most American city, at least, in the rectangular streets planning which apparently originated from Catherine the Great’s infatuation with European rationalism;
--1916: Perm State University is founded; Perm supplied war materials, esp. artillery to the WWI front;
--1918 – 1919: during Civil War Perm was contested between the Reds and the Whites (Admiral Kolchak); the abduction and execution (?) of Michal Romanov was part of it;
--1940 – 1957: during this period of my growing up, Perm ceased to exist as it was re-named to Molotov, the Communist leader (Vyacheslav Molotov) perceived at the time as Stalin’s next in line; one can only imagine how proud we the kids were of the city’s contribution to war efforts;
--1957, the historical name of Perm was restored during Khrushchev’s anti-Stalin campaign, but the city and the region remained “zakrytyi gorod”, that is off limits for foreign visitors, even some time after the dissolution of the USSR;
-- 2005, Senator Barack Obama visited Perm, along with Senator Richard Lugar, as part of the US-Russia agreement of nuclear weapons control. There was an unexpected delay at the airport. (https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/nuclear-agreements/2005-08-lugar-delegation-detained-for-three-hours-in-perm-after-inspecting-nuke-weapons-facility) After Obama had been elected president in 2009, one of the off-limits factory engineers asked me to forward to him a friendly letter, with an apology for racial slurs he may have heard while in Perm and inviting him to visit Perm unofficially since it is now an open city. I forwarded the letter to President Obama but did not hear back.
Beyond war and politics, Perm is also a cultural center:
--Perm Opera and Ballet Theater named after Peter Chaikovsky is one of the oldest (since 1870) and most vibrant in Russia (my niece, one of its graduates, had a dancing tour of India and later performed leading roles in the Capetown Ballet Theater, South Africa)
--Sergei Diaghilev grew up in Perm where his grandfather founded a private high-school which now houses the Dyagilev Memorial Museum with annual programs open to foreigners
--Boris Pasternak poetically transformed Perm into Yuryatino, “the town of Yuri,” in the novel Doctor Zhivago.
--Perm State Art Gallery is renowned for its collection of native Permian wooden sculpture and several collections of Russian and European art. Tragically, since the 1920s this fine gallery has been housed, at the behest of Communist authorities, in the former the grand Cathedral of Savior Transfiguration on the banks of the Kama. Moreover, it is in the neighborhood of a City Zoo that the atheist rulers of Soviet Russia placed on top of an exclusive cemetery for clergymen and dignitaries of Perm.
This is a good stop to call the reader’s attention back to William Brumfield outstanding juxtaposition of the color photograph from the two very different periods of Russia’s history, before the Revolution and thereafter. The credits go to Professor Brumfield, but also to the Library of Congress that was provident enough to purchase Prokudin-Gorsky’s collection when after the October Revolution he was driven to the destitute ranks of While émigrés. Is it not amazing that a pure-blooded American has devoted forty years of his life—he has started around 1980 when Soviet authorities looked a scans at him while his Russian hosts began to use glasnost to challenge the official policy of sacrilege against and neglect of Tsarist architectural monuments, especially, Christian churches. So please take another look and see whether new Soviet and post-Soviet architecture surpasses in beauty the old one, so viciously and wantonly destroyed by the political fanatics.
This achievement shines all the more promising now in view of the monumental madness of hatred-motivated wanton destruction of US historical monuments, from Gen. Robert Lee to George Washington and Columbus. Political extremists and some plain hoodlums from Antifa (United States) and BLM follow in the footsteps of the Communist Bolsheviks of Russia who had engaged in bacchanalia of monument destruction as a prelude to “purges”, that is measures to “purify” the ideals of Revolution by executing all dissidents from the Right and of the Left, especially their own “treacherous” comrades.
In spite of the tense US-Russia relations, American sanctions and Russian counter-sanction, Perm is well-connected to the outside world; it is as open as ever in its history. Perm State University alone has over 400 students and there are several other advance level schools that have foreign students. The Opera and Ballet Theater’s art director is the world-famous Teodor Currentzis, a Greek. Moreover, Perm is a Sister city to both Louisville, KY and Oxford, UK. In fact, I used to interpret for a Russian delegation when they visited Louisville. I am also on the receiving end of the Oxford-Perm newsletter. The late Donald Crawford, the author of The Last Tsar: Emperor Michael II, twice visited Perm and is well regarded in academic community.
The name of Perm is perhaps the least erasable among all peopled places on Earth. After all, Permian Period, in geologic time, was the last period of the Paleozoic Era. And, thanks to Roderick Murchison (1792 - 1871, a Scottish geologist, it owns its origin to my native city. According to Wikipedia, after doing geological studies in the Ural Mountains, Murchison “announced the Permian system to geology in 1841, based on explorations in Perm Krai undertaken with Édouard de Verneuil”. It is certainly good to see that co-operation of three countries – Russia, Britain and France – is thus recognized. However, one may well add the forth, the USA, if we recall that there exists the University of Texas at the Permian Basin. That makes it close to universal recognition.
May Perm enjoy the same permanence!
Finally, I am happy to announce the FORTHCOMING BOOK
From The East to The West a message of Peace
Published by Sanbun Publishers, New Delhi, INDIA
Vladislav Krasnov (aka W George Krasnow), Ph.D., is the author of Solzhenitsyn and Dostoevsky: A Study in the Polyphonic Novel, and Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth. Former professor and Head of Russian Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, since 1992 he has led Russia and America Goodwill Association www.RAGA.org, now affiliated with the Global Harmony Association, founded by Dr. Leo Semashko to advance Gandhi’s ideal of Non-Violence.
To those who preached violence and called nonviolent actionists cowards, he replied: "I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence....I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour....But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment."
HAPPY LABOR DAY
W George Krasnow (http://wiki-org.ru/wiki/Краснов,_Владислав_Георгиевич)
All statements in this report are an opinion of the author. Act at your own risk. Russia & America Goodwill Association (RAGA) is not responsible for the content of the article. Any views or opinions presented in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RAGA. Any liability in respect to this communication remain with the author.