Ilya Bryzgalov is a better at hockey than history – fortunately for him.
Bryzgalov, a native of the Russian city of Togliatti, on the Volga River, recently gave an interview to the Russian sports outlet Championat in which he was questioned on his views on Stalin, who had many millions killed between 1922 and 1953.
“Positive. I see logic in his action,” Bryzgalov said, according to a translation by Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov. “Not without going too far, of course. But he came to power in a country that had just lived through a revolution. There were so many spies, enemies, traitors there. A lot of people still had guns after the civil war. The country was in ruins, (people) needed to survive somehow. The country needed to be rebuilt, and in order to do that it needed to be held in iron hands.
“… He knew what he was doing. He is described as a ‘bloody tyrant.’ But at the time it couldn’t be any other way. Yes, there were innocent people who were victims of repression. But it happens.”
This may be nit-picky, but a word of advice to whichever public relations firm is advising Bryzgalov and/or the Flyers: when discussing the deaths of millions, avoid phrases such as “but it happens.”
In a case that likely has more than a few people checking their own personal genealogy, New York authorities say that a 97-year old who died last year left behind an estate valued at nearly $40 million but no heirs and no will.
Roman Blum survived the Holocaust and came to the US after World War II, where he became a successful real estate developer.
Blum married another Holocaust survivor, but she died in 1992 and the couple had no children.
Despite the advice of numerous friends, Blum declined to make a will for himself, leaving the largest unclaimed estate in New York State history, according to the state comptroller’s office.
A friend summed up the situation as only a New Yorker can:
“He was a very smart man but he died like an idiot,” said Paul Skurka, a fellow Holocaust survivor who befriended Blum after doing carpentry work for him in the 1970s.
North Korea has been making headlines a great deal lately, and not for good reasons.
In a move that must have warmed the hearts of millions of impoverished North Koreans scraping to find enough food to keep their families from starving, the nation’s leadership announced intentions to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States, calling the US the “sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
A few days later, North Korea confirmed it was ending the 60-year armistice connected to the 1950-53 Korean War.
On March 30, Pyongyang declared it was in “a state of war” with South Korea, and Kim Jong-un stated that rockets were ready to be fired at American bases in the Pacific in response to the US flying two nuclear-capable B2 stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula.
While US intelligence officials speculate that Kim Jong-un is using the bluster to assert control over his country, and his ultimate goal is recognition rather than getting involved in a devastating conflict, the general consensus seems to be that the baby-faced dictator is decidedly unpredictable, if not eight kinds of crazy.
Which is just what the people of North Korea don’t need at this point.
To see the rest, click here.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this was not put together by the typical Facebook user.
A handful of wooden synagogues, among the last vestiges of Lithuania’s thriving pre-World War II Jewish culture, are crumbling because of a lack of money and support.
Lithuania has barely more than a dozen wooden synagogues remaining, dating between the late 19th century and the 1930s.
They are unused today and falling apart, victims in part of abuse and neglect during the Soviet era.
“Their state of disrepair struck me,” said Gilles Vuillard, a Lithuania-based French artist who has depicted them in his work over the past few years. “Most often people didn’t even know where they were located anymore, yet they are witness to a unique cultural heritage.”
Lithuania’s pre-war Jewish population was approximately 210,000. Of that, an estimated 195,000, or more than 90 percent, were murdered by the Nazis following their invasion of the Baltics in June 1941.
Most of the small number who survived the Holocaust moved to Israel after the war.
Most Jews in Lithuania today arrived after 1945 and have little to no historical connection to the wooden synagogues.
Some 33 years after disappearing in Afghanistan, a Soviet veteran of the Afghan War has been located by his former countrymen.
The soldier, found by ex-Soviet troops, now lives with Afghans in the western province of Herat and has adopted the Afghan name Sheikh Abdullah, according to Russia’s RIA news agency.
An ethnic Uzbek, he was wounded in battle in 1980, shortly after the beginning of the nine-year Soviet war in Afghanistan.
Rescued by local Afghans after being wounded, the soldier, whose original name was Bakhretdin Khakimov, is now semi-nomadic and practices herbal medicine, the Russian news agency added.
The head of the official veterans’ committee, Ruslan Aushev, said the long-missing soldier was tracked down in Afghanistan’s Shindand district after a year-long search. He had served with a motorized rifle unit, according to the BBC.
At present, more than 250 Soviet soldiers are listed as still missing in Afghanistan. In the first decade after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 the veterans’ committee found 29 missing soldiers – and 22 of them decided to return home, while seven opted to stay in Afghanistan, RIA reported.
Abdullah bore the scars of his war wounds – a shaking hand and shoulder and nervous tic, according to a veterans’ committee official.
Some 15,000 Red Army soldiers and more than a million Afghans were killed during the conflict, which began in late 1979 and ended in early 1989 and pitted a Soviet-backed government in Kabul against mujahideen fighters armed by the West and Islamic neighbors.
(Above: Soviet solider in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.)
Ralph Parr, the last American double ace of the Korean War, died late last week at age 88.
Parr, a Virginia native who also flew in World War II and the Vietnam War, shot down 10 enemy aircraft in a seven-week period during the 1950-53 conflict.
He is the only individual to be awarded both the Distinguished Service Cross and its successor, the Air Force Cross.
Parr was one of just 11 Americans to achieve double-ace status by shooting down 10 or more planes during the Korean War.
Parr had undergone treatment for cancer in recent weeks at an assisted living facility in New Braunfels, Texas, where he died Friday, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
His death comes just five weeks after that of longtime friend and flying companion Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse, who had been the only other surviving double-ace from the Korean Conflict. Blesse also registered 10 kills.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where the largest statue of Vladimir Lenin once resided for decades, may be home to a lost masterpiece of Renaissance art.
One of Paolo Veronese’s versions of “Lamentation of Christ” has gone on display at the Uzbek State Arts Museum, according to Uzbek experts. Officials with the museum say it is one of several versions of the 16th century work the Italian artist painted that portrays the lamentation after Christ’s descent from the cross.
However the Italian embassy in Tashkent has urged caution, saying while the show is a remarkable event, further work will be needed to confirm that the picture is a genuine Veronese, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Arts Museum said the work was brought to Uzbekistan in the 19th century when the territory was part of the Russian Empire. It was part of the collection which belonged to the Romanovs, Russia’s last dynasty.
“The painting came to Tashkent as part of the luggage of Grand Duke Nikolai Konstantinovich Romanov, the grandson of Tsar Nicolas I who was exiled to Uzbekistan after falling out with the royal family over an affair with an American woman,” according to the wire service.
Veronese, Titian and Tintoretto are known as the pre-eminent Venetian painters of the late Renaissance. Veronese is touted for his work with colors and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil, according to art historian Lawrence Gowing.
Let’s face it: you’ve got to be a pretty crappy person to have your name become synonymous with the word “traitor” throughout much of the world.
But that’s what Vidkun Quisling managed to accomplish in a rather short space of time.
Quisling headed the Nazi puppet state in Norway during a good part of World War II and in the process became the poster boy for collaboration.
Not surprisingly given his relationship with the occupying Germans and the fact he played a key role in sending a significant percentage of Norway’s Jewish population to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps, Quisling was executed shortly after the end of war in October 1945.
But were one to begin by examining the first 40-plus years of Quisling’s life, it would have been impossible to predict how things turned out.
The Jumping Polar Bear Blog took time recently to recount the good and bad concerning Quisling, and there was a great deal more good than one might suspect for someone who gained ultimate infamy as a Nazi sympathizer.
Point is, for all Wikipedia’s occasional flaws with self-sourcing and people trying to disseminate inaccurate or deliberately misleading information, there may be no better website for knowledge junkies.
Imagine if the average person substituted a half an hour of television viewing each day for a 30 minutes of Wikipedia. (Provided, of course, they didn’t spend that half hour on Wikipedia reading about the show they were no longer watching.)
Sure, we’d likely have some folks spouting off a lot of useless trivia, but at least they wouldn’t be talking about worthless network programing.