The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in the Migration period (from Central Asia to Europe) and early medieval Europe (ca. 5th to 10th centuries) whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations (via the Slavic states of the High Middle Ages). The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a vast area of central-eastern Europe. Over the following two centuries, the Slavs expanded further, towards the Balkans and the Alps in the south and west, and the Volga in the north and east. From the 9th century, the Slavs were gradually Christianised, and by the 12th century, they formed the population within a number of medieval Christian states, the East Slavs in the Kievan Rus' and Lithuania, the South Slavs in Bulgaria and Serbia, and the West Slavs in Poland and the Holy Roman Empire (Pomerania, Bohemia).
The modern Russian is formed from two groups, Northern and Southern, which were made up of Kriviches, Ilmen Slavs, Radimichs, Vyatiches and Severians East Slavic tribes. Genetic studies show that modern Russians do not differ significantly from Poles or Slovenians or Ukrainians. Some ethnographers, like Zelenin, affirm that Russians are more similar to Belarusians and Ukrainians than southern Russians to northern Russians. Russians in northern European Russia share moderate genetic similarities with Uralic peoples, who lived in modern north central European Russia and were partly assimilated by the Slavs as the Slavs migrated northeastwards. Among those peoples were Merya and Muromian.
Vladimir, born in 958, was the natural son and youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev by his housekeeper Malusha. Malusha is described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Malusha's brother Dobrynya was Vladimir's tutor and most trusted advisor. Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity also connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga Prekrasa, who was Christian and governed the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns.
Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death (972), a fratricidal war erupted (976) between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977 Vladimir fled to his kinsman Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, collecting as many of the Norse warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod, and on his return the next year marched against Yaropolk.
On his way to Kiev he sent ambassadors to Rogvolod (Norse: Ragnvald), prince of Polotsk, to sue for the hand of his daughter Rogneda (Norse: Ragnhild). The high-born princess refused to affiance herself to the son of a bondswoman, but Vladimir attacked Polotsk, slew Rogvolod, and took Ragnhild by force. Polotsk was a key fortress on the way to Kiev, and the capture of Polotsk and Smolensk facilitated the taking of Kiev (980), where he slew Yaropolk by treachery, and was proclaimed knyaz, or khagan, of all Kievan Rus.
Vladimir continued to expand his territories beyond his father's extensive domain. In 981, he conquered the Cherven cities (known later as Galicia) shifting his borders toward Poland; in 983, he subdued the Yatvingians, whose territories lay between Lithuania and Poland; in 985, he led a fleet along the central rivers of Kievan Rus' to conquer the Bulgars of the Kama, planting numerous fortresses and colonies on his way.
Though Christianity had won many converts since Olga's rule, Vladimir had remained a thoroughgoing pagan, taking eight hundred concubines (besides numerous wives) and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods. He may have attempted to reform Slavic paganism by establishing the thunder-god, Perun, as a supreme deity. "Although Christianity in Kiev existed before Vladimir’s time, he had remained a pagan, accumulated about seven wives, established temples, and, it is said, taken part in idolatrous rites involving human sacrifice."
“In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods. A lot was cast and it fell on a youth, Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols. More than that, he tried to show the pagans the futility of their faith: ‘Your gods are just plain wood: it is here now but it may rot into oblivion tomorrow; your gods neither eat, nor drink, nor talk and are made by human hand from wood; whereas there is only one God — He is worshiped by Greeks and He created heaven and earth; and your gods? They have created nothing, for they have been created themselves; never will I give my son to the devils!’”
An open abuse of the deities, to which most people in Rus' bowed in reverence in those times, triggered widespread indignation. A mob killed the Christian Fyodor and his son Ioann (later, after the overall christening of Kievan Rus, people came to regard these two as the first Christian martyrs in Rus and the Orthodox Church set a day to commemorate them, July 25).
Immediately after the murder of Fyodor and Ioann, early medieval Rus saw persecutions against Christians, many of whom escaped or concealed their belief.
However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, and not least for political considerations. According to the early Slavic chronicle called Tale of Bygone Years, which describes life in Kyivan Rus' up to the year 1110, he sent his envoys throughout the civilized world to judge at first hand the major religions of the time—Islam, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, and Byzantine Orthodoxy. They were most impressed with their visit to Constantinople, saying, "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth… We only know that God dwells there among the people, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations."
The Primary Chronicle reports that in the year 987, as the result of a consultation with his boyars, Vladimir sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is amusingly described by the chronicler Nestor. Of the Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga the envoys reported there is no gladness among them; only sorrow and a great stench. He also said that the Bulgars' religion of Islam was undesirable due to its taboo against alcoholic beverages and pork; Vladimir said on that occasion: "Drinking is the joy of the Russes. We cannot exist without that pleasure." Russian sources also describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys (who may or may not have been Khazars), and questioning them about their religion but ultimately rejecting it, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence of their having been abandoned by God. Ultimately Vladimir settled on Christianity. In the churches of the Germans his emissaries saw no beauty; but at Constantinople, where the full festival ritual of the Byzantine Church was set in motion to impress them, they found their ideal: "We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth," they reported, describing a majestic Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia, "nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it." If Vladimir was impressed by this account of his envoys, he was yet more so by political gains of the Byzantine alliance.
Source: The Primary Chronicle
The Russian Primary Chronicle
The Russian Primary Chronicle, also called Chronicle of Nestor or Kiev Chronicle, Russian Povest vremennykh let (“Tale of Bygone Years”), medieval Kievan Rus historical work that gives a detailed account of the early history of the eastern Slavs to the second decade of the 12th century. The chronicle, compiled in Kiev about 1113, was based on materials taken from Byzantine chronicles, west and south Slavonic literary sources, official documents, and oral sagas; the earliest extant manuscript of it is dated 1377. While the authorship was traditionally ascribed to the monk Nestor, modern scholarship considers the chronicle a composite work.
In 988, having taken the town of Chersonesos in Crimea, he boldly negotiated for the hand of the emperor Basil II's sister, Anna. Never before had a Byzantine imperial princess, and one "born-in-the-purple" at that, married a barbarian, as matrimonial offers of French kings and German emperors had been peremptorily rejected. In short, to marry the 27-year-old princess off to a pagan Slav seemed impossible. Vladimir, however, was baptized at Cherson, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding with Anna. Returning to Kiev in triumph, he destroyed pagan monuments and established many churches, starting with the splendid Church of the Tithes (989) and monasteries on Mt. Athos.
Arab sources, both Muslim and Christian, present a different story of Vladimir's conversion. Yahya of Antioch, al-Rudhrawari, al-Makin, Al-Dimashqi, and ibn al-Athir all give essentially the same account. In 987, Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas revolted against the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Both rebels briefly joined forces, but then Bardas Phocas proclaimed himself emperor on 14 September 987. Basil II turned to the Kievan Rus' for assistance, even though they were considered enemies at that time. Vladimir agreed, in exchange for a marital tie; he also agreed to accept Christianity as his religion and bring his people to the new faith. When the wedding arrangements were settled, Vladimir dispatched 6,000 troops to the Byzantine Empire and they helped to put down the revolt.
He then formed a great council out of his boyars, and set his twelve sons over his subject principalities. It is mentioned in the Primary Chronicle that Vladimir founded the city of Belgorod in 991. In 992 he went on a campaign against the Croats, most likely the White Croats (an East Slavic group unrelated to the Croats of Dalmatia) that lived on the border of modern Ukraine. This campaign was cut short by the attacks of the Pechenegs on and around Kiev. In his later years he lived in a relative peace with his other neighbors: Boleslav I of Poland, Stephen I of Hungary, Andrikh the Czech, (questionable character mentioned in A Tale of the Bygone Years).
After Anna's death, he married again, likely to a granddaughter of Otto the Great of the Black Holy Roman Empire.
In 1014 his son Yaroslav the Wise stopped paying tribute. Vladimir decided to chastise the insolence of his son, and began gathering troops against Yaroslav. However, Vladimir fell ill, most likely of old age and died at Berestovo, near Kiev. The various parts of his dismembered body were distributed among his numerous sacred foundations and were venerated as relics.
The transition from Byzantium to Russia Orthodoxy brought Orthodox books, religious rites, architecture and the first priests. The Orthodox churches, that were built first by foreigners and later by Russian architects, used the Greek cross plan in church architecture and were crowned by a dome or several domes. That is why this architectural form of churches is called crossed-dome. One of the first Orthodox churches are Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev (beginning of the 11th century) and Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (beginning of the 12th century).
There are neither benches nor chairs inside the Orthodox church. People stand during the whole service regardless of its length. The decoration of the church interior was also Byzantine. There were mosaics, fresco paintings, icons. However, there wasn't a tradition to put sculptures. Icons were painted right on the church walls. And there was also a special wall between the place for parishioners and the sanctuary which was covered with icons. The wall is called the iconostasis.
First the iconostasis was small with only a few icons in a tier. By the 15th century it had grown up to five tiers of icons. The placement of icons is regulated by a number of rather strict rules. There is a door in the center of the iconostasis called the Beautiful Gate. During the Easter week - the main holiday of the Orthodox believers - the Beautiful Gate is kept opened. Any other time the Gate opens during the services and is only used by the clergy.
In Russia the art of icon painting had truly blossomed. Icons were never signed that is why we do not know the names of the artists except for a few ones. However all of them had to follow a set of strict technical rules of the Byzantine icon painting school. The icon itself is symbolic. The artist had to show the spiritual aspect in the first placel. The icon actually spoke with the parishioners who were often illiterate and ignorant. People were able to understand the plot without a word, they recognized the faces and the figures in the icons because of the repeating details and some certain colours of the clothes.
They understood the symbolism of these colours, of gestures and poses of the saints. In order to emphasize the spiritual nature of the saints the artists changed the proportions of bodies and faces. The face was drawn smaller, the figure more stretched. The folds in clothing were drawn in every detail. The painters used reverse perspective where the further the objects are, the larger they are drawn. The use of this perspective displays the spiritual communication with God. Until the 17th century, icon painting was the only visual art known in Russia. In different towns and cities icon painting schools were established.
Saint Nicholas, (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), was a Black Greek born in Asia Minor (Greek Anatolia) in the Eastern Roman Empire, to a Greek family in the city of Patara (Lycia et Pamphylia), which was a port on the Mediterranean Sea in present day Turkey. He lived in Myra, Lycia (part of modern-day Demre, Turkey), at a time when the region was Greek in its heritage, culture, and outlook and politically part of the Roman diocese of Asia. He was the only son of wealthy Christian parents named Epiphanius and Johanna according to some accounts.
Nicholas eventually became Bishop of Myra, where he had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day: St Nicholas Day (6 December, Gregorian calendar), and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". Nicholas died in Myra on 6 December 343 at age 73.
On 26 August 1071, Romanus IV, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire (reigned 1068–1071), faced Sultan Alp Arslan of the Seljuk Turks (reigned 1059–1072) in the Battle of Manzikert. The battle ended in humiliating defeat and capture for Romanus. As a result, the Empire temporarily lost control over most of Asia Minor (Anatolia/Turkey) to the invading Seljuk Turks. The Byzantines would regain its control over Asia Minor during the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (reigned 1081–1118). But early in his reign Myra was overtaken by the Turks, meanwhile, Nicholas' tomb in Myra had become a popular place of pilgrimage.
Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult. For both the religious and commercial advantages of a major pilgrimage site, the Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied to get control of the Nicholas relics. Taking advantage of the confusion, in the spring of 1087, sailors from Bari in Apulia seized part of the remains of the saint from his burial church in Myra, over the objections of the Greek Orthodox monks there, to take them to Bari Italy. The remains arrived on 9 May 1087, there are numerous variations of this account. In some versions, they are said to have taken them in response to a vision wherein Saint Nicholas himself appeared and commanded that his relics be moved in order to preserve them from the impending Muslim conquest.
Currently at Bari, there are two churches at his shrine, one Roman Catholic and one Orthodox.
Sailors from Bari had collected just half of Nicholas' skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave. These were collected by Venetian sailors during the first crusade and brought to Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the Lido. This tradition was confirmed in two scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two cities belong to the same skeleton.
Saint Nicholas hometown of the Lycian town of Myra is now called Demre Turkey. The district was known as Kale until it was renamed in 2005. A substantial Christian community of Greeks lived in Demre (Myra) until the 1920s when they were forced to migrate to Greece after the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The abandoned Greek villages in the region are a striking reminder of this exodus. Abandoned Greek houses can still be seen at Demre and the regions of Kalkan, Kaş and Kaya which is a Greek ghost town. A small population of Turkish farmers moved into the region when the Greek Christians were forced to migrate to Greece. The region is popular with tourists today particularly Christian pilgrims who visit the tomb of Saint Nicholas.
By way of description: we offer this quote from "The visit of Tsar Peter the Great in 1717 according to new documents by Count of Haussonville (French)".
Quote: "The Czar is taller, a little bent, and his head is bent over the ordinary. He is black and has something fierce in his face. He appears to be quick-witted and easy-going, with a kind of greatness in manners, but little sustained. He is melancholy and absent-minded, though approachable and often familiar. It is said that he is sturdy and capable of body and mind work."
The reign of Peter III and the coup d'état of July 1762
Catherine the great's father Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, belonged to the ruling family of Anhalt in Germany, but held the rank of a Prussian general in his capacity as Governor of the city of Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland). Born as Sophia Augusta Fredericka (German: Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, nicknamed "Figchen") in Stettin, Pomerania, two of her first cousins became Kings of Sweden: Gustav III and Charles XIII. In accordance with the custom then prevailing in the ruling dynasties of Germany, she received her education chiefly from a French governess and from tutors. Catherine's childhood was quite uneventful. She herself once wrote to her correspondent Baron Grimm: "I see nothing of interest in it." although Catherine was born a princess, her family had very little money. This could account for her pronounced humdrum childhood. Catherine was to come to power based on her mother's relations to wealthy members of royalty.
The choice of Sophia as wife of her second cousin, the prospective tsar Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, resulted from some amount of diplomatic management in which Count Lestocq, Peter's aunt (the ruling Russian Empress Elizabeth), and Frederick II of Prussia took part. Lestocq and Frederick wanted to strengthen the friendship between Prussia and Russia in order to weaken Austria's influence and ruin the Russian chancellor Bestuzhev, on whom Empress Elizabeth relied, and who acted as a known partisan of Russo-Austrian co-operation. Catherine first met Peter III at the tender age of ten. Based on her writings, she found Peter detestable upon meeting him. She disliked his pale complexion???? and his fondness of alcohol at such a young age
After the death of the Empress Elizabeth on 5 January 1762: Peter, the Grand Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, whose father was Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and mother was Anna Petrovna of Russia, succeeded to the throne as Peter III of Russia, and Catherine (the Great) became Empress Consort of Russia. The imperial couple moved into the new Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. The new tsar's eccentricities and policies, including a great admiration for the Prussian king, Frederick II (of the Black Holy Roman Empire), alienated the same groups that Catherine had cultivated. Besides, Peter intervened in a dispute between his Duchy of Holstein and Denmark over the province of Schleswig (see Count Johann Hartwig Ernst von Bernstorff).
Russia and Prussia fought each other during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) until Peter's accession. Peter's insistence on supporting Frederick II of Prussia, who had seen Berlin occupied by Russian troops in 1760 but now suggested partitioning Polish territories with Russia, eroded much of his support among the nobility.
In July 1762, barely six months after becoming the Tsar, Peter committed the political error of retiring with his Holstein-born courtiers and relatives to Oranienbaum, leaving his wife in Saint Petersburg. On 8 and 9 July the Leib Guard revolted, deposed Peter from power, and proclaimed Catherine the Empress of Russia. The bloodless coup succeeded.
On 17 July 1762—eight days after the coup and just six months after his accession to the throne—Peter III died at Ropsha, at the hands of Alexei Orlov (younger brother to Gregory Orlov, then a court favorite and a participant in the coup). Catherine claimed to have taken no part in the coup.
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The Caucasus is a region at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, which contain Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, 5,642 metres (18,510 ft).
Herodotus on Colchis:
[2.104] There can be no doubt that the Colchians are an Egyptian race. Before I heard any mention of the fact from others, I had remarked it myself. After the thought had struck me, I made inquiries on the subject both in Colchis and in Egypt, and I found that the Colchians had a more distinct recollection of the Egyptians, than the Egyptians had of them. Still the Egyptians said that they believed the Colchians to be descended from the army of Sesostris. My own conjectures were founded, first, on the fact that they are black-skinned and have woolly hair, which certainly amounts to but little, since several other nations are so too; but further and more especially, on the circumstance that the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians (Nubians), are the only nations who have practised circumcision from the earliest times.
Abkhazians, Abkhaz people and the Abkhaz or are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhaz diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as muhajirism. Many Abkhaz also live in other parts of the former Soviet Union, particularly in Russia and Ukraine.
Black Abkhazians are a small group in Abkhazia of who used to live mainly in the Abkhazian settlement Adzyubzha at the mouth of the Kodori River and the surrounding villages of Abkhazia (Chlou, Pokvesh, Agdarra, Merkulov, etc.) on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.
The ethnic origin of the Black Abkhazians — and how Blacks arrived in Abkhazia — is still a matter of dispute among experts. Some Historians believe that the settlement in a number of villages in Abkhazia (then part of the Ottoman Empire) is likely to have happened in the 17th century. According to one version, a few hundred slaves were bought and brought by Shervashidze princes (Chachba) to work on the citrus plantations. (Which is of course, the typical Albino historical nonsense, in answer to Blacks being outside of Africa).
According to another theory, Abkhazians of African descent are the descendants of the Colchians, the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Colchis in present-day western Georgia. However, the question of the likelihood of at least some continuity between the ancient Colchians and current Abkhazians of African descent is not known, because there is no available, reliable evidence of the existence of an African population in historic Kolkhi. They may also derive from the Egyptian Copts or Ethiopian Jews.
Abkhazian writer Dmitry Gulia in the book "History of Abkhazia" compared the place names of Abkhazia and the corresponding names in Ethiopia and claimed that some of the geographical names are identical: Bagadi – Bagadi, Gunma – Gunma, Tabakur – Dabakur, etc.
In 1927, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky, together with the Abkhaz writer Samson Chanba visited the village of Adzyubzha and met elderly Africans there. Based on his visit and comparison of his observations with the published data, he felt that the Ethiopian version of the origin of the Abkhazians of African descent is true.
Today Abkhazia's status is disputed. It considers itself to be an independent state, but this is recognized by only a few other countries. The Georgian government and most of the world's other states consider Abkhazia de jure a part of Georgia's territory. In Georgia's official subdivision it is an autonomous republic, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi, formerly known as Tiflis, is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants. Founded in the 5th century by the monarch of Georgia's ancient precursor Kingdom of Iberia, Tbilisi has served, with various intervals, as Georgia's capital for more than a thousand years. Under the Russian rule, the city was the seat of the Tsar's viceroy and has served, from 1801 to 1917, as the Imperial capital of the entire Caucasus, including Georgia's current neighbors.
Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, Tbilisi's proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history and the city's location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Tbilisi's varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, and Soviet structures. Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian.
Of course Blacks were the original Russians, and there are still some surviving today. Though the only ones that are documented, are the Abkhazian/Abkhasian people. That because the mulatto Abkhasian Dmitri Gulia (1874-1960), believing Herodotus's account, asserted that his peoples heritage stemmed from Egyptian king Sesostris. He published a book called, History of Abkhazia, which purports to show that the black Colchian people of Southern Russia, were really an Abyssinian people of Egypt. He attempted to prove this by putting together a vast array of Abkhazian words that matched that of ancient Egypt's. He also chronicles family names, names of rivers and mountains, anems of pre-Christian deities, and more.
Russians like All Albino derived people, stupidly maintain that they are the original people, even though documented history clearly shows that they are most certainly NOT! And like all other Albino derived people, they create all manner of scenarios to explain away the Blacks in their midst - and true to form, many of these made-up scenarios involve Slavery. And like all other Albino derived people, they quickly create bogus artifacts which make Black and Mulatto people appear White - note this memorial coin of Dmitri Gulia. Future people will have no clue that he had a drop of Black blood in him!
Speaking to Albino derived people's capacity for lying: In Catherine the greats bio above; she is quoted as having found Peter detestable upon meeting him. She disliked his "pale complexion". Well as a point of logic, if Catherine found THIS man "Pale".
Then she MUST obviously have been a much darker Black woman. Considering the Albino derived people's capacity for lying and creating false paintings, statues, etc. That is a very real possibility!
In Russia, as in the other lands occupied by the Albino derived people, as soon as a Black or mulatto man dies, White images of him are created. Note below: the Whitenzation of Tsar Peter I, the Great.
We often speak of the lying degeneracy of the Albino derived people. This degeneracy knows no limit, the lie is everything! They know that if a Black is a native, that means that they - the Albino derived people - CAN NOT BE NATIVE PEOPLE! So to hide this fact, even those who built their countries, and served it selflessly and bravely, are not allowed the dignity of their true origins. Please note the following bio: even to the "Brain Dead" it would make no sense. But to the lying degenerate Albino derived people, it doesn't need to make sense, it just needs to be a point of denial.
Bet you thought that you had heard just about every imaginable stupid Albino story to explain away the presence of a Black man.
WELL, THINK AGAIN!
THIS IS FROM THE WASHINGTON POST!
(a very important Albino newspaper in the nations capital).
by Allyson Currin. Directed by Jessica Lefkow
By Celia Wren February 20, 2012
A red doorway looms tall on the set of Allyson Currin’s historical drama “Hercules in Russia,” receiving its world premiere from the Doorway Arts Ensemble. With severe right angles that contrast with more naturalistic decor — a wardrobe, a desk with a silver tray and decanter, and other furnishings meant to suggest czarist Russia — the Soviet-flag-colored doorway is a striking element. It’s an all-too-telling one, too: In imagining the life of Jim Hercules, a black Alabaman living in St. Petersburg in the early 20th century, Currin traces ironies and thematic parallels that are as sharp and tidy as the lines on that door frame.
The neatly arranged subtext, and a methodical, expository approach to storytelling, undermine the persuasiveness of director Jessica Lefkow’s “Hercules in Russia.” That’s a shame, because the play’s premise is intriguing. As Robert K. Massie related in his book “Nicholas and Alexandra,” Jim Hercules served as an attendant to the imperial family in the years before the Russian Revolution. In Currin’s telling, he’s a refugee from American racism and race-inspired conflict who finds comfort and security as a loyal member of the St. Petersburg court.
The play takes a stab at illuminating the character’s interior life: After our first glimpse of Jim (Ricardo Frederick Evans), wearing a neat black coat and bowler hat and paused inside the red doorway, we learn that he’s a smart, reserved, apolitical man who suffers from nightmares and is anxious to forget episodes from his hardscrabble youth. Cautiously chummy with the precocious young Grand Duchess Tatiana (Sarah Ulstrup), daughter to Czar Nicholas II, Jim is curious enough to strike up an acquaintanceship with Lev (Andrew Ferlo), a Jewish revolutionary.
Unfortunately, as the play fleshes out these relationships and evokes the lead-up to revolution, it graphs the tale onto a set of trim moral symmetries. We see Jim gradually connect American racial injustice with the social inequities of czarist Russia. We hear Tatiana talk about reading “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and hear her wonder, in the aftermath of Rasputin’s death, “Is it ever right to kill someone?” And a series of clunky flashbacks involving Jim’s onetime U.S. sweetheart Sunday (Jasmin Johnson), a passionate idealist, ultimately reduces his experience to an abstract question: Is it moral to refuse to take a political stance?
Surmounting the script’s didacticism, several of Lefkow’s actors manage to conjure up vibrant characters. Evans’s Jim is a little flat: The actor rarely manages to hint at the emotion and ambivalence that presumably roil beneath Jim’s diffident mien and aristocratic posture. But Ferlo brings dynamism and scrappy charm to Lev, whom we often see standing on a wooden crate, barking out rabble-rousing sermons. DeJeanette Horne is jauntily charismatic as Jonah Thomas Washington, an African American who tends bar at a Nevsky Prospect taproom. Ulstrup, a student at Woodrow Wilson High School, invests Tatiana with delicacy and intelligence and looks adorable in her gauzy white frock.
And Gordon Adams is highly diverting as the czar’s pragmatic, crotchety cousin, Grand Duke Nicholas, who finds Jim a kindred soul, not to mention a useful sounding board for frustration over the czar’s incompetence. “Don’t give me the family line: I invented the family line!” he sputters at one point, when Jim ventures a politic defense of the monarch’s behavior.
The family line, of course, spells doom for Tatiana. Jim’s inability — or perhaps unwillingness — to save his young friend casts a wry light on the title “Hercules in Russia,” which summons thoughts of the mythological hero. It’s just one more strand of the ironic architecture that frames, and ultimately impedes, Currin’s story.
Major-General Abram Petrovich Gannibal, also Hannibal or Ganibal or Ibrahim Hannibal or Abram Petrov (1696 – 14 May 1781, Suida, in present-day St. Petersburg), was brought to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great and became major-general, military engineer, governor of Reval and nobleman of the Russian Empire. He is perhaps best known today as the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, who wrote an unfinished novel about him, Peter the Great's Negro. His origins are uncertain. Early writings about Gannibal suggest he was born in 1696 in a village called "Lagon," in present day Eritrea Africa, located "on the northern side of the Mareb River".
Ivan Abramovich Gannibal (1735–1801), Karjaküla, Reval Governorate, Russian Empire (today Estonia) Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Russian military leader and eminent Russian of African origin. He was the son of military commander and politician Abram Petrovich Gannibal, an African of chiefly background who would go on to become famous as Peter the Great's Negro, and the great-uncle of Russia's most famous poet, Alexander Pushkin.
Gannibal led a detachment of the Imperial Black Sea Fleet, which besieged and captured the Turkish fortress of Navarin during the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), and took part in the founding of the city of Kherson. Gannibal's ultimate military rank was Général en Chef.
Gannibal was the oldest of 10 children born to Abram Gannibal and his Swedish wife Christina Regina Siöberg. (His father had previously had a daughter by his first wife.) Gannibal was destined for a military career from an early age, entering the Naval Artillery School in the imperial capital at the age of 9. He would eventually graduate from the Naval Academy and join the Imperial Russian Navy as an officer.
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (6 June 1799 – 10 February 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
Pushkin's idiom combined all the contemporaneous elements of Russian with all he had learned from Derzhavin, Zhukovsky, Batyushkov, Karamzin, and Krylov; these elements are: 1. The poetical and metaphysical strain that still lived in Church Slavonic forms and locutions; 2. Abundant and natural gallicisms; 3. The everyday colloquialisms of his set; and 4. Stylized popular speech. He made a salad of the famous three styles (low, medium elevation, high) dear to the pseudoclassical archaists, and added to it the ingredients of Russian romanticists with a pinch of parody.
Born into the Russian nobility in Moscow, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo.
Pushkin had some Slavophile sympathies, which were combined with a deep admiration for Classical Liberalism. He composed verse praising the Decembrist Revolt and sharply criticising Tsars Alexander I and Nicholas I. As a result, he was sent into internal exile in Kishinev and later in Tbilisi. While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832.
Notoriously touchy about his honour, Pushkin fought a total of twenty-nine duels. At the age of thirty-eight years, however, Alexander Pushkin was fatally wounded in such an encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. d'Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment, had been attempting to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya Pushkina. Pushkin's early death is still regarded as a catastrophe for Russian literature.
No portraits of Vladimir the Great, Ivan IV (the terrible), the Gannibal Generals, or Pushkin are shown at The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Which makes for a very strange "No Nigger" policy. Vladimir and Ivan were Emperor's (Tsar's), Ivan Abramovich was Chief General of the Russian Army, Pushkin was Russia's greatest poet, how could they not be shown? That is taking Racism just too far!
Ethnic cleansing of Circassians (the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Caucasus).
From Wiki: expect a certain amount of Albino deceit.
In the middle of the 19th century, large numbers of native inhabitants of the Northwest Caucasus left or were expelled to the neighbouring Ottoman Empire, following Russian conquest of the region after a long war.
The expulsion was launched even before the end of the war in 1864 and it continued into the 1870s, although it was mostly completed by 1867. The peoples involved were mainly the Circassians (Adyghe in their own language), Ubykhs, Abkhaz, and Abaza.
This expulsion involved an unknown number of people, perhaps numbering hundreds of thousands. The Russians had come to refer to them as mountain-people (горцы, górtsy). The Russian army rounded up people, driving them from their villages to ports on the Black Sea, where they awaited ships provided by the neighboring Ottoman Empire. The explicit Russian goal was to expel the groups in question from their lands. They were given a choice as to where to be resettled: in the Ottoman Empire or in Russia far from their old lands. Only a small percentage (the numbers are unknown) accepted resettlement within the Russian Empire.
An unknown number of deportees perished during the process. Some died from epidemics among crowds of deportees both while awaiting departure and while languishing in their Ottoman Black Sea ports of arrival. Others perished when ships underway sank during storms. Two other Muslim peoples in the northwest Caucasus, the Karachay and the Balkars, were not deported in large numbers after 1864. According to the Russian government's own figures at the time, about 90 percent of the affected peoples were deported.
Background and motivations
In 1857, Dmitry Milyutin first published the idea of mass expulsions of Circassian natives. Miliutin argued that the goal was not to simply move them so that their land could be settled by productive farmers, but rather that "eliminating the Circassians was to be an end in itself- to cleanse the land of hostile elements". Tsar Alexander II endorsed the plans, and Milyutin later would become the minister of war in 1861, and from the early 1860s expulsions began occurring in the Caucasus (first in the Northeast and then in the Northwest).
General Nikolai Yevdokimov advocated expelling the natives of the Western Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire. He wrote that "resettlement of intractable mountaineers" to Turkey would be the easiest way to bring the prolonged Caucasian War to an end, while giving freedom to those who "prefer death to allegiance to the Russian government". On the other hand, the Tsarist command was very much aware of the possibility of the migrants being used by Turkey as a strike force against Christian populations during the impending Russo-Turkish War. The Circassian resettlement plan was eventually agreed upon at a meeting of the Russian Caucasus commanders in October 1860 in Vladikavkaz and officially approved on May 10, 1862 by Tsar Alexander II.
The Ottomans sent emissaries, including mullahs who called for leaving the dar al-Kufr and moving to the dar al-Islam. The Ottomans hoped to increase the proportion of the Muslim population in areas of the empire with restive non-Turkish populations. "Mountaineers" were invited to "go to Turkey, where the Ottoman government would accept them with open arms and where their life would be incomparably better". Local mullahs and chiefs favoured resettlement, because they felt oppressed by the Russian administration. They warned their people that in order to gain full Russian citizenship they would have to convert to Christianity. Additionally, local chieftains were keen to preserve their ancient privileges and feudal rights that had been abolished throughout the Russian Empire by the Emancipation Manifesto in 1861. Russia's obligatory conscription was also among the factors that worried these populations, although in fact they would never be subject to military draft.
"In this year of 1864 a deed has been accomplished almost without precedent in history: not one of the mountaineer inhabitants remains on their former places of residence, and measures are being taken to cleanse the region in order to prepare it for the new Russian population." – Main Staff of the Caucasian Army
After the surrender of Imam Shamil (Chechnya and Dagestan) in 1859, Russia's war of conquest in the North Caucasus narrowed down to Circassia. Following the conquest of the North Caucasus by the Russian Empire, the Russian Empire implemented a policy of evicting the Circassians from their ancestral territories.
Among the main peoples that moved to Turkey were Adyghe, Ubykhs, Muslim Abkhazians (especially Sadz branch)- hence the reference in the name to the deportation being of Circassians. However, Although Circassians were the main (and most notorious) victims, the expulsions also gravely affected other peoples in the region. It was estimated that 80% of the Ingush left Ingushetia for the Middle East in 1865. Lowland Chechens as well were evicted in large numbers, and while many came back, the former Chechen Lowlands lacked their historical Chechen populations for a long period until Chechens were settled in the region during their return from their 1944–1957 deportation to Siberia. The Arshtins, at that time a (debatably) separate people, were completely wiped out as a distinct group: according to official documents, 1366 Arshtin families disappeared (i.e. either fled or were killed) and only 75 families remained. These 75 families, realizing the impossibility of existing as a nation of only hundreds of people, joined (or rejoined) the Chechen nation as the Erstkhoi tukhum. Small numbers of Muslim Ossetians and Lezgins were also swept up in the expulsion. After the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), the Ottoman Empire ceded to Russia the largely Muslim Georgian provinces (Adjara, Lower Guria and a South Caucasian one Lazistan. Thereupon thousands of Muslim Georgians (Chveneburi) became muhajirs (the Georgians were predominantly Christian); the Muslim Laz people (ethnically similar to the Georgians and whose language is a little similar to the Georgian language) also emigrated
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