asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

Stalinist realism. We've all heard of it. Well, most of us anyway. It's an architectural style that still defines large swaths of urban territory across East Europe, parts of Asia and even Africa and Latin America. Wherever communism has set foot at least for a while, we see gargantuan concrete mastodons. We've talked about life in those monsters before here. But what about the most extreme and weird specimens of that epoch? Here are a few that will sure raise a few eyebrows.

 

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asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

In the conditions of a transitional "monopolar" age in international relations which emerged at the end of the 20th and the beginning of this century, the Western states, just like one or two centuries ago within the framework of the so called Westphalian system, have tried to assume the role of vanguard, projecting (including through force) their own preferred values and institutions (free market, human rights, liberal democracy) upon other societies, regardless of their local cultural and historic specifics and peculiarities. In return, the latter (although to a varying extent) have shown a tendency to oppose this process and, and as paradoxical as that may seem, many of them have tried to uphold the integrity of the very institutions and norms previously imposed upon them by the West itself (like national sovereignty, territorial integrity, diplomacy as a primary tool at the international stage, etc). In this sense, the system of international relations continues to be based on the relations between center and periphery, where the role of generator and distributor of new values belongs to the West almost exceptionally.

 

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asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

In the context of the ongoing Ukrainian debacle, a number of Western authors, including reps of the so called "expert community", have often criticized Russia for violating international law. From such interpretations the conclusion comes out that Russia has not only delivered an unprovoked blow on a neighboring country, but it has eroded the fundamental principles of world politics: equality between all countries, territorial integrity, and refraining from external intervention in domestic affairs. Ultimately, the institution of sovereignty has been stomped over yet again.

 

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asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

When in the early morning of March 9, 1230, the Tzar of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Ivan Asen II decided to declare war on the short-lived Despotate of Epirus, he did that in an almost ritualistic way. He ordered the parchment of the peace treaty that had been violated by the Byzantines to be impaled on a spear. In the ensuing Battle of Klokotnitsa, the Bulgarian ruler turned the enemy into retreat and routed the Byzantine army, he captured their emperor Theodore Komnenos, and restored previous territories to the 2nd Bulgarian Empire.

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asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

This is going to be about the way history itself can be treated, and twisted, and perverted, for political purposes. Do bear with me. For the target of my contention is your fave boxing bag too: Russia. And for a good reason.

 

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asthfghl: (Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!)

In a couple of weeks we will mark 27 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. No doubt November 10 is a very symbolic day for my society. On that day, 27 years ago, democracy "exploded" here in Bulgaria. Well, maybe not exactly. But it felt like it at the time, at least for a while. One thing is for sure, though. Things haven't been the same ever since. Even if only prompted by events abroad, we did do our best attempt to erase and forget the past, sometimes with more success, sometimes with less. But the idea was there. However, one'd think that some things just can't go away like that. You'd think it would take several generations for a society to completely shake off the legacy of the past, especially if that system had been instilled into the brains of people for decades, ultimately distorting the very culture of said society, and the mentality of its people. No, good things don't just happen overnight.

 

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