Tag: Poland

The Andropov Apprentice

Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 0 Comments

Yesterday, here, we mentioned Radek Sikorski, Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, who claims he was the first to suggest that Moscow should assume responsibility for Syria’s chemical weapons stocks. It’s worth noting that Sikorski is married to the American journalist Anne Applebaum, a long-time observer of Vladimir Putin and his philosophy of power. In February last year, Applebaum gave a talk at the London School of Economics titled Putinism: The Ideology in which she detailed the autocrat’s suffocating dogma:

“Applebaum identifies the central tenet of Putinism as the carefully managed elections that ensure there are no accidental winners because there are no accidental candidates. Putin very carefully maintains the appearance of democracy — building up a campaign atmosphere during elections despite doing little actual campaigning and allowing fringe opposition parties to exist — but Russian voters are at no stage allowed to genuinely intervene in the democratic process.”

Anne Applebaum has spent many years developing her theory of Putinism. On 10 April 2000, the Weekly Standard published an article by her titled Secret Agent Man in which she revealed that Vladimir Putin tried to join Yuri Andropov’s KGB “at the tender age of 15”. Yuri Andropov Eventually, Putin fulfilled his dream of Soviet espionage and when he came to power in the Russian Federation that succeeded the USSR he enacted a tribute ceremony that was truly revelatory. “He chose the site with care: the Lubyanka, once the headquarters of the KGB and its most notorious jail prisoners once exercised on its roof, and were tortured in its cellars — and now the home of the FSB, Russia’s internal security services,” wrote Applebaum. “He also took heed of the date: December 20, a day still known and still celebrated by some, as ‘Chekists Day,’ the anniversary (this was the 82nd) of the founding of the Cheka, Lenin’s secret police. In that place and on that day, both so redolent of the bloodiest pages of Russian history, Vladimir Putin solemnly unveiled a plaque in memory of Yuri Andropov.”

Andropov’s apprentice is flying high now, but his repressive agency, the FSB, is not having it so easy. You see, Will Cochrane stands in its way. Never heard of Will Cochrane? He’s the “Spycatcher” and we’ll meet him here tomorrow.


Symphony of Sorrowful Songs for the children of Newtown, Connecticut

Saturday, 15 December, 2012 0 Comments

The Polish composer Henryk Górecki is remembered mainly for his “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”. The first and third movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child, while the second movement is from that of a child separated from a parent during an evil time in Europe’s modern history.

Evil is an effort to destroy what is good by making the good appear powerless. Yesterday was a day when evil manifested itself as a gunman who killed 20 children and six adults at a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut. But as this recording of the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, which was made at the 14th-century Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven in Kraków proves, evil can never defeat good.


“She cries, but she’s eating”

Thursday, 13 December, 2012 0 Comments

When the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great, engineered the Partition of Poland in 1772, his strategic power play greatly distressed the Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa, sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma, Duchess of Lorraine and Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Asked about the reaction […]

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Big football fans

Sunday, 10 June, 2012

From Poland to Greece, from Ireland to Germany, from Italy to Russia, football fans across Europe are glued to the screens, public and private, as the Euro2012 tournament unfolds. Sure, much of the continent’s financial sub-structure is falling apart and banks are bankrupt, but now is not the time for distractions from the main event […]

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Poland vs. Greece vs. Germany vs. Spain vs. Europe

Friday, 8 June, 2012

Thank God for football. This evening in Warsaw, Euro2012 kicks off with Poland vs. Greece and we can forget about the weather and the world for a few weeks as we give ourselves over to the joys of the beautiful game. But wait, what’s this? “Spain’s Twitter Users Say ‘Stop Merkel‘”. It’s a story from […]

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Fifty People One Question — Galway, Ireland

Thursday, 15 March, 2012

As regular readers may have noticed, Ireland is the theme here this week. With St Patrick’s Day being celebrated around the world on Saturday, it is only right and proper that his adopted homeland should occupy our spotlight. But what would the country’s patron saint make of the place today if he were to return? […]

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