BRODSKY, IOSIF ALEXANDROVICH (1940-1996). Russian émigré poet, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for literature.
Brodsky was born in
At 17 he started writing poetry; at least one of his famous pieces, “Goodbye, forget me, bear me no grudge…” has the date 1957, though Brodsky himself said that he had begun writing poetry at 18. His aesthetics was largely shaped by the ambience of the place where he was born and lived during his formative years, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with its fine architecture, endless prospects, watery spaces and parks. These motifs of his youthful years affected all of his creative work.
According to Brodsky himself, a decisive impetus to his early creativity came from the poetry of Boris Slutsky (1919-1986), whose innovative writing made a great impact on many other poets in the mid 1950s and later. Other influences came from Marina Tsvetayeva, Yevgeny Baratynsky, a 19th-century author whom Pushkin called “
In 1963 the Vecherny Leningrad (“Evening Leningrad”) paper published an article headed “Paraliterary Drone” accusing Brodsky of a “parasitic way of life.” Brodsky indeed never joined any official writers’ union, which was the proper Soviet thing to do, but earned his living as a freelance translator, publishing his own poetry mostly in samizdat – typewritten copies circulated among friends and acquaintances. A certain citizen called Lerner, motivated by pathological hatred for the young genius, persecuted Brodsky, using the notorious Soviet law on “parasitism” as a weapon, and launched a whole campaign against him. Of the three quotes Lerner ascribed to Brodsky in that article two came from the work of Dmitry Bobyshev, another of Akhmatova’s “orphans,” and the third one, though taken from Brodsky’s work, was badly distorted. Still, Brodsky was arrested, tried for his “crime,” and sentenced to five years of exile and physical labor in a remote
The civil rights movement in the
It must be said that Brodsky totally rejected the image of himself as a fighter against the Soviet system, an image that the American intelligentsia associated, perhaps naturally, with someone who had suffered at the hands of that system. In an interview with Peter Vayl he stated plainly: “On the whole, I deserved all that” (meaning his punishment). In an interview with Solomon Volkov Brodsky said that the whole episode was not all that interesting, and refused to dramatize it. On learning of Brodsky’s trial, Anna Akhmatova had famously said, “What a biography they (meaning the powers that be) are writing for the Ginger-haired One.” The Ginger-haired One obviously wanted to write his own biography, not have something written for him by either the Soviet authorities or the well-meaning, civil rights-conscious intellectuals. He stressed repeatedly that he was never a Soviet dissident; that classification would apparently be unworthy of a truly great poet.
In 1972, presented by the Soviet police with a choice – either emigration or forced examination at a psychiatric clinic – Brodsky chose to emigrate to the
He continued to write poetry, drama and essays in both English and Russian, and he also translated into English the Russian verse of Vladimir Nabokov, another émigré Russian writer in
As perestroika was launched in the
Brodsky died in
BAKLANOV, OLEG DMITRIEVICH (b.1932). A top Soviet official involved in the development of the country’s nuclear missile shield.
Baklanov was born in
Starting on the shop floor, Baklanov rose in 1963-1976 to chief engineer, factory director, and director general of a production association involved in the construction of intercontinental missiles and space technologies.
From 1976 he was deputy, then first deputy of the USSR General Machine Building Ministry (code name for the ministry responsible for missiles and space technologies); in 1983-1988, the
From 1988 to 1991 Baklanov was secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the
Baklanov first came to national prominence quite dramatically in August 1991, when he became a member of the State Committee for the State of
During Putin’s presidency Baklanov made some statements to support Putin’s efforts to restore
Oleg Baklanov holds numerous orders and other awards, including the title of Hero of Socialist Labor and the 1982 Lenin Prize. Elected to the Political Council of the Russian National
Before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, these territories had for centuries been part of the Russian Empire. In the turmoil attendant on the collapse of the Empire and the ensuing Civil War of 1918-1920, these territories gained independence and became parts of the cordon sanitaire established by the Entente around the
Many countries of the world look on the act of incorporating
Although it was Russia who liberated Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from communist dictatorship in 1990 many nationalistic politicians continue to blame it for “occupation” and never mention the liberation of their countries by the Soviet Army in which hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers, including those from the Baltic states, died. Moreover, there is vindication and even “heroization” of soldiers who fought on the Nazi side during World War II, in clear contravention of the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal that had found the Nazis guilty of war crimes, genocide, and countless atrocities, and adjudged them as a criminal organization. This exoneration of criminals is bitterly resented in Russia, other former Soviet Union republics, and in Israel as an insult to the memory of their fallen relatives, an attempt to “rewrite history” and whitewash the role played by Nazi collaborators in such atrocities as mass extermination of Jews, Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals, and others who came under the heading of Untermenschen in Nazi ideology.
The term “occupation” is also used by rabidly nationalistic politicians as a political tool to justify a system of veritable apartheid in which some people in these states enjoy political rights while others, chiefly Russian speakers referred to as “aliens,” are denied them. The more radical among these nationalists, actually indistinguishable from neo-Nazis except that in the Baltics they sit in the highest organs of government, insist that the “aliens” must be made to leave these countries.
Citizenship in the
BASAEV, SHAMIL SALMANOVICH; Islamic name, Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris (1965 – 2006). Born in the
Shamil Basaev was among the most prominent and odious leaders of the rebellion against federal authority in
A few landmarks in Basaev’s career: after a two-year stint in the Soviet army, he went to
Basaev spent two years, 1989 to 1991, in
Basaev first came to prominence after hijacking in November 1991 an airliner at Minvody airport, which was forced to fly to
In 1992 Basaev went through a course of training at an Afghan mujaheddin base in
Basaev gained wide notoriety as the mastermind behind several atrocious terrorist acts on the
-- In 1992, during the Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict, Basaev went to Abkhazia at the head of a volunteer detachment later dubbed Abkhaz Battalion of supporters of the Confederation of Mountaineers in the
-- On June 14-17, 1995, Basaev headed the raid of Chechen gunmen against the town of Budennovsk in neighboring Stavropol Territory, during which they seized about 1,600 hostages at a local hospital, including expectant mothers and 150 children, killing over 130 people, mostly civilians;
-- Basaev was responsible for a number of terrorist acts by suicide bombers in 2003: on July 5, at the Krylya (Wings) rock music festival in Tushino,
Basaev showed considerable cunning in planning his acts of terror. Cautious – avoided direct contact with the enemy. Posed as an expert in religious dogma, poet and seer – all on very flimsy grounds. What Basaev did really well was acquiring wealth through outright banditry and organizing such industries as drug trafficking, slave trade, counterfeiting, and similar pursuits. In the “Ichkerian” times the Basaev family had virtually full control of the oil industry in
Basaev was also good at propaganda warfare. With the aid of the fugitive billionaire Boris Berezovsky and his minions he took steps to spread the idea that some of his terrorist acts had actually been organized by Russian siloviki to provide an excuse for a state of emergency – as if any excuse were needed in the face of Basaev’s raid on
Sources in the intelligence community in Russia, blamed for failure to put an end to the seemingly endless series of Basaev’s terrorist acts, insisted that Basaev’s long career in terrorism was entirely due to treachery at the very top of Russia’s pyramid of power: Boris Berezovsky was at one time the de facto deputy head of the RF Security Council (appointed by Boris Yeltsin). Once that breeding ground of treachery was eliminated, a special operation was soon mounted in which Basaev died in a blast of an explosives-laden truck, and his head was taken for identification to Nazran in a bin-liner.
BASHKORTOSTAN. An RF constituent entity; an ethnic republic within the
Bashkortostan is a multi-ethnic republic. The three largest ethnic groups are Russians (39 percent), Tatars (29 percent), and Bashkirs (23 percent). Besides, there are
Bashkirs, the indigenous population of these parts, is said to be the titular ethnic group although they come only third in numbers accounting for slightly more than a fifth of the population. The Bashkirs’ privileged position sometimes gives rise to tensions in the matter of career promotion and such.
Bashkirs are Sunni Muslims. According to sociological surveys, Bashkortostan has over 2.2 million Muslim believers and 0.7 million practicing Orthodox Christians.
Bashkortostan is a presidential republic. The president is elected for a term of five years. The highest legislative body is the State Assembly of 190 deputies, likewise elected for a term of five years. It consists of two chambers, the Legislative House and the House of Representatives.
The executive powers fall within the purview of the cabinet of ministers headed by the prime minister. Bashkortostan has a highly centralized executive power with the president at the head. It is eminently stable and predictable. The heads of local government are appointed by the republic’s president.
Bashkortostan was the only republic within the
Bashkortostan is an industrial-agrarian republic abundant in various minerals, one of the oil-rich areas of the
The most serious weakness in Bashkortostan’s socioeconomic development is a number of environmental problems and a high risk of technological disasters in some areas packed with environmentally hazardous oil-extracting facilities, refineries and petrochemical enterprises, plus several oil and gas pipelines running across the republic’s territory. Also, Bashkortostan is a major area of military-industrial complex facilities. Oil and petroleum products, ores and farming produce (particularly sugar, honey and vegetable oil) make up the bulk of
The main industry branches are fuel and energy, including oil extraction (over 23 percent of industrial output), and oil processing (nearly 20 percent). Also reasonably well developed are chemical and petrochemical industries (16 percent of the output), power engineering (13 percent), machine building and metal working (eight percent), metallurgy, timber, woodworking, paper and pulp, light, and food industries.
BATURINA, YELENA NIKOLAEVNA (b. 1963).
Baturina was educated at the Moscow Management Institute named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze. The main landmarks of her career: in 1982-1989, researcher at the Moscow Institute for Economic Issues, chief expert with the Moscow City Executive Committee Commission for Cooperatives and Individual Labor Activity; in 1989, head of the secretariat at the All-Russia Union of Allied Trade Unions; since 1991, head of the Inteko close joint-stock company (manufacturer of household goods, tools, automobile tackle, gardening utensils, plastic furniture, including for stadiums, and other items).
According to the media, Baturina also owns or controls: close joint-stock company Tras, Staraya Usadba Ltd, stud farm Bashtan, and several other enterprises. In 2002 she was elected chairperson of the Russian Land Bank board of directors. Baturina is president of the Equestrian Sports Federation of Russia.
Baturina is the only woman in the “golden hundred” of
According to Forbes, in 2008 Baturina was the only Russian woman among 22 European billionaresses rated eighth in that club, with $4.2 bln to her credit. The same journal put her in 32nd place among wealthiest Russians. At the moment of writing, the effect of the global economic downturn on Baturina’s fortunes was not yet clear, though with the extreme slump in
Baturina loves horses, or at any rate has been seen with some on TV; she has established the Mayor’s Cup for equestrian events that have been held in
In terms of religion, Belarus is mostly Russian Orthodox (70 percent of the population), with some Roman Catholics in the west of the country, about 1 percent of the population belonging to the Greek Catholic Church, and about the same number professing Judaism (Jews, once comprising 10 percent of the population, were literally decimated during World War II by the Nazis).
Historically, the territory of modern-day
The Belorussian language was the state and diplomatic language of
The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the collapse of the Russian Empire, and the occupation of Belorussian territory by the Germans toward the end of the First World War, threw
The Soviet period in
During World War II
In December 1991, following the signing of the Belovezhye Accords that formally marked the dissolution of the
The legislature of the
Under the constitution
The principal industries of
According to expert opinion, the republic’s considerable economic growth in 2004-2006 was chiefly due to certain features of the 1990s economic reform there and of special relations with
At the same time
BELKOVSKY, STANISLAV ALEXANDROVICH (b.1970). Director general of the National Strategy Council, chief editor of apn.ru.
Belkovsky was born to a family of an Italian communist. In 1976 he was taken to
This soap opera narrative is, however, just one version of Belkovsky’s origins. According to a different one, published in the Stringer, Stanislav Belkovsky was born in Soviet Riga; his father was a Polish worker, his mother, a Jewish teacher. Belkovsky is also said to be very elusive on the subject of his educational background.
Belkovsky is the founder of the National Strategy Institute and one of the most pushy political analysts and political technologists in
His report The State and Oligarchy earned him the nickname of an ideologue for the Yukos case and a friend of the Kremlin siloviki – which is about as doubtful or certain as anything connected with this eel-like individual.
A gifted hoaxer, Belkovsky is known as a political technologist with a knack for making money out of absolutely any political situation within the Former Soviet Union – by selling his gifts for myth-creation to the highest bidder.
Belkovsky is thus representative of a legion of doubtful characters that the August 1991 revolution in
BELOVEZHYE ACCORDS. The Belovezhye Accords clinched the dissolution of the
The document registered the demise of the
Controversy is still raging over the Belovezhye Accords and the events that followed. It is alleged that in terms of their content and the way of adoption the Belovezhye Accords were illegal; that they directly contravened the
The heads of the three republics who secretly got together in Belovezhskaya Pushcha declared that the USS was an impossibility. Besides, according to the leaders of the ex-Soviet republics, by December 1991 only the RSFSR and
However, the legality of declarations of independence by
The fight for a revision or annulment of the Belovezhye Accords continued even after the complete disintegration of the
Numerous opinion polls suggest that most Russians (over 70 percent, according to some estimates) regret the collapse of the
Whether it was avoidable or not, the fact remains that the only individuals who gained by the collapse of the Soviet Union were the extremely narrow strata of the Union republics’ ethnic elites, while the absolute majority of the people in these republics suffered incalculable hardships, financial and economic ruin, loss of employment and, in a great many cases, loss of life in pogroms and internecine wars.
For 25 million Russians, and even more Russian speakers, who overnight found themselves “abroad” in the newly independent states without moving an inch, the tragedy included loss of their Motherland.
For some of the republics, especially in Central Asia, Azerbaijan etc., the dissolution of the Soviet Union signified, on a historical scale, a backward step into sheer Oriental despotism, with certain “democratic” trappings like parliaments, parties, referenda, and so on, which do not fool even the least observant.
BEREZOVSKY, BORIS ABRAMOVICH (b.1946). One of
Boris Berezovsky was educated at the Electronics and Computer Department, Moscow Forestry Institute; he did a post-graduate course at the Management Issues Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences; Doctor of Sciences, professor, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Author of several published research papers and books on applied mathematics and theoretical principles of management.
In 1967-1968 Berezovsky worked at the Research Institute for Test Machines, Instruments and Mass Measuring Devices, the USSR Ministry of Instrument Making; then at the USSR Hydrometeorology Committee; from 1970, at the Management Issues Institute, the USSR Academy of Sciences.
From 1989, Berezovsky was director general of LogoVAZ joint-stock company; from 1994, director general of AVVA (All-Russia Automobile Alliance) joint-stock company; from 1995, chairman of the board of directors at the ORT (Russian Public Television) joint-stock company.
Berezovsky left all of those positions once he had been appointed member of the RF Security Council in October 1996; in 1996-1997, deputy secretary of the RF Security Council, chiefly in charge of economic matters; from May 1998 to March 1999, executive secretary for the CIS; elected to the State Duma from the Karachai-Circassian constituency No. 15; in July 2000, gave up his seat in the Duma; on December 22, 2001, Berezovsky was elected one of the five co-chairmen of the Liberal Russia movement.
One of the Russian public’s pet hates, variously described as an eminence grise, a perfidious mind, a latter-day Rasputin, a businessman-adventurer, a hyperactive Jewish schizo, a
Totally amoral and capable of resorting to the most murderous methods of achieving his ends. On
At about the same time Alexander Korzhakov, former chief of the RF president’s security service, told journalists that Berezovsky had tried to talk him into assassinating Vladimir Gusinsky, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, singer and Duma deputy Iosif Kobzon, and others (Novy vzglyad newspaper, 19 October 1996).
There were persistent reports of Berezovsky sponsoring terrorists in
Yusup Soslambekov, chairman of the Confederation of the Peoples of the
In February 2003, in an interview with The New York Times, Berezovsky boasted that his fortune in the form of investment in and outside
Boris Berezovsky made his first money, and a lot of it too, while at the head of LogoVAZ. That money came to him through common-or-garden theft: Berezovsky and two other managers of LogoVAZ simply “appropriated” the money from the sale of 2322 cars, grabbing 60 billion rubles.
Berezovsky invented and used the so-called re-export scheme: VAZ automobiles were exported abroad only to get back to
The Prosecutor’s Office initiated numerous legal actions against him, but the only case that has so far reached the court and names Berezovsky as defendant is the Aeroflot case.
The scam Berezovsky used with regard to Aeroflot can be viewed as a model of oligarch business in the mid-1990s. Fifty-one percent of the Aeroflot shares were state property, so any manipulation with the company was only possible from within. However, it was not for nothing that Berezovsky secured for himself the post of deputy secretary at
Fearing criminal proceedings against him after the power of the Family had begun to wane with the coming of Putin to power, Berezovsky escaped from
One of the latest criminal cases against Berezovsky was about plotting forcible seizure of power in
In the West, Berezovsky is mostly billed as a “critic of the Kremlin” – language that instantly justifies support for him among the routinely Russophobic politicians and media. In
BOBKOV, PHILIP DENISOVICH (b. 1925). General of the Army, one of the top KGB officers responsible for combating ‘ideological subversion” in the later period of the
Bobkov was born in the town of
In October 1946 Bobkov began working with a state security agency. Starting as an operative’s assistant, he moved up the career ladder to senior executive posts at the State Security Committee (KGB): secretary of the Communist Party committee of the directorate he was working in, head of department, deputy head of the Main Counterintelligence Directorate or Second Main Directorate of the KGB (from 1961), deputy head of the newly created Fifth Main Directorate of the KGB in charge of combating ideological subversion (from 1967), head of the same directorate (from 1969).
Bobkov’s Fifth Directorate was the main instrument used by the Communist Party leadership to persecute dissidents. Among its more notable successes was the hounding out of the country of Nobel Prize winners Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky. Less conspicuous but actually more important was the work of recruiting countless informers among the “creative intelligentsia.” For his outstanding services in this area Bobkov was appointed in 1982 KGB deputy chairman and in 1985, first deputy chairman, though rumor had it that he was in fact the organization’s real boss. He served in that capacity until the beginning of 1991, when he retired, obviously foreseeing the end of both the
Upon retirement, Bobkov went to head the “information-analytical service” of Vladimir Gusinsky’s MOST financial-industrial group. According to some sources, Bobkov invested quite a lot of his own capital in the group. According to others, Vladimir Gusinsky was at one time an informer for the Fifth Directorate (nickname, Denis), so that their cooperation goes a long way back. It was reported in the press that Bobkov brought some 200 former officers of the Fifth Directorate to work for the oligarch in his “analytical service,” where they went on doing what they had been trained to do – spying on the oligarch’s friends and enemies and spreading dezas – misinformation aimed at compromising certain individuals or influencing events in the oligarch’s interests. These activities, especially electronic surveillance, led to a well-known conflict between Gusinsky’s secret service and that of President Yeltsin, which erupted in 1994 in violent scenes near
As the oligarch’s fortunes in
BOKERIA, LEO (LEONID) ANTONOVICH (b. 1939). Famous Russian doctor. Full member of the
Born in Ochamchira, Abkhazia, Leo Bokeria was educated at
Prof. Bokeria is winner of the State Prize, and of the international Golden Hippocrates Prize awarded for combining outstanding healing skills and a fine gift for teaching (2003); he is also holder of the Public Acclaim Gold Badge of Honor (2004). Bokeria received numerous state awards; on
BOLSHEVIK. A member of the left, radical wing among Russian Social Democrats, a follower of the prevalent Russian version of Marxist ideology. That ideology was immensely popular among 19th-century European intellectuals, and little by little it spread to
In 1903 it split into classical Marxists, the Mensheviks, led by Plekhanov, Chernov, and Chkheidze, and Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Ulyanov (pseudonym, Lenin). The name “Bolshevik” comes from the R. bolshoy “big” as opposed to menshiy “smaller” and is due to the accidental fact that at the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party in
The ideological differences between the two groups boiled down to the Mensheviks insisting that in an agrarian country like Russia a revolution led by the bourgeoisie must come first and a proletarian revolution, after. Also the Mensheviks did not agree with Lenin on party tactics. Lenin thought that the party must be a rigid conspiratorial organization of revolutionaries built on the principle of so-called democratic centralism – a rather misleading name, for in actual Bolshevist practice centralism was paramount while democracy counted for very little. The Mensheviks suggested a more amorphous structure where sympathizers of the revolution could declare themselves party members at will and help as much as they could when they could.
The Bolsheviks promoted a doctrine of the party as a dedicated minority that could change the pace of history at will. If the party slowed down history it was reactionary; if it accelerated the course of history it had to be revolutionary. Since history was moved forward by conflicts between classes (social groups), these conflicts should be made more acute, to create what is known as a “revolutionary situation.”
On the other hand, Bolsheviks scorned the pure conspiracy theory. They believed in the spreading of a revolutionary ideology among the masses as a means of preparing them for the revolution. This is the second major difference between Bolshevism and classical Marxism, which makes Russian communism rather un-Marxian. Marx believed ideology to be a tool of bamboozling society and regarded it a duty of the revolutionary to expose “ideological opium.” The Bolsheviks, on the contrary, opposed their own, proletarian ideology to the bourgeois one that was dominant at the time. Later, on the strength of that doctrine so-called proletarian sciences, art and morality, all seen as forms of ideology, were set in opposition to parallel bourgeois sciences, art, and morality.
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was the number one Bolshevik ideologue and political leader. He succeeded in leading the Bolsheviks to power and keeping them in power after the October 1917 revolution, now mostly described as an adventurers’ coup. As a tribute to Lenin’s major influence on it, the philosophy of Bolshevism was frequently referred to as Marxism-Leninism.
Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) eventually appropriated the role of Lenin’s successor as the ideologue of Bolshevism, although his true contribution to Leninism was negligible compared to that of theoreticians like Leo Trotsky or Nikolai Bukharin. In fact, he stole their political slogans and theoretical doctrines while the authors of these slogans and doctrines were assassinated or tried and executed on his orders.
Anyway, he is said to have singled out two distinct areas of Bolshevist theory – philosophy of nature (dialectic materialism) and philosophy of history (historical materialism). The main idea that he pursued practically rather than theoretically was building socialism in a “single, separately taken country” – that was the mantra repeated millions of times in indoctrination classes throughout the
Hence the emphasis on distinguishing between socialism and communism as two phases of a future just society. Socialism is a transitory phase on the way to an absolutely just society, therefore it retains some elements of bourgeois society, such as the state structure and “monetary relations.” However, private property under socialism is nationalized, and the free market is replaced by rational command-administrative management of the economy. Eventually, when socialism has won in all the countries, the Earth will live under communism – a second-phase, absolutely just social system.
The general philosophy of the Bolsheviks amounted to the following two dictums: Matter is primary, Consciousness secondary, and Being determines Consciousness. They understood matter (being) as the eternal world of nature that is capable of self-development through contradictions according to the laws of Hegelian dialectics. Consciousness is the human soul, the product of evolution of matter.
From 1917 to 1952 the Bolshevist Party was known under several names that included the word “Bolshevik.” The terms Bolshevism and Bolshevik were given up for good at the 1952 Party Congress when the All-Russia Communist Party of Bolsheviks was renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the central theoretical organ of the party, the journal Bolshevik, was renamed Communist.
Apart from these strictly historical senses, the terms “Bolshevik,” “Bolshevist” are used in a figurative meaning to denote theories and practices that are radical to the point of extremism, and ruthless in execution. Thus Yegor Gaidar’s reforms in