Week 8: April 13 – April 20, 2022

Summary of the Week 8: April 14- April 20, 2022


Inna Rogatchi(c). Sky Landscape V. 2018.

There has been an indicative moment inside the Kremlin recently, which did show Putin’s torment. In a dialogue with a 10-year old boy , all orchestrated as always, but still, children are blessed to provide some spontaneity by default, the Russian leader got involved into the theme in which he prides himself to be an expert. The theme is history, specifically, Russian history. The boy was instructed to speak about the favourite subject-matter of the leader. So, the leader eagerly got involved into the matter of who really founded Rus, pro-Russia. Were it the Normans represented by Rurik, as the world knows it? Or were there some Slavs on the ground who did invite Rurik, who thus initiated the establishment of the Fatherland? The man in the Kremlin very soon seemed to forget about the boy on the screen who did his job by getting the leader into the discussion, and produced quite a meaningful monologue? “So, the adepts of the Norman theory of the Rus establishment are actually wrong. First of all, there is an opinion that Rurik’s mom was of Slav origin, something like that”. There was a pause among the audience on the screen. Everybody waited to hear a new theory of the origin of Russia produced by the leader. The leader was in the intense process of revolutionising the science of history. He had his drive. 

“And yes, indeed, Rurik did not find himself here in Novgorod, in the end,  by chance, by the way. It needs to be understood that he was not invited there by chance. Rurik had had some kind of relation, or perhaps his relatives may have had, some certain relation to Slavs, Slavonic territory, to Novgorod, and so on!” Putin the historian was completely absorbed in his articulated thoughts, I understood from the people who were privileged to see the show with their own eyes.

The leader went on: “ The fact that someone with a squad came here from some Scandinavian place, does not mean at all that the Norman theory of the establishment of the Russian state is correct. Not at all.” 

The silence among the participants on the screens was getting more and more ceremonial. People sensed that they were witnessing an important revelation. They were right about it. 

“ Because somebody did call him ( Rurik)  in, somebody indeed invited him to serve here. He ( Rurik) did not get there on his own. He ( Rurik) did not conquer a thing on his own, not at all!”  The leader was very engaged in this extraordinary passage on history of his country which he leads so catastrophically. 

In fact, Putin’s desperate monologue on allegedly Slavonic mother of Rurik and his struggling appeals to convince anyone who would listen that Rurik did-not-come-&-conquer-anything on his own, but was invited, asked to do so, shows the torment that the Kremlin boss is struggling with amidst his disastrous campaign in Ukraine. After two months of the Mean War, the man who started this nightmare tries to find – and to air – any justification to his terrible decision-making, even assigning allegedly Slavonic mother to Rurik. Thanks that he saved Rurik’s father, for now. 

The morning after that extraordinary history hour in the Kremlin, the Russian leader ordered his disastrous minister of defence to halt the assault of Azovstal in Mariupol. I bet he saw Rurik in his dream last night, and tried to defend himself on the matter of Rurik’s mother.   

Day 56: April 20, 2022, Wednesday


On March 22nd, 2022, there was a much anticipated event in Moscow, the opening of Grisha Bruskin’s important Scene Change exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery. 77-year old Bruskin who lives in New York has become internationally known during the ‘perestroika’ with many of his works expressing a typology of Soviet life. Later on, Bruskin has become a master of what one can call as anti-totalitarian art. He is a world-famous artist, and this special exhibition in Moscow was prepared to mark the 75th anniversary of the artist in his native city. Due to the covid, the exhibition was postponed until now. The exhibition was built in nine consequent halls, with artworks and installations there strikingly , just strikingly relevant for today. Even up to a Chagall-like portrait of a pair flying in the sky, with brightly red shoes and blue-and-yellow colours in the centre, yellow dress of a woman against bright blue sky.  The painting was exhibited alone on a big wall, in its centre, clearly in a statement-like motion. 

There was also an entire hall of many sculptures as if screaming of Gulag, eternal Gulag, as it goes. Many figures in that frightening and extremely well- installed exposition reminds Mr P, for some interesting reason, although Bruskin created it many years ago. ON his other well-known paintings, also created decades back, many still figures remind the same Mr P, in a prophetic vision of the artist. 

There was a hall hosting well-known Bruskin’s installation of two thousand-figures composition featuring a totalitarian, pro-fascist crowd of mannequins. It was a retrospective exhibition, but it screamed out its incredible actuality, as if all of those many works were done by Bruskin just yesterday. As some of my art friends who was lucky to visit the exhibition said: “It seems as time encounters the artist, as the artist was the first one to know what would happen”. 

It was a very special thing to open this exhibition in Moscow and in Russia these days. And at least the art and culture community there got all its messages. They could barely believe that it was really happening. And they were right. They know their country all too well. On April 19th, 2022, three and half weeks after the exhibition’s opening, it was shut down, violating the agreement with the artist and announced plans for the exhibition to be opened until July this year. It was shut down momentarily, citing ‘technical reasons’ without any further explanation. Moreover, any trace of the exhibition was erased from the New Tretyakov Gallery site. As it never happened. Ever. Happened. Gone.  There is some information about ‘unhappy signals from some unhappy visitors’, as museum staff admits privately. There  also was information about some high-up culture establishment visitors who were shocked to see this scream against totalitarianism in the centre of Moscow at the leading state art institutions today. It is all so familiar to us who lived through it in our Soviet and late-Soviet life. The time has obviously made a loop in that huge place, with those many millions whom Grisha Bruskin did show so eloquently. Only he did not know that it would be relevant again. Or he might have known. 

At the same in Kyiv, there were dramatic scenes in all main museums in the capital of Ukraine – as the one in the poster. The thing is that the museums in Kyiv had been frantically busy there recently, during the Mean War. They were emptying themself. It was a huge operation about which it has become possible to tell only now, after it has been completed a few days ago. Not just some of the most valuable artworks, but all of it had to leave its homes, and to be transported to the safe places to wait until the end of the war there. The picture in the poster is telling , but it is yet not the most dramatic from the materials documenting the operation to save the treasures from the Kyiv museums. There are pictures of huge beautiful frames piled in the futuristic stacks,  empty,  in empty halls. They are staying there as  carcasses. It was a truly painful scene. For how long will the Kyiv museums be in this desolated shape? For long, I presume. It all is part of life, normal life. Culture has been attacked in Ukraine methodically and severely, in a premeditated plan carried on by the force of ultimate evil, as the whole world is terrified to see daily, for 56 days by now. 

They eliminate culture with a certain plan and in a full conscience. They eliminate it, or force it to retreat, both in their own home and in the home of the neighbouring country which they invaded without any reason but with viciousness and brutality, in order to weaken the people’s morale, their spiritual strength, their aspirations and their will for freedom, both inner and behavioural. They forced the Kyiv and other Ukrainian museums to empty themselves and to shut down in an ongoing effort to make everyone like those figurines from Grisha Bruskin’s prophetic installation: similar mannequins, faceless, expressionless, with similar intention, similar move, and that move is a fascist salute, their only drive. Two thousands, two million, two hundred million. The more, the better.  

But those stupid tyrans – why tyrans is always stupid? Because they are extremely marginalised in their own intellect, so to say – always loose, and end badly. There is simply no other way. But they are also always bad students, and they never learn history as they should. 

Day 55: April 19, 2022, Tuesday


We know by now how ‘the liberators’ behave in the myriad of Ukrainian cities, towns, villages that they attack and enter. The loot carried on by ‘the liberators’ is colossal, massive, encompassing. It is barbarian in all and every way. 

They grab everything: furniture, tv sets, jewellery, even used female underwear ( what for?). They grab it to send to their homes via post from Belarus in the parcels from 50 to 450 kg, and with a giant mass of goods transported in the military trucks to Belarus to be sold at many impromptu bazaars there. It is a huge and blossoming business there by now. 

Everything that they could not grab, they smashed, destroyed, and broke in a manifesting way of savages. They are having a pleasure from this massive application of brutal force and anti-human behaviour. 

They are also instigated by their commanders to mark their bloody presence on Ukrainian soil and in Ukrainian homes. They are defecating on purpose on the neat sofas that they could not take with them, on the kitchen tables in once neat kitchens, in the sitting and dining rooms of the people who cared about their living and tried hard to make it nice. It is a challenge, you know. To show who is the master in everyone else’s house, and in a certain style of the nation of poor Tchaikovsky and poor Chehov. 

From many interceptions during the Mean War of the Russian military speaking with their families back in Russia we have heard regularly: ‘How the heck are they living so nicely here?”  meaning Ukrainians whom ‘the liberators’ brutally attacked, crushing all their belongings and marvelling repeatedly on neat houses and taking care of premises of the Ukrainian people. 

Then the slogan which is in the photo appeared as ‘the liberators’ stamp over the destroyed houses and homes: ‘Who permitted you to live nicely?’ This vandalism is seen all over ruined Ukraine today. This is the mark of ‘the liberators’. The mark of their phenomenally  stupid enviness, their unlimited  greed, their moronic aggressiveness and blazeness. Ruining and defecating Z-zombies who have placed themselves as outcasts without even understanding that because they are unable to grasp the concept. Such is the Kremlin force. Shameful, despicable, criminal. Many thousands of such products of humanoids. Catastrophic result of the twenty years of the regressive development of a huge country in which the young generation of the people of 20-something years, those in that savage-like army of looters, still believe that life is conducted with someone’s permission only. 

Day 54: April 18, 2022, Monday


Inna Rogatchi (C). New Caprichos I. 2022.

A true-life story from a doctor from St Petersburg who works at ambulance service there. 

A few days ago they got an emergency call from a woman who was terrified: “ My son has been attacked and severely beaten by Ukrainians. He lays unconscious on the roof ( of our building). Ukrainian attackers are still there. It is extremely dangerous to reach the roof. Please help!”

The ambulance went to the woman’s address immediately, along with the police patrol. When they arrived at the place, they found nobody on the roof. Calling the woman’s son’s mobile which she had provided, the police found him safe and sound on his working place where he had been since the morning. Nothing ever happened to him. 

The agitated woman was sitting in her apartment alone in front of the working TV set. The doctors from the ambulance and the policemen ( yes, they too) glanced each towards the others, sighed simultaneously, and left the apartment. 

‘Did you treat that woman with anything to calm her down?” – my friend asked the doctor who told the fresh story. – “We tried , but she did not want a thing. She was all absorbed by what she was hearing and seeing on her TV screen. It was actually pretty freaky frightening”, – the experienced Russian ambulance doctor said. – “The truth is that we are preparing for more calls like that”. 

The Mean War gets nasty towards Russia’s own population, as well. 

They are about to enter the most peaceful – supposedly – and enlightened – supposedly – time in their calendar, the Orthodox Easter. They are preparing for that. For example, by baking a very appealing special Orthodox Easter cake, called kulich, as this one on the photo sent by my friend. The photo was taken this morning at the bakery of the Russian city of Kurgan in the Urals. What’s more, those Z-kuliches in the bakery are almost twice cheaper than the ones which are next to them with traditional Easter decoration. What shrewd marketing this bakery has.

The point is that it would be bought, brought to the church, blessed there, brought back to homes, and consumed as the sacred part of the Easter celebration starting there in four days. Z-Easter in Z-country with Z-church, and Z-television and Z-media driving their own citizen Z-crazy.  If Hollywood would need an extra pair of script-writing hands for the most absurd and black movies of the third class, and below, they know where to call. Straight to the Kremlin. 

Day 53: April 17, 2022, Sunday


Inna Rogatchi (C). Grey-Zone. War Pictures. 2022.

If one has the nerve to watch a wild military propaganda which is produced and broadcast non-stop by all Russian TV channels and many other media-outlets, one would wonder how people are surviving and keeping their psychological balance in such an electrified, arrogant information environment. This is not to mention the share of truth and objectivity in this hot propaganda avalanche which is zero. This is also not to mention the period of time during which this massive brain-washing is undertaken in Russia which is at least eight years by now.  To think about it, it is a massive brain-damaging offensive against its own population, to start with, in progress. 

I know many people who have not watched Russian television for decades. It became even a certain mark among the liberal intellectuals there, to make the point, emphatically, not to watch it, in a way of a passive defiance. I also have some friends, former colleagues, and brilliant, sharp journalists who are suffering by watching it, professionally,  for being able to educate many others who have no such nerve and determination, and to keep their analyses sharp and updated. One of them just mentioned that after a couple of weeks observing the official Russian TV channels, he had to resort to the dictionary to check how the word ‘tram’ should be written correctly’.

It is true. The problem with the quality of the experts on Russian TV is beyond criticism. As it is the problem with the quality of many important areas of life there, from their army to their decision-making expertise. It is obvious and looming large. Russia has become pathetic in many respects, in front of the world. There were extremely popular writers in the Soviet Union, extremely sharp, often prophetic, highly intellectual, the symbol of our generation, the Strugatsky brothers, both of them extremely knowledgeable people, one was specialist in Japanese language and culture and another was astronomer and physicist. Their canonical books are a unique sample of philosophical science-fiction. But in fact, everything they wrote in the form of science fiction in the Soviet Union, was a sheer truth.  We all knew it. And a warning. Perhaps, that warning should be taken more seriously by a larger number of people living in Russia. 

There is one key-phrase from  a large Strugatsky-wisdom depositary which was very popular in the late Soviet Union: “ Where greyishness ( mediocrity – IR) prevails, power always will be grabbed by the black forces”.  This is literally what is going on in Russia today. 

I am positive that as acid and not easily surprised Strugatsky brothers were, they would be astounded by the degree of greyishness which prevails in many spheres of life in Russia today, and which gets yet more promoted in a defiance mode by the authorities charged by their own war-mongering. 

Unlike in many other countries, a very large part of the Russian population is not internet-savvy, and thus TV is still a main source for information for millions there. For weeks after the beginning of the Mean War, there was virtually no other content on all Russian TV channels than cloned  talk shows with barrages of lies, insults, and war-mongering. Now, some patriotic series have appeared, also cloned, but talk-shows still prevail largely. 

The degree of the hatred instigated by the Russian authorities and media is getting higher with every day of the Mean War. It is not only propaganda. It is the functioning of the society on its many levels: legislators, top officials, heads of practically all organisations there, many officially ‘approved’ journalists, media and public persons, experts , or ‘experts’, even sport commentators, and a certain chank of performing arts representatives, all of them switched into the war-mongering mode and are publicly loud about it. 

Just one sample. My suffering from his difficult mission to monitor the official Russian TV propaganda shows, a top journalist colleague has sent me this quote from the recent TV show on the main Russia’s channel: “Everybody must understand that we would need to have a mobilisation, because the global war for survival is ahead of us. The war for annihilation of all our enemies. And our authorities’ only aim now, as our only aim, is to explain it and to make sure that all Russian people would understand this heroic image of our future: the global war for survival”. This was pronounced with a great aplomble by a Russian nationalist writer Prilepin at the The Time Will Show tv-panel on the TV1 Russia, the prime Russian TV channel, on April 14th, 2022. And of course, he was enthusiastically supported in this outright war-mongering by the other presented there, including quite active nationalistic legislator Tolstoy, MP Morozov, etc. 

Basically, what is done and is in the process there is not only a shameless denial and distortion of truth, but it is escalated militarisation of consciousness among the Russian people and throughout Russian society. And this is dangerous and alarming not for Ukraine only, but for any neighbouring, or not  even necessarily neighbouring countries. For all those whom Russian officialdom and their ready media servants would regard as their enemies. Or ‘not-friendly’ countries, as they have officially listed 48 Western democracies into their ‘beloved enemies’ list. 

 Day 52: April 16, 2022, Saturday 


Amazing story of the Soviet cartoon made in 1973

Inna Rogatchi (C). Vision I. 2022.

At that time, I stopped to watch those stupid and heavily ideologised cartoons which were produced by tons in the blossom of the Brezhnev era. So, I registered the title, Treasures of the Sank Ships, but I never watched that 16-minutes Soviet cartoon made in 1973. Until today. 

Why did I do it? Because, believe or not, it was forbidden by the Russian authorities now, 50 years after its release. How come? The cartoon is full of pioneers, some of their brothers from Africa who were supposed to fight for their liberation from awful capitalists and imperialists, Soviet scientists, Soviet pioneer summer camp, even the Soviet campaign for collecting utilised metal by pupils in schools, our regular compulsory activity. I hated it. Just because it was compulsory. And so idiotic. As if utilised metal could not be collected in an efficient organised way, not by the children at those senseless exercises. 

Anyway. The similarly senseless propaganda cartoon produced in 1973 now is a hit, as it always happened at the moment of censorship. The thing is that several symbols which now seem to be highly -charged for Russian authorities, are featured in the old cartoon. The name of the Soviet marine scientists’ underwater research module in the film is Neptun, the same as the name of the Ukrainian missiles which had successfully hit the sunken Russian Moskva flagship recently. Next, Soviet pioneers in the cartoon sitting inside the module, all of the sudden find some old sunken ship – in the Black Sea, what a horror! What’s more, that sunken ship has a huge Z letter as its name – can you imagine? It is Z29, and the sunken ship is the Nazi ship who sunk in the Black Sea during the WWII, as it is featured in the Soviet cartoon. More, some awful torpedo all of the sudden gets alive and animated from the remnants of the Nazi Z29 ship. It is marked with swastika, and it  attacks small but brave Neptun module in which three pioneers are hiding in a terror. Moreover, the whole story – the Soviet pioneer summer camp, the scientific lab, everything – is unfolding in beautiful Crimea, with unmistaken landmarks of the island. Last, but not the least, for some phenomenally intriguing reason, 50 years back the artists who were working on the The Treasures of the Sunken Ships very Soviet propaganda cartoon, decided to use a lot of blue and yellow colour all over the film and its landscapes. 

As hilarious as it is, the 50-year old Soviet film, absolutely not interesting until a couple of days ago, now has become incredibly symbolic, and not for the Russian side. And it has been cancelled now. You can access the link to the cartoon outside Russia, but inside the country, at the site where it is supposed to be and where it was, at their main and famous Sojuzmultfilm company which was an exclusive producer of cartoons in the USSR, the access to the film does not work any longer. 

It is hilarious, indeed, but not surprising for a bit. But there is one thing which I cannot get from the moment I learned about this another North-Korean-like episode: who on earth there in the bodies who nowadays are taking care of ‘right films, right media’ and everything else  for Russia’s population, who did actually remember about existence of  that cartoon and all those things which what are  in it? It is beyond my capacity, I must admit. Naturally, the old Soviet cartoon has become a hit now in no time. Some people even started to mull about ‘predictions made in 1973’, half-seriously. The only thing in which I am sure now is that even under the sanctions and shrinking economy, there will be no jobless people in Russia, as there is such a massive amount of books, films, articles, etc. which has to be checked out now for all ‘wrong’ symbols in the light of the Mean War in Ukraine and accelerating North-Korean landscape in Russia. 

Day 51: April 15, 2022, Friday


The story of the Russian military flagship

Inna Rogatchi (C). Blue Horizon I. 2021.

The Mean War has its mem, and this mem is a phrase. The phrase was the defiant reply of the Ukrainian marine border officer to the Russian military ship from where ‘the liberators’ demanded a small Ukrainian harrison to surrender. “Russian military ship, go to f-ck yourself’, firmly replied the officer, for what he was in a few weeks rewarded by the president Zelensky in his office with a medal, well worth of. That phrase has become the leitmotif of the admirable Ukrainian resistance.

That phrase has also become the leitmotif of the attitude towards ‘the liberators’ in general, not only in Ukraine, but world-wide, twice so among Russian speakers whenever they live. Another day, I saw a poster with this phrase at a market in Vilnius, and a couple of weeks ago all over Warsaw. 

There is a thing with this simple phrase. It loses a half of its strength in translation. Russian curse slang known as ‘mat’ is a poem of its own, so to say. It originated from tatar and other languages from a Turk linguistic group at the time when Russia was occupied by the Mongol horde, and has enroothed in Russian lingo-life from that time. It is extremely powerful. To give you an idea, what we know as ‘f-ck’ from a myriad of Hollywood movies, among many other things, is a very pale and semi-automatic version of the key-phrase of the Mean War said by the marine border officer on the day one of it. Said in Russian, the phrase is a sort of nuclear ‘get lost’. It says it all. It is absolutely definite. 

As it happened, the Russian military ship which had been sent to ‘go f-ck itself’ was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea navy fleet prophetically called Moskva. As it also happened it was built back in mid-1980s at the ship construction plant in Nikolayev which is now known as Mykolayiv, the city in Ukraine which is bombed and attacked by ‘the liberators’  mercilessly for many days and weeks now. 

As we also know, in seven week time after the prophetic suggestion by the Ukrainian marine border officer, on April 13th, 2022, flagship Moskva was successfully hit by the Ukrainian missiles, and in 22 hours, on April 14th, 2022, it sank. As many people noted, ‘Moskva flagship did follow the order ‘to go to f-ck itself’ dutifully’ .  It was well prepared and well executed for a serious and not simple military operation by the Ukrainian army. 

History knows a lot of ironic smirks, especially in wars. But such precise hits, metaphorically as well, are rarely to be observed. 

Russian authorities did not inform their country’s people of the catastrophe with their flagship for several days. When they did, the reason was given as ‘catched fire’ , without any details at all. Nobody knows from official sources what has happened with the flagship’s crew of 510 marines. Many non-Russian and unofficial Russian sources indicate possible very serious losses. There are no comments, no statements, no analyses, no information. The reality in Russia today with regard to the loss of the flagship, symbol of the fleet –  and of this Mean War, as it happened,  – to the possible loss of many lives,  is exactly as the one in North Korea.  Somehow, they are able to astound the world almost daily. 

Mikhail Gorbachev has said in connection with the Mean War: “Previously, Putin did make me feel ashamed for the Russian people. Now, I am ashamed of myself’. Being said by that person, it actually says it all. 

Day 50: April 14, 2022, Thursday


A while ago, on March 28th, I wrote about well-known Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov who in his 84 years had to flee Kyiv in the midst of the Mean War and who lives in Berlin temporarily now. Silvestrov is a big master beloved by many musicians world-wide. In Moscow, there was a particular concert on April 13, 2022. Great Russian pianist Alexey Ljubimov played Silvestrov and Schubert in a two-part concert at the Rassvet ( Dawn) hall. The first part of the concert in which Silverstrov’s cycle of songs on the poetry of the great Russian poets was performed, went without any trouble. The second part of the concert in which Ljubimov played Schubert looked like a scene from a Hollywood movie about Russia, always pathetic, unrealistic and hilariously inadequate. 

Two policemen appeared in the music hall full of people, marched straight to the scene where the great pianist was playing Schubert, positioned themselves next to him – like in the photo here – and started to declare:” Ladies and gents, please leave the premises. We have got information that the place is mined. We need to check the premises. Please leave”. Ljubimov played interrupting during all this, including police shouts. Policemen repeat: “ Public, leave the premises now!”. Ljubimov plays. Public sits in their seats firmly, only everyone with a phone in hand filming a memorable scene frantically. 

Alexey Ljubimov, in full composure, played the Schubert piece to the end. Only after that he rose from a concert chair, to the incredible applause by the enthusiastic public. There is an one-minute video about it which tells a lot.

This video, the great 77-year old Alexey Ljubimov whom I always liked a lot, as a musician and as a person, free and above all idiocies of whatever regime it was in that country, and his public, is a prize for us during these bleak days. ‘So now they have mined Schubert’ – people in the audience were reporting to their friends. –  ‘They ( the police) were late to come to spoil the first part of the concert in which Ljubimov played Silvestrov. So we were privileged to listen to that great music with fantastic interpretation. But Schubert was punished, in the end”. The interrupted concert was not allowed to continue. Nobody was surprised. And this ovation to the great Alexey Ljubimov with two pathetic policemen next to him on the stage, sends to us uplifting feelings from Moscow, as a matter of fact. Nobody in Hollywood would ever be able to invent anything like that.