MOSCOW (AP) — For the thousands of Russians gathered near Red Square on Saturday, Maidan — the square in Kiev synonymous with pro-European protests last year — is nothing to celebrate.
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AP PHOTOS: A year after Ukraine’s Maidan protests in Kiev Associated Press
“Maidan is a festival of death … Maidan is the smile of the American ambassador who, sitting in his penthouse, is happy to see how brother is killing brother … Maidan is the concentration of everything anti-Russian … Maidan is the embryo of Goebbels,” the organizers of Russia’s new Anti-Maidan movement shouted from the stage.
Demonstrators vowed that last year’s protests in Kiev — centered in the Maidan square which ultimately forced Ukaine’s pro-Russian president to flee on Feb. 21 — would never be repeated in Russia.
“Maidan” is the Ukrainian word for “square” and in common usage refers to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
The protesters in Moscow were an assortment of ultranationalist bikers, pensioners, war veterans, members of student organizations and activists from other pro-Kremlin groups. Many of them waved Russian flags, others bore banners that said “Die, America!” or “U$A, Stop the War!”
Police said that 35,000 people attended, though those numbers were impossible to verify independently.
Activists from Russia’s Anti-Maidan movement gather together waving various patriotic flags in centr …
In the year since Ukraine’s transformation, anti-Western sentiment in Russia has spiked, largely over what many perceive as the West’s hand in fomenting the protests in Kiev in order to gain a foothold of control near Russia.
“The United States is the world’s biggest terrorist. … We believe we can rise up again if they leave us alone, but they are always trying to teach us how to live,” said 65-year-old Nina Kishkova, a retired teacher who was at the protest with her friend. Another Maidan “will never win in Russia. I will bring the ammunition myself.”
According to a poll conducted this month by the independent Levada Center, 81 percent of Russians feel negatively about the United States — the highest figure since the early 1990s — and 71 percent feel negatively about the European Union.
The number of Russians who dubbed relations between Russia and the U.S. as that of “enemies” leapt from 4 percent in January 2014 to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.
“There has been no empire in history that did the kind of things to its colonies that America does to the world today,” said Alexander Zaldostanov, the leader of the pro-Kremlin Night Wolves biker gang widely known by his nickname, the Surgeon.
The anti-Western sentiment, sparked by the West’s wholehearted backing of the protests in Kiev, has only deepened as the U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia for annexing the Ukrainian region of Crimea and for supporting the separatists fighting in east Ukraine.
“There’s nothing new about anti-Western sentiments in Russian society, the thing was to bring them to the fore,” said Maria Lipman, an independent analyst. “People have said for a long time that the West is there to do harm to Russia. … Now this sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy because now the West is always discussing how to punish Russia so that it will hurt more.”
In looking for a farm-at-night photo I was thrlled to find that the best one out there is by Eric Limon, who was in Telluride when The Pilgrims started and who is a great guy and a great photographer. This is the final strip of the 2013/14 season. The 10th season of “Cal Rhodes’ ‘The Savage Pilgrims” (Kristin Carella/Cal Rhodes) Copyright 2013/14 The Cal Rhodes Cartoon Company (All Rights Reserved). We’ll be right back at ya with some of our more specific characters that we rolled out during the run of the Pilgrims this year.
This is the first strip in “The Investmatrons” a comic strip about investing and bots that scour the planet looking for distressed entities…we’re gonna try to teach you how to not be a retail sucker…but that means we’re gonna have not be retail suckers ourselves…so this may take a little time. But seriously, we may channel a little Ben Graham (the non Australian rugby playing Ben Graham) in this strip…so very excited here.
“Lasertron Trades Up” Warhols “White Marilyn” Sells for 42 Million clams last week. And now we know the buyer : LT strikes again.
Excited now as we continue to trot out Lasertron imagery THOUGH I cant find images of the gal who played Zembot….Soooooo……Turgenev continues to rise in Oroyol…at least for now.
Okay a look at Boris Brokerov at the X Games by way of intense greenscreening for upcoming 2014 GPC film which is called “Russian Gay Dude.” The film, shot by Brokerov and Victoria Purinova, features appearances by controversial leading LGBT russian activist Nikolai Alexeev, famed LGBT filmmaker ( and before that soviet expert on the cosmos (sigh)) “Mr. Propoganda” and an exploration as well into the current art scene in Moscow. Boris really enjoyed his experiences in “art world.” He was moved. He thinks those experiences have definitely improved his already considerable hockey skills. I have discovered a new patch of benningtonians over the past few weeks and am employing the name of one of them here, as it seems appropriate for one of our more western themed strips. Boris became quite the cowboy at X games….even though I personally was not there.
The “Russian Gay Dude” trailer can be seen here
The theme of the current season of the Martha Graham Dance Company is “Myth and Transformation” — how choreographers use old stories to make contemporary statements. The use of myth can be a powerful method for tapping into the timeless, but the transformations can also say more about the period when they were made than about the period in which they were set.
On Wednesday at the Joyce Theater the first of three programs in a two-week season opened with Graham’s “Phaedra,” from 1962. In her introductory remarks, Janet Eilber, the company’s artistic director, recalled how members of Congress denounced the dance’s lewdness, and she set it in the context of miniskirts and free love.
As usual, the politicians were upset for the wrong reasons. In the Greek myth that “Phaedra” recounts, Aphrodite causes the queen to lust after her own stepson, with fatal consequences. By today’s standards, the choreography is far from explicit about that lust, though it is clear enough. In the final image, a leering Aphrodite spreads her legs as far apart as they can go.
The trouble is that Aphrodite doesn’t do much except leer. Whether in response to the 1960s or to more internal forces, “Phaedra” represents a coarsening of Graham’s art. As Phaedra’s husband, Theseus, Tadej Brdnik manages to slap his thighs with dignity, but it’s not Blakeley White-McGuire’s fault that her Phaedra is no more than a victim.
When she thrusts a knife toward her crotch, it’s hardly an endorsement of the sexual revolution. A stylized vision of Phaedra’s mother copulating with a bull presents female sexuality as a curse. This isn’t “Sex and the Single Girl” (published the same year). It’s an aging artist (Graham was pushing 70) applying her sure storytelling skills to rage at involuntary desire.
The rage of Achilles is the driving force of “The Iliad,” but the Achilles in Richard Move’s “The Show (Achilles Heels)” isn’t so much angry as vain, sealed off in his beauty. He gazes into his hand as if it were a mirror. The heels he wears are high, gold and sparkly.
The work, made for the White Oak Dance Project in 2002 and paired with “Phaedra” as a more recent example of myth transformation, is certainly of its time in the games it plays. Achilles appears on a “reality game show.” The dancers lip-sync dialogue from Hollywood Golden-era films of the story, mocking clunky exposition while making use of it.
Is the cheapening an indictment of the present or an indulgence? Should the sniggering at dramatic old voices extend to Graham, whose technique Mr. Move borrows for Helen of Troy (majestically embodied by Katherine Crockett)? Mr. Move’s dance won’t decide, though its magpie style achieves moments of poetry. It’s best at expressing the tenderness between Achilles and his lover, Patroclus.
Achilles speaks in the recorded voice of Mikhail Baryshnikov, who originated the role. That’s a dance hero’s armor to wear, but Lloyd Mayor, an apprentice with the company when Mr. Move chose him, has everything that the role requires, except celebrity: a beautiful face, sculptural technique. One thing Mr. Move knows for sure is how to pick ’em.
Martha Graham Dance Company performs through March 3 at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, at 19th Street, Chelsea; (212) 242-0800, joyce.org.
Go to Moscow in winter and ride through forests on a horse-drawn sleigh or sail down the Moskva River on an ice-breaking boat; check out new artists in a converted wine factory or 19th-century paintings in a fairy-tale studio.
Ice age to space age
The old Soviet exhibition grounds, to the north of the city centre, are an intriguing destination for visitors. Founded as an agricultural expo in the Thirties, the VVTs (All-Russian Exhibition Centre) celebrated its seventieth birthday this year. People often call it VDNKh (the Exhibition of Economic Achievements), which was its title in the Fifties – and is still the name of the nearest Metro.
The ornate pavilions and fountains represent a colourful variety of styles, from the graceful golden figures of the “Friendship of Nations” to the huge dome of the former Cosmos Pavilion.
There is a new ice rink this winter, and plenty of weird and wonderful museums, shops and rides hidden in the huge two-kilometre complex: an Ice Age Museum in Pavilion 71, where you can have your photo taken with a woolly mammoth; an aquarium with sharks in Pavilion 11; and a Soviet-era IMAX in a round concrete building near the south exit.
Two major attractions in the area are back this year: the ultimate socialist realist sculpture, Vera Mukhina’s 1937 Worker and Farm Girl, which was unveiled again after lengthy renovation this month; and the Space Exploration Museum, underneath the soaring titanium Monument to the Conquerors of Space.
The museum’s collections include the stuffed bodies of Belka and Strelka, the two dogs who survived their trip into space in August 1960. The space theme is enhanced by the “Avenue of Cosmonauts” leading up to the museum and the Moscow monorail, which stops near the main gate.
If all the fairground attractions, neon lights and piped Muzak get too much for you, you can always escape into the muffled acres of snow in the nearby Botanical Gardens. You don’t always realise it when you are in the centre of town, but Moscow actually has nearly 100 parks and gardens with three times as much green space per head as London.
“White space” might be a more accurate description at this time of year. You can snowball round Catherine the Great’s palaces at Tsarytsino, sledge through the ancient orchards at Kolomenskoe or take a troika (horse drawn sleigh) through the 18th-century landscaped park at Kuzminki.
The park is also the official home of Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”), the Russian Father Christmas. At one end of a chain of frozen ornamental lakes is a collection of wooden cottages and carved animals. These include dachas for Ded Moroz and his granddaughter, Snegurochka, the snow maiden, as well as a theatre, ice rink and post office.
Not far away is one of Moscow’s hidden gems: the sphinx-guarded, silk-wallpapered palace at Kuskovo. A beautiful collection of buildings stands beside a lake, where the aristocratic Sheremetev family used to stage mock sea battles. The orangeries house the State Museum of Ceramics, ranging from ancient Greek vases through Alexander I’s Egyptian dinner service to Soviet-era plates, complete with slogans.
For pure winter fun, you might want to head to the island of Serebryany Bor (“Silver Pine Forest”), in a bend of the Moskva River on the other side of the city. “Walruses” (people who like swimming in holes in the ice) plunge into the winter ponds, especially around the Orthodox feast of Epiphany on January 19. At the western end of the island, an outdoor waterside skating rink, ice slides and a fancy log cabin café face the clifftop village of Troitse-Lykovo, with its baroque church, across the river. The village was home to the reclusive writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn before his death in 2008.
When the temperatures are cold enough, you can walk across the frozen Moskva to explore the wooden cottages. The woods here are a paradise for cross-country skiers, and the lake at nearby Strogino is a favourite of snowkiters and ice fishermen. Closer to the centre, the ski lift at Sparrow Hills, with its famous view over the city, takes you to the top of a 90-metre slope, popular with snowboarders.
If all this sounds too chilly, there is always the indoor option. From the cosy bar of a boat, you can sail past Sparrow Hills, Gorky Park and many other famous Moscow landmarks. The Radisson Hotel’s new ice-breaking yachts will be cruising all the way to the beautiful Novospassky Monastery, with a meal included in the £20-30 ticket prices.
Much cheaper is a 50p DIY sightseeing tour on one of Moscow’s trams. Besides the famously ornate underground Metro system, the city has a large network of trams and trolleybuses. The number 39 runs right across town, with views along the river to the Kremlin, passing the ancient Danilov and Donskoy Monasteries.
Moscow is world famous for its cultural and artistic traditions. There are more than 150 museums, many of them commemorating famous writers and artists who have lived in the city. Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky all have “house-museums” in Moscow.
The artist Viktor Vasnetsov, who designed the façade of the Tretyakov Gallery, also built himself a picturesque cottage in 1894 on what was then the outskirts of town. You can visit the house, not far from the old Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard, and see huge canvasses of monsters, warriors and princesses in the wooden attic-studio.
There’s plenty of modern art in Moscow, too. Factories, bus stations and warehouses have been converted into museums. Winzavod has 30 different shops and galleries in the red brick buildings of an old wine factory, and the café serves a great business lunch on weekdays for 220 roubles (£4.50).
Their current offerings include an exhibition by Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto, which runs until the end of January, and they frequently host markets of funky designer crafts.