Recent Episodes in Trump’s Russian Connection Trump’s Russian Connection 1:28 F.B.I. Director Confirms Russia Investigation Election 2016 3:34 Donald Trump’s Russian Connections Trump’s New Government 2:07 Why Michael Flynn Resigned Donald Trump 2:39 Putin on Trump, Prostitutes and Hoaxes Donald Trump 1:06 Trump Urges Russia to Locate Clinton Emails Election 2016 1:47 Trump Calls for Better Ties with Russia News Clips: Politics 0:42 Putin Praises Trump in Year-End Address Breaking News 0:45 Trump expects ‘very good relationship’ with Putin Breaking News 1:21 Trump: “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin” U.S. & Politics 0:27 Ryan Disavows Trump’s Putin Remarks Trump’s New Government 3:05 Flynn’s Controversies: Islam, Russia and More U.S. & Politics 0:43 Jeff Sessions’s Testimony on Russia Contacts Trump’s Russian Connection 2:41 Sessions: ‘I Have Recused Myself’ […]
Russia is the largest country in the world. From the coniferous forests and bare steppes dotting the Eurasian belt to the frozen tundra and iced permafrost scattered on the Kolyma Mountains in Siberia, this immense territory showcases a diverse topography that spans over 6 million square miles of land. Looking at Russia on a map, one can see large, shallow rivers that occasionally interrupt this vast landscape with oblique and vertical lines, like tangled veins nourishing a wide green leaf with their dense sap. Historically, rivers played a crucial role in Russia’s economy. The Vikings who dominated the region during the ninth century largely used the streams to trade amber, wood, fish, slaves and fur, the “soft gold” and Russia’s main source of income. As hunting and trading expanded further north, rivers became the country’s main system for keeping Russian provinces, its cities and residents, all connected along the trade waterway. “Rivers is just a starting point [of a great civilization,]” Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov explains. “Because of the rivers, Russia became so huge and so rich.” But Russia didn’t always value this great resource. The Bolshevik revolution and then the Soviet regime transformed not only the course of economy — railroads and concrete highways substituted most of the waterways — they also instilled a work ethic that forbade entrepreneurship and restrained private initiative, curbing the spirit of the Russian people. As rivers lost their role as the central arteries of communication and trade, nearby villages on the waterways’ banks started to vanish. Retracing the ancient, shallow, trade waterways forded centuries ago by traders and sailors, Sinyakov’s work, On the rivers, aims to document the complexity of disappearing villages while analyzing the economical and psychological repercussions on the remaining residents. In the spring of 2014, and then again a year later, he joined carpenter and traveler Sergey Filenko, who had explored the region’s waterways for 13 years and had designed a tour of the ancient routes. The duo started from Sosnogorsk village, in the Komi Republic. They sailed along the Izhma River reaching its source and then carried the wooden boat to the Vychegda River, reaching the Arkhangelsk region. Overall they covered a distance of about 550 miles. In 2015, they journeyed 370 miles along the Sukhona River. They visited almost every village they encountered on their way to Vologda. Sinyakov also explored the northern regions by himself, visiting hamlets along the Usa and Ob rivers, once the final destinations of fur traders en route to the Arctic Ocean. Traveling on the rivers was a peculiar experience for Sinyakov, a former photographer for Agence France-Presse and Reuters. “As a journalist, I know what I am going to say with a story, how I am going to take photos, and what kind of photos I have to take just to tell a story,” he says. “But this river story was completely different because I had no idea where I would go.” Most importantly, he had no idea what he would find. In Vorobyevo village on the Sukhona river, for example, the photographer met with the only resident left: Vasily Rasskazov, a sarcastic, heavy smoker who spoke about the Soviet Union with criticism and a touch of nostalgia, recounting memories from a grim past of oppression mixed with a beloved, but lost, youth. “I wanted to show [the Russians] on one hand as simple people, but on the other hand as complicated people,” Sinyakov explains. “On one hand they are happy, but they are also unhappy. They are proud of the past, but nothing to be proud of in Modern Russia.” There are still signs of hope, Sinyakov points out. A reverse trend might suggest a return of young entrepreneurs to the countryside, and young residents annually reenact ancient chants and dances to preserve their traditions. “They just want to live a full life. Not a rich life, but a common life, like have enough money [for themselves,] enough money to educate their children, have a business, a nice neighborhood around them,” says Sinyakov. In a complicated tangle of contradictions that afflict their existence, many have turned to Putin as a savior, the photographer adds, as the president has given the country new luster and power on the international map. But little, if anything, has been done for the small villages. Giving voice to the residents, the photographer urges his fellow countrymen to reflect on their conditions and come to terms with reality: “What happened during this Soviet Union? What is now? What will happen in the future?” These are the questions Sinyakov wants Russians to ask themselves. Denis Sinyakov is a Moscow-based freelance photographer and videographer. Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is the former International Photo Editor at TIME.com. Lucia De Stefani is a writer and contributor at TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Follow TIME LightBox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. […]
The scariest thing you’ll watch all day: Al Gore and the climate change conspiracy | Grist
The scariest thing you’ll watch all day: Al Gore and the climate change conspiracy
By Clayton Aldernon 30 Oct 2015Share
In honor of Halloween, Grist has been digging into some scary stuff today. The scariest thing we’ve come across? Not Ted Cruz. Not even Bobby Jindal’s bacon drawer. No: It was the truth behind the conspiracy of climate change. Check out the video below, from The Guardian and CollegeHumor.
The scary truth behind the climate change conspiracy
, The Guardian.
Find this article interesting?
Donate now to support our work.
to view the comments.
Get Grist in your inbox
Getting warmer: More Republicans are starting to take climate change seriouslyU.N. predicts the impact of existing global climate pledgesThe scariest thing you’ll watch all day: Al Gore and the climate change conspiracyAdvertisement
loading more stories…
The new study not only looks at race but at immigrant status and language.
Climate & Energy
Sen. Kelly Ayotte is among a handful of politicians trying to shift the GOP’s approach. A recent Conservative Clean Energy Summit had the same goal.
In this week’s Shots & Chasers, we’re going to focus on What’s Going On With Male Birth Control.
<!– .row –>
A new video exposes the truth behind global warming.
Climate & Energy
People who flee climate-related disasters need help from the U.N. and the global community. Instead, we’re still arguing over what to call them.
Climate & Energy
A new report projects that countries’ current commitments could limit global warming to around 2.7 degrees C.
<!– .row –>
Vladimir Putin isn’t very worried about climate change, but Russia should be.
Suburbs, smartphones, and responsibilities pull us away from fostering new friendships.
Climate & Energy
There’s not much chance of a global carbon price emerging from Paris, but smaller cap-and-trade programs and carbon taxes are in effect around the world.
<!– .row –> ]]>
© 1999-2015 Grist Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Grist is powered by WordPress.com VIP.
Svetlana Alexievich is the voice of modern Russia. Her non-fiction narratives, based on interviews with witnesses, are literary testaments of her country’s turbulent history from the Second World War to the perestroika euphoria and its disenchanting aftermath. The news that she is the receiver of this year’s Nobel prize in literature came as a rewarding surprise to every journalist in the world, not only because it reminds us that serious reporting is not dead in the Internet age, but also because it bestows a poetic quality to the journalistic endeavor. As Alexievich has put it, “I don’t just record a dry history of events and facts, I’m writing a history of human feelings.” The technique of blending journalism with literary embellishments had been successfully practiced before her time in Soviet Russia and in the West by authors like Vasil Bykau and Ales Adamovich — the Belarussian writers who are credited as Alexievich’s early main influences — or Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, among others. But unlike her predecessors, Alexievich, who has written only in Russian, totally silenced her own voice and let only the witnesses speak, thus inventing her own genre. ‘People always speak beautifully when they are in love or close to death.’ As she put it, “each person offers a text of his or her own.” To those who wondered how come ordinary people always speak as beautifully as they do in her work, Alexievich offered that “people always speak beautifully when they are in love or close to death. We, people of socialism, are not like others. We have our peculiar ideas about heroes and martyrs.” One may add that people speak so skillfully in Alexievich’s narratives because the author is patient and determined to have their voices heard. In “Voices from Chernobyl,” one of Alexievich’s most powerful works, a witness utters nervously: “I’m not a writer. I won’t be able to describe it. My mind is not enough to understand it.” Nonetheless, the witness did manage to find a voice to describe it. Extracting wisdom from people’s traumas and offering them their lost dignity in return is Alexievich’s quixotic art that finally prompted the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award her the prestigious prize earlier this month as recognition “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” I first met her at her home in Minsk in August 1991. I went there in the early afternoon and I ended up staying until late. Svetlana speaks as beautifully as the people she interviews. The sun, I remember, had already set and it was getting dark in her kitchen. Alexievich rose to turn on the light. She paused for a second and, noticing my empty mug, with a gentle move she refilled the tea kettle with water and put it on the burner. She had been talking to me about her encounters with Western intellectual women and her decision not to move abroad. (In particular, she was responding to my question about how come she did not leave Belarus in which her work, to this day, has been consistently censored — since 1994 her books have not been published in Belarus at all). Svetlana took back her seat across from me on the wooden kitchen table and said: Expatriation is not a solution. It’s only an evasion of our situation. This presumed desire of ours to escape from our country is one of the greatest false perceptions that most of you Western people have for us Russians. Our image in the West is not accurate, and neither the way we think about you is correct. We have mythologized you and you cannot understand us. That is a deep problem. It is, however, a passing problem because both you and we are in the beginning of the age of a new understanding. That was the time of perestroika and glasnost (“openness”), instituted by Gorbachev in the late 1980s, that swept away the old Soviet system. Boris Yeltsin had just rose to power that summer and Russians mirthfully cued for days out of McDonald’s in Moscow’s Pushkin Square to get a bite of the American taste. It was a very exciting time to be in Russia. I was dispatched there as a young reporter to cover the transition from communism to what no-one-really-knew-would-be the day after. I spent several weeks in Moscow and in what was then Leningrad interviewing people from the new and the old establishment, and the idea to get to Belarus primarily came from Helena Gourko, a writer and professor of history of philosophy at Minsk University who became my interpreter and companion in my journey. “You can’t leave Russia without talking to Svetlana Alexievich,” Helena said solemnly. “She’s the greater living Russian writer. One day soon she will get the Nobel Prize, mark my words.” And so we landed at Minsk’s airport on a warm sunny day. The capital of Belarus is a friendly city of almost 2 million people, not very far from the borders with Poland and some 250 miles from Chernobyl. Visually, Minsk is modern, flat and simple, unlike Moscow or St. Petersburg, because it had to be rebuilt from scratch after its complete destruction in the Second World War. Humans and buildings were often reduced to ashes around here in the 20th century — a horrific century that brought to Belarus, as Belarussian columnist Valzhyna Mort recently recapped in the New York Times, “an unrelenting series of misfortunes.” Mort notes: The first German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 fell on its Eastern Front — on Belarus. During the war, 209 out of 270 Belarussian towns were completely destroyed … Thousands of Belarussians died in the 1930s at Stalin’s hand; five decades later the republic would endure the bulk of the fallout from the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in neighboring Ukraine. Her sister was killed and her mother was blinded in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. Alexievich was born and bred in the sadness of this place, in what is now Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. No wonder her work is all about it. Her sister was killed and her mother was blinded in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. Even before that, Alexievich had already resolved to chronicle the endless misfortunes of her land — most of them intentionally silenced by the Soviet system. Writers who emerge from cultures in crisis and transition, the South African Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer told me once, are twice as aware of Brecht’s dictum: “to speak of trees is almost a crime. For it is a kind of silence about injustice.” As Alexievich explained to me back then, she did not want to write fiction, or blend the experiences of other people’s sufferings with her own prose. So she mastered what she studied in college: journalism. Armed with a tape recorder she began interviewing countless witnesses whose testimonies of suffering were rendered in her deeply researched narratives as uninterrupted blocks of speech: the hardships endured by the Russian women soldiers in the Second World War (“War’s Unwomanly Face,” 1988); the trauma experienced by the Russian soldiers during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (“Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from a Forgotten War,” 1991); the dark memories of the Chernobyl disaster survivors (“Voices from Chernobyl,” 2005); and the unsettling transition that followed the fall of communism in Russia (“Second-Hand Time,” 2013), which Alexievich was about to start when I met her and she completed long later. Graffiti is pictured on a wall in the ghost city of Pripyat near the fourth nuclear reactor at the former Chernobyl Nuclear power plant. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images. The fact that she is the 14th woman to be awarded the Nobel in literature must be one of Alexievich’s greater delights. Back then, we talked a lot about the presumed emancipation of the Soviet women, which, as Alexievich pointed out, was a pure fiction: The [Soviet] ideology of equality produced a very stupid model. We created a society that is culturally nihilistic. Homo-Sovieticus, this ‘poor,’ as Dostoyevsky referred to him, ideologically one-dimensional man, whose intelligence is smashed by the system, is our collective character. This smashed monster now is called to take us out of social and financial chaos! Like anything else that affects us emotionally, this despair is more felt by us Russian women. Women are the most denigrated social group in the Soviet Union. The idea of women’s emancipation is only a slogan in — but also, I should say, in many places outside — the Soviet Union. But especially in the militaristic Soviet society, people only thought of life in terms of struggle and the workers’ toil. It was never a good place to be a woman here. State politics always excluded feminism as an ideology, because our society does not need woman as a real, equal member. All this has created a false perception of the female character in Russia that also reflects the false image of Russian women abroad. For someone who has spent a lifetime writing about the feelings of others, Alexievich remains enigmatically silent about her own feelings. “It’s not important the way I feel,” she told me in her kitchen. “My task has a collective scope.” Alexievich has lived alone most of her life, but not necessarily in seclusion. Her kitchen never stopped being the vibrant place I knew and cherished as a young visitor. Even though her apartment was large and elegant, all the social activity took place around Svetlana’s kitchen because, as another guest reporter recently confirmed, this is “the room where, in keeping with the Soviet intelligentsia tradition, all the important conversations happen.” Naturally, aside from her personal friendships and cozy social evenings at home, Alexievich spends thousands of hours traveling and interacting with strangers from all over Russia whose oral stories will end up in her work. For most of her adult life she has lived in Minsk, with a 10-year break of self-exile in European capitals, including Paris. She was running away from the Belarus restricted press freedoms until she realized that political oppression is an integral part of her fate and her story and she eventually returned because there is nothing to do about bad politics aside from, perhaps, keep writing about it. Her Nobel no doubt pays tribute to other daring Russian women reporters like Anna Politkovskaya, a severe critic of Putin’s Russia, who was assassinated in 2006 for exposing the dirt of Russian politics. Alexievich never ceased being outspoken of the ills of Soviet Russia. Nowadays she is discontentedly compelled to remind the world that, ironically, the ills have become even greater in the post-Communist Russia. In a press conference in Berlin a few days after the announcement of her winning the Nobel, Alexievich spoke unreservedly about the untrustworthiness of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the Belarus president who has turned Belarus into a “soft-dictatorship.” “He is a ‘Soviet man’ and will never change,” she said. Alexievich further described Putin’s Russia as a place where “one can no longer speak of democracy” and “where ‘liberal’ is a dirty word.” She explained that, “it isn’t about Putin. It’s about the collective Putin. He has a huge approval rating, perhaps 80 percent … I now understand what Hannah Arendt meant when she talked about ‘dark times.’ Russia is now living in dark times.” ‘Very often we can hear people in the West speak of Russia’s plight with haughtiness: there is always something wrong with these Russians. In actual fact, the whole world today is at risk.’ Dickens’ truism “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” might sum up best the regressive pace of the world from the 1990’s global euphoria to today’s resurgence of ideological divisions, migrant crisis and faltering economies. Especially the relationship between Russia and America could not be further away than the days when Ronnie and Gorby posed as best buddies. The new age of understanding between Russia and the West that Alexievich hoped for back in 1991 did not quite materialize during the sunny days of glasnost. Perestroika came and went and what followed it for some is as scary as the beginning of the longest Soviet night. Regardless, Alexievich, who turned 67 in May, is still optimistic. After all, she is a woman of spring and as the Russians know, spring is not only the “time of plans and projects,” as Tolstoy famously claimed, but also of reconciliation. If the new understanding between her world and ours did not happen under happier circumstances, it might as well happen in gloom. “America is a remarkable country but I have a feeling that it’s a different country after 9/11,” Alexievich said a few years ago: America now understands how fragile this world is and how we all depend on one another … I think after 9/11 Americans may be more receptive to my books than before it. In the modern world it is dangerous to neglect the experience of other peoples’ sufferings. We can describe Russia — and Belorussia, for that matter — as a civilization of ordeals and suffering. Very often we can hear people in the West speak of Russia’s plight with haughtiness: there is always something wrong with these Russians. In actual fact, the whole world today is at risk. Fear is a large part of our lives — more, even, than love. Thus, the Russian experience of suffering acquires particular value. We all need courage to live on. I hope we’ll have enough. Alexievich’s “Voices for Chernobyl” was published in the U.S. in 2005. Her most recent book, “Second-Hand Time” was published in 2013 and is currently being translated into English. The English edition will be released in 2016. Earlier on WorldPost: — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]
It’s a hard fact of exploratory history that angry people don’t achieve much in space. You have to be patient when you design your rockets, steely-eyed when you launch them and utterly unflappable when you actually get where you’re going. It was hard not to notice the stay-poised doctrine at work in the past few days, as two different space projects played out in two different parts of the world with two very different results. On Friday, Russia scrapped the launch of its new Angara rocket—a booster that has been in development since 1994 and has gone pretty much nowhere. Vladimir Putin was personally involved both in overseeing the launch and in authorizing the stand-down—a line of command that would seem awfully strange if it were President Obama on the horn with Cape Canaveral telling the pad engineers what they can launch and when they can launch it. On Saturday, meantime, NASA successfully tested its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, a nifty piece of engineering that the space agency admittedly overhyped as a “flying saucer,” but that does kind of look like one and is actually a prototype of a new landing system for spacecraft going to Mars—a place NASA has been visiting with greater and greater frequency of late. The U.S. and Russia were once the Castor and Pollux of space travel, cosmic twins that dazzled the world with their serial triumphs in the 1960s and ’70s, but they’ve gone in different directions since. America’s manned space program has been frustratingly adrift since the end of the Apollo era, but the shuttles did fly successfully 133 times (and failed disastrously twice) and new crewed spacecraft are in development. The unmanned program, meantime, has been a glorious success, with robot craft ranging across the solar system, to planets, moons, comets and asteroids—and one ship even exiting the solar system altogether. And Russia? Not so much. The collapse of communism, the loss of Kazakhstan—which put the Baikonaur Cosmodrome, Russia’s Cape Canaveral, in an entirely different country—and hard economic times made space an unaffordable luxury. But now Russia is grimly trying to claw its way back—and the grimness is a problem. The Angara launch was supposed to take place from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia, a new installation intended to re-centralize the space program, getting it out of Kazakhstan and back on home soil. It’s of a piece with a range of Russia’s actions lately, which have, much like the Angara, been more fizzle than flight. Putin’s Crimean land grab seemed bold if larcenous for a moment, but the blowback has been severe and he’s already backing down from further actions, with his ambitions for a renewed Russian empire limited—for the moment at least—to a single Black Sea island with less square mileage than Massachusetts. His long dreamed-of economic union—announced with enormous fanfare in early June and intended to serve as a counterweight to the 28-member EU—turned out to be nothing more than a table for three, shared with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Ukraine initially RSVP’ed yes, but that was one revolution and one Russian invasion ago, and the new government is once again tilting west. And so it will probably go with Russia in space. The original space race was no less political than anything Russia is doing today, but both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were operating from positions of strength, projecting their competing power over a sprawling region of client states and taking the duel to the cosmic high ground. Russia today—with Putin calling the shots on when a booster should be launched and the government issuing petulant threats to quit flying American astronauts to the International Space Station—is acting neither strong nor confident. It is, instead, joining the long list of states that have dreamed of space but sought to power themselves more with rage than rocket fuel. And consider how far they’ve gotten. North Korea? Pathetic. Iran? Please. China? They’re doing great things now, but that only started when they climbed down from their revolutionary zeal and started focusing on the engineering and physics instead of the ideology and slogans. Russia may once again become the cosmic pioneer it was—and space fans of good will are rooting for that. With the Cold War over, it matters less whether the first flag on Mars or the next one on the moon is the stars and stripes or the Russian tri-color or even the Chinese stars. As long as a human being is planting it, that will be good enough. So the door is always open, Russia. But please, leave the nasty outside before you come in. […]
Will Russian President Vladimir Putin get richer thanks to a sweetheart government coal deal in Montana? Last month the Treasury Department informed Congress that Mr. Putin personally held an interest in an international oil and gas investment fund called the Gunvor Group, run out of Geneva, Switzerland. Team Putin adamantly denied his involvement, but the Treasury Department insisted it was right. The Gunvor Group is a large and profitable enterprise, producing $91 billion in revenues in 2013, but unlike U.S […]
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s … Vladimir Putin […]