All the Russias' Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

Between Soviet Homeland and Yiddish Cosmos: Yevgeniy Fiks at the Stanton Street Shul

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Yevgeniy Fiks’ solo exhibition “Himl un erd: Yiddish Cosmos” at Stanton Street Shul in New York (on view Sundays from 1–6pm, Mondays & Wednesdays from 4–7 pm, November 18–December 16) explores the connections between the twentieth-century experience of Eastern European Jews and the Soviet space program. What unites these two seemingly unrelated stories?

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Conflict Between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Kremlin Authority, Part II

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An independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church free from Moscow’s control has long been a goal for many in Ukraine, especially among Ukrainian nationalist organizations.  Demands for such a split from the Russian Orthodox Church have only intensified since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and its ongoing proxy war in the Donbas.  Today, many Ukrainian politicians, journalists and researchers accuse the Russian Orthodox Church of using its churches in Ukraine to support the Kremlin’s political-information warfare (often referred to as “hybrid war”) against Kyiv. There is also evidence that Russian clergy provided assistance to rebel forces in Ukraine’s East.

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Conflict Between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Kremlin Authority, Part I

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On October 11, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I – considered the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide – set in motion a process to grant independence (or “autocephaly”) to a Ukrainian Orthodox Church seated in Kyiv, thereby freeing it from the control of the Russian Orthodox Church based in Moscow.  Far more than a simple rearrangement of the religious furniture in the Orthodox house, the decision has touched off an intense political firestorm in Ukraine and Russia that threatens to open a new – and possibly violent – front in the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian and Russian governments.

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Teaching Chekhov in the Time of Trump

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Chekhov’s stories model a certain way of being in the world. One might describe them as incorrigibly humanist, humanist in the most uncool sense. You can choose to interpret Chekhov in ways that make his texts more difficult than they really are, especially if you subscribe to the Modernist tenet that high art is all about difficulty. But I think if you do so you’re failing to experience what’s best and most important about the stories, which is simply their call to look humbly for truth, to attend carefully to ordinary life, and to practice ordinary human empathy. The prescriptions here are almost embarrassingly simple—but they are not at all easy.

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Enchanting Chaos

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Today, an unsettling story by Alexander Grin. “To this day, an old courier stands at the corner of Miscue-Miscreance and Herbivory, having destroyed his youth and the beautiful home life he shared with his beloved wife by taking it upon himself one day to procure a caged bird without pay.”

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