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Film Review: The Legend of Kolovrat
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evpaty-kolovrat

RATING: 9/10
NOTES: “Russia’s 300.” Also reminiscent of Ironclad, and perhaps Valhalla Rising.
See my other reviews here: http://akarlin.com/reviews/

The Legend of Kolovrat (English: Furious) is a reasonably faithful retelling of the Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan [in Russian; not aware of an English translation], a medieval chronicle describing the Mongol invasion of Rus in 1237-40. The story starts with a clumsy young Evpaty trying to join his Prince’s druzhinniks, when they are ambushed by a Tatar warband. The Russians are all killed except for Anastasia, the daughter of one of the knights, who manages to flee just in time, and Evpaty, who blacks out from a slingshot wound to the head and is left for dead. He is later rescued, nursed back to health, and married off to Anastasia, with whom he has two children. But even though he becomes a great knight, he continues to suffer violent, episodic bouts of amnesia upon waking up every morning, due to the inflicted trauma.

Twelve years pass. The Horde approaches from the East, making camp several leagues from Ryazan. Prince Yury of Ryazan sends his son Fyodor as emissary to Batu Khan with precious gifts. He is accompanied by Evpaty Kolovrat, other druzhinniks, a merchant who knows the Tatar language, and a young servant woman who tends to Kolovrat’s ailment. But the Khan becomes enraged by the Russian refusal to kneel before him, and treacherously attacks the delegation – only a timely warning from the Horde’s Russian slaves prevents a wholesale massacre. Prince Fyodor heroically holds off the Tatars long enough to allow them to escape.

While the decimated group struggles back through a blinding snowstorm, the Mongols sack Ryazan, putting most of its denizens to the sword. They come home to scenes of grief and devastation, including the corpses of Kolovrat’s own wife and two young children, and of Fyodor’s young wife and child, who had thrown herself off a high building to avoid capture. They destroy a Tatar warband that had lingered in the city, and gather the survivors. Some are sent off as emissaries to the other Russian princes, while the fighting men commit to fighting the Horde. They conduct a partisan campaign against the Horde, at one point disguising themselves as evil spirits to take advantage of Mongol superstitions and challenging their morale. Having successfully diverted the Horde away from other Russian cities, they take position on high ground and wait for help to come from the other principalities. But none is forthcoming.

In the heroic last stand, Kolovrat’s warriors fight off progressive waves of Mongols to buy time for the women and children to make a getaway on a sail-powered sanya. It takes a catapult barrage to finally bring down Kolovrat, who tricks Batu Khan into kneeling before him with his dying words.

In his comments on the film, which he watched with the director Dzhanik Fayziev, Putin said that it was “impressive,” and stated that he believed that most people would watch it with interest.

I agree. In my opinion, this is one of the best Russian films of the past decade.

As Egor Kholmogorov notes in his review, it is remarkably true to the source material, at least by the standards of this genre.

The major exceptions can be listed concisely, and there were good reasons for each of them:

1. Fyodor’s wife Eupraxia committed suicide with her infant child after hearing news of her husband’s death out of grief, whereas in the film she does it to avoid capture by the Tatars. This reason is more amenable to modern sensibilities.

2. Prince Yury ventures out to give battle to the Horde after news of the emissaries’ slaughter, where he is defeated. This battle is omitted, probably due to budget constraints.

3. Evpaty Kolovrat returns to Ryazan not from the Horde, but from the Principality of Chernigov, where he had been unsuccessfully negotiating for aid. This allowed the directors to show off the Horde’s camp.

4. Kolovrat’s forces numbered 1,700 men, not a couple of dozen as in the film. That made for a lower budget… and even greater heroism.

Otherwise, the Legend follows the Tale to the letter.

1. During the skirmish with the Tatar band in the ruins of Ryazan, Kolovrat uses the Tatar blades instead of his own twin swords. / “Evpaty fought so intensely, that even his swords grew dull, and he seized the Tatar swords, and slashed away with them.

2. The heroes use special glowing paints applied to their faces to masquerade as evil spirits during one of their partisan raids on the Horde’s camp. / “The Tatars thought that they were the dead arisen… They fought the Tatars so courageously, that even Tsar Batu was struck by fear of them.

3. Kolovrat defeats the Horde’s champion Subotai in single combat, beheading him. / This is perhaps the one questionable deviation – Subotai was a fat, brilliant general who would neither have fought a duel, nor have been risked by the Mongols. I suppose this was on account of Subotai being better known than Khostovrul. “And Tsar Batu sent the son of his sister-in-law, Khostovrul, against Evpaty, and many Tatars went with him. Khostovrul boasted to the Tsar that he would capture him alive. And they were surrounded by the Tatar forces, who wanted to take Evpaty alive. Khostovrul engaged in single combat with Kolovrat, and was split in half. And he continued to kill many of the Tatar troops…

4. Kolovrat is killed by catapults. / The image of Kolovrat getting taken out by a giant rock doesn’t look all that great or convincing in the film, to be honest, but that’s the price of accuracy: “[The remaining Tatar soldiers] aimed their innumerable catapults against Kolovrat, and fired them, and finally managed to kill him.”

The film was also impressively accurate at the more macro level.

In a bold decision to emphasize rootedness over revenue, both the Russians and Mongols speak in their respective contemporary languages (the latter are dubbed). Even scenes that many critics dismissed as fictional or made up had a solid or at least defensible basis on history:

khan-batu1. There were criticisms of the neotenous facial features of Khan Batu, which would seem to be unbecoming of a Mongol warlord. But as Kholmogorov points, the only historical portraiture we have of him is from a Chinese engraving of the 13th century. It shows him to be beardless, somewhat womanly in face and manner, and dressed in luxurious Chinese robes.

2. The use of a sanya (ice sledge) with sails was likewise defensible – there were attempts to make such contraptions work along the icy rivers of medieval Russia, as well as in many other civilizations (e.g. Holland during the Little Ice Age). The modern version of this is called a boeier.

3. One scene features what sniggering liberals claimed was a potato at a dinner, whereas it was in fact a turnip-like vegetable common to medieval Russian dishes.

There were, of course, fully fantastical elements, but this sort of thing is inevitable in any film that doesn’t pretend to be a historical documentary.

Moreover, those fantastical elements that were present tended to be meaningful or highly aesthetic.

serafim-with-bear

Saint Seraphim of Sarov feeding a bear (1903 lithograph).

1. At one point, Kolovrat is saved from a Tatar ambush by a massive bear with the dimensions of a bus. We had previously met that bear as the companion of a hermit priest who had given them refuge from the snowstorm in his cave. Consequently, one cannot consider this a deus ex machina, especially since it was not exploited again: As the priest told his bear after that fight, “Go on, this is not your fight.” This also taps into a Russian trope of hermits, such as Sergius of Radonezh and Seraphim of Sarov, making friends with representatives of the ursine race.

2. Kolovrat fights with two swords. Swordplay with two blades is something that only really happens on the silver screen. Then again, same goes for 95%+ of swordplay in general, and for good reasons – “proper” swordplay doesn’t look impressive at all. So in practice, double wielded swords are used to maximize aesthetics and underline the super-elite level of the swordsman in question (e.g. see Dayne in the Tower of Joy scene from Game of Thrones). It also doesn’t hurt that he carries his swords in parallel on his back like Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher video game series, which happens to be as popular as Russia as it is in its native Poland. I wonder, are any of the people who worked on the film gamers?

In a rare departure from standard Russian cinematography, this film is also unapologetically Russophile.

Medieval Russia is presented as a free, prosperous, and spiritual realm of individuals.

In stark contrast to the The Horde (2012), with its exaltation of the cult of Christian suffering, men and lords are masters of their own fate in The Legend of Kolovrat. The markets are thriving. The houses are clean, homely izbas for commoners, and more spacious terems for the nobles and rich merchants. Commoners are clothed in traditional embroidered garb, while nobles wear elaborate outfits adorned with gold, sable, and precious stones. But they attend Church together, and the Prince’s son trains and jokes with the soldiers.

Yes, there are modest differences in class and social status, but this does not preclude sobornost. There is no fawning or excessive bowing before nobles, or even Prince Yury himself. Ordinary people have a say in the running of Ryazan through the veche. Literacy is widespread, and commoners discuss politics. Nor is there any anti-bourgeois sentiment, as was frequent in Soviet films. Though outwardly very much concerned for his own skin, the merchant called upon to act as translator in the mission to the Horde goes along for the journey, providing comedic relief, and ends up dying a martyr’s death along with the rest of the band of brothers.

Every Russian is portrayed with a certain dignity. While there are some who might be described as “village idiots,” there are no thugs or gopniks. Conversations take place in proper language, with allusions to the Russian chronicles and Scripture. Even the Russian princes who refuse to send help are portrayed sympathetically – how could they justify doing so, when Kolovrat’s band numbers just a couple of dozen warriors?

Predictably, all this triggered the liberals, for whom any positive portrayal of Russia now or then is like a red rag to a bull. Their reviews dripped with elitist spite and unconcealed contempt. Now to be sure, the film does present an idyllic image of medieval Russia. But this is standard for its genre. In their seethist autism, the Russian liberals forgot that it’s not like 300 (2006) is an accurate presentation of Sparta, with its helot-based economy, nor did Beowulf (2007) depict Dark Age Denmark as it really was.

There were several other editorial decisions that failed to satisfy certain narrow demographics. For instance, Christian Rus and the Horde were presented as cardinally hostile, incompatible civilizations, with the latter constituting a foreign element in the Russian lands. This goes against Lev Gumilev’s “Eurasianist” interpretation of the Mongol invasion as the “union” of medieval Rus and the Great Steppe against the Western Crusaders.

Consequently, united in Russophobia, Eurasianists were no more happy with the film than the liberals. (One particularly demented neo-Stalinist even went so far as to condemn the Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan: “An non-objective work, filled with anachronisms, mistakes, and religious allusions”).

But as Kholmogorov put it, there can be no “unity” between victim and murderer, between the conquerors and the conquered. In the chronicles, the Horde is portrayed a barbaric, heathen entity led by an “evil Tsar,” out to punish Christian Russians for their sins. This interpretation is backed up by archaeology. The Mongol invasion constituted an unparalleled disaster for Russian civilization, resulting in the deaths of up to a third of its population and the near elimination of its advanced urban culture (at the time, Kiev was as big as Paris, the largest city in Western Europe).

It is to the credit of the half-Russian, half-Uzbek director Dzhanik Fayziev that he refrained from any Eurasianist editorialization. Nor did he even castigate the Horde any more than it deserved. They are credited with mechanical cleverness – in one scene, Batu Khan plays with some toy models of his devastatingly effective trebuchets. At the end of the film, the Khan pays his respects to a dying Kolovrat, just as he is said to have done in the chronicles. In at least one respect, the film actually spares Batu Khan’s reputation. According to the chronicles, the actual prompt for the massacre of the Ryazan mission was Prince Fyodor’s refusal to send his wife as a hostage to the Khan: “It is not fitting for us, Christians, to bring our wives to you, impious ruler, for lechery. When you conquer us, then shall you possess our wives also.” This is left out of the film.

At the very end, when Kolovrat wakes up for one last time after getting hit by rock from the catapult, he finds that he no longer experiences any amnesia.

I will end this with Kholmogorov’s point that this was deeply symbolic: “We have in Kolovrat a profound symbol of the Russian people and Russian civilization, who regularly forget about themselves, their past, their identity, and their pride due to various traumatic reasons. Several times in the past century our memory was scrambled so hard, that we could barely answer the question: “Who are we?” Just like Kolovrat, who forgets everything, except how to fight, so the Russian people too forgot everything in certain moments other than their exceptional fighting qualities. But in the end, Kolovrat manages to remember, and to become who he is. In this, he is helped by a book he carries with him – a symbol of the literary traditions of Rus, which preserves our memories. And there comes a point after the blow and loss of consciousness, when he remembers everything, and refuses to forget. This is Russia today, which after its last episodic bout of memory loss, it seems, has made a firm decision to never forget anything again and to always remain true to itself.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Film, History, Review, Russia 
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  1. But as Kholmogorov put it, there can be “unity” between victim and murderer

    Looks like a “no” or something of the sort is missing here. AK: Thanks
    Sounds like an entertaining movie. This Kholmogorov fellow seems to be rather verbose though.

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  2. Oil paintings based on folk ballads of the Kolowrat (Ryazan artist Ilya Lysenkov): assault on Ryazan and Kolovrat before Batu

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  3. They take position on high ground and wait for help to come from the other principalities. But none is forthcoming.

    This stylized fact about the Mongol invasion is a key part of the Russian national identity all the way into the modern times. If you want to understand Russia you have to be aware of it.

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child, goes as follows. Just before the Mongol invasion Rus was divided into a number of mutually hostile principalities. During the invasion they refused to send aid to their neighbors, so the Mongols were able to take them out one by one. The lesson here is that any future disunity of the Russian lands must not be tolerated or it will end in a horrible disaster. This is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child... is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.
     
    The Rus state (not the Rosian Empire of the czars) never was a unified state, and the chronicles clearly indicate that when referring to the core 'Rus' lands, that only referred to the relatively small area today contained within Ukraine of Chernihiv, Kyiv and Pereslavl. All of the other principalities were outer states colonized from the center out through the auspices of the expanding Rurik dynasty (Galicia and Vladimir were on the periphery, not part of the core Rus lands). Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively. Teaching children in school a simplified (but untrue) version of history does not make it true. Speaking about a unified Rus nationality in Eastern Europe during the medieval period makes no more sense than talking about a Carolingian nationality at roughly the same time in Western Europe. You cannot 'unify'something that never existed.
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  4. @inertial
    They take position on high ground and wait for help to come from the other principalities. But none is forthcoming.

    This stylized fact about the Mongol invasion is a key part of the Russian national identity all the way into the modern times. If you want to understand Russia you have to be aware of it.

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child, goes as follows. Just before the Mongol invasion Rus was divided into a number of mutually hostile principalities. During the invasion they refused to send aid to their neighbors, so the Mongols were able to take them out one by one. The lesson here is that any future disunity of the Russian lands must not be tolerated or it will end in a horrible disaster. This is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child… is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.

    The Rus state (not the Rosian Empire of the czars) never was a unified state, and the chronicles clearly indicate that when referring to the core ‘Rus’ lands, that only referred to the relatively small area today contained within Ukraine of Chernihiv, Kyiv and Pereslavl. All of the other principalities were outer states colonized from the center out through the auspices of the expanding Rurik dynasty (Galicia and Vladimir were on the periphery, not part of the core Rus lands). Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively. Teaching children in school a simplified (but untrue) version of history does not make it true. Speaking about a unified Rus nationality in Eastern Europe during the medieval period makes no more sense than talking about a Carolingian nationality at roughly the same time in Western Europe. You cannot ‘unify’something that never existed.

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    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @dmitriev
    Hands off ancient Chernigov, uke. Historically, Chernigov and the surrounding area of the Severyane was not ethnic Ukrainian or proto-Ukrainian, but rather part of the Belarusian/southern Russian akanye continuum. Ethnically and anthropologically, the Severyane were closer to the Radimichi and Vyatichi than to the proto-Ukrainian tribes. And most of the territory of the Chernigov principality at its height was located in what is now Russia and Belarus, rather than Ukraine. The territory around Chernigov was colonized by ethnic Ukrainians, mainly from Right-Bank Ukraine, only during the 17th century, after it had been detached from the Russian state during the Time of Troubles. Much of the original population was massacred by the Ukrainian Cossacks and others were gradually assimilated, but traces of that original population remain to this day.
    , @Dingli
    Well that's is simply put a lie. Actually its a bunch of lies as there are really many. You could argue before Oleg if it was unified but not after as it certainly was? We know very well how it was organized, ruled, Rurik infighting and which "principalities" got out around what time and disbanded into other "principalities". Of course its ridiculous to talk about medieval state or a country in todays terms as nations because nation states as we see them today is concept less than 300 years old so all medieval countries are not what common people think of them. Russia, and I'm using the name Russia as it was actual name (Ruskaya Zemlya) and not historiographicaly coined term Kiev Rus was a state in medieval sense, ruled by Ruriks that little by little was disbanded into numerous "principalities". Ryazan which is a subject here become independent from Chernigov in 11th century. Same fate followed most other cities. Rurik infighting and butchering of land for personal profit aint different from any other European monarch infighting. More importantly Ruriks are a dynasty that continuously ruled Russia and its off shoots before and after Mongols for 21 generation.

    "Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively"
    hahaha cmon now, I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but "Ukrainian nationality" is 20th century creation, it is as real as those African sub-Saharan "nationalities" created during late colonial period when Brits drew all kind of straight and diagonal lines across Africa creating all kind of "nationalities" in the process. And just like they have little gratitude from Brits inventing them you have little gratitude to Soviets and their "Ukrainizatsiya"
    I agree with one thing you shouldnt teach untrue stuff, listen to your own advice
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  5. There are a lot of problems with this film, not least of which is the appearance of “Kolovrat” himself. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take Ilya Malakov seriously as Kolovrat. Frankly, it’s a slap in the face. It’s as if the only requirements to play Kolovrat were for one to be ethnic Russian and blond – it’s ridiculous. It got me thinking that someone like Georgiy Bobynin from films like Бабы Рязанские would have made a more credible-looking Kolovrat, and I say that without a hint of irony or exaggeration.

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  6. @Mr. Hack

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child... is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.
     
    The Rus state (not the Rosian Empire of the czars) never was a unified state, and the chronicles clearly indicate that when referring to the core 'Rus' lands, that only referred to the relatively small area today contained within Ukraine of Chernihiv, Kyiv and Pereslavl. All of the other principalities were outer states colonized from the center out through the auspices of the expanding Rurik dynasty (Galicia and Vladimir were on the periphery, not part of the core Rus lands). Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively. Teaching children in school a simplified (but untrue) version of history does not make it true. Speaking about a unified Rus nationality in Eastern Europe during the medieval period makes no more sense than talking about a Carolingian nationality at roughly the same time in Western Europe. You cannot 'unify'something that never existed.

    Hands off ancient Chernigov, uke. Historically, Chernigov and the surrounding area of the Severyane was not ethnic Ukrainian or proto-Ukrainian, but rather part of the Belarusian/southern Russian akanye continuum. Ethnically and anthropologically, the Severyane were closer to the Radimichi and Vyatichi than to the proto-Ukrainian tribes. And most of the territory of the Chernigov principality at its height was located in what is now Russia and Belarus, rather than Ukraine. The territory around Chernigov was colonized by ethnic Ukrainians, mainly from Right-Bank Ukraine, only during the 17th century, after it had been detached from the Russian state during the Time of Troubles. Much of the original population was massacred by the Ukrainian Cossacks and others were gradually assimilated, but traces of that original population remain to this day.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    the Severyane were closer to the Radimichi and Vyatichi than to the proto-Ukrainian tribes.
     
    From what I've read, during the Rus period, this principality was closely associated with the Kyivan principality (Polianin tribe; Ukrainian), and during the Cossack Hetmanate period, it developed many churches that came to be asociated with the Ukrainian barocco style (Mazepa baroque), bringing it closely into the Ukraininan fold of cultural activity. Being a bordering area with Vladimir/Suzdal it's true that the large principality also controlled areas which evolved later into Russian ethnographic territory. But you've not addressed my main point, that to ascribe modern (or pre-modern) national appellations to a mixed and diverse medieval population is a fruitless endeavor.
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  7. Yeah, right, Velikiy Novgorod and Suzdal are clearly in Ukraine….

    lel.

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  8. @dmitriev
    Hands off ancient Chernigov, uke. Historically, Chernigov and the surrounding area of the Severyane was not ethnic Ukrainian or proto-Ukrainian, but rather part of the Belarusian/southern Russian akanye continuum. Ethnically and anthropologically, the Severyane were closer to the Radimichi and Vyatichi than to the proto-Ukrainian tribes. And most of the territory of the Chernigov principality at its height was located in what is now Russia and Belarus, rather than Ukraine. The territory around Chernigov was colonized by ethnic Ukrainians, mainly from Right-Bank Ukraine, only during the 17th century, after it had been detached from the Russian state during the Time of Troubles. Much of the original population was massacred by the Ukrainian Cossacks and others were gradually assimilated, but traces of that original population remain to this day.

    the Severyane were closer to the Radimichi and Vyatichi than to the proto-Ukrainian tribes.

    From what I’ve read, during the Rus period, this principality was closely associated with the Kyivan principality (Polianin tribe; Ukrainian), and during the Cossack Hetmanate period, it developed many churches that came to be asociated with the Ukrainian barocco style (Mazepa baroque), bringing it closely into the Ukraininan fold of cultural activity. Being a bordering area with Vladimir/Suzdal it’s true that the large principality also controlled areas which evolved later into Russian ethnographic territory. But you’ve not addressed my main point, that to ascribe modern (or pre-modern) national appellations to a mixed and diverse medieval population is a fruitless endeavor.

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  9. @Mr. Hack

    The story, which is known by every Russian school child... is one of the reasons so many Russians are horrified by the current division of the Land of Rus into the separate Ukraine, Belarus, and rump Russia. They will not rest until these three are reunited after some fashion.
     
    The Rus state (not the Rosian Empire of the czars) never was a unified state, and the chronicles clearly indicate that when referring to the core 'Rus' lands, that only referred to the relatively small area today contained within Ukraine of Chernihiv, Kyiv and Pereslavl. All of the other principalities were outer states colonized from the center out through the auspices of the expanding Rurik dynasty (Galicia and Vladimir were on the periphery, not part of the core Rus lands). Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively. Teaching children in school a simplified (but untrue) version of history does not make it true. Speaking about a unified Rus nationality in Eastern Europe during the medieval period makes no more sense than talking about a Carolingian nationality at roughly the same time in Western Europe. You cannot 'unify'something that never existed.

    Well that’s is simply put a lie. Actually its a bunch of lies as there are really many. You could argue before Oleg if it was unified but not after as it certainly was? We know very well how it was organized, ruled, Rurik infighting and which “principalities” got out around what time and disbanded into other “principalities”. Of course its ridiculous to talk about medieval state or a country in todays terms as nations because nation states as we see them today is concept less than 300 years old so all medieval countries are not what common people think of them. Russia, and I’m using the name Russia as it was actual name (Ruskaya Zemlya) and not historiographicaly coined term Kiev Rus was a state in medieval sense, ruled by Ruriks that little by little was disbanded into numerous “principalities”. Ryazan which is a subject here become independent from Chernigov in 11th century. Same fate followed most other cities. Rurik infighting and butchering of land for personal profit aint different from any other European monarch infighting. More importantly Ruriks are a dynasty that continuously ruled Russia and its off shoots before and after Mongols for 21 generation.

    “Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively”
    hahaha cmon now, I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but “Ukrainian nationality” is 20th century creation, it is as real as those African sub-Saharan “nationalities” created during late colonial period when Brits drew all kind of straight and diagonal lines across Africa creating all kind of “nationalities” in the process. And just like they have little gratitude from Brits inventing them you have little gratitude to Soviets and their “Ukrainizatsiya”
    I agree with one thing you shouldnt teach untrue stuff, listen to your own advice

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    • Replies: @AP
    It's funny to see someone completely taking Russian nationalist mythology for granted make claims about Ukrainian nationalists.

    hahaha cmon now, I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but “Ukrainian nationality” is 20th century creation
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Radical_Party

    "The Ukrainian Radical Party, (URP), (Ukrainian: Українська радикальна партія, УPП, Ukrainska Radikalna Partiya) founded in October 1890 and based on the radical movement in western Ukraine dating from the 1870s"
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  10. The movie was ok/good but it suffers from same thing that most other epic Russian movies suffer from in the last 10-15 years and that is overacting and overdramatizatoin to the point of almost parody. It was a notch down here but that doesnt say much considering the soap opera overacting, cringe inducing slomos and other things that plagued some other recent Russian epics. Special effect on the other hand were top notch and even from previous movies like Attraction this year you can see theu catched up to Hollywood there

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but “Ukrainian nationality” is 20th century creation, it is as real as those African sub-Saharan “nationalities”
     
    Not bad for a 'nonsensical' nationality only dreamt up in the 20th century? Merry Christmas DinggleBerries! :-)

    https://youtu.be/JW1mUQ5Sreo

    , @Swedish Family

    The movie was ok/good but it suffers from same thing that most other epic Russian movies suffer from in the last 10-15 years and that is overacting and overdramatizatoin to the point of almost parody. It was a notch down here but that doesnt say much considering the soap opera overacting, cringe inducing slomos and other things that plagued some other recent Russian epics.
     
    This subject has seen intense debate in Russian film circles. Russian film-makers have traditionally tried to set themselves apart from the Hollywood tradition by avoiding such concepts as genre cinema and "happy endings," but beginning some 10 years ago, many prominent voices have argued that Russia's film industry should also offer Hollywood-style films with a Russian touch. I don't much like this kind of film-making, but 28 панфиловцев was excellent, and the remake of Экипаж was also quite good.
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  11. Rurik infighting and butchering of land for personal profit aint different from any othndinaer European monarch infighting. More importantly Ruriks are a dynasty that continuously ruled Russia and its off shoots before and after Mongols for 21 generation.

    A dynasty that used a Scandinavian lingo to communicate among itself for several centuries. BTW, the appellation Rus was used as a synonymous term with one to designate one of Scandinavian origin, similar to ‘viking’. Not yet singing ‘Kalinka’. The Hapsburgs were a dynastty that ruled throughout Europe for centuries, but no one would mistake a Spaniard today from an Austrian?

    Of course its ridiculous to talk about medieval state or a country in todays terms as nations because nation states as we see them today is concept less than 300 years old so all medieval countries are not what common people think of them.

    Why don’t we agree to part company here, where we can finally agree on something? The purpose of Russophile propaganda is innimical to this very idea.

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  12. @Dingli
    The movie was ok/good but it suffers from same thing that most other epic Russian movies suffer from in the last 10-15 years and that is overacting and overdramatizatoin to the point of almost parody. It was a notch down here but that doesnt say much considering the soap opera overacting, cringe inducing slomos and other things that plagued some other recent Russian epics. Special effect on the other hand were top notch and even from previous movies like Attraction this year you can see theu catched up to Hollywood there

    I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but “Ukrainian nationality” is 20th century creation, it is as real as those African sub-Saharan “nationalities”

    Not bad for a ‘nonsensical’ nationality only dreamt up in the 20th century? Merry Christmas DinggleBerries! :-)

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  13. Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn’t Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn’t want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism?
     
    Because Christianity is true and Islam is a moronic totalitarian cult. Nobody becomes Muslim willingly.
    , @Mitleser

    Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).
     
    If you have a choice between a religion whose missionaries developed an alphabet for your kind of language which is useful for your nation even after secularization and Islam which suggest that you need to learn Arabic because only Arabic version of their Holy Book is the real deal, why would you chose Islam?
    , @Kirill
    Who knows! According to Tales of Bygone Years, compiled two centuries after Vladimir in the 1180s, Vladimir listened to the Muslims, "for he was fond of women and indulgence...But circumcision and abstinence from pork, and wine were disagreeable to him. 'Drinking,' he said, 'is a joy to the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure." On the other hand, Prince Vladimir was also greatly impressed the churches and clergy in Constantinople. After visiting the monuments and treasures in the Byzantine capital his emissaries reported back, "[we] knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor...We only know that God dwells there among men..." http://factsanddetails.com/russia/People_and_Life/sub9_2b/entry-4998.html#chapter-0

    P.S. You may watch this animation to understand how Constantinople looked like: https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/12/13/animation-reconstruction-constantinople/

    , @Talha
    Hey Greasy,

    Interesting question. I think one has to give Medieval Christianity its due; it was a spiritual force to be reckoned with. Many reports about their saints and travelling preachers (like the one depicted in the painting with the bear) remind me of the mendicant Sufis in our tradition. Furthermore, they had the historical ties with Byzantium - where many Varangian Rus served as the imperial guard. If I recall correctly, the Rus leadership became Christian through them. Their conversion was quite natural in that sense. Later on of course, Islam was seen as the religion of the rival, like Turks or Tatars, etc. so a natural aversion is understandable.

    To me what is quite interesting is that Nestorian Christianity did have a significant following among the Mongols and Tatars (especially at the upper echelons) but that eventually faded away.

    This is a great article on the subject - it discusses why Latin Christianity mostly failed, but other versions had moderate to good success:
    "Though the Nestorians were not a majority, they played a significant role within the empire. In addition to several princesses and queens who were Christian in faith, a few high ranking officials existed in the administrative apparatus. Indeed, Ögödei Khan's (r. 1229—1240/41) primary minister, Chinqai (d. 1252) was a Nestorian Christian as were Sorqoqtani (d. 1252), a Kereit princess as well as the wife of Tolui; Töregene (d. 1246), a Naiman, and the wife Ögödei; Oghul Qaimish (d. 1252), a Merkit and wife of Güyük Khan (d. 1248) were also Nestorian Christians. Indeed, over time the papacy viewed the Christian wives of the Khans as the route to converting the Khan. The success of the missionaries in this route, however, proved minimal.8 Nonetheless, a Nestorian Christian influence existed in the upper circles of the empire...The Nestorian missionaries's own practice of acceptance and commitment allowed the Church of the East to flourish among the Mongols even if not all or even most of the Mongols followed their faith. Their missionary work spread knowledge and ideas of Christianity without threatening the cultural values of the nomads."
    http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/12.2/forum_may.html

    Peace.
    , @Swedish Family

    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn’t Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn’t want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?
     
    For what it's worth (I have been told this book is taught in Ukrainian schools), here is Orest Subtelny's take on the matter in Ukraine: A History:

    Undoubtedly, Volodymyr's greatest achievement was the Christianization of his vast realm. Sensing that Kievan Rus' had outlived its traditional animistic, pagan religion, he began to consider more sophisticated ways for his society to express its spiritual, social, and political values. By way of analogy with modern times, his position was that of a rising third-world leader who wishes to push forward the modernization of his country and consequently must adopt one of the two leading ideologies of the world's most advanced societies - capitalism or socialism. In Volodymyr's case, the two highly evolved systems of belief that came into consideration were Christianity and Islam, the religions of the lands with which Rus' had and wanted to maintain the closest commercial and political contacts. Despite the entertaining tales in the "Chronicle of Bygone Years" about how the envoys of Rus' rejected Islam because of its prohibition against alcoholic beverages and supposedly chose Byzantine Christianity because of the awe-inspiring splendor of its religious services, it was concrete political and historical factors that guided Volodymyr's choice.

    As Olha's earlier conversion indicated, Christianity had already set down roots in Kiev. The proximity of Rus' to the thoroughly Christianized Bulgarians as well as to the recently converted Poles and Hungarians only hastened this process. However, the immediate reason for accepting Christianity, specifically in its Byzantine variant, was a political one. In 987, as a price for helping the Byzantine co-emperors put down a rebellion, Volodymyr demanded
    the hand of their sister Anne. Although they were unhappy about diluting the jealously guarded prestige of their imperial dynasty by consenting to a marriage with a "barbarian," the Byzantines tried to make the best of a bad situation by demanding that Volodymyr accept Christianity. But even after Volodymyr converted in 988, they tried to put the marriage off. Pressure in the form of the Rus' conquest of the Byzantine-held Crimean city of Chersonesus (Korsun), however, finally led to the marriage.

    Determined to Christianize his subjects as quickly as possible, in 988 Volodymyr ordered a large part of Kiev's population to be herded into the Pochaino River, a tributary of the Dnieper, and baptized it en masse. Despite popular resistance, pagan idols were destroyed and Christian churches built in their place. Not only did the church, whose personnel and organizational structure were imported entirely from Constantinople, receive wide-ranging privileges and autonomy, but 10% of the princely revenues were assigned for its support. As a result of his great innovation, the political prestige of Volodymyr's dynasty, now linked to the highly respected Byzantine ruling house, was greatly enhanced.
     
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  14. Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism?

    Major trading partners were Christians. By the time of the adoption of Christianity, in Kiev existed numerous Christian community, so that the princes didn’t have much choice.

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  15. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In my opinion, this is one of the best Russian films of the past decade.

    Watched a pirated copy today. Beh. I think it’s crap. But then, I thought 300 is a total crap, too. It’s stuff from comics, bad comics at it. All characters are wooden dolls, with the plot and everyone’s action entirely predictable. The rest is a bunch of sword waving, arrows flying and blood flowing. For Putin’s equivalent of Stalin’s Alexander Nevsky, it’s a very weak sauce.

    I can see how this stuff can be entertaining to early teen boys but can’t see what adults, much less educated and discerning adults, could find in this. My rating is 4/10 (for the effort).

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    All characters are wooden dolls, with the plot and everyone’s action entirely predictable..... For Putin’s equivalent of Stalin’s Alexander Nevsky, it’s a very weak sauce.
     
    In the film Alexander Nevsky, the characters are wooden dolls, too. This film's other strengths (which are completely absent in mediocre modern Russian cinema)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXr0m7SaGvs&feature=player_embedded
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  16. @Dingli
    Well that's is simply put a lie. Actually its a bunch of lies as there are really many. You could argue before Oleg if it was unified but not after as it certainly was? We know very well how it was organized, ruled, Rurik infighting and which "principalities" got out around what time and disbanded into other "principalities". Of course its ridiculous to talk about medieval state or a country in todays terms as nations because nation states as we see them today is concept less than 300 years old so all medieval countries are not what common people think of them. Russia, and I'm using the name Russia as it was actual name (Ruskaya Zemlya) and not historiographicaly coined term Kiev Rus was a state in medieval sense, ruled by Ruriks that little by little was disbanded into numerous "principalities". Ryazan which is a subject here become independent from Chernigov in 11th century. Same fate followed most other cities. Rurik infighting and butchering of land for personal profit aint different from any other European monarch infighting. More importantly Ruriks are a dynasty that continuously ruled Russia and its off shoots before and after Mongols for 21 generation.

    "Both Galicia and Vladimir had great importance in the later formation of the Ukrainian and Russian nationalities, respectively"
    hahaha cmon now, I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but "Ukrainian nationality" is 20th century creation, it is as real as those African sub-Saharan "nationalities" created during late colonial period when Brits drew all kind of straight and diagonal lines across Africa creating all kind of "nationalities" in the process. And just like they have little gratitude from Brits inventing them you have little gratitude to Soviets and their "Ukrainizatsiya"
    I agree with one thing you shouldnt teach untrue stuff, listen to your own advice

    It’s funny to see someone completely taking Russian nationalist mythology for granted make claims about Ukrainian nationalists.

    hahaha cmon now, I know Ukies learn all kind of nonsense and Herodotus writing about them but “Ukrainian nationality” is 20th century creation

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Radical_Party

    “The Ukrainian Radical Party, (URP), (Ukrainian: Українська радикальна партія, УPП, Ukrainska Radikalna Partiya) founded in October 1890 and based on the radical movement in western Ukraine dating from the 1870s”

    Read More
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  17. (One particularly demented neo-Stalinist even went so far as to condemn the Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan: “An non-objective work, filled with anachronisms, mistakes, and religious allusions”).

    That Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan is “An non-objective work, filled with anachronisms, mistakes, and religious allusions” there is no doubt among historians, Medievalists (all political views). Under Stalin yevpaty Kolovrat strongly famous – for example in the novel of Jan V. “Batu,” or in painting

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    in the novel of Jan V. “Batu,”
     
    That trilogy was published in Hungary sometime in the early 80s. I read it as a teenager, and it was good. An historian told me that by the standards of literary works, it’s among the more historically accurate ones.
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  18. @Anonymous

    In my opinion, this is one of the best Russian films of the past decade.
     
    Watched a pirated copy today. Beh. I think it's crap. But then, I thought 300 is a total crap, too. It's stuff from comics, bad comics at it. All characters are wooden dolls, with the plot and everyone's action entirely predictable. The rest is a bunch of sword waving, arrows flying and blood flowing. For Putin's equivalent of Stalin's Alexander Nevsky, it's a very weak sauce.

    I can see how this stuff can be entertaining to early teen boys but can't see what adults, much less educated and discerning adults, could find in this. My rating is 4/10 (for the effort).

    All characters are wooden dolls, with the plot and everyone’s action entirely predictable….. For Putin’s equivalent of Stalin’s Alexander Nevsky, it’s a very weak sauce.

    In the film Alexander Nevsky, the characters are wooden dolls, too. This film’s other strengths (which are completely absent in mediocre modern Russian cinema)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I immediately thought of Alexander Nevsky too. I loved the film. Whatever modern Russian film I tried to watch I could not. Alexander Nevsky take sit to the heart. It brings out emotions, patriotism and love to Fatherland. People behave in dignified manner too. I sense huge generational divide between what it used to be and now. Another one would be Alexandr Souvorov. Loved that movies as well. Peter the Great! Ivan the Terrible. What characters!
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  19. @Greasy William
    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn't Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn't want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism?

    Because Christianity is true and Islam is a moronic totalitarian cult. Nobody becomes Muslim willingly.

    Read More
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  20. how did a post about the Mongol Yoke become about Russia-Ukie stuff… again. Grrr.

    Read More
    • Agree: melanf
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    You can thank Inertial for this 'digression' when he brought up Ukraine in comment #3. :-)
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  21. @Greasy William
    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn't Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn't want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    If you have a choice between a religion whose missionaries developed an alphabet for your kind of language which is useful for your nation even after secularization and Islam which suggest that you need to learn Arabic because only Arabic version of their Holy Book is the real deal, why would you chose Islam?

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
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  22. @melanf

    (One particularly demented neo-Stalinist even went so far as to condemn the Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan: “An non-objective work, filled with anachronisms, mistakes, and religious allusions”).
     
    That Tale of the Destruction of Ryazan is “An non-objective work, filled with anachronisms, mistakes, and religious allusions” there is no doubt among historians, Medievalists (all political views). Under Stalin yevpaty Kolovrat strongly famous - for example in the novel of Jan V. "Batu," or in painting

    http://artmiro.ru/_bl/3/16505433.jpg

    in the novel of Jan V. “Batu,”

    That trilogy was published in Hungary sometime in the early 80s. I read it as a teenager, and it was good. An historian told me that by the standards of literary works, it’s among the more historically accurate ones.

    Read More
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  23. My family had the book Batu by Vassily Jan back in Russia when I was a kid (never read it.) It said just
    +——-+
    | Jan |
    | Batu |
    | |
    ~~~~~~
    on the spine. I thought the author was one “Jan Batu.”

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  24. @ussr andy
    how did a post about the Mongol Yoke become about Russia-Ukie stuff... again. Grrr.

    You can thank Inertial for this ‘digression’ when he brought up Ukraine in comment #3. :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @ussr andy
    I'm against both the Ukies who, I think, are positively obsessed, and against Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity (it is, but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries.) Inertial is cool, I agree on most things with him, I'm sure he meant well.
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  25. @Mr. Hack
    You can thank Inertial for this 'digression' when he brought up Ukraine in comment #3. :-)

    I’m against both the Ukies who, I think, are positively obsessed, and against Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity (it is, but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries.) Inertial is cool, I agree on most things with him, I’m sure he meant well.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity
     
    I'm genetically Ukrainian, and believe me that the identity is, indeed, artificial and very recent.

    but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries
     
    Indeed. 90% of UN member countries are "fake countries". Real countries can be counted on the fingers of two hands.
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  26. @ussr andy
    I'm against both the Ukies who, I think, are positively obsessed, and against Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity (it is, but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries.) Inertial is cool, I agree on most things with him, I'm sure he meant well.

    Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity

    I’m genetically Ukrainian, and believe me that the identity is, indeed, artificial and very recent.

    but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries

    Indeed. 90% of UN member countries are “fake countries”. Real countries can be counted on the fingers of two hands.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    I’m genetically Ukrainian, and believe me that the identity is, indeed, artificial and very recent
     
    .

    Poor guy. Please tell us more about the hardships that you've had to endure because of this 'artificial identity'?...

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  27. @anonymous coward

    Russian patriotards who say things like Ukie was an artificial, or very recent, identity
     
    I'm genetically Ukrainian, and believe me that the identity is, indeed, artificial and very recent.

    but not more so than the national identities of like 90% of UN member countries
     
    Indeed. 90% of UN member countries are "fake countries". Real countries can be counted on the fingers of two hands.

    I’m genetically Ukrainian, and believe me that the identity is, indeed, artificial and very recent

    .

    Poor guy. Please tell us more about the hardships that you’ve had to endure because of this ‘artificial identity’?…

    Read More
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  28. Interestingly I could not see a single share for this movie on torrents (unless one is supposed to search in Cyrillic?), it goes to show how powerful US pop culture influences what people want to see.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    No, it just shows that Russian studios + authorities are aggressively going against high profile piracy. Yes, one is supposed to search in Cyrillic but even then 95% of the sites commonly linking to movie torrents have а variation of this message when it comes to this particular movie:

    "We are sorry, the torrent was removed at the request of copyrights holder".

    The movie was #1 in Russian box office for two weeks following its release. With regard to its piracy, two days ago the news was that the Russian censorship agency (Roskomnadzor = "Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media") has banned 92 sites. Which is completely futile of course - another 100 will pop in no time.
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  29. @Greasy William
    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn't Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn't want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Who knows! According to Tales of Bygone Years, compiled two centuries after Vladimir in the 1180s, Vladimir listened to the Muslims, “for he was fond of women and indulgence…But circumcision and abstinence from pork, and wine were disagreeable to him. ‘Drinking,’ he said, ‘is a joy to the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure.” On the other hand, Prince Vladimir was also greatly impressed the churches and clergy in Constantinople. After visiting the monuments and treasures in the Byzantine capital his emissaries reported back, “[we] knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor…We only know that God dwells there among men…” http://factsanddetails.com/russia/People_and_Life/sub9_2b/entry-4998.html#chapter-0

    P.S. You may watch this animation to understand how Constantinople looked like: https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/12/13/animation-reconstruction-constantinople/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Thanks much for the references - that video of Constantinople was amazing!
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  30. Wow – watched the trailer – seems really neat. Way too much special effects for my tastes (I like battles done the way Korusawa did it in Ran), but I realize that’s the way you grab attention nowadays. Looked very impressive though, even on that front.

    Peace.

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  31. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @neutral
    Interestingly I could not see a single share for this movie on torrents (unless one is supposed to search in Cyrillic?), it goes to show how powerful US pop culture influences what people want to see.

    No, it just shows that Russian studios + authorities are aggressively going against high profile piracy. Yes, one is supposed to search in Cyrillic but even then 95% of the sites commonly linking to movie torrents have а variation of this message when it comes to this particular movie:

    “We are sorry, the torrent was removed at the request of copyrights holder”.

    The movie was #1 in Russian box office for two weeks following its release. With regard to its piracy, two days ago the news was that the Russian censorship agency (Roskomnadzor = “Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media”) has banned 92 sites. Which is completely futile of course – another 100 will pop in no time.

    Read More
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  32. Read More
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    Vučić needs to stop fooling around, flirting with Washington will only lead Serbia into even lower ruins than she already is in. Russia's subservience in the Nineties earned her nothing but ingratitude, it will be the same for Serbia. It is bad enough Serbia has to deal with Western forces present in and backing anti-Serb regimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo-Metohija. As Sailer is fond of saying, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
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  33. @Greasy William
    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn't Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn't want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Hey Greasy,

    Interesting question. I think one has to give Medieval Christianity its due; it was a spiritual force to be reckoned with. Many reports about their saints and travelling preachers (like the one depicted in the painting with the bear) remind me of the mendicant Sufis in our tradition. Furthermore, they had the historical ties with Byzantium – where many Varangian Rus served as the imperial guard. If I recall correctly, the Rus leadership became Christian through them. Their conversion was quite natural in that sense. Later on of course, Islam was seen as the religion of the rival, like Turks or Tatars, etc. so a natural aversion is understandable.

    To me what is quite interesting is that Nestorian Christianity did have a significant following among the Mongols and Tatars (especially at the upper echelons) but that eventually faded away.

    This is a great article on the subject – it discusses why Latin Christianity mostly failed, but other versions had moderate to good success:
    “Though the Nestorians were not a majority, they played a significant role within the empire. In addition to several princesses and queens who were Christian in faith, a few high ranking officials existed in the administrative apparatus. Indeed, Ögödei Khan’s (r. 1229—1240/41) primary minister, Chinqai (d. 1252) was a Nestorian Christian as were Sorqoqtani (d. 1252), a Kereit princess as well as the wife of Tolui; Töregene (d. 1246), a Naiman, and the wife Ögödei; Oghul Qaimish (d. 1252), a Merkit and wife of Güyük Khan (d. 1248) were also Nestorian Christians. Indeed, over time the papacy viewed the Christian wives of the Khans as the route to converting the Khan. The success of the missionaries in this route, however, proved minimal.8 Nonetheless, a Nestorian Christian influence existed in the upper circles of the empire…The Nestorian missionaries’s own practice of acceptance and commitment allowed the Church of the East to flourish among the Mongols even if not all or even most of the Mongols followed their faith. Their missionary work spread knowledge and ideas of Christianity without threatening the cultural values of the nomads.”

    http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/12.2/forum_may.html

    Peace.

    Read More
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  34. @Kirill
    Who knows! According to Tales of Bygone Years, compiled two centuries after Vladimir in the 1180s, Vladimir listened to the Muslims, "for he was fond of women and indulgence...But circumcision and abstinence from pork, and wine were disagreeable to him. 'Drinking,' he said, 'is a joy to the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure." On the other hand, Prince Vladimir was also greatly impressed the churches and clergy in Constantinople. After visiting the monuments and treasures in the Byzantine capital his emissaries reported back, "[we] knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor...We only know that God dwells there among men..." http://factsanddetails.com/russia/People_and_Life/sub9_2b/entry-4998.html#chapter-0

    P.S. You may watch this animation to understand how Constantinople looked like: https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/12/13/animation-reconstruction-constantinople/

    Thanks much for the references – that video of Constantinople was amazing!

    Read More
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  35. @Greasy William
    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn't Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn't want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn’t Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn’t want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?

    For what it’s worth (I have been told this book is taught in Ukrainian schools), here is Orest Subtelny’s take on the matter in Ukraine: A History:

    Undoubtedly, Volodymyr’s greatest achievement was the Christianization of his vast realm. Sensing that Kievan Rus’ had outlived its traditional animistic, pagan religion, he began to consider more sophisticated ways for his society to express its spiritual, social, and political values. By way of analogy with modern times, his position was that of a rising third-world leader who wishes to push forward the modernization of his country and consequently must adopt one of the two leading ideologies of the world’s most advanced societies – capitalism or socialism. In Volodymyr’s case, the two highly evolved systems of belief that came into consideration were Christianity and Islam, the religions of the lands with which Rus’ had and wanted to maintain the closest commercial and political contacts. Despite the entertaining tales in the “Chronicle of Bygone Years” about how the envoys of Rus’ rejected Islam because of its prohibition against alcoholic beverages and supposedly chose Byzantine Christianity because of the awe-inspiring splendor of its religious services, it was concrete political and historical factors that guided Volodymyr’s choice.

    As Olha’s earlier conversion indicated, Christianity had already set down roots in Kiev. The proximity of Rus’ to the thoroughly Christianized Bulgarians as well as to the recently converted Poles and Hungarians only hastened this process. However, the immediate reason for accepting Christianity, specifically in its Byzantine variant, was a political one. In 987, as a price for helping the Byzantine co-emperors put down a rebellion, Volodymyr demanded
    the hand of their sister Anne. Although they were unhappy about diluting the jealously guarded prestige of their imperial dynasty by consenting to a marriage with a “barbarian,” the Byzantines tried to make the best of a bad situation by demanding that Volodymyr accept Christianity. But even after Volodymyr converted in 988, they tried to put the marriage off. Pressure in the form of the Rus’ conquest of the Byzantine-held Crimean city of Chersonesus (Korsun), however, finally led to the marriage.

    Determined to Christianize his subjects as quickly as possible, in 988 Volodymyr ordered a large part of Kiev’s population to be herded into the Pochaino River, a tributary of the Dnieper, and baptized it en masse. Despite popular resistance, pagan idols were destroyed and Christian churches built in their place. Not only did the church, whose personnel and organizational structure were imported entirely from Constantinople, receive wide-ranging privileges and autonomy, but 10% of the princely revenues were assigned for its support. As a result of his great innovation, the political prestige of Volodymyr’s dynasty, now linked to the highly respected Byzantine ruling house, was greatly enhanced.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    that's a very convincing explanation, thank you. Sounds like the Rus didn't have much of a choice.
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  36. @Dingli
    The movie was ok/good but it suffers from same thing that most other epic Russian movies suffer from in the last 10-15 years and that is overacting and overdramatizatoin to the point of almost parody. It was a notch down here but that doesnt say much considering the soap opera overacting, cringe inducing slomos and other things that plagued some other recent Russian epics. Special effect on the other hand were top notch and even from previous movies like Attraction this year you can see theu catched up to Hollywood there

    The movie was ok/good but it suffers from same thing that most other epic Russian movies suffer from in the last 10-15 years and that is overacting and overdramatizatoin to the point of almost parody. It was a notch down here but that doesnt say much considering the soap opera overacting, cringe inducing slomos and other things that plagued some other recent Russian epics.

    This subject has seen intense debate in Russian film circles. Russian film-makers have traditionally tried to set themselves apart from the Hollywood tradition by avoiding such concepts as genre cinema and “happy endings,” but beginning some 10 years ago, many prominent voices have argued that Russia’s film industry should also offer Hollywood-style films with a Russian touch. I don’t much like this kind of film-making, but 28 панфиловцев was excellent, and the remake of Экипаж was also quite good.

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  37. @Swedish Family

    Why did the Medieval Russians choose Christianity over Islam when they were looking for a real religion to replace their pagan barbarism? Wouldn’t Islam have been a better fit for the Russian temperament? Adopting Christianity gave Russia a bunch of problems with no payoff that I can see (politically speaking).

    I believe the official story is that they didn’t want to give up alcohol. Is that the real reason?
     
    For what it's worth (I have been told this book is taught in Ukrainian schools), here is Orest Subtelny's take on the matter in Ukraine: A History:

    Undoubtedly, Volodymyr's greatest achievement was the Christianization of his vast realm. Sensing that Kievan Rus' had outlived its traditional animistic, pagan religion, he began to consider more sophisticated ways for his society to express its spiritual, social, and political values. By way of analogy with modern times, his position was that of a rising third-world leader who wishes to push forward the modernization of his country and consequently must adopt one of the two leading ideologies of the world's most advanced societies - capitalism or socialism. In Volodymyr's case, the two highly evolved systems of belief that came into consideration were Christianity and Islam, the religions of the lands with which Rus' had and wanted to maintain the closest commercial and political contacts. Despite the entertaining tales in the "Chronicle of Bygone Years" about how the envoys of Rus' rejected Islam because of its prohibition against alcoholic beverages and supposedly chose Byzantine Christianity because of the awe-inspiring splendor of its religious services, it was concrete political and historical factors that guided Volodymyr's choice.

    As Olha's earlier conversion indicated, Christianity had already set down roots in Kiev. The proximity of Rus' to the thoroughly Christianized Bulgarians as well as to the recently converted Poles and Hungarians only hastened this process. However, the immediate reason for accepting Christianity, specifically in its Byzantine variant, was a political one. In 987, as a price for helping the Byzantine co-emperors put down a rebellion, Volodymyr demanded
    the hand of their sister Anne. Although they were unhappy about diluting the jealously guarded prestige of their imperial dynasty by consenting to a marriage with a "barbarian," the Byzantines tried to make the best of a bad situation by demanding that Volodymyr accept Christianity. But even after Volodymyr converted in 988, they tried to put the marriage off. Pressure in the form of the Rus' conquest of the Byzantine-held Crimean city of Chersonesus (Korsun), however, finally led to the marriage.

    Determined to Christianize his subjects as quickly as possible, in 988 Volodymyr ordered a large part of Kiev's population to be herded into the Pochaino River, a tributary of the Dnieper, and baptized it en masse. Despite popular resistance, pagan idols were destroyed and Christian churches built in their place. Not only did the church, whose personnel and organizational structure were imported entirely from Constantinople, receive wide-ranging privileges and autonomy, but 10% of the princely revenues were assigned for its support. As a result of his great innovation, the political prestige of Volodymyr's dynasty, now linked to the highly respected Byzantine ruling house, was greatly enhanced.
     

    that’s a very convincing explanation, thank you. Sounds like the Rus didn’t have much of a choice.

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  38. that’s a very convincing explanation, thank you. Sounds like the Rus didn’t have much of a choice.

    They would not have had much of a choice in their paganism, either.

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  39. Why Rus went Orthodox Christian:

    Disadvantadges of being Muslim:
    1: Making the Hadj would be quite the issue. Travel in medieval times was pretty iffy.
    2: Rus were pretty unimpressed by Muslim emmisaries not knowing what a Polar day/Polar night is. Polar Day on Ramadan is not going to be fun. In the missionary contest, the East Romans simply came off smarter.
    3: Requirement to learn Arabic, written and oral
    4: Not many friends in the area. Khazars were Jewish not Muslim
    5: Probably a long war with the Byzantines
    6: Basically zero pre-existing converts
    7: I guess that the Russians were quite aware that converting Russia to a non alcohol religion would be especially difficult.

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts

    I guess the actual choice was more between Orthodoxy and reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts
     
    A huge advantage of Catholicism - the Catholic Church has systematically created a system of education in the Latin language, and introduced in barbaric Europe the achievements of ancient culture (later Protestantism acted in this direction even more successful).
    The Orthodox Church about education almost did not care, and had almost no connection with the ancient culture. All this have a huge negative impact on the development of Russia

    reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.
     
    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the "modernization" of the pagan religion.
    , @German_reader

    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
     
    I don't think this can have been a big deal in the late 10th/early 11th centuries, the papacy was still rather limited in its reach and ambitions back then and subject to the control of Roman aristocrats (apart from the occasional imperial intervention). It only became really interventionist on a Europe-wide scale (and therefore much more troublesome to secular rulers) with the triumph of the church reformers from the mid-11th century onwards.
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  40. @Mightypeon
    Why Rus went Orthodox Christian:

    Disadvantadges of being Muslim:
    1: Making the Hadj would be quite the issue. Travel in medieval times was pretty iffy.
    2: Rus were pretty unimpressed by Muslim emmisaries not knowing what a Polar day/Polar night is. Polar Day on Ramadan is not going to be fun. In the missionary contest, the East Romans simply came off smarter.
    3: Requirement to learn Arabic, written and oral
    4: Not many friends in the area. Khazars were Jewish not Muslim
    5: Probably a long war with the Byzantines
    6: Basically zero pre-existing converts
    7: I guess that the Russians were quite aware that converting Russia to a non alcohol religion would be especially difficult.

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts


    I guess the actual choice was more between Orthodoxy and reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts

    A huge advantage of Catholicism – the Catholic Church has systematically created a system of education in the Latin language, and introduced in barbaric Europe the achievements of ancient culture (later Protestantism acted in this direction even more successful).
    The Orthodox Church about education almost did not care, and had almost no connection with the ancient culture. All this have a huge negative impact on the development of Russia

    reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.

    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the “modernization” of the pagan religion.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bb.

    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the “modernization” of the pagan religion.
     
    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?) and I always felt their Christianity had a unique aesthetic/ritualistic mix of the old/Pagan and the new/Christian. But then again, it looks like they went maybe a bit too 'modern' and the jury on 'successful' is open I guess..
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  41. @melanf

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts
     
    A huge advantage of Catholicism - the Catholic Church has systematically created a system of education in the Latin language, and introduced in barbaric Europe the achievements of ancient culture (later Protestantism acted in this direction even more successful).
    The Orthodox Church about education almost did not care, and had almost no connection with the ancient culture. All this have a huge negative impact on the development of Russia

    reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.
     
    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the "modernization" of the pagan religion.

    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the “modernization” of the pagan religion.

    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?) and I always felt their Christianity had a unique aesthetic/ritualistic mix of the old/Pagan and the new/Christian. But then again, it looks like they went maybe a bit too ‘modern’ and the jury on ‘successful’ is open I guess..

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor, @melanf

    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?)
     
    As far as I know Norse paganism is dead in the middle ages (and the reformation finished off the vestigial remnants). There is the Scandinavian neo-paganism, but is a different phenomenon.

    Now ancient paganism survived in European Russia among some Ugro-Finnic peoples. But there are no examples of successful European pagan state.

    But it should be noted that in the field of art fantastic success expected of ancient paganism (in which no one believes). For example in Russia of works of art to the tune of the ancient myths is many times more than the works of Orthodox art.
    Here is a modern Russian painting:

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Iliada/7432f.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Odisseia/7482i.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/70_Krit/7012b.jpg

    But the examples of talented Orthodox art it is impossible to find (talented non-Orthodox paintings on Christian themes are found, but not very often)

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  42. @bb.

    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the “modernization” of the pagan religion.
     
    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?) and I always felt their Christianity had a unique aesthetic/ritualistic mix of the old/Pagan and the new/Christian. But then again, it looks like they went maybe a bit too 'modern' and the jury on 'successful' is open I guess..
    Read More
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  43. @bb.

    In Europe there was not a single successful example of the “modernization” of the pagan religion.
     
    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?) and I always felt their Christianity had a unique aesthetic/ritualistic mix of the old/Pagan and the new/Christian. But then again, it looks like they went maybe a bit too 'modern' and the jury on 'successful' is open I guess..

    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?)

    As far as I know Norse paganism is dead in the middle ages (and the reformation finished off the vestigial remnants). There is the Scandinavian neo-paganism, but is a different phenomenon.

    Now ancient paganism survived in European Russia among some Ugro-Finnic peoples. But there are no examples of successful European pagan state.

    But it should be noted that in the field of art fantastic success expected of ancient paganism (in which no one believes). For example in Russia of works of art to the tune of the ancient myths is many times more than the works of Orthodox art.
    Here is a modern Russian painting:

    But the examples of talented Orthodox art it is impossible to find (talented non-Orthodox paintings on Christian themes are found, but not very often)

    Read More
    • Replies: @inertial
    Pavel Ryzhenko?


    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/be/95/ba/be95ba90e427f259e668e842cc0f4cba--fairytail-vikings.jpg

    , @AP
    Wrubel has some wonderful icons in a church in Kiev:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Vrubel_Madonna_Kiev.jpg

    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/BJBH5Y/pentecost-fresco-inside-the-st-cyrils-church-by-mikhail-vrubel-kiev-BJBH5Y.jpg
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  44. As far as I know Norse paganism is dead in the middle ages (and the reformation finished off the vestigial remnants).

    Correct, and we have far fewer traces of it in our Protestant tradition than what you find in the Orthodox tradition. From what I remember, scholars attribute this to Protestantism being text-centric (focusing on interpretations of the Scriptures) rather than ritualistic (focusing on the continuation of ancient rituals).

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  45. @melanf

    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?)
     
    As far as I know Norse paganism is dead in the middle ages (and the reformation finished off the vestigial remnants). There is the Scandinavian neo-paganism, but is a different phenomenon.

    Now ancient paganism survived in European Russia among some Ugro-Finnic peoples. But there are no examples of successful European pagan state.

    But it should be noted that in the field of art fantastic success expected of ancient paganism (in which no one believes). For example in Russia of works of art to the tune of the ancient myths is many times more than the works of Orthodox art.
    Here is a modern Russian painting:

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Iliada/7432f.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Odisseia/7482i.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/70_Krit/7012b.jpg

    But the examples of talented Orthodox art it is impossible to find (talented non-Orthodox paintings on Christian themes are found, but not very often)

    Pavel Ryzhenko?

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf
    Ryzhenko is a mockery of religion and of the history.
    Alexander Peresvet - aristocrat who became a monk, hero of the medieval poem. Peresvet goes into battle as knight in shining gold armor, and saying like a Roman Consul "Better to fall on your sword than lose to Tatars" ("Лучше бы есмя сами на свои мечи наверглися, нежели намъ от поганыхъ положеным пасть").

    Ryzhenko turned Alexander Peresvet, from knight in to church fool. In the following painting of Ryzhenko,
    https://www.peredvizhnik.ru/upload/iblock/d79/1331203299_pobeda_peresveta.jpg
    "Peresvet" defeated Japanese samurai, but dies by spear fallen from the sky . The expression of "Peresvet" face is the same blissfully idiocy.

    In contemporary Russian art there are good-quality paintings on Christian subjects.

    http://drawingacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Is-it-possible-to-learn-art-online7-700x1000.jpg

    https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/62868/39928832.12b/0_a2fb9_bcc4a457_XL.jpg

    http://www.art-acad-church.ru/krt/images/stankov/38.jpg

    But it is not Orthodox paintings and not paintings of Ryzhenkov
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  46. @melanf

    Maybe Scandinavia? The pagans there lasted until very recently (19th century or even to this day?)
     
    As far as I know Norse paganism is dead in the middle ages (and the reformation finished off the vestigial remnants). There is the Scandinavian neo-paganism, but is a different phenomenon.

    Now ancient paganism survived in European Russia among some Ugro-Finnic peoples. But there are no examples of successful European pagan state.

    But it should be noted that in the field of art fantastic success expected of ancient paganism (in which no one believes). For example in Russia of works of art to the tune of the ancient myths is many times more than the works of Orthodox art.
    Here is a modern Russian painting:

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Iliada/7432f.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/73_Odisseia/7482i.jpg

    http://sschool8.narod.ru/70_Krit/7012b.jpg

    But the examples of talented Orthodox art it is impossible to find (talented non-Orthodox paintings on Christian themes are found, but not very often)

    Wrubel has some wonderful icons in a church in Kiev:

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Wrubel has some wonderful icons in a church in Kiev:
     
    in the end Vrubel quarreled with the Church and his plans for the Church painting was rejected.

    In any case, Vrubel paint ancient gods a lot better

    https://cameralabs.org/media/lab16/post/06-16/15-1/hudozhnik-Mihail-Vrubel_25.jpg

    https://artchive.ru/res/media/orig/work/1dc/1dce07cdd77814913e6754c68ed148b8.jpg?897.jpg
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  47. @inertial
    Pavel Ryzhenko?


    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/be/95/ba/be95ba90e427f259e668e842cc0f4cba--fairytail-vikings.jpg

    Ryzhenko is a mockery of religion and of the history.
    Alexander Peresvet – aristocrat who became a monk, hero of the medieval poem. Peresvet goes into battle as knight in shining gold armor, and saying like a Roman Consul “Better to fall on your sword than lose to Tatars” (“Лучше бы есмя сами на свои мечи наверглися, нежели намъ от поганыхъ положеным пасть”).

    Ryzhenko turned Alexander Peresvet, from knight in to church fool. In the following painting of Ryzhenko,

    “Peresvet” defeated Japanese samurai, but dies by spear fallen from the sky . The expression of “Peresvet” face is the same blissfully idiocy.

    In contemporary Russian art there are good-quality paintings on Christian subjects.

    But it is not Orthodox paintings and not paintings of Ryzhenkov

    Read More
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  48. @Mightypeon
    Why Rus went Orthodox Christian:

    Disadvantadges of being Muslim:
    1: Making the Hadj would be quite the issue. Travel in medieval times was pretty iffy.
    2: Rus were pretty unimpressed by Muslim emmisaries not knowing what a Polar day/Polar night is. Polar Day on Ramadan is not going to be fun. In the missionary contest, the East Romans simply came off smarter.
    3: Requirement to learn Arabic, written and oral
    4: Not many friends in the area. Khazars were Jewish not Muslim
    5: Probably a long war with the Byzantines
    6: Basically zero pre-existing converts
    7: I guess that the Russians were quite aware that converting Russia to a non alcohol religion would be especially difficult.

    Disadvatnadges of being Catholic:
    1: A dude called Pope feels that he, for some reason, is entitled to decide if you get to divorce.
    2: Said dude called Pope was otherwise a lot less impressive then the East Roman Emperor
    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.
    4: Not a whole lot of preexisting converts


    I guess the actual choice was more between Orthodoxy and reforming the Slavic relgion into something organized. Yes, I play to much CK2.

    3: Said pope dude also believes that he is entitled to a lot more political micromanagment on your own turf.

    I don’t think this can have been a big deal in the late 10th/early 11th centuries, the papacy was still rather limited in its reach and ambitions back then and subject to the control of Roman aristocrats (apart from the occasional imperial intervention). It only became really interventionist on a Europe-wide scale (and therefore much more troublesome to secular rulers) with the triumph of the church reformers from the mid-11th century onwards.

    Read More
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  49. @AP
    Wrubel has some wonderful icons in a church in Kiev:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Vrubel_Madonna_Kiev.jpg

    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/BJBH5Y/pentecost-fresco-inside-the-st-cyrils-church-by-mikhail-vrubel-kiev-BJBH5Y.jpg

    Wrubel has some wonderful icons in a church in Kiev:

    in the end Vrubel quarreled with the Church and his plans for the Church painting was rejected.

    In any case, Vrubel paint ancient gods a lot better

    Read More
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  50. Great warrior suffering amnesia, losing memory every morning… Gene Wolfe, anyone?

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  51. @melanf

    All characters are wooden dolls, with the plot and everyone’s action entirely predictable..... For Putin’s equivalent of Stalin’s Alexander Nevsky, it’s a very weak sauce.
     
    In the film Alexander Nevsky, the characters are wooden dolls, too. This film's other strengths (which are completely absent in mediocre modern Russian cinema)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXr0m7SaGvs&feature=player_embedded

    I immediately thought of Alexander Nevsky too. I loved the film. Whatever modern Russian film I tried to watch I could not. Alexander Nevsky take sit to the heart. It brings out emotions, patriotism and love to Fatherland. People behave in dignified manner too. I sense huge generational divide between what it used to be and now. Another one would be Alexandr Souvorov. Loved that movies as well. Peter the Great! Ivan the Terrible. What characters!

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  52. I haven’t watched yet, but the name of the main character Evpatiy Kolovrat and the title are slightly “disharmonic” in Russian (I won’t explain why, this is obvious for a Russian). I’m not sure if in Old Russian the name was more euphonic. If it is just a fiction, they may have chosen a better name. It even does not have to be a historical or mythical figure, just a name.

    In other respects, the movie seems to be OK, and definitely I’m going to watch it. I haven’t read your review, though (only the beginning), for I have a rule: if everybody says a movie is good, then it must be worth watching, but I avoid detailed reviews not to spoil the experience. If movie is bad, I read only full reviews just not to waste my time watching trash (but still want to know what that is all about).

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  53. @swedish reader
    OT: https://www.rt.com/op-edge/413852-vucic-russia-serbia-nato/

    Vučić needs to stop fooling around, flirting with Washington will only lead Serbia into even lower ruins than she already is in. Russia’s subservience in the Nineties earned her nothing but ingratitude, it will be the same for Serbia. It is bad enough Serbia has to deal with Western forces present in and backing anti-Serb regimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo-Metohija. As Sailer is fond of saying, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

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