Monday, January 27, 2020

Two paintings by the artist Ivan Aivazovsky that have been banned in Russia since 1892, are now available for viewing


There were several events in the history of Russia that the government did not want depicted and tried to hide. One of these forbidden pages of history was the famine that swept the southern part of Russia and the Volga region in 1891-92. When news of the famine reached other countries, the American people collected and sent to Russia five steamers with food for the starving population. The main reason for the famine of 1891-92 was the state’s agricultural policy. In order to replenish the treasury with income from agricultural products, Russia exported large quantities of wheat. In 1891, 3.5 million tons of grain were exported from the country, and in the following year (1892), when famine was raging in the Russian Empire, the Russian government and entrepreneurs sold 6.6 million tons of grain to Europe, which was almost twice as much as the previous year.
Emperor Alexander III categorically denied the existence of famine in Russia, declaring: “I do not have hungry people, there are only those affected by crop failure.” The situation in the country was catastrophic, and this terrible news swept Europe and reached America. The American public, led by William Edgar, editor of the North Western Miller weekly, offered humanitarian assistance to Russia. However, the emperor did not grant permission for the aid to enter Russia. Only after repeated requests did he allow the donated food to feed the starving Russian people.

                                      “Aid Ship”, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1892

For several months organizations in the northern U.S. states and the American Red Cross were engaged in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the ports of America, and at the beginning of 1892 the first two ships loaded with flour and grain sailed to distant Russia. From early spring to mid-summer 1892 five steamers with food arrived in Russia with more than 10,000.00 tons of food. The cost of the delivered assistance was estimated at $ 1 million.

“Distribution of Food”, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1892

Ivan Aivazovsky, a Russian Romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art, witnessed the arrival of the ships with the long-awaited cargo, which helped to improve the catastrophic situation in the country. In the Baltic ports of Liepaja and Riga the steamboats were met by welcoming orchestras. Wagons, decorated with American and Russian flags, and loaded with food set off to distribute their cargo to the needy, This event impressed the artist so much, that he produced two paintings: “Aid Ship” and “Distribution of Food”.
The paintings were not allowed to be exhibited in any of Russia’s galleries. Emperor Alexander III was annoyed by the mood of the people shown by the artist in his paintings. Moreover, the paintings demonstrated the emperor’s inability to rule the country and causing the famine in Russia. During a visit to America in 1892-1893, Ivan Aivazovsky donated his canvases to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.
In 1962, when the USA and the USSR were on the verge of a nuclear war because of the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba, the story about America’s assistance during the 1892-1993 famine resurfaced in American newspapers Trying to find examples of US-Russian cooperation in the past, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy borrowed Ivan Aivazovsky paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Arts for a conference room in the White House. Against this background, the president and his press secretaries made statements on their progress in sorting out relations with Moscow. The Aivazovsky paintings, the Americans argued, were a reminder of past fraternal feelings between the two peoples.
In 1979, the paintings became part of a private collection in Pennsylvania, and were not accessible to the public for many years. However, at a 2008 Sotheby’s auction, both of Aivazovsky’s historical paintings were sold for $2.4 million to a philanthropist, who immediately transferred them to the Corcoran Gallery of Arts. In conclusion, it should be noted that these paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky, painted in 1892, have never been allowed to be shown in modern Russia.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

How Russian Artillery Destroys Eastern Ukraine

Janyary 31, 2019 (Youtube) Put this video together to illustrate some of the larger civilian populated areas and two International airports which Russia's forces in Ukraine have turned into nothing more than rubble.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

President Zelensky signs decree to call up for military service from age of 18

January 19, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree on calling up for military service from the age of 18. "To call up for military service suitable for health reasons male citizens of Ukraine who are 18 years old by the day of departure to military units, and older persons under the age of 27 and who are not eligible for exemption or deferment from conscription for military service," according to the document posted on the president's website on January 16. 
The draft campaign in 2020 will last from April to June and from October to December. As UNIAN reported earlier, an autumn campaign to call up for military service kicked off in Ukraine on October 1, 2019. The draft age in Ukraine was set at 20-27 years. The duration of service was 18 months, as well as 12 months for those who have higher education (master or specialist degrees). Army conscripts are not involved in combat missions in the area of the Joint Forces Operation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Historical seminar in the Poltava Battle Museum

January 18, 2020 Today in the Museum of the Battle of Poltava, a scientific seminar dedicated to the 169th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Pavlovsky, founder and first director of the museum,  was held. My report was devoted to the work of the Swedish historian Håkan Henriksson, research archivist at ArkivCentrum Örebro län, Örebro, Sweden. 
Håkan Henriksson, research archivist at ArkivCentrum Örebro län, Örebro, Sweden

One of his latest articles is dedicated to the fate of the Ukrainian Cossacks, who were captured by the Swedish during the Great Northern War. For seminar participants, I translated an article by Hokan Henriksson: “Ukrainian Cossacks and other prisoners of war (POW) in Sweden during the Great Northern War (1700–1721)” for our local historians and museum's scientists. Altogether, more than 13.500 POW were brought to Sweden during the Great Northern War (1700–1721) of those about 650 were Ukrainian Cossacks. 
This article gives an overview of the occurrence of prisoners of war in the Swedish Empire during the Great Northern War: their capture, the number of prisoners of war, their nationalities, how they were treated and with a focus on fates of many Ukrainian Cossacks captured by the army of Charles XII. All historians and scientists working for the museum are looking for to meeting Mr.Henriksson in May 2020 in our museum when he is going to deliver us a lecture, dedicated to the Great Northern war 1700-1721.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Zelensky invites Sweden to join investigation into UIA plane crash

January 10, 2020 (UKRINFORM) President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone conversation with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, expressed condolences to the families of the Swedish citizens killed in the UIA plane crash in Iran and invited Sweden to join the investigation, according to the president’s press service. "We are making every effort to find out the causes of the plane crash and are ready to closely cooperate with Sweden. Our task is to find out the truth. This is the main thing,” Zelensky said, inviting Sweden to join the investigation. He noted that Ukraine is ready to participate as much as possible in the investigation in line with international law, in particular, the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation. 
The president reminded that the day before a group of Ukrainian experts arrived in Iran to assist in the investigation. He also expressed condolences and words of support for the relatives and friends of the Swedish citizens killed in the plane crash in Iran. “Ukraine is stunned by the tragedy. Thank you for your solidarity and empathy,” Zelensky said. In turn, Stefan Löfven expressed condolences from the people of Sweden and said that official Stockholm was ready to assist in ensuring a transparent investigation. Zelensky also stressed that Ukraine was in constant contact with a group of experts in Tehran and would inform its partners of the progress of the investigation. During the talk, it was noted the importance of the phone call between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Sweden the day before, who discussed cooperation in the investigation into the plane crash. As reported, January 9 was declared the day of mourning in Ukraine due to the crash of a UIA plane in Iran.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The man who saw the future

Recently, secret details appeared on the Internet from the life of one of the most mysterious men of the 20th century. I am talking about the famous Wolf Messing, whom some considered the greatest psychic, while others saw him as a charlatan. 

Some details of Messing's meeting with Joseph Stalin appeared. Reportedly, it all started in Gomel, where two strangers, having heard about supernatural abilities, took Messing to a hotel to meet with Stalin. At first, Stalin did not believe in Messing's extraordinary abilities and decided to test him. Stalin's first task was to get 100 thousand rubles from a local bank while showing only a blank piece of paper. Messing performed this task successfully - he went to the bank, hypnotized the cashier, received the money and brought it to Stalin.

 After that, Stalin invited Messing to Moscow, where he gave him the task to penetrate without a pass into the well-guarded office of  Lavrentiy Beria, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus (NKVD). Messing also performed this task brilliantly. As a result, the psychic became a frequent guest with Joseph Stalin. It should be noted that so far there is no evidence for all this, so we can only believe that this was really so.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Swedish alcohol burner in the kitbag of the Soviet officer.

January 3, 2020 Recently I cleaned up a garage that for many years belonged to my father-in-law. He took part in the Second World War and then at the rank of Colonel served in the Poltava anti-aircraft missile high military school. He was among those who tested in the late 1960s the first Soviet anti-aircraft missile systems and trained cadets to use them. One such system was the 9K31 Strela-1 (English: Arrow-1), a highly mobile, short-range, low altitude infra-red guided surface-to-air missile system. Mostly all tests and exercises for cadets took place on the training ground near the city of Berdiansk, located on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov. What I’ve found among different military items in my father-in-law’s garage probably was used in the field camp for boiling water. I am talking about an old smoky brass alcohol burner that you can see in the photo below.
I filled the burner with ethanol and in 3 minutes I got a cup of boiling water. In spite of being old, the burner worked perfectly. You can see it in the video below.



But what surprised me most was what I saw when I cleaned the smoked bottom of the spirit lamp with sandpaper. You can see it by yourself in the photo below.
Unfortunately, the father-in-law had passed away many years ago and I can’t ask him how he got this alcohol burner that was made in a country that in those distant years could hardly be considered an ally of the Soviet Union….