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For what my views are worth – which is very little, especially in China – I am always for freedom of speech.

That said, it’s worth clarifying that the late Liu Xiaobo was much more a Western nationalist than a genuine humans right activist.

“[It would take] 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would require 300 years as a colony for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

“Modernization means whole-sale westernization, choosing a human life is choosing Western way of life. Difference between Western and Chinese governing system is humane vs in-humane, there’s no middle ground… Westernization is not a choice of a nation, but a choice for the human race”

In his 1996 article entitled “Lessons from the Cold War”, Liu argues that “The free world led by the US fought almost all regimes that trampled on human rights … The major wars that the US became involved in are all ethically defensible.” He has defended U.S. policies in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which he thinks is the fault of the “provocateur” Palestinians.

Liu also published a 2004 article in support of Bush’s war on Iraq, titled “Victory to the Anglo-American Freedom Alliance”, in which he praised the U.S.-led post-Cold War conflicts as “best examples of how war should be conducted in a modern civilization.” He wrote “regardless of the savagery of the terrorists, and regardless of the instability of Iraq’s situation, and, what’s more, regardless of how patriotic youth might despise proponents of the United States such as myself, my support for the invasion of Iraq will not waver. Just as, from the beginning, I believed that the military intervention of Britain and the United States would be victorious, I am still full of belief in the final victory of the Freedom Alliance and the democratic future of Iraq, and even if the armed forces of Britan and the United States should encounter some obstacles such as those that they are curently facing, this belief of mine will not change.” He predicted “a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq will emerge.”

His closest equivalent in Russia would probably be someone like Valeria Novodvorskaya, authoritarian neocon “liberals” who in net terms set back the cause of liberalism and human rights rather than advance them because of the negative reactions their Western cargo cultism and photo ops with John McCain provokes amongst the patriotic toiling masses.

Moreover, just like Novodvorskaya, he was a creation of not so much China itself as the sovok/Maoist system that he pretended to despise:

“I realized my entired youth and early writings had all been nurtured in hatred, violence and arrogance, or lies, cynicism and sarcasm. I knew at the time that Mao-style thinking and Cultural Revolution-style language had become ingrained in me, and my gaol had been transform myself [...]. It may talk me a lifetime to get rid of the poison.”

Unfortunately, a lifetime was not enough.

He was also a strong critic of Chinese nationalism, believing that the “abnormal nationalism” existed in China over the last century had turned from a defensive style of the “mixed feelings of inferiority, envy, complaint, and blame to an aggressive “patriotism” of “blind self-confidence, empty boasts, and pent-up hatred”. The “ultra-nationalism”, being deployed by the Chinese Communist Party since the Tiananmen protests, has also become “a euphemism for worship of violence in service of autocratic goals.”

Contra Alt Right rhetoric, China is one of the least nationalist entities on the planet. What other country legally restricted the birth rates of its indigenous majority while letting minorities have second and third children to their hearts’ content? Even Sweden has yet to “cuck” itself that hard.

Netizens on the Chinese Internet constantly lambast the PRC for its limp-wristedness in responding to foreign provocations.

However, not even all this was enough for Liu Xiaobo. So far as he was concerned, only unequal treaties, only hardcore.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: China, Human Rights, Neocons, Obituary 
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Ilya Glazunov, one of Russia’s great painters is dead at the age of 87.

The “official” art of the modern age is an aesthetic desert; a postmodernist joke that celebrates fraudsters and degenerates, and benefits art dealers and billionaires. Yet there are still men of idealism, far from the cameras and the accolades of handshakeworthy critics, who labor on, creating Great Art for this lost age, and ages yet to come.

Ilya Glazunov was undoubtedly such a man, capturing the “spirit” of Russia’s 20th century on canvass with a flair that no-one else has matched. A nationalist of monarchic and Orthodox inclination who was alternatively persecuted by and accomodated for by the Soviet regime, the unloosening of social and political strictures following its collapse – especially in tandem with the dark backdrop of the despair and moral anomie of the 1990s – offerd Glazunov the scope to realize his full potential.

It is unclear who will carry on his legacy. Pavel Ryzhenko, a pupil of his, was the prime candidate, until his untimely death in 2014 from a heart attack at the age of 44 (his life’s work is now tirelessly propounded by his widow, whom I met at an exhibition a few months ago). That said, he headed an academy that churned out dozens of graduates trained in his style of realistic painting every year, so there is a good chance that some of them will rise to deserved prominence.

His website where you can view many of his works: http://glazunov.ru/en

A longer, more comprehensive article about him by Russia Insider’s Ricky Twisdale.

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glazunov-tsarevitch-dmitry

Tsarevich Dmitry, 1967

glazunov-mystery-of-the-20th-century

Mystery of the 20th Century, 1976. (I ts display in 1988 was one of the first steps towards Solzhenitsyn’s rehabilitation).

glazunov-roads-of-war

The Roads of War, 1985.

glazunov-the-legend-of-kitezh

The Legend of the City of Kitezh, 1986.

glazunov-eternal-russia

Eternal Russia, 1988.

glazunov-in-memory-of-wife

In Memory of Wife, 1994. (His wife committed suicide, a trauma he only managed to artistically address eight years after the event).

glazunov-market-of-democracy

The Market of Our Democracy, 1999.

glazunov-dekulakization

Dekulakization, 2010.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Art, Obituary, Russia 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.