• History,  Russia,  Soviet

    The Great Siberian Ice March

    Somehow I wound up on this page on WikiPedia and found it fascinating. During the Russian Civil War in the late teen and early 20s, the Red Army was chasing the White Army across Siberia, specifically Lake Baikal had to escape across the frozen lake in sub-zero temperatures.

    the Arctic winds that blow unobstructed across the lake froze many in the army and their families to death. The bodies remained frozen on the lake in a kind of tableau throughout the winter of 1919 until the arrival of summer, when the frozen figures and all their possessions disappeared in 8,000 feet of water.

    Does anyone know of a good history of the Russian Civil War? I don’t know of any notable works on the topic.

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  • Soviet


    In one of life’s better ironies, the ice axe used to murder Leon Trotsky might be for sale:

    But tests that could prove the weapon’s authenticity have been delayed by a dispute between the ice pick’s owner, who is shopping it around, and Trotsky’s descendants, who want it donated to a revolutionary museum — proving that the struggle between socialist ideals and capitalism is continuing.

    The ice pick is in the possession of Ana Alicia Salas, whose father apparently removed it from an evidence room while serving as a secret police commander in the 1940s.

    She is toying with the idea of selling the foot-long, sawed-off ice ax, though she says she hasn’t decided how much it’s worth.

    Just a few blocks away, Trotsky’s grandson, who keeps the revolutionary flame alive by maintaining Trotsky’s home as a museum, says he wants the pick.

    Trotsky helped lead the 1917 Russian revolution, but split with dictator Josef Stalin and fled to Mexico in 1937, accusing Stalin of having betrayed the revolution.

    Stalin is widely believed to have arranged Trotsky’s murder, in which a young man posing as a sympathizer sneaked up behind Trotsky and sank the ice pick into his skull. Trotsky died the next day.

    In this story you have state murder, theft, corruption, and media pretension all in one story, which is a very fitting coda for the Soviet experiment.

    What gets me is the insinuation “Stalin is widely believed to have arranged Trotsky’s murder” when it is established fact that he ordered it. Oh well.

    And get your “Axe Me About Communism” shirt here.

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  • Music,  Society,  Soviet

    In place of a longer thought

    Songs for John Doe was an anti-war record put out in the early 40’s by dutiful Soviet apparachiks the Almanac Singers (Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie and the rest). For a brief period Stalin and Hitler were allies (and invaded Poland together, a little known fact). This record was their take on the matter, taking the position that America should not go to war for US Steel and JP Morgan, which was of course the only possible reason it would. They changed their tune the moment Operation Barbarossa began.

    I have quite a few thoughts about this topic, but in general it would seem that the human condition is indeed timeless. I’ve got a quite a few thoughts on the matter that I’ll get into words over the next week or so.

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