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Nineteenth-century radicals loathed Russia above all other states because it had a quasi-religious mission to preserve autocracy at home and promote reactionary regimes abroad. To true believers, the “Third Rome” of Christian tsarism defended the divinely ordained old order against the threats of liberalism, socialism, nationalism and modernity.

Vladimir Putin is outflanking the west at every turn | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer – by Nick Cohen – 12/21/2013

After reading Nick Cohen’s relay of Pat Buchanan’s words about Vladimir Putin, it turns out that I am a part of a movement characterized as the “militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.”

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Ya ha!

I have found my place.

You know my lowest common denominator standards:

— Compassion | Humility | INCLUSION | Integrity —

Buchanan, if he’s now enamored of Putinism, and Putin, who would seem by the show of affection proffered in weapons deliveries and benevolent shadowing, remains committed to Bashar (The Butcher) Assad  may be counted on for the grossest callousness, pride, exclusion, and — no secret where so many secret and nepotist arrangements would seem to be involved — corruption.

The same as (gasp!) Al Qaeda.

OUR problem, me hearties, me droogies, me Facebook best buddies from Riyadh to Islamabad, is that whether having to do with Assad vs. the Islamist Edge or Putin vs. Obama, it would seem similar mentalities wish to occupy the same space or shine in the same lights — not exactly atypical of “malignant narcissists” — while driving everyone else into misery or just plain out of their mirrored spheres!

THEIR problem, Mr. Obama, Mr. Putin, may have to do with escaping their own glorious selves.  Of the two, Obama, being of the Christian compassionate honest humble and generously inclusive democratic and open society west, may lay claim to having done less harm in the short term than his superpower counterweight; Putin, however, would do well to look over the Assad combat doctrine and its effects on once disinterested Syrians who have by the effects of extensive bombing and indiscriminate fire been turned out of their homes or cheated of their lives while the Al Qaeda affiliates’ advance seems to have remained out of range and sight of the same.

Post-Soviet Syria was post-Soviet Putin’s to influence and transform.

Well, some, I suppose, both milk the cow and starve it until it keels over.


In Putin, the past fights mightily with the future.


In my own recurring themes, Putin and I might share the appreciation of what I call “19th Century Modern”, an aristocratic and noble notion reinforced by the appearance of affluence and wealth.  Living in the 19th Century with 21st Century appointments and appliances seems to me pretty cool, although I’ve had to stuff my mansion into a cabin (or cottage) based in about 1,000-sq.ft. of garden apartment walk-up, and things are not looking so good for drives in the country and claret before one or another of the ever glowing electronic hearths.

Still, the situation here is 19th Century (Modern), and it’s pretty good but for the worry.

For the narcissist, reparative or malignant (guilty, I confess, of one or the other or a bit of both), there’s much to recommend it and one may bet on the intelligentsia’s buy-in, Georgian brick, ivy, tweed, and elbow patches and all.

So is the fighting about castle and keep?

It could be so, at least symbolically.

It takes a castle, a manor, a very many of them to create and sustain a great language and culture.  If perhaps in his mind, his peacock charm, ambition, dreams at night, and hail fellow well met — and now and then stabbed! — President Putin has had to step back a century, the same may serve to remind of the magic of that era as well.

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It’s almost Christmas.

Winter returns tonight to my home in western Maryland — ice and snow, wool blankets and sweaters, steaming pots of tea (someone else in the family got the samovar) — so I may offer this bit of in-solidarity to my unknown Muscovy doppelganger, reasonably appointed and of good temper: let’s enjoy the show because, sooner or later, for Christianity or fashion designers, for the Jews who work harder for humanity than anyone else, and for humanity served, we’re going to have to do something about Syria and soon, and we don’t want it to be either of the two pariahs busying themselves this evening with the other’s destruction.


From Saint Petersburg — and the 19th Century.

▶ Tchaikovsky – The Nutcracker – Mariinsky Theatre Gergiev – YouTube – Posted 10/18/2013.

Related: The Mariinsky theatre: Goldfingered Gergiev | The Economist – 5/11/2013.

Odds & Ends

Putinism – An Ideology? | – 2/20/2013.

What English words employ the Spanish suffix ‘-ista’? – English Language & Usage Stack Exchange – I generally like my clevers but am not happy with the overtones, so I’m unlikely to employ “Putinista” again.

What WILL they talk about? Vladimir Putin buys £15m Marbella mansion, with Rod Stewart as a neighbour | Mail Online – 10/18/2012.  I would live there.  🙂  And jam with Rod.  It would be awesome.

From Pussy Riot to Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Putin has been underrated | Geoffrey Wheatcroft | Comment is free | The Guardian – 12/20/2013.

Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively cancels Christmas in Sochi ahead of 2014 Olympics | National Post – 11/29/2013


Photos: Fighting intensifies in Aleppo, Syria | Al Jazeera America – 12/23/2013.

Syria: Refugee Babies In ‘Terrible’ Conditions – 12/23/2013.

Syrian civil war creating refugee crisis in Lebanon – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – 12/23/2013.

BBC News – Syria war: Many dead as Assad helicopters pound Aleppo – 12/22/2013.


19th Century Modern | A blend of 19th Century interests in a Modern Day life

Oppenheim Arts & Letters: 19th Century Modern & 19th Century Modern | J. S. Oppenheim — All Together 😉

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