Tag: Russia

Sunday Music

What a few very nice days. I did nearly nothing, and found it really relaxing. Ready towards the end of the vacation rain & storm is back, but without cold ‘n freeze, all’ n right with me.
What is not all right is the gibberish of the orange Actor-in-Chief. I am fed up with this imbecile, why can’t we just ignore this vile windbag for a week or so, with a little luck he’ll implode. The nonsense about his predecessor wiretapping his phones is really “a new low”. And that a leading German newspaper writes that the predecessor’s statement would not be enough, shows how poisoned it all has become. Now there seem to be first altercations between pros & cons, while Jewish cemeteries get ravaged, Indians and Sikhs get shot – of course of course all isolated cases, shame upon who thinks evil upon. These are not daily incidents, just weekly.
And while Amerga slowly but steadily descends into paranoia, Germany develops a nice problem with Turkey and its süper-macho-over-ruler, who brags that he can do anything here as he likes, as if Germany would be his farm or other property. Of course Germany uses “Nazi Methods” against him and members of his gouvernement. Says a man who consequently kills democracy in his own state and leads the society of his country back into the middle ages, while the jails flow over from “dissenting elements”.
I am not a nationalist, I believe in a united Europe based on a canon of basic values, and it is disgusting to watch how some members of the union do betray these values. We have no real instrumentarium for this, simply because those who laid the foundations for “Europe” did not believe that there could arise a problem, that something like a gouvernement killing the independence of its own judicature would actually happen, like e.g. in Poland. But all this is kindergarten compared to Turkey. And the there dictator-in-chief and his cool gang want to bring their electoral campaigning here, so that the expats get in line. They still need this charade. We should make it impossible, to hell with consequences.
Some countries of the world seem to be led by brainless dickheads who think they can do what they want. Sadly Russia, and now Amerga, belong in this group, some European countries too.
Anyway, we do not solve the problems of the world here, it would be nice and good enough when we, each & everyone, would solve his or her own problems.
To ease this task one could listen to a little bit feel-good-music by Herr TELEMANN (Ger., Eng.), Das Frauenzimmer verstimmt sich immer (TWV 25:37) in a version performed by Georg GRUNTZ on harpsichord (Ger., Eng.), Peter TRUNK (Ger.) (bass), Klaus WEISS (Ger.) (drums), Emil MANGELSDORFF (Ger., Eng.) (flute, Albert’s older brother), and Klaus DOLDINGER (Ger., Eng.) (clarinet & sax), recorded (West-)Berlin 1964 – it does not get more “old BRD” than this.
I hope you like the music. May the coming week be good to all of us.

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Goldbach

Some years before his death GOLDBACH had his testament written. He appointed as his principal heir the librarian Gottfried BOCK. This, and the fact that BOCK was a regular visitor at his house had some eyebrows raised, simply because of the large social distance between the humble “consiliarius et bibliothecae praefectus” BOCK and Geheimrat GOLDBACH. Some years earlier he had made dispositions for his burial – he had planned a very modest and sober ceremony without the usual pomp funèbre. When he finally died on 20th of November (or 1st of December, depends on what calendar is used) his last will was presented to the czarina (the great Catherina, Ger., Eng.) – she wrote her “placet” on it with her own hand only two days later. Finally he was buried with all the usual effort and extravagance owed to his status, his position at the court. All his papers – diaries, notes, letters – were sealed by the ministry of foreign affairs and carefully archived.
GOLDBACH was a very discreet man, we know not much about his personal life. In his diaries he carefully noted whom he met where and when (with the notable exception of Gottfried, who is not mentioned), but he rarely ever gives the topic of the conversation – he is often described as a very charming conversational partner, he is clearly a man of the spoken word. But he also uses the medium of the time extensively, letters.
Christian GOLDBACH (Ger., Eng.) is born in Königsberg on the 18th of March 1690. We know that he has one brother, Heinrich, with whom he studies in Leipzig in 1711. In this year he meets Christian WOLFF & G.W. LEIBNIZ – and what is more important, he keeps the contact with these scholars for the next years to come. And not only with these two – in fact GOLDBACH establishes a network of communication all over Europe that mirrors his wide range of interests from modern natural sciences to philology, from architecture via music to mathematics. He takes care to come into contact with the leading men of the day. From spring 1712 until December 1714 GOLDBACH is traveling Europe, crisscrossing the European Gelehrtenrepublik. Seemingly by the way he defends a dissertation at the university of Groningen (August 1712) and gets a licentia docendi juris ; when he gets back to Berlin in winter 1714 he becomes a Prussian Hofrat, before he retreats to Königsberg.
Some years later he comes back to Berlin (August 1718) and then travels to the North (Stockholm, Kopenhagen) before he is in Vienna – all in all he is on the road until April 1724, for more than five years. The suspicion is allowed that he somehow is involved in Prussian foreign politics, now not scholars are his main conversational partners, but diplomats. He stays not for long in Berlin 1724/25 – there is a new project on the horizon, the foundation of a Russian academy of sciences in St. Petersburg (Ger., Eng.). He arrives in St.Petersburg in August 1725 & starts his work as secretary of this institution in September. As I understand he will not leave Russia any more. Two years later, 1727, he becomes the head teacher of the heir to the throne Petr Alekseevic (Ger., Eng.), who sadly dies only fourteen years of age in January 1730. GOLDBACH holds different ranks in the court hierarchy, and in 1744 becomes officially a member of the council for foreign affairs. He dies 1764 in St.Petersburg.
Through the last 22 years of his life, which he spent in the service of the council of foreign affairs, he traveled between Moskau and St.Petersburg, but he clearly favoured the latter city. GOLDBACH was responsible for the cipher-service, and he was successful. In June 1744 the Russians deciphered a letter of the French envoy that contained some not very nice remarks about the czarina – that is Elisabeth (Ger., Eng.). In this year GOLDBACH received as a special gift not only one, but two golden tobacco “tins”, next year the personal nobility, and in 1746 the czarina gave him a manor – he never visited it, the rent brought him 1400 Rubel a year, as he wrote in a letter to EULER. His regular annual income was 1500 roubles.
He tries to keep out of the intrigues at court as good as he can, always keeps contact with the academy he helped to found, and stays discreet. His successful work in the cipher departement is continued by his successor Franz ÆPINUS (Ger., Eng.) (1724-1802), who in some respects repeats GOLDBACHs journey through life : He is also a member of the academy, he teaches the heir to the throne, and he stays unmarried.

I used for this scribble the following book :
Juskevic, Adolf P. ; Kopelevic, Judith Kh. : Christian Goldbach. 1690-1764. Aus dem Russischen übersetzt von Annerose und Walter Purkert, Basel Boston Berlin 1994 (Vita mathematica 8). First Moskva 1983. Strangely enough this title is not mentioned among the literature in the German wikipedia-article.

Still alive

The wind is thundering, for the third day now. And it is a remarkably cold wind from the East. Clear air, no wetness yet, but it is to come in the next days. Finished driving this early afternoon, Monday will start a bit later than usual, a quiet weekend ahead.
I looked into the news and found a remarkably stupid statement by a certain Mr. McCain, an American senator. The French President Hollande and the German chancellor Merkel are actually on a diplomatic mission in the Ukraine and in Moscow trying to defuse the ongoing conflict that has the potential to escalate into something nasty. McCain compared this to the appeasement-policy (Ger., Eng.) of the 1930s, and told the world that he did not expect something else from these people who have no idea of politics and don’t care, yadayadayada. Can’t see that Mr. McCain does something constructive about this conflict, except screaming for more weapons, thus applying caveman’s logic : Bigger hammer is better hammer, yoh !
If he really compares this diplomatic effort with what historians call 1930s’ appeasement-policy he also insinuates that Putin would equal Hitler – plainly unacceptable and deplorable. He is either really stupid, and thus his comments can be ignored and filed as the waffle of an old man, or he makes his remarks at exactly this point for a purpose, aiming at hindering or hampering anything that has a chance to de-escalate the situation. Then he’s an arsonist & war monger. I wonder whether he comes to Munich, perhaps some people would shut him up there, but I doubt.
McCain’s remarks are echoing Rumsfeld’s moquant jabber about “old Europe”. What these old sods do not understand is that after 1989 all the old problems returned that were suppressed by the East-West-conflict, the Cold War. And with the demise of the SU something started that is connected to the political situation of pre-1933, in some respect even pre-1914. And the answer is surely not cold-war-logic ( = more weapons, more escalation, until “we” “win”), the answer is politics, diplomacy and in the end : keeping peace. Exactly what this European initiative aims to. The results of American foreign policy of the last twenty years can be inspected in the middle East, really great.
GOd help us when the next American president is elected.

Stans

Every Stan has a capital: Astana (Ger., Eng.) (Almatay until 1997), Ashgabat (Ger., Eng.), Bishkek (Ger., Eng.), Dushanbe (Ger., Eng.), Kabul (Ger., Eng.), and Tashkent (Ger., Eng.) (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, overview).
Since the end of the SU and given the richness of natural resources in the area, the Stans are back on the political map of the world. In 2003 the BBC showed  a documentation about traveling in the region, Meet the Stans (scroll down and see all four episodes). About Tashkent an interesting book is published in 2010 by Paul STRONSKI*.
STRONSKI’s book is a pioneer work in the field of urbanisation in Central Asia. Since its conquer 1865 onwards Tashkent became the object of an ongoing Europeanisation, what showed itself in the building of orthodox churches and representational administration buildings under the Czar, factories and power plants under the Bolshewiki. From the Thirties to the Sixties Uzbekistan was transformed from an agricultural country to an industrial one, at least according to the Soviet propaganda. The big earthquake of 1966 put an end to the coexistence of traditional, colonialist and modernist buildings – the planners pragmatically eliminated the last islamic rests and built anew: While in the Western parts of the SU the capitalist residue was to be overcome, in the eastern parts old oriental remains were to be vanquished.
Tashkent from the 1930s onwards was earmarked to become a socialist Musterstadt, a model city, based on the principles of the 1935 general-plan for Moscow : There were other grand plans and layouts for capitals around this time, for Greater London and Groß-Berlin for example. I would like to find a comparison of these projects somewhere in the literature. The second world war brought a mighty boom for Tashkent and the whole region, because people and production were translocated within the SU from the West towards the East, out of the reach of the German invaders. STRONSKI puts the emphasis in his description on this time and on urbanisation as a whole, he wants urbanisation in its entirety be understood as one line of tradition of Soviet history. His book focuses on the local development, based on Russian and Uzbek archive materials, and can be seen as  cultural science based dichte Beschreibung, “thick description” (Ger., Eng.).
It is surely worth a read.

Tashkent. Forging a Soviet City, 1930-1966, Pittsburgh 2010; German recension by Thomas BOHN here, who himself wrote about Minsk (Ger., Eng.), the capital of White Russia in 2008: Minsk – Musterstadt des Sozialismus. Stadtplanung und Urbanisierung in der Sowjetunion nach 1945, Köln 2008. I follow BOHN’s recension of STRONSKI’s book.