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When I was in Kosovo in 1999, everybody waited that Russians will give those S-300 rockets to the Serbs who are our brethren. It was a lot of talk, Igor Ivanov the foreign minister on TV everyday, but no rockets. Today they are going to give it to the Syriac. Pourquoi pas ?
Cats in cages, is it good?
In the late 1990s I travelled to the south of China and saw many times cats in narrow cages in front of restaurants. Hopefully it is prohibited today. Besides, Russian circus clown and animal trainer Yuri Kuklachev ( http://www.kuklachev.ru/eng/yuri/ ) trains cats since 1990. I don't know his training methods but cats do sit in cages for long time, also during transportation. Cats don't like it because they are cleanly; besides, they can get infected by excrements of other cats: http://malaysia.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130314094748AAjzh3Y
82nd anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev.
Did he plan mortality increase?
It is known that alcohol consumption in the former Soviet Union rapidly increased after the anti-alcohol campaign (1985-88). It means that the economic reforms with privatization of many factories during the 1990s were in a sense accomplished under the “anesthesia” of the people not supposed to participate in it. The fact that the state, at various times, encouraged alcohol sales, is known to the international community. Retrospectively, it becomes clear that the anti-alcohol campaign (1985-88) was just another tool used for the same purpose, with a predictable failure and a recoil effect at the required moment. Drunkenness, truancy, and petty larceny at workplaces were often tolerated by the management at that and earlier time. In a sense, it facilitated the economic reforms. Many workers did not actively oppose privatizations, performed by the former party leaders not always in accordance with the law, because they had not been innocent themselves.
By 1993, the average expectation of life at birth for Russian men was estimated to be 59 years. In 2008, the difference in life expectancy between men in some West European countries and Russia was reported to be 20 years. The Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign and other policies contributed to the mortality increase predominantly among workers. Some people name it genoside; certainly, it is a matter of definition, how to name the policies predictably causing enhanced mortality. Apart from alcohol, limited availability of modern health care is an obvious cause of the low life expectancy in Russia. Early death of pensioners, especially of men, who usually don't sit with grandchildren, is strategically good for the state. Accordingly, middle-aged men are sometimes visibly unwelcome in the state polyclinics.
Jargin S. Some aspects of medical education in the former Soviet Union. Sao Paulo Med J. 2012;130(1):65-6.
There is much resonance around the case Maksim Kuzmin. Being acquainted with the topic, I just would like to comment that most of the research on child abuse has been performed in the USA. The mechanisms of detection, reporting, prevention and handling of child abuse are, to the best of my knowledge, much better developed in the USA than in the former SU. In Russia, many people (neighbors, teachers, family friends etc.) see child abuse but do not report. Some of them think that child abuse is a norm, others mistrust authorities.
Please view this open access article:
Jargin SV. Letter from Russia: child abuse and alcohol misuse in a victim. Alcohol and Alcoholism 2011 Nov-Dec;46(6):734-6.
GĂ©rard Depardieu will be Russian citizen, in spite of the high mortality among habitual alcohol users in Russia:
Mr. Putin would like to be pensioned
Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years of imprisonment on 17 August 2012.
In the case of assault and battery described in , committed in conspiracy by a recidivist together with 2 accomplices, the sentence was 10000 rubles fine (about 300 U.S. dollars) only. Another example of assault and battery in conspiracy, with no sentence at all, is discussed in .
1. Jargin S. A roof: not only an architectural term. Domus News Report of 11 Apr 2010: http://www.domusweb.it/en/news/a-roof-not-only-an-architectural-term/
2. Jargin SV. Scientific misconduct: Examples from the former Soviet Union. Dermatopathology: Practical & Conceptual April - June 2009: http://derm101.com/content.aspx?aid=32782&dpcid=Dpc1502a17s003
Cooperation of corrupt civil servants with the leaders of migrants is disguised by Russian patriotic and racist rhetorics (see the preceding comment), manliness propaganda  etc. Nothing new in the East.
1. Jargin SV. Manliness propaganda and contact lens complications: a view from Russia. BMJ Rapid Response, published on 13 March 2010: http://www.bmj.com/search/jargin%2520manliness
Migrations and violence against house and apartment owners in Russia.
The relatively high level of violent crime in Russia is a known fact, which is partly caused by immigration from Central Asia, Caucasus and other regions. Migrations have been predictably caused by crass inequalities in birth rate between different ethnic groups, which has resulted in unemployment in overpopulated areas. Apart from irresponsibility, geopolitical goals have obviously played their role as a motive for elevated birth rates, in spite of the bleak economical future for the children. Demographic shifts result in misplacement of former inhabitants, having low birth rates, which is sometimes accompanied by economic pressure, threats and violence . Crime is known to occur also against the elderly and socially unprotected people, alcoholics and dementia sufferers, for the purpose of appropriation of their apartments and houses, which is sometimes facilitated by corrupt interactions of civil servants with leaders of migrants. Conditions are similar in some other countries, for example, in South Africa ; where, like in Russia, percentage of cases resulted in conviction among all reported cases is relatively low . In conclusion, more order and lawfulness are needed to protect some house and apartment owners. More details about overpopulation and demographic shifts are in .
1. Jargin S. A roof: not only an architectural term. Domus. Published online 11 Apr 2010: http://www.domusweb.it/en/news/a-roof-not-only-an-architectural-term/
2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Southern Africa. South Africa: country profile on drugs and crime. Pretoria, 2002. www.unodc.org/pdf/southafrica/country_profile_southafrica.pdf (accessed 12 June 2012).
3. Jargin SV. Overpopulation and modern ethics. S Afr Med J. 2009;99(8):572 continued in 2010;100(11):694 and 2011;101(8):494. http://www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj/search
The protests in Moscow in December 2011 were obviously fabricated to show an image of democracy; they were inspired among others by the novelist Boris Akunin (Chkhartishvili), who shows in his works mockery and disrespect towards Russian history and well-known persons, disfiguring their names. If the components of the name of his protagonist Erast Petrovich are exchanged, it results in Pet.Erastovich. The author must have noticed it. Therefore, the today's protests bear a germ of their own discrediting. Nothing new in the East. S. Jargin (Moscow)
THe medieval city of Den Bosch in the south of Holland has a river the "Dieze" running right through the city, and Den Bosch is "veined" with little canals, sometimes meandering for more than 100 yards under old medieval houses, those waterways were used for transport, often for the little breweries dotting the city.
Then, in the sixties it was decided that everything would be concreted for roads and parking lots.
But the ordinary people revolted and founded a political party called "Knillis", a medieval hero.
THe eds of it was that all those ancient canals are lovingly restored to their old magnificance, and tens of thousands tourists visit the old city of Den Bosch to view those old canals, and those old houses flanking those waterways have become rather priceless.
So yes, determined people can make a difference.
I believe that le Corbusier, and Gropius are architects who belong to the fascist- communist complex of the 20th century.
I attired in b be committed to Verizon's Palm Pre Added to and can't appear to see any flash videos on the browser. I've tried to download adobe jiffy actor but it won't seem to subside me. Anyone comprehend what to do?
Wooden Architecture of Russian North
Wooden architecture of Russian North is one of the most remarkable forms of traditional Russian architecture. Very impressive are large, two-storied village houses. Most remarkable are the churches, which were built in villages and small towns mainly from wood. Some of them, the so-called churches of tent- or spire-type, resemble stavkirker of Scandinavia. Another type: octagon on a quadrangle, crowned by one, three or five domes, the latter being typical also for stone churches of 15-17th centuries. Another distinctive form, which can be found only in northern Russia, are the cube-type churches: massive quadrangular base with a figured superstructure that can have a gable formed as an upturned heart or alike, also usually crowned by five small-sized domes. It is well known that many churches were destroyed during the Soviet time, also those several centuries old. Besides, a dubious practice of transfer of wooden architecture to open air museums was applied. Authenticity is partly lost in this way, while a new exhibit is constructed from a mixture of old and new wood. Dismantling and transportation of old wooden buildings is inevitably accompanied by destruction of many elements, which are then made anew. The churches were torn out of their natural environment, taken away from local inhabitants. Many wooden churches, supposedly because of esthetic reasons, were stripped of weatherboarding, which accelerated decay. In many cases, iron roofs from the 19th - early 20th century were replaced by wooden shingles. It can make sense only if the roof is cared for, but if it becomes leaky, the interior can be damaged. Destruction of wooden architectural monuments has been continued until today: ancient churches are collapsing and burning down. According to the information from the Onega historical museum (Archangelsk district), majority of wooden churches in Onega valley have been destroyed or burnt down during last decades. Besides, local inhabitants and museum co-workers witness that icons and fragments of the church interior were stolen: there have been no guards, locks were broken open. As almost no icons have remained in the churches, the so-called heaven (painted ceiling) was broken off from many wooden churches. Note that the heaven, apart from aesthetic value, bears a mechanical function of strengthening the tented roof. Besides, if the roof becomes leaky, the heaven protects interior from rain. Questions about causes of conflagrations are answered with the standard "children played with fire" or, for example, "peasants wanted to get free the southern slope of the hill for a potato field" (in the village Ust Kozha, where two wooden churches and a bell tower burnt down in the 1990s). It is not verisimilar though: the cases are known when local inhabitants rescued burning churches from fire. There was a lot of illegal trade with icons and other relics. The thieves could have set fire to the churches to cover up the traces. In Ust Kozha, for example, the edifices stood quite distant from each other, so that spontaneous conflagration of all three appears improbable. Besides, information is being spread among local inhabitants, obviously directed against professional restorers and intelligentsia in general: "Restorers have stolen the icons" or "Students were sent to restore the church but they destroyed more than repaired" etc. The public opinion is prepared in this way to the rebuilding of wooden churches by construction firms without participation of professional restorers, without much care given to authenticity or identity to the original, in order to create â€śbeautifulâ€ť attractions for tourists. Another mechanism leading to appearance of pseudo-traditional buildings: construction of new churches by the Moscow Patriarchy. There are many examples of newly built pseudo-traditional churches, constructed from new or old wood, for example, in the town Kem, from where tourist ships start to the Solovki Island in the White Sea with a monastery previously used as prison. Pseudo-traditional edifices are sometimes hard to distinguish from authentic monuments, for non-specialists in particular. With regard to the open air museum on the Kizhi Island in the lake Onega, where some wooden churches, removed from their original locations, were built anew: the tickets for foreigners are more expensive than for Russian citizens; so that some tourists, having made the whole trip to Petrozavodsk, leave without having seen the museum. All said, there are grounds for optimism. The growing Russian economy enables improving roads and developing infrastructure. We hope that scientifically correct preservation and restoration of the built environment will win through in the near future. Copies can be built in the open-air museums. Note that in England original wooden edifices are preserved from 14th century and even earlier times. More details: http://www.freewebs.com/overpopulation1/
It often seems to me that even the ugliest Victorian pile or the least harmonious Georgian building is less stressful to my brain (and spirit) than almost any very modern building. To be imprisoned in a harsh raw concrete building would be, to me, a more miserable punishment than the same term served in a robustly welcoming Victorian public building - one would crush me while the other would give me something to think about besides my own misery. I would prefer to be left with only the Bible and Shakespeare than 500 of the newest avant-garde novels.
Reconstruction of Moscow: loss of architectural heritage and health hazards
Upturn of economy in Russia has been accompanied by a irresponsible reconstruction of historic centres in Moscow and other cities: many old houses have been demolished or reconstructed beyond recognition; images can be seen at http://www.freewebs.com/overpopulation1/illustrations.htm and in the article: Jargina Z.N., Jargin S.V. Aesthetic assessment of Moscow reconstruction (in Russian with English summary). Architecture and Construction of Moscow 2010, Nr. 6, pp. 22-29; images: http://mos-arch.ru/esteticheskaya-ocenka-rekonstrukcii-moskvy Apart from distortion of our architectural heritage, it was noticed to be associated with allergic reactions in residents: rhinitis, attacks of bronchial asthma, etc. Allergic reactions to some building materials were reported by construction workers in Moscow. Hygienic certification of building materials is a primary control measure against potential health hazards. However, some building materials used in Russia, including those containing asbestos, sometimes do not correspond to their hygienic certificates. A great part of such products are manufactured in Russia or in China, which can be seen by searching in the Internet in Russian language. Asbestos-containing building materials are broadly used: cement asbestos sheets and pipes, corrugated board for roofing named â€śshifferâ€ť, asbestos cloth, millboard, asbestos-containing plaster and coatings. It is often stated that asbestos produced in Russia is of chrysotile type, in a pure form possibly presenting a minor health risk if any; but materials imported from abroad can contain contaminations by hazardous fibre types. Moreover, demolitions of houses and interiors can release both allergens and asbestos fibres from old building materials. Considering the above, the following is recommended. Demolitions, reconstructions and major repairs of buildings in historic centres of Russian cities must be prohibited and only conservation measures taken. Certification of imported asbestos-containing products should include detection of contaminations by potentially hazardous fibres. Measures should be taken against illicit use of uncertified building materials. A concluding point is that pollution abatement is essential for transformation of Moscow in a civilized city. More details: http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/sergei-jargin/5002751.publicprofile S. Jargin (Moscow)
Phenomena described in the article The Vandals in Retreat by Theodore Dalrymple can be seen today in Moscow and other Russian cities, with the difference that our architectural heritage is, relatively, much smaller, and that demolitions and major reconstructions take place in the very historic centres. One example: M.I. Babaninâ€™s apartment house (Klimentovski pereulok 6, Moscow) was constructed in 1912 by the architect Ernst-Richard Niernsee, it is a masterpiece of Moscow Eclecticism combining Classical elements with the aura of the Art Nouveau. The house has been an integral part of the architectural landscape of the historic Zamoskvorechie area. The destiny of this building is characteristic of those lucky remnants of old Moscow that escaped demolition or reconstruction. More and more shops and offices are placed in basements and ground floor apartments, while entrances are sometimes broken through the main brick wall. According to the Law, all non-residential rooms and premises in a house, including basements, are in condominium of all apartment owners. Placement of shops and offices occurs without their knowledge and consent (which is a direct violation of the Paragraph 4 Article 36 of the Housing Code of Russian Federation), and no recompense is paid to them. Big investors purchase one apartment after another and perform â€śEuroremontâ€ť (Russian neologism for major repair supposedly according to European standards, entailing a redesign of the layout). As a result, neighbour apartments, sewerage and other communications are often damaged. Inhabitants are pressed of the house by different means: requirement of extra payments for repair works (although, according to existing rules and regulations, all repair works must be performed free, being included into the monthly maintenance fees), intimidation and assault and battery with participation of paid â€śhooligansâ€ť, obviously employed by security firms. Other mechanisms of barbaric Moscow reconstruction were discussed previously: Jargin S. Moscow reconstruction: some mechanisms. Domus Magazine 2010; 934:125-6. S. Jargin (Moscow)
Typo in sub-title: discovers
Perhaps Mr. Dalrymple and my fellow readers will find some comfort in this delightful bit of trivia:
Apparently Ian Fleming named oo7 lead villain,"Auric Goldfinger" after architect "Ernő Goldfinger".
Apparently Fleming took umbrage at Goldfinger's substantial role in as you say, "mass desecration of Britainâ€™s architectural heritage...".
If Wiki is right, they were also uneasy neighbours - yikes !
God bless Mr. Fleming for the pebble he put in Mr. Goldfinger's shoe and for bringing us that wonderful bit of fiction.
Read all about it by looking up Ernő Goldfinger on Wikipedia. WARNING ! Pictures of his *ahem* "work" are included.
Our friend T.D. on the "triumph" of Gropius 's Modernism in post war Britain. Interesting. Hope you're doing OK this morning!
Is it too much to hope that the hints of sanity appeaering on this front will manifest it in,say, fine arts and elsewhere?
I've sent this fantastic article to an appreciative, refined, elegant grandmother now living in a converted 17th century water mill overlooking River Derwent on 3 sides and surrounded by ancient woodlands - 'near the centre of Newcastle'. Lucky grandmom!!!
Sad and exactly true.
It's deeply ironic that British architecture has transformed English city centres into places that very much resemble their German counterparts, given that the latter had to be reconstructed following the destruction wrought by the Royal Air Force.
The intended demolition of Birmingham's Central Library, however, would only continue the denial of heritage which has proven so devastating. It's a prime example of brutalist architecture and should be preserved as such. What's currently being built as its replacement, the Library of Birmingham next to the Rep Theatre, certainly looks bland and commonplace by comparison.
I think the worst development for cities has been the 'urban planner'. Cities such as Sacramento, where I grew up and still live have wonderful neighborhoods where people clamor to live, and have housing prices to match. These are not neighborhoods of modern homes, with their careful urban planning, but neighborhoods from the 1910s and 20s, primarily. The homes are all different; the lots were bought by homeowners or small builders, and California bungalows, Arts and Crafts, and Art Deco homes built. They have steep pitched roofs, classic architecture, and are packed in together on relatively small, city lots.
Sacramento is still under the sway of the central planners. Near one of the classic old neighborhoods of Curtis Park, the old railyards are being developed. A 'corporate design' firm was hired, and a cookie-cutter development with planned attractions is being built.
Why not duplicate the existing neighborhoods, and sell individual lots to prospective homeowners and builders?
I guess it's just foreign to liberals to let individuals decide for themselves what to build.
Thank you for this elegaic but hopeful article. You've reminded me of the horror I felt on a recent visit to the Natural History Museum in London - its beautiful spaces have been chopped up with makeshift walls, rather like an old townhouse subdivided into bedsits. To add insult, there are little windows that let the visitor glimpse some of the architectural details. But eventually all of this shoddy stuff will be removed.
As always, whether writing about politics or culture, Dr. Dalrymple succinctly hits the nail on the head. Gropius, van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, et al ought have been tried for war crimes against the human spirit.
As a child growing up on Long Island, I spent as much time in NYC as possible. Architecture always fascinated and delighted me, and I had a visceral reaction against the Seagram Building, the UN complex, MoMA and other sterile 'masterpieces' of the International Style. At the same time, the early skyscrapers like the Woolworth and Metropolitan-Life buildings made my spirits soar. It wasn't until I read Tom Wolfe's 'From Bauhaus to Our House' in the mid-70's that I fully and intellectually understood why. Ornamentation is and remains the key to beautiful inspiring architecture. Less IS less.
Like political liberalism, modernism in art, music, literature and architecture is an elitist ethos which has undermined Western culture, eroded its soul. It is instructive that the 'unwashed masses' understand this while their intellectual and cultural betters do not.
We can only thank God the Luftwaffe couldn't reach New York or we might now have to deal with the wholesale urban destruction Dr. Dalrymple describes in Britain.
But alas the developing destroyers are still furiously at work. One has but to look at Victoria Street in London between Westminster Abbey and Cathedral.
You should at least tip your hat to Prince Charles, who did a lot to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
to rehabiliate our cityscape there is a strong case for funds not to be spent restoring old buildings, but to demolish the worst of the new.
and yes, for those who sneer at the americans, its worth remembering that the night-time streets of most american cities are paragons of civilised virtue compared to the mongrel rabble of the old country.
I particularly enjoyed this essay. My great grandfather, Charles Emmett Cassell, was a notable Baltimore at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. His work was, alas, eclipsed by the Sullivan school out of Chicago and so is nowhere as well celebrated as it should be.
I was appointed the Archivist-Historian for The Baltimore Chapter of The American Institute of Architects a number of years ago, and while there, I wrote a series of position papers which I think Dr. Dalrymple might find of interest.
Thank you again for the essay.
Prof. Richard Burnett Carter (Ret.)
Another great thinker
Thanks for celebrating even these tentative steps away from ugliness.
Ah, gaslight. It is making a kind of comeback too, as those bright tungsten filament bulbs are banned by our new government in Brussels and replaced by dim green 'energy' bulbs.
I think Theo that it was a bit more complicated than your version of events (as ever only the loud pedal being used). There was a great deal of change going on in Britain after the war, especially as the sense that we seemed to have lost a great deal, in spite of the victory, began to grow. Planners and local authorities were not immune to the zeitgeist and not all victorian architecture was worth saving, bomb damaged or not - but I agree that some bad mistakes were made in the name of progress. However I don't agree, as you seem to imply, that these were deliberately malevolent acts. You seem to have forgotten that this was still a time when people on the whole trusted authority to act in their best interests amd most councils thought that they were. There was then (still is) a class divide on conservation. In the 50s and 60s I don't think that many working class people were that concerned about saving heritage, they wanted houses (the fact that they were built too cheaply and managed badly does not negate this). In any event the Victorians themselves were enthusiastic modernisers and re-imaginers of history. They were also quite content to demolish the historic if it did not accord with their view of progress.
As for the inevitable rant about alcohol, behaviour and cities. I lived and worked in Birmingham for five years recently and was in the city centre (a retail led regeneration that actually works) frequently at all hours. Yes parts of it are crowded, noisy and, as the evening progresses, increasingly inebriated, but most of it isn't. The centre is also full of decent bars and restaurants, cultural centres like the concert hall and (still) fine victoriana architecture like the Council House and the financial district. Take your American friends there too, Theo.
In any event the reason why so many, primarily northern, cities have strong "party" cultures is because of history, economics and the Thatcher Goverments. By the 1980s most English northern cities were in significant decline. Like the Rust Belt in the USA, the economic activity that had sustained them had largely gone. Tory policy accelerated the decline and it wasn't clear what would replaced heavy engineering, shipbuilding and so on. Cities were turning into doughnuts, decaying centres with increasingly detached suburbs being fed by edge of town retail developments. Around this time the concept of the "evening economy" came along and because there was nothing better on offer, local authorities began to encourage clubs and bars to open up in the centre. Public Health doctors at the time questioned the sense of this, but they didn't have alternatives, no one did. I think now that there is regret that this happened, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. At its worst its piss and vomit and violence and profoundly depressing. Last Halloween I stepped out of the theatre in Newcastle, with three hours of the Royal Shakespeare Company ringing in my ears, into what felt like the biggest street fancy dress party in the world. It isn't always (often isn't) as bad as Theo paints it.
Rome wasn't destroyed in a day either! Great article! I think I'll send it to my Brit ex pat friend, in Tasmania, who's an accomplished astronomer; the fogs were probably just one of many reasons he left Leeds, 40 years ago!
Theodore Dalrymple's writing is amazing, enlightening, even entertaining. What a treasure!