country:yugoslavia

  • Turkey’s Policy in the Balkans: More than Neo-Ottomanism

    There is a fundamental misperception with regard to Turkey’s relationship with the Balkans. Turkey is not external to the region, the way Russia is for instance. Its history and geographic location make it a part of southeast Europe. Millions of Turks have their family roots in what was once known as ‘Turkey-in-Europe.’ This includes the founder of the republic, the Salonika-born Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ties run deep at the political, economic, and societal levels.

    All those connections have drawn Turkey to the Balkans, especially after the end of the Cold War. The notion that Turks are now coming back does not hold. Closer engagement in the region started under President Turgut Özal in the early 1990s. But back then, Turkey balanced between bilateralism and multilateralism. It invested in economic and security ties with friendly countries such as Albania, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria while adhering to NATO as its response to the wars in ex-Yugoslavia. What changed under the Justice and Development (AK) Party, notably over the past decade, is the switch to bilateralism. That is understandable given the cracks in relations between Ankara and the West. All the same, it is concerning since it is coinciding with the push against the EU and NATO by Russia, which leverages history, religious identity and anti-Western rhetoric to legitimize its actions.

    Pundits and politicians often use ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ to describe Turkey’s forays. The label can be often misleading. Yes, Turkish President Recep Erdogan praises the Ottoman Empire and its legacy, domestically and beyond Turkey’s borders. But so did his predecessors in office. Within the country, liberals and Islamist conservatives alike all rediscovered the Ottomans from the 1980s onwards in questioning the Kemalist political order. The government has been reaching out to Balkan Muslims through TIKA, the Turkish developmental agency, and the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) for decades.

    Neo-Ottomanism is therefore the packaging, not the substance. Turkey’s objective is not to recreate the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. That is far beyond the country’s resources and capacity. The region is gravitating in economic, social, institutional and political terms to the West. What we have instead is Erdogan using the Balkans to make a case that he is the leader of the wider (Sunni) Muslim community in Europe and the Middle East. The main audience is his electorate in Turkey and only secondly Muslims abroad. The pre-election rally he held in Sarajevo in the run-up to last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections is a case in point.

    But Turkish policy in the Balkans cannot be reduced to the promotion of Islamic solidarity. Erdogan’s main achievement is the fact that he has built relations with leaders from countries that are majority non-Muslim. In October 2017, for instance, he was welcomed in Serbia by President Aleksandar Vucic. The visit gave some credence to complaints by Bosniaks (Slavic Muslims) that Turkey loves to talk brotherhood in Bosnia but when it comes to investing money it goes for Serbia. Similarly, Erdogan has strong links to Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who hosted the EU-Turkey summit a year ago. Bulgaria and Serbia are interested in hosting an extension of the TurkStream gas pipeline, a joint Russo-Turkish venture. Greece’s Alexis Tsipras also received the red carpet treatment during his latest visit to Turkey where he discussed ideas on decreasing tensions in the Aegean.

    Despite its quest for strategic autonomy, Turkey is still partnering with Western institutions. In addition, Ankara has been supportive of the Prespa Agreement and newly renamed North Macedonia’s accession to NATO, its quarrels with the U.S. and other key members of the Alliance notwithstanding. Collectively, EU members Romania, Bulgaria and Greece account for the bulk of Turkish trade with southeast Europe, with the Western Balkans trailing far behind. Greece and Bulgaria see Turkey as key to stemming the flow of asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and further afield. They are highly supportive of the EU-Turkey deal on migration from March 2016, renewed last year.

    Does the authoritarian system built by Erdogan pose an ideological challenge in the Balkans? Perhaps yes. For instance, pressure on governments to close educational institutions and surrender, without due process, members of the Fethullah Gülen community, which is implicated in the coup attempt in July 2016, undermine the rule of law. At the same time, the authoritarian drift observed in the Balkans is an indigenous product. It is not imported from Vladimir Putin’s Russia nor from Turkey under its new ‘sultan’.

    https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/turkeys-policy-balkans-more-neo-ottomanism-22835

    #néo-ottomanisme #Turquie #Balkans


  • Greece - Macedonia

    from Zoe Mavroudi sur FB - Une réflexion intéressante à propos du différend sur le nom « Macédoine »

    If you don’t follow Greek politics you may have come across reports and photos from a protest in Athens on the “Macedonian” issue. The political dispute between Greece and Macedonia (the country) on this issue goes back more than a century, and is too complicated to parse in one post but, in brief, it centers on the right of Greece’s neighbouring State to use the word “Macedonia” in its official name. The Greek State has historically claimed that this right would be an infringement on its history because the Greek region of Macedonia (which covers the largest part of its northern territory) used to be the home of Alexander the Great, the place where his golden hair glowed under the sun and that only Greeks as his true descendants can claim this name and bask in his glory forever etc etc.

    Last week’s protest was held against a new pact scheduled for a vote tomorrow in Greece’s parliament, which will settle the issue once and for all between the two countries, binding Greece to accept the name “North Macedonia” in return for real concessions that Macedonians will never again attempt to steal Alexander’s glory from us...or something. The pact is advantageous for Greece and will be the end of a political hot potato.

    You might have seen pictures from last week’s protest of men wearing ancient garb, armour and helmets, looking like Pride gays with some kind of Greco-Roman fetish.

    Needless to say not everyone who is Greek, including myself, agrees with their bullshit.

    Among the reasons why their bullshit is such pure bullshit should be obvious: their argument imagines that “Greekness” involves racial and linguistic purity and that other ethnicities which lived in the region, a melting pot of different cultures for centuries, are impure and therefore unwelcome. Scratch the surface of Greek patriotic dissent and you get some good-old fascism. Fascist MPs have manipulated popular sentiment around this issue for years and were front line at the protest, where journos were attacked and beaten by fascist groups.

    The nationalism that has been unleashed about all this has existed on both sides of the border of course but ultimately, it is Greece, a member of the EU and NATO that has infringed on the right of its neighbour to self-determination by repeatedly vetoing its attempts to enter international organizations and doing this based on historical inaccuracies and fantasies of a supposedly uninterrupted continuum of its national identity. The Greek argument was also predicated on the erasure of the history of Slavo-Macedonians (I use the term “slavo” for the purposes of explaining the issue but don’t fully accept its accuracy) via systematic exclusion, confiscation of property through racist laws and linguistic oppression.

    As someone born and raised in Greece, I was only vaguely aware of these facts until relatively recently given that it was all omitted from our school manuals and suppressed in public discourse. I have received abuse on twitter for simply expressing support for the pact.

    The dangers of rejecting this new deal for Greece and Macedonia are multi-fold and involve the increased influence in the Balkans of Turkey’s Erdogan and the real danger that the region becomes inflamed by conflict. Though the pact is NATO and EU-approved, NATO being one of the main culprits of the war in Yugoslavia, there is imo no excuse for left-wing opposition against the deal, given the lack of alternatives. This is a case where Greece’s geopolitical interests happen to be aligned with those of NATO-EU and where workers in N. Macedonia, who have been suffering for too long under what is, essentially, an embargo aimed at their society, must have our support. On a personal note, I wouldn’t give one piece of my pure Greek hair for any argument that supports one imperialist influence in the Balkans over another (in this case, Putin-Erdogan over NATO-EU). I stand with citizens of another country, especially one weaker and poorer than mine and support their democratic right to self-determination.

    #grèce #macédoin #noms #terminologie #mots


  • Rare Photos: European Refugee Camps in Syria — At The Height of World War II

    The whole world is aware that Europe is buckled under the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with millions of people fleeing civil war and oppression in the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia, and landing on the continent’s shores by land and by sea. The UN estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since the Second World War — there are close to 60 million war refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    While there is no denying the fact that the current humanitarian crisis is the worst refugee crisis of our generation; with continuous comparison to World War II, it is imperative that we share a small yet important fact with you: at the height of World War II, the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA) operated camps in Syria, Egypt and Palestine, where tens of thousands of people from across Europe sought refuge.

    Yes, you read it right. Refugees crossed the same passageways [which the Syrians, the Africans, and the Asians are taking to reach Europe TODAY] 70 years ago — BUT they were the Europeans (largely from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia) trying to find solace in the Middle East.

    How The Refugees Entered The Camps:

    According to the International Social Service records, refugees from Europe had to register at one of several camps in Egypt, Palestine and Syria and obtain camp-issued identification cards, which contained their full name, gender, marital status, passport number, and their educational and work history.

    After registration, they had to undergo a refugee medical examination at makeshift hospital facilities — where they took off their clothes, their shoes and were washed until officials believed they were sufficiently disinfected. When they were declared fit enough to join the refugee camp, they were divided into living quarters for families, unaccompanied children, single men and single women.

    How They Survived:

    Refugees in MERRA camps received a half portion of Army rations each day; sometimes supplemented with foods that reflected refugees’ national customs and religious practices. ‘Rich’ refugees could buy beans, olives, oil, fruit, tea, coffee and other staples from camp canteens. On the rare occasion, during supervised visits to local shops, they could buy soap, razor blades, pencils, paper, stamps and other items. Some camps provided space for refugees to prepare meals; one camp in Aleppo reserved a room for women so they could make macaroni with flour, which they received from camp officials.

    How They Found Work & Developed Skills:

    Some, but not all, camps required refugees to work — though they were not forced to earn to make ends meet. GlobalPost reports:

    In Aleppo, refugees were encouraged, but not required, to work as cooks, cleaners and cobblers. Labor wasn’t mandatory in Nuseirat, either, but camp officials did try to create opportunities for refugees to use their skills in carpentry, painting, shoe making and wool spinning so that they could stay occupied and earn a little income from other refugees who could afford their services. At Moses Wells, all able-bodied, physically fit refugees worked as shopkeepers, cleaners, seamstresses, apprentices, masons, carpenters or plumbers, while “exceptionally qualified persons” served as school masters or labor foremen. Women performed additional domestic work like sewing, laundry, and preparing food on top of any other work they had.

    How They Acquired Knowledge:

    Margaret G. Arnstein, a prominent nurse practitioner notes that students in a few camps at El Shatt and Moses Wells were taught practical nursing, anatomy, physiology, first aid, obstetrics, pediatrics, as well as the military rules and regulations that governed wartime refugee camps.

    How They Entertained Themselves:

    In their free time, the men played handball, football and socialized over cigarettes, beer and wine in camp canteens. In their free time, children played with swings, slides and seesaws.

    How They Prepared For A Brighter Future:

    Education was a crucial part of camp routines. GlobalPost writes:

    Classrooms in Middle Eastern refugee camps had too few teachers and too many students, inadequate supplies and suffered from overcrowding. Yet not all the camps were so hard pressed. In Nuseirat, for example, a refugee who was an artist completed many paintings and posted them all over the walls of a kindergarten inside the camp, making the classrooms “bright and cheerful.” Well-to-do people in the area donated toys, games, and dolls to the kindergarten, causing a camp official to remark that it “compared favorably with many in the United States.”

    https://anonhq.com/rare-photos-european-refugee-camps-syria-height-world-war-ii

    #quand_eux_c'était_nous #réfugiés_européens #histoire #syrie #camps_de_réfugiés #WWII #seconde_guerre_mondiale #photographie #deuxième_guerre_moniale
    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere


  • Gun Use Surges in Europe, Where Firearms Are Rare. Growing insecurity spurs more people to clear high bars for ownership

    When hundreds of women were sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve in several German cities three years ago, Carolin Matthie decided it was time to defend herself. The 26-year-old Berlin student quickly applied for a gun permit, fearing many women would have the same idea and flood the application process.

    “If I don’t do it now, I will have to wait maybe another half year,” she recalls thinking.

    Gun ownership is rising across Europe, a continent that until recently faced far less gun crime and violence than much of the globe. Not long ago it was rare to see armed British police.

    The uptick was spurred in part by insecurity arising from terrorist attacks—many with firearms, and reflects government efforts to get illegal guns registered by offering amnesty to owners.

    Europe is still far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. World-wide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32% in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research project in Geneva. Europe accounts for less than 10% of the total.

    But Europe’s shift has been rapid, and notable in part because of strict national restrictions. In most European countries, gun permits require thorough background checks, monitored shooting practice and tests on regulations. In Belgium, France and Germany, most registered guns may only be used at shooting ranges. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges are extremely difficult to obtain.

    Strict registration requirements don’t account for—and may exacerbate—a surge in illegal weapons across the continent, experts say.

    Europe’s unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017, 44.5 million to 34.2 million, according to the Small Arms Survey. Many illegal weapons come from one-time war zones, such as countries of the former Yugoslavia, and others are purchased online, including from vendors in the U.S.

    “Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.,” concluded a recent Rand Corp. report.

    With more weapons comes more gun-related violence. National police statistics in France, Germany and Belgium show an uptick in gun law violations since 2015. Europe doesn’t have current continentwide statistics.

    Armed robbery and similar crimes often entail illicit guns, while legally registered firearms tend to appear in suicide and domestic-violence statistics, said Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, a Belgian research center.

    “It’s clear that illegal guns are used mostly by criminals,” he said.

    In July 2016, an 18-year-old shooter killed nine people in Munich using a gun authorities concluded he bought illegally off the dark web.

    In Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose roughly 10%, to 6.1 million, in the five years through 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to Germany’s National Weapons Registry. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges more than tripled to 9,285, over the same five years.

    Permits for less lethal air-powered guns that resemble real guns and shoot tear gas or loud blanks to scare away potential attackers roughly doubled in the three years through the end of 2017, to 557,560, according to the registry.

    Ms. Matthie first bought an air gun, which her permit allowed her to carry with her.

    She has since become a sports shooter, using live ammunition at shooting ranges, and is now applying for a firearm permit. She posts a daily video blog where she advocates armed self-defense.

    In Belgium, firearm permits and membership in sport-shooting clubs has risen over the past three years.

    Belgian applications for shooting licenses almost doubled after the terrorist attacks by an Islamic State cell in Paris in Nov. 2015 and four months later in Brussels, offering “a clear indication of why people acquired them,” said Mr. Duquet.

    In Paris, the suicide bombers also used machine guns to mow down restaurant and nightclub patrons—weapons they acquired on the black market and were tracked to a shop in Slovakia.

    Belgium has for years tightened regulations in response to gun violence, such as a 2006 killing spree by an 18-year-old who legally acquired a rifle.

    “Before 2006, you could buy rifles simply by showing your ID,” recalled Sébastien de Thomaz, who owns two shooting ranges in Brussels and previously worked in a gun store.

    “They used to let me shoot with all my stepfather’s guns whenever I joined him at the range,” said Lionel Pennings, a Belgian artist who joins his stepfather at one of Mr. De Thomaz’s shooting ranges on Sundays.

    Mr. Pennings recalled that in the past he could easily fire a few rounds with his stepfather’s gun. “Now it’s much stricter,” he said. “You can only use the guns you have a permit for.”

    A Belgian would-be gun owner must pass almost a year of shooting and theory tests, plus psychological checks, said Mr. De Thomaz.

    The gun-range owner questions the impact of that policy. “With each terror attack, the legislation gets stricter,” he said. “For the black market, everything stays the same.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/gun-use-surges-in-europe-where-firearms-are-rare-11546857000

    #armes #Europe #statistiques #détention_d'armes #chiffres
    ping @albertocampiphoto @reka


  • Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/11/kristen-ghodsee-women-sex-under-socialism-eastern-bloc-communism

    One of the most positive features of state socialism, Ghodsee argues, is that it gave women economic independence from men. In the former Soviet countries, women may not have been able to take part in free elections or find a diversity of consumer goods, but they were guaranteed public education, jobs, housing, health care, maternity leave, child allowances, child care, and more. Not only did this arrangement liberate women and men alike from the anxieties and pressures of sink-or-swim capitalism; it also meant that women were much less likely to rely on male partners for the fulfillment of basic needs. This in turn meant that heterosexual women’s romantic relationships with men were more optional, less constrained by economic considerations, and often more egalitarian. As Ghodsee writes in her book:

    When women enjoy their own sources of income, and the state guarantees social security in old age, illness, and disability, women have no economic reason to stay in abusive, unfulfilling, or otherwise unhealthy relationships. In countries such as Poland, Hungary Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and East Germany, women’s economic independence translated into a culture in which personal relationships could be freed from market influences. Women didn’t have to marry for money.

    Alexandra [Kollontai] wanted to create public canteens where people could eat. She wanted to create public laundries. She also wanted to create mending cooperatives, because back then mending was a huge task that women had to do at home and she thought it would be more efficient if done collectively, reducing the burden on individual women.

    What we see is that when women have economic independence from men — in the sense that they can support children out of wedlock, they have jobs, they have pensions, they have access to housing and their basic needs like utilities and food are subsidized — they don’t stick around in relationships that are unsatisfying. When they can leave, they don’t stay with men who don’t treat them well.

    So if a man is heterosexual and he wants to be in a relationship with a woman, it’s not that easy to get a woman by providing her economic security she doesn’t have, or buying her something that she needs. He has to be kind, thoughtful, attractive in other ways. And it turns out that when men have to be “interesting” in order to attract women, they are. They actually end up being better men. It’s not that difficult a concept. I don’t know why people are so shocked by this.

    I think that in a culture where women have more economic opportunities, men self-civilize in a way because they realize that if they want to be in relationships with women they can’t be abusive, they can’t take women for granted.

    There were brilliant socialist feminists in the seventies, people like Silvia Federici and others, who were making the case that large structural changes would reorganize relationships between men and women. What happened is that, as Nancy Fraser has written about, feminism was largely co-opted by neoliberal capitalism. So we ended up getting a kind of Sheryl Sandberg-style “lean in” feminism, which is all about individual success and creating conditions for a handful of women to be as filthy rich as a handful of men are.

    The idea of socialist feminism evaporated with the general global backlash against Marxism and the rise of neoliberalism. We’re still surviving that now.

    Because I’m an ethnographer who’s been doing field work in Eastern Europe for twenty years, I know many people who will tell you that life was much more nuanced and complex, and not as overwhelmingly negative as Westerners imagine. Certainly not everybody was marching around in Mao suits with shaved heads, or starving in the streets and begging for a pair of jeans.

    Young people who are coming to socialist ideas today, they get automatically whacked over the head with the cudgel of twentieth-century socialist crimes in Eastern Europe. If you say anything about state-funded health care, people start screaming about the purges and the gulags. We have to be able to have a nuanced, thoughtful, enriching conversation about the past. The anti-communist knee-jerk reaction you get in the United States makes it difficult to have that conversation. I hope my book makes it a little easier.

    Ça me fait penser au truc que j’ai posté sur les régimes autoritaires, Trump, Duterte, etc. qui tapaient sur les femmes.

    #Kristen_Ghodsee #sexe #communisme #femmes #égalité

    • Merci, @aude_v.
      L’ouvrage d’August Bebel Die Frau und der Sozialismus (La femme et le socialisme), paru en 1879 (pendant les lois (anti-)socialistes de Bismarck), est l’une des premières, sinon la première analyse de la question de l’égalité en terme de lutte des classes. L’ouvrage a inspiré toutes les grandes féministes allemandes, comme Clara Zetkin :

      „Es darf nicht nach seinen Vorzügen oder Mängeln bewertet werden, es muss beurteilt werden nach der Zeit, in der es erschien. Und da war es mehr als ein Buch, es war ein Ereignis, eine Tat. Zum ersten Male wurde darin den Genossen klargelegt, in welchem Zusammenhange die Frauenfrage mit der geschichtlichen Entwicklung steht, zum ersten Male ertönte aus diesem Buche der Ruf: Wir können die Zukunft nur erobern, wenn wir die Frauen als Mitkämpferinnen gewinnen.“ Dies sagte Clara Zetkin über das Buch Bebels auf dem Gothaer SPD-Parteitag im Jahre 1896.

      https://www.sozialismus.info/2018/05/august-bebel-die-frau-und-der-sozialismus
      Les différences en matière d’égalité entre Allemagne de l’Est et de l’Ouest existent toujours :

      Die grundlegend und über viele Jahrzehnte unterschiedliche Familienpolitik in Ost und West wirkt auch heute noch, 26 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall und mit gemeinsamer Bundesregierung in beiden Teilen Deutschlands nach. Die Unterschiede sind sowohl strukturell (z.B. Ausgestaltung und Umfang der Kinderbetreuungsangebote) als auch kulturell, z.B. ein anderes Selbstverständnis von Müttern in Ost und West aber auch von ihren jeweiligen sozialen Umfeldern. Die damit einhergehende höhere Erwerbsneigung von Frauen im Osten ist im Vergleich zum Westen unabhängiger vom Familienstand und dem Vorhandensein von Kindern. Dies führte im Osten zu einer stärkeren Arbeitsteilung auch bei unbezahlter Arbeit, nicht jedoch zu einer gerechten Arbeitsteilung, denn auch im Osten arbeiten Frauen mehr unbezahlt als Männer.
      Die Unterschiede im Erwerbsleben wirken sich langfristig auf die ökonomische Unabhängigkeit aus, denn sowohl geschlechterbezogene Verdienstunterschiede als auch Rentenunterschiede sind im Osten der Bundesrepublik erheblich niedriger. Kaum Unterschied gibt es in der Geburtenziffer, in beiden Hälften des Landes ist sie gleich niedrig. Die Ursachen sind jedoch jeweils andere: Im Westen gibt es einen hohen Anteil kinderloser Frauen, v.a. bei Akademikerinnen, im Osten gibt es zwar wenig kinderlose Frauen aber dafür mehr Mütter mit nur einem Kind. Ist im Westen vermutlich der Zwang, sich zwischen Kindern und Beruf entscheiden zu müssen, ursächlich für Entscheidungen gegen Kinder, so sind im wirtschaftlich schwächeren Osten eher ökonomische Gründe für die Entscheidung gegen ein zweites oder drittes Kind zu suchen. In den letzten Jahrzehnten gab es Anpassungen in beiden Regionen, generell kann aber eher von einer Anpassung an ostdeutsche Traditionen der Familienpolitik gesprochen werden, denn ihre Kernelemente, wie die umfassende Bereitstellung von Kinderbetreuung und weitere Maßnahmen zur Verbesserung der Vereinbarkeit gehören seit einigen Jahren auch zum bundesdeutschen Schwerpunkt der Familienpolitik. Ein diesbezüglicher Kulturwandel hin zu mehr Akzeptanz arbeitender Mütter ist in der Konsequenz auch in Westdeutschland feststellbar.

      https://www.boell.de/de/2016/11/09/familienpolitik-ost-und-westdeutschland-und-ihre-langfristigen-auswirkungen
      #socialisme #féminisme



  • Trentino and Yugoslavia narrated through a legend: roots of Marshal Josip Broz #Tito in #Vallarsa

    In Trentino there is a valley where the surname Broz is widely diffused. During the second half of the 20th century, a peculiar legend took shape among these mountains. We are in Vallarsa, a few kilometers from the town of Rovereto, where – according to many locals – the origins of Josip Broz, that history will remember as Tito, are to be found. The Yugoslav Marshal was one of the most peculiar and controversial figures of the 20th century: Partisan leader, head of the communist state that split with the Soviet Union, a prominent figure on the international political scene and, above all, leader and symbol of a country that disintegrated violently shortly after his death. The relationship between Marshal Tito and the Vallarsa Valley is being talked about for some time, and not only in Trentino, so that the page dedicated to Tito on the Italian Wikipedia refers to him as “the seventh of fifteen children of Franjo, a Croat who probably originated from Vallarsa”.
    A legend from Obra

    The story originates in the area around the village of Obra, in the Vallarsa Valley, where there is a small settlement called Brozzi. It is said that the Broz surname has been present in the area for centuries. Transmitted orally, the legend spread and evolved over time, assuming different shapes and contours. There is however a version which is more or less codified. It is narrated that a family of the future Yugoslav president lived in a place called Maso Geche, a bit isolated from Obra and nearby settlements. Valentino Broz, “Tito’s grandfather”, took over an old house, transforming it in a family cottage. Valentino had four children. One of them died at a tender age, while Ferdinando, Giuseppe and Vigilio started contributing to the household by working in the fields and as lumberjacks, integrating these activities, as much as possible, with other occasional jobs. Just like for all the other families in that area, emigration was always an option.

    Parochial registers confirm the structure of Valentino Broz’s family. What we learn from memories passed down through the generations is that Giuseppe (according to archives, Giuseppe Filippo Broz, born on August 29, 1853) and Ferdinando (Luigi Ferdinando Broz, born on April 13, 1848) – or, according to other versions of the story, Vigilio (Vigilio Andrea Broz, born on November 27, 1843) – emigrated from Vallarsa to Croatia between the 1870s and the 1880s, most probably in 1878 or 1879. At that time, both territories were part of Austria-Hungary, and in those years many people from Trentino emigrated in the eastern parts of the monarchy. The story of foundation of the village of Štivor, in Bosnia Herzegovina, is probably the best known. According to legend, the Broz brothers were driven to emigrate by the possibility of being engaged in the construction of railway Vienna-Zagreb-Belgrade. Indeed, in those years a new railway line, connecting Bosanski Brod to Sarajevo, was under construction. The first portion was completed in February 1879, and the last one in October 1882.

    Some time later, Ferdinando (or Vigilio) returned to Vallarsa, while Giuseppe married a Slovenian girl, and in 1892 they gave birth to Josip Broz, who became known to the whole world as Tito. The news about Giuseppes’s fate reached the valley, mainly thanks to the information his brother brought home.
    Tito between history and conspiracy

    The legend from Vallarsa is not an isolated case. Since the end of the Second World War in Yugoslavia, but not only, speculations began circulating that Tito might have (had) Russian, Polish, Austrian or Jewish roots. His life, marked from a young age by participation in illegal activities of the Communist Party, sudden movings and use of false names, offered an ideal breeding ground for speculations and conspiracy theories. The doubts about Tito’s true identity, particularly diffused during the 1990s, recently have been reactualized due to publication of declassified CIA document that puts in doubt Tito’s knowledge of the Serbo-Croatian language.

    Apart from dozens of newspaper articles and many publicistic texts, the question of Tito’s origins has never been the subject of proper historiographic research. None of the scholars who seriously occupy themselves with history of Yugoslavia has ever shown any particular interest in this issue. Even the most recent Tito’s biographies, written by world-renowned historians such as Geoffrey Swain and Jože Pirjevec, don’t contain any reference to different theories about his origins, only a traditional version whereby Tito was the son of Franjo Broz, a Croat from Kumrovec in Zagorje, and Marija Javeršek, originally from village of Podreda, in Slovenia. The only partial exception is represented by considerations made by Vladimir Dedijer in his monumental biography of Tito, published in 1981. A former member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, sacked at the time of the Affaire Djilas, becoming a professional historian, in his book Dedijer attempts to refute speculations about Tito’s origins, reinvigorated after his death in May 1980.
    The birth and life of a legend

    In attempting to clarify the question, Vladimir Dedijer also makes reference to the Trentine case which, few months earlier, has been reactualized in Italy in an article appeared in the weekly Gente. The article has been published few days after Tito’s death, relying on a story transmitted orally over the years, according to some since the end of the Second World War, when the name of Josip Broz began to appear in the newspapers around the world. In addition to photos of the Vallarsa Valley and Maso Geche, the article contained statements of descendants of the family of Valentino Broz. Don Giuseppe Rippa, the then parson of Vallarsa, played an important role in defining the contours of the story, contributing to a process of consolidation of its credibility.

    It is possible that Vladimir Dedijer has come to know about the Trentin legend thanks to attention given to it in the newspapers of the Italian minority in Yugoslavia. Shortly after the publication of the above mentioned article on the weekly Gente, the weekly newspaper Panorama from Rijeka started showing interest in the story, sending a crew to Vallarsa to find out more details. After talking to Don Rippa and some other local personalities, such as writer Sandra Frizzera, and studying parish registers, journalists from Rijeka have come to a conclusion that there was no evidence of a relationship between Trentin and Yugoslav Brozes. Vladimir Dedijer reacted by publishing Tito’s family tree, compiled by Andrija Lukinović, archivist from the Historical Archive of Zagreb [now called the Croatian State Archive], on the basis of preserved parish registers. Using available data, Lukinović reconstructed the paternal-line geneaology of the Broz family from the beginning of the 17th century, when parish registers were started in Kumrovec. As far as the previous period is concerned, Dedijer remains cautious, nevertheless quoting different sayings whereby the Broz family originated in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Spain, Istria, France or even Italy. In any case, we are talking about the possible settlement in Zagorje more than four centuries ago.

    However, these information have not reached Trentino, where a word began to spread that in the whole Yugoslavia there have been no trace of the Broz surname. The descendents of the family of Valentino Broz continued releasing interviews, telling family stories and anecdotes. Also, it is narrated that representatives of Yugoslav government came to Obra, maybe even Tito himself. Many newspaper articles and reportage talked about physiognomic proximity, claiming that the Trentin Brozes bore a “remarkable resemblance” to Yugoslav leader.

    In 1984 it was decided to create a commission, as part of “The Popular Committee of Obra di Vallarsa”, composed of historians, journalists and the then major, with the aim of clarifying the question through meticulous researches and investigations. However, no definite answer nor concrete evidence has been reached. Did Tito have Trentin origins or not? Over the years, the same information continued to circulate, but the story became gradually consolidated.

    In the same period, the credibility of the story has been publicly recognized by some prominent personalities, such as politician Flaminio Piccoli, who has stated, on the occasion of a congress held in Rome in 1991, that Tito’s ancestors were from Trentino. Representative of the Italian Christian Democratic party (DC) in Trentino at the time, Piccoli asserted that he had “great respect” for Marshal Tito, because “his great grandfather was Trentin, originally from the region around Rovereto”. The story changes again – it was not Tito’s father, but rather his great grandfather who was from Trentino – but it is told by a prominent politician who met Tito personally.

    What also contributed to building credibility of the story were numerous publications dedicated to emigration from Trentino, an issue that, since the 1980s, has attracted increasing interest. Already in 1984, Bonifacio Bolognani – Franciscan friar and scholar originally from Trentino who moved to the United States – mentioned a legend from Obra in his book about emigration from Trentino, published in English. The local writers and historians are those who paid greatest attention to the story: Daniella Stoffella refers to it in her book about emigration from Vallarsa, while Renzo Grosselli mentions it in a study about emigrants from Trentino which is widely read. Remo Bussolon and Aldina Martini revived it in the most important work about the history of Vallarsa. The theory of Tito’s Trentin origins is also being mentioned in different academic essays published in other countries (Frédéric Spagnoli, 2009). We are talking about more or less precise publications, some of which treat the argument with caution, but that, often citing each other, contribute to strengthening the authoritativness of the legend.

    In the meantime, a local section of RAI [Italian public radio and television broadcaster] started to show an interest in the story, relaunching it periodically through tv reports. In 2008, a special program was dedicated to the legend of Obra, and on that occasion journalists from Trentino went to Croatia for the first time to hear the other side of the story. They went to Kumrovec, where they visited the birth house of Yugoslav leader and studied parish registers, trying to learn more about the history of Tito’s family and about his “Croatian father” Franjo Broz. But the question remained: Is it possible that Marija’s marriage with Franjo was her second wedding? Or rather, did she married Franjo after she gave birth to Tito and after Giuseppe Broz died?

    In the summer of 2015, a visit of Tito’s granddaughter Svetlana Broz to Vallarsa, invited to a culture festival to present her book about the Yugoslav wars, becomes the occasion to discuss the issue. Asked during an interview to comment on the theory about Tito’s Trentin roots, Svetlana Broz responded vaguely and compliantly, saying: “That theory is just a theory. I have documentation that proves that my grandfather was born in the Croatian village of Kumrovec, as stated in his official biography. However, I can neither confirm nor deny anything about his ancestors”. In such ambivalent spaces, the legend from Vallarsa continues to live. Narrated and repeated mostly in Trentino, from time to time it arouses the interest of a wider public.
    A story about Trentino and Yugoslavia

    Of all the legends about the origins of the Yugoslav president, the Trentin one is probably most closely related to the history and identity of a local community, unlike the others, often inspired by different conspiracy ideas. It evocates the history of the territory profoundly marked by the migration phenomenon and is paradigmatic of a broader history of emigration from Trentino at the end of the 19th century and of pervasiveness of collective memories in those valleys. Its diffusion beyond the borders of Vallarsa, began in the 1980s, followed a gradual opening-up of Trentino to the international processes and reinforcement of consciousness about its “place in the world”. Above all, it is an integral part of the process of ri-elaboration of the traumatic experience of migration which profoundly marked local community: discovery of illustrious ancestors can help in making a sense of loss.

    At the same time, this legend makes us think about the image socialist Yugoslavia projected abroad, about its perception in Italy and among inhabitants of one of the most remote valleys of Trentino. Considered a hostile country in the post-war period, over the following decades Yugoslavia was increasingly perceived by the Italian public as a close neighbor, so that relationships with the political leadership of socialist country were considered a question of public interest. It is narrated that inhabitants of the Vallarsa Valley had been deeply moved by Tito’s death in May 1980 and that a local parson “had recited the prayer for Josip Broz”. A few years later, when asked for his opinion about Marshal Tito, an inhabitant of the valley pointed out a change of perception: “There is no way to reconcile obscure and bloody events from his early years, ambition, will to power, sectarianism and violence of the first Tito with wise and prudent politician, magnanimous towards his enemies, which was the second Tito”.

    The Trentin roots of Yugoslav Marshal remain a legend. In all those years, no proof has emerged that confirms that Giuseppe Broz, who probably emigrated to Croatia and Bosnia in search of work, was Tito’s real father. On the other hand, the official version of Tito’s biography remains undisputed. But like all legends, regardless of their adherence to reality, the one about “Trentin” Tito immerse us in perceptions, imaginings and memories deposited at the intersection of personal life stories, local vicissitudes and the Great History.


    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Italy/Tito-and-Vallarsa-The-history-of-a-legend-190146

    #histoire #légende #Trentino #Italie #ex-Yougoslavie #Yougoslavie #Obra

    #vidéo:
    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Media/Multimedia/Marshal-Tito-and-Vallarsa
    #film

    ping @albertocampiphoto @wizo —> articolo disponibile anche in italiano: https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Italia/Compa-esano-Tito!-Storia-di-una-leggenda-190146


  • #Spomeniks, les #monuments de la discorde

    Bataille idéologique autour des « spomeniks », c’est un #reportage long format de @daphne tourné en #Serbie, en #Croatie et en #Bosnie-Herzégovine où les ultras-nationalistes se réapproprient les monuments de la #résistance contre les nazis, et tentent de réécrire l’histoire de la #Seconde_Guerre_mondiale… comme le révèle le photographe @albertocampiphoto. Depuis une dizaine d’années, ce photographe du collectif @wereport sillonne l’ex-Yougoslavie à la recherche des #mémoriaux des #partisans anti-fascistes.


    http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20181007-spomeniks-monuments-discorde-serbie-croatie-bosnie-herzegovine-nazis
    #mémoire #ex-Yougoslavie #Tito #monument #spomenik #anti-fascisme

    ping @reka

    • #Inappropriate_monuments

      The regional platform Inappropriate Monuments was created to establish a framework for the long-term collaboration of organisations from the EU and the Western Balkans dealing with the revalorisation and protection of their anti-fascist heritage and monument heritage connected with the Peoples’ Liberation Struggle (NOB). Members of the platform include: Group of architects, Belgrade, The History Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Sarajevo, Modern Gallery (MG+MSUM), Ljubljana and Social Fringe: interesting untold stories (SF:ius), Zagreb.

      With the collapse of Yugoslavia the interest in this heritage practically disappeared and the status of the monuments became the subject of controversy and a target of revisionism. Protection is inadequate; there are no clearly developed criteria for their restoration or strategies for revalorisation. Many of the monuments are partially or permanently destroyed, and others are neglected and left to ruin. Research made in the successor countries are not integrated and difficult to access – there has never been a complete register of the monuments. Initiatives aimed at the protection of NOB monuments have, until now, mainly emerged outside of official channels, for example under the initiative of individuals. These individuals then face a number of difficulties including their own shortcomings and the lack of interest from legislators in supporting them.

      The goals of the platform are to connect institutions and independent organisations to strengthen their capacity and distribute the results of research projects in order to advocate for a regulated international strategy regarding anti-fascist heritage. Through activities carried out by the platform including: research and mapping heritage monuments, interviewing people and representatives of the institutions responsible for their erection and maintenance, holding workshops for students, conferences for experts and exhibitions and art conferences, the platform will examine the economic, political and ideological conditions surrounding the emergence of monuments, monument complexes and memorial complexes. It will also examine their contemporary reception and the conditions under which this occurs. Considering the growing interest and fetishisation of NOB monuments in western countries, and socialist heritage in general, the platform is seeking possible models of revitalisation and methods of management. Through a comparative analysis of the situation in former Yugoslavia, the platform aims to draw parallels between the transitional periods of the members of the former state and the treatment of heritage monuments connected to NOB and the anti-fascist struggle, thereby showing that these processes can only be explained through interactive research.

      The web-portal, inapropriatemonuments.org is conceived as an on-line database for the activities of the platform and its members and as a virtual archive of documents and photographs.


      https://inappropriatemonuments.org/en

      Avec une carte

      #cartographie


  • This European Border Is Still Open. But for How Long?

    The border between Austria and Slovenia runs through Armin Tement’s backyard. Literally.

    Not that you would know it. Neat rows of vines march up and down the valley like military columns with no regard for a frontier laid down by man, why here, no one can quite remember. The Slovene wine workers speak German. The Austrians speak Slovenian, or at least try.

    As for the wine, well, says Mr. Tement, 32, “it tastes exactly the same on both sides.”

    When Mr. Tement’s family started making wine back in the 19th century, there was no border here. The region of Styria, straddling what is now southeastern Austria and northeastern Slovenia, was part of the Hapsburg Empire.

    When the empire was broken up after World War I, Upper Styria became Austrian and Lower Styria became part of Yugoslavia — until the 1990s, when that country, too, was broken up and Slovenia gained its independence.

    The border, a hundred years old this year, was briefly eliminated by advancing Nazi armies, then heavily policed during the Cold War, before vanishing in all but name when Slovenia joined the European Union’s passport-free travel zone in 2007.

    “It was a great moment,” recalled Janez Valdhuber, 53, a winemaker on the Slovenian side. To celebrate, he grabbed his young children, climbed the steep vineyard opposite his house to the top where the border runs, and unfurled a European flag.

    The interrogations at the border stopped, and Mr. Valdhuber’s car trunk was no longer searched when entering Austria.

    But some worry Europe’s open borders might slowly be closing again, one checkpoint at a time.

    This month, Germany announced that at its Bavarian border, it would turn back asylum seekers registered in other European Union countries, a move reintroducing a hard border of sorts with Austria.

    Austria, now run by a conservative government in coalition with the far right, threatened to do the same on its southern border with Italy, Europe’s busiest north-south trade route. And as if to demonstrate its resolve, Austria briefly resurrected checkpoints at the Brenner Pass this month.

    The border at Spielfeld, an Austrian town with barely 1,000 inhabitants, became a stop on the migrant route in 2015, and for a few traumatic weeks that year, tens of thousands of refugees came through.

    Since then, Austrian soldiers have returned.

    They ride in military jeeps along the “Wine Route,” a winding country road that zigzags back and forth across the border. They have built a fence along a small border stretch near Spielfeld and set up makeshift checkpoints in the hills — only sporadically manned, but there — on otherwise deserted lanes.

    No one here reports having seen any refugees in more than two years, and so far the border checks are relatively rare.

    But this month, the Austrian military and police staged a high-profile military exercise, simulating another mass arrival of migrants.

    A platform was set up for the photographers. Two Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead. Two hundred students from the police academy were enlisted as “refugees.” Later, the defense ministry released a video.

    “It feels a bit like we’re backsliding into the old days,” said Marko Oraze, a member of Austria’s Slovene-speaking minority who runs the Council of Carinthian Slovenes.

    Mr. Oraze lives in Austria but gets his car fixed in Slovenia. Many of his friends commute across the border every day.

    “More and more of them are stopped at the border on their way to work,” he said.

    Some in Spielfeld applaud the tougher stance taken by Austria.

    “It’s about time,” said Walpurga Sternad, who runs a restaurant with her husband near the highway connecting Austria and Slovenia. “They should just close all the borders in Europe, go back to what we used to have,” she said, as a group of friends nodded in approval.

    Ms. Sternad remembers the day in October 2015, when some 6,000 migrants poured over the border in Spielfeld, filling the motorway and spilling into her own front yard. “It was scary,” she said. “So many people. They kept coming.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/world/europe/austria-slovenia-border-migrants-spielfeld-schengen.html#click=https://t.co/YWlazq9xGU
    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Autriche #Slovénie #fermeture_des_frontières #Schengen (fin de -) #militarisation_des_frontières #armée #frontière_sud-alpine

    • Anti-immigration mood drives fear of racist profiling on EU borders

      Europe’s passport-free area under pressure as calls grow for tougher migrant controls.

      Police spot checks have become a part of Fahad’s annual summer holiday when driving through the snow-topped mountains of southern Bavaria.

      “This usually happens,” said the Kuwaiti father of three, when his silver people-carrier with his wife and children was stopped by German border officers in the idyllic Alpine town of #Kiefersfelden.

      Fahad and his family had to wait for more than half an hour at the border post, until they were given a pass to drive from Austria into Germany. During the FT’s three-hour stay at the checkpoint, non-white drivers made up about 70 per cent of cars selected for further checks. Fahad was one of a few drivers with beards, while others included women wearing headscarves and motorists who at first sight did not look like white Europeans. All were waved through once their IDs were checked, vehicle boots searched and luggage examined.

      Racial profiling at Europe’s internal borders is forbidden under EU law. But with a fresh wave of anti-immigrant governments calling for tougher controls on migrant movements, there are concerns that non-white people will come under increasing suspicion when travelling in the continent.

      Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone — an area made up of 26 European states that abolished passport control at their mutual borders — has buckled under twin pressures: Europe’s biggest influx of refugees since the second world war, and a growing number of anti-immigrant governments pushing to crack down on irregular migration flows. “There is such a fear that Schengen won’t survive that countries are being given the discretion to do whatever they can to keep it alive,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe think-tank.

      Although the number of migrants entering the EU has dropped dramatically since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, emergency powers still allow border controls across 20,000km inside the Schengen zone. Kiefersfelden, a popular skiing destination, has become one of Schengen’s pinch points: it is home to one of three emergency police controls along Germany’s 820km border with Austria.

      Every car travelling on the A12 autobahn through Kiefersfelden must pass a police border stop where officers select vehicles for extra spot checks. The cars that are picked are sent to a tented zone, where drivers and passengers must show valid ID documents.

      Border police said they are told to look for signs of undocumented migrants and people smugglers crossing into Germany from Austria. So far this year, an average of 900 illegal migrants per month have been detained on the Austro-German border, down from 1,120 per month in 2017.

      As racial profiling is outlawed, it is the responsibility of European governments to ensure their police forces carry out checks at random. Rainer Schafer, spokesman for the federal police overseeing the Kiefersfelden controls, said race and ethnicity “can be among the indicators” officers look for when deciding to pull over a vehicle for extra checks.

      “But there are no rules that we just pick out the people who look like they are coming from Africa,” he said. Other factors include registration plates (Italian or eastern European plates draw officers’ attention), blacked-out windows, and the number of passengers, he said.

      Police checks in Bavaria are expected to intensify after the region’s conservative local government last month requested tougher migration controls.

      Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, has also called on the government to break two decades of EU-wide co-operation on migration and unilaterally send people away at Germany’s internal borders. Observers fear that other Schengen countries, like Austria, could in turn erect their own emergency border controls — and that the EU’s principle of free movement of people is at risk of becoming a privilege enjoyed only by white Europeans.

      A report from La Cimade, a French non-governmental organisation, found French border police “systematically check the identity documents of people who do not have the right skin colour” on inbound trains from Italy.

      Inga Schwarz, a researcher at the University of Freiburg, said Europe’s internal border crossings are becoming “increasingly racialised spaces, constructed not only by border guards profiling according to race, but also by European citizens who witness these racialised control practices”.

      In Kiefersfelden, the majority of the non-white drivers selected for checks were tourists in people-carriers and expensive cars — mostly from the Gulf — and were waved through in less than 15 minutes. Uruj, a 27-year-old teacher from Kuwait, her husband and young daughter waited for nearly an hour in their white Mercedes.

      Although they had valid visa documents, police took away their passports and only permitted the family to continue to their holiday destination in Austria once they had obtained a car seat for their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Wafah. Uruj, who was wearing a pink headscarf, said, “I don’t think they liked the look of us.”


      https://www.ft.com/content/fac891a6-93f9-11e8-b67b-b8205561c3fe?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
      #contrôles_frontaliers #profiling #Allemagne #Autriche #contrôle_au_faciès

    • Réfugiés : la #Slovénie veut toujours plus de #barbelés sur sa frontière avec la #Croatie

      Les autorités slovènes se veulent rassurantes : la sécurité des frontières est assurée et personne n’a d’information sur l’éventuelle réouverture massive de la « #route_des_Balkans ». Pourtant le nouveau gouvernement ne semble pas avoir l’intention d’infléchir la politique migratoire de son prédécesseur et songerait même à étendre les barbelés qui coupent la Slovénie de son voisin croate.

      Par Charles Nonne

      La question des réfugiés semble ces dernières semaines avoir déserté le débat public en Slovénie. Le contrat de coalition signé le 28 août 2018, lapidaire, dédramatise : « Nous élaborerons une stratégie migratoire exhaustive, basée sur la coopération intergouvernementale. Nous protègerons les frontières de l’espace Schengen avec davantage d’efficacité et nous démonterons les obstacles techniques [barrières et panneaux] dès que les circonstances le permettront. »

      Pourtant, les passages de la frontière se poursuivent, notamment dans la région de la Bela Krajina, au sud-est du pays, où la rivière Kolpa sépare Slovénie et Croatie. Selon la police de Novo Mesto, entre le 1er janvier et le 31 septembre 2018, plus de 2400 ressortissants étrangers auraient illégalement franchi la Kolpa, soit douze fois plus qu’en 2017.

      Fin septembre, en marge d’un déplacement dans le centre régional de Črnomelj, le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur, Boris Poklukar, avait affirmé vouloir maintenir les barrières en l’état, tout en garantissant que la police était préparée à une augmentation des passages frontaliers. Pour la maire de Črnomelj, Mojca Čemas Stjepanovič, « pour le moment, la sécurité est garantie et nous n’avons aucune raison de nous inquiéter. » Dans les communes les plus exposées, le gouvernement a promis l’érection de nouveaux « obstacles techniques » : sur les 670 kilomètres de frontière slovéno-croate, plus de 160 sont parcourus par des barbelés et 56 par de véritables barrières.

      En Slovénie, c’est notamment les tensions à la frontière entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie qui préoccupent. Si le gouvernement se prépare à plusieurs scénarios, il affirme n’avoir « aucune information laissant penser à une augmentation prochaine des flux », indique le ministre Boris Poklukar. Au nord, l’Autriche a d’ores et déjà annoncé qu’elle ne diminuerait pas la surveillance de sa frontière lors des six prochains mois.

      Au-delà du strict contrôle frontalier, d’autres questions divisent : des inquiétudes pèsent notamment sur la possible installation de centres d’accueil, comme à Debeli Rtič, sur la côte slovène, et à Brežice, à 40 kilomètres de Zagreb. La directrice du bureau gouvernemental pour la prise en charge de l’intégration des migrants, Mojca Špec Potočar, a tenu à indiquer qu’« il n’y [aurait] aucune installation permanente de réfugiés. »

      La question secoue également les rangs de la coalition : l’ancienne ministre de l’Intérieur, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, « faucon » régulièrement critiqué par les défenseurs des droits de l’homme, vient de claquer la porte de son parti, le Parti du centre moderne (SMC) de l’ancien Premier ministre Miro Cerar, en raison de désaccords profonds sur les questions migratoires.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-le-gouvernement-poursuit-lentement-le-renforcement-de-sa
      #fermeture_des_frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières


  • VIDEO | #Mini-Yugoslavia: Where the Former Socialist Federation Still ‘Exists’

    Thousands of so-called Yugo-nostalgics are expected to spend International Workers’ Day, marked on May 1, at Mini-Yugoslavia, a theme park in northern Serbia dedicated to preserving the memory of the former Socialist federation.


    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/video-mini-yugoslavia-where-the-former-socialist-federation-still-exi
    #Yougoslavie #ex-Yougoslavie #mémoire #Yougonostalgie #Blasko_Gabric #musée
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PnfEsIJ7XA

    cc @albertocampiphoto @reka @daphne


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 01
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM01.htm

    The Military College

    ‘Kli-mov!’

    As the call filtered through the thick cloth of my military greatcoat it seemed to be coming from an immense distance. Surely I had dreamt it! It was so warm under my coat; I drew it right up over my ears. My bed of fir branches was so soft and comfortable. Of course I’d dreamt it!

    ‘Captain Kli-mov!’

    The shout again disturbed the nocturnal silence. Then someone muttered something to the guard pacing up and down between the rows of tents.

    ‘... He’s ordered to report immediately to the staff headquarters of the front,’ the voice said to the guard. Then once more came the shout: ‘Captain Klimov!’

    ‘Hell! Staff headquarters! That’s no joke!’

    I threw off my greatcoat, and at once felt the damp air from the nearby swamp, mingling with the omnipresent, distinctive smell of front-line soldiers. In-visible mosquitoes were buzzing. Taking care not to disturb my comrades, I crawled out of the tent backward.

    ‘What’s up?’ I muttered, still half asleep. ‘Whom were you shouting for? Did you say ’Klimov’?’

    ‘Comrade Captain, here’s a courier for you from the staff,’ the guard reported through the darkness.

    ‘Where is he? What’s it all about?’

    ‘Comrade Captain, here’s an order for you.’ A sergeant in a leather helmet handed me a document. By the light of a torch I read: ’Captain G. P. Klimov is ordered to report to the Personnel Department of the Leningrad front staff headquarters on July 17, 1944, at eight hours.’ At the bottom of the paper was a hand-written note from my commanding officer: ’Order to report at once.’

    ’Hm, this might be interesting!’ I thought. ‘Have you anything further to communicate?’ I asked the sergeant.

    ‘I’m ordered to take you to the staff at once,’ he answered as he kicked down the starter lever of his motorcycle combination.

    In the sidecar I quickly forgot my weariness. We jolted over the potholes of the forest road, then passed through a half-destroyed, deserted village. Against the slowly lightening sky I discerned the dark chimneys, the roof joists splintered by artillery fire. The motorcycle wheels spun in the sand; then we made a precarious crossing of a grassgrown ditch, and I was relieved to feel the smooth surface of the Leningrad high road beneath us.

    A light early morning haze was hovering over the steaming earth, and now the little houses of the Leningrad suburbs began to appear amid the green of trees. In the distance rose the chimneys of the city’s factories and industrial works.

    What was behind this urgent summons to staff headquarters? Away back in the tent my comrades would be just waking up. When they saw my empty place they would feel pretty glad that it was not they who had been called out. But then, when they learned that I had been taken urgently to the staff, they would scratch their napes thoughtfully and exchange uncertain glances.

    At this time I was serving in a K. U. K. S. force, undergoing a course for advanced training of officer personnel for the Leningrad front. The K. U. K. S. was a very unusual type of military formation, a ’curiosity shop’, as the members of the course themselves called it. It consisted of comparatively young men with beards and whiskers of extraordinary shapes and sizes. These grim-looking individuals had a queer habit of wearing fur hats in the hottest of weather. In fact they were former officers and commanders of partisan detachments, who were being purged of their partisan ideas and spirit and were having army discipline drummed into them.

    Shortly after the liberation of Leningrad from the German blockade in January 1944 the city celebrated the triumphal entry of partisans of the Leningrad province. But within a month Narcomvnudel Special Brigades had to be ordered hurriedly to the city to disarm the overzealous men of the woods. The partisans were behaving like the conquerors of an enemy fortress and were using hand-grenades and automatic pistols against the militia who tried to reduce them to order. They regarded every militiaman as a hereditary enemy and openly boasted of how many they had bumped off.

    After the partisans had been disarmed they were packed quietly into cattle-trucks and sent to special Narcomvnudel camps. The newspapers had glorified the ’wild’ partisans as patriotic national heroes, but when they emerged from their forests into the light of day they at once came under the sharp eyes of the Narcomvnudel. Those partisans who were members of the regular detachments built up out of Red Army personnel, and the semi-regulars under commanders sent from the central command and obeying orders issued by the central radio and air force, were acceptable. But anyone who had fought in the forests and had had to resort to straightforward ’food requisitioning’ when their stocks of homemade vodka and fat bacon came to an end-God help them! The N. K. V. D. put them through a thorough purging before passing them on to the regular army, and their commanders were sent to receive special training in the K. U. K. S., such as the one for the Leningrad front.

    While in the K. U. K. S. I often heard the enigmatic questions: ‘Where are you from? Out of the Eighth?’ “No, the Ninth,” the answer would come reluctantly. After a time I found out that the ’Eighth’ and the ’Ninth’ were storming battalions on the Leningrad front. ’Storming battalion’ was the official name for punitive battalions in which officers served as rank-and-file soldiers and were sent as such into battle. If they came back alive they were restored to their previous officer’s rank. The losses of storming battalions regularly amounted to 90 and even 95 per cent of the strength in every engagement.

    As the Red Army went over to the offensive and began to liberate the occupied areas, all the former Soviet officers found in these areas were rounded up, and, like the partisans, were sent to special Narcomvnudel camps. Those whom the N. K. V. D. did not regard as worthy of dying on the gallows were given a preliminary purge, and then sent to the next department of the ’cleansing institution’, to a storming battalion. There they were afforded plenty of opportunity to purge their crime against the Fatherland with their blood.

    Let them fight! There would be time to deal with them properly after the war!

    Those who survived the ordeal by fire were usually sent straight from hospital-freedom from a storming battalion was gained only at the price of blood-to the K. U. K. S. for final retraining. A number of my comrades in the K. U. K. S. had paybooks which after the denotation ’soldier’ or ’infantryman’ gave the rank of ’regimental commissar’ or ’squadron commander’ in brackets.

    Yes, there was some very interesting human material in our K. U. K. S.! In reality it was a permanent reserve for the Leningrad front. The officers being retrained were not allowed to lounge about, they had to play at soldiers in deadly earnest. The former commandeer of a machine-gun company had to learn how to take to pieces and reassemble a machine-gun of the Maxim pattern, while the commander of a rifleman’s battalion was instructed in the workings of the unsurpassable ’1891 muster’ rifle.

    There was a large percentage of Ukrainians in the K. U. K. S. When the Red Army retreated from the Ukraine many soldiers who came from that area simply threw their arms into the nearest ditch and ’went home’. But when the Red Army began to drive the Germans out again these ’sons of the soil’ were hastily rounded up, weapons were thrust into their hands, and they were sent, just as they were, even without uniforms, into the front line. The banks of the Dnieper were strewn with corpses in civilian clothing.

    Ordinary soldiers were simply returned to active service, usually without any preliminary purge by the N. K. V. D. Personal accounts between State and individual could be settled later; at that moment there was more need of cannon fodder for the army than labor power for the concentration camps.

    Though the feeling never came into the open, there was constant tension between the Ukrainians and the Russians in our K. U. K. S. The Ukrainians usually kept their mouths shut, like younger brothers with bad consciences. The Russians only let fall a good-natured: ‘Ah, you Hohols!’ (Russian term of contempt for Ukrainians - Tr.)

    ‘Ah, those Germans!’ The Ukrainians sighed in reply. ‘They abused our trust, the blighters!’

    One day questionnaires were circulated through the battalions of the K. U. K. S.; the command was attempting to establish which of the members of the course were Crimean Tatars. I remember noting Lieutenant Chaifutinov’s anxious face as he sat filling in the questions inquiring into his family. We had heard rumors that by the Kremlin’s order the entire Tatar population of the Crimean Autonomous Republic was to be deported; several million people were to be transferred to Siberia, and their republic abolished, because of their ’disloyal attitude to the Soviet regime during the German occupation’. This order provoked conversations like the following among members of our course:

    ‘Do you know how the Kalmuks behaved at Stalingrad? The Germans attacked, but they prepared the way. They cut the throats of whole Soviet regiments in the night.’

    ‘I’d like to know why the Don and Kuban cossacks looked on and did nothing,’ someone interjected.

    ‘What else were the cossacks to do?’ remarked a third. ‘You won’t find a single real cossack in the cossack forces today.’

    These officers saw nothing surprising in the fact that the Kalmuks had exterminated their regiments, they were only amazed that the cossacks had stood by idly. For in the past the Don and Kuban cossack districts had been famous as centers of opposition to the Soviet regime. The artificially created famine disaster of 1983 had been forced through in those districts with more than the usual brutality. Down to 1936 the cossacks had been the only national group not called up into the regular army. And so it seemed incredible that the cossacks, who had been renowned throughout history for their love of freedom, had not risen against the Soviets.

    Among the participants in the course were many former political officers of the Red Army. A number of men in this category had lost their heads already in the Narcomvnudel special camps, and those few who survived both these camps and the storming battalions must have had an unusually tenacious grip on life. And hardly had they arrived at the K. U. K. S., when they began with true communist wolfishness to clutch at their former jobs as shepherds of the human herds. Despite all the sifting and purging they had experienced through the N. K. V. D. even in the K. U. K. S. they managed some-how to get into positions as commanders of sub-divisions of our course. The other officers took every opportunity to address them as ’Comrade Political Director’ or ’Comrade Commissar’, though these ranks had been abolished in the army for some time.

    Despite, or even because of the fact that the ’curiosity shop’ was such a haphazard collection of widely varied types, there was always much coming and going. Almost every day mysterious commissions visited us in quest of various kinds of ’commodities’. For instance, one commission came in search of partisans for Yugoslavia. The conditions were: 25, 000 rubles in cash, a month’s leave, then a parachute drop into that country. Our men needed no special training for such activities. There was a queue of candidates; the majority being former partisans who could not endure army discipline.

    Then came a general search for men with Polish surnames, as recruits for the Polish ’National’ Army. Then there was a call for candidates to the Red Army Intelligence School. Conditions: nobody accepted under the rank of major, and graduation from high school. Yet even these strict standards could be met over and over again.

    These ’trading activities’ were due to the great shortage of special cadres, which were particularly lacking in the army. And the K. U. K. S. contained a mass of fresh, still unsorted human material, which had not been available until recently, because it had been isolated in partisan bands or in the occupied areas.

    The majority of my K. U. K. S. comrades were men almost literally from the other world. One youngster had fled right across Europe from a German prisoner-of-war camp in France. When he reached the Russian area under German occupation he was captured a second time, put into a concentration camp, and then escaped again. Twice he had been set up against a wall and had fallen seriously wounded, getting away by worming his way out from under his comrades’ corpses in the mass grave. He had had two years as a partisan in the swamps and forests around Leningrad. And as a reward for his love of the fatherland he had been ’purged’ in a Narcomvnudel camp, had experienced bloodbaths in a storming battalion, and at last had found the quiet haven of the K. U. K. S.

    Practically every member of the course had had a similar past. They were the few survivors. Naturally, they were not very fond of telling their life-stories. In such company I was a real greenhorn, as innocent as a newborn babe. I had been sent to the K. U. K. S. after serving in the 96th Special Regiment of Reserve Officers. I had been wounded in the fight for Novgorod, and had spent three months in hospital.

    It was during my stay in hospital, which was the former Leningrad Palace of Engineers, that the entire city was staggered by unexpected news. By order of the Leningrad City Soviet all the important, historical streets and squares were to have their former, pre-revolutionary names restored to them. Thus the Prospect of October 25th was renamed once more the Nevsky Prospect; the Field of Mars was relieved of its tongue-twisting revolutionary name and became again the Field of Mars. The changes left us gaping. If things moved at this rate even the collective farms would be abolished...

    The staff of the Leningrad front had its headquarters in the horseshoe-shaped former General Staff building, opposite the Winter Palace. The way to the Personnel Department lay through the famous and historic Arches of the General Staff. It was through these Arches that the revolutionary sailors and red guards of Petrograd had stormed the Winter Palace in 1917.

    On the broad windowsills of the reception room I found several officers sitting, dangling their legs.

    ‘Do you want this place too. Captain?’ one of them, asked me. When I nodded he asked me the unexpected question: ‘Can you speak any foreign language?’

    ‘Why, what’s going on here?’ I asked in turn.

    ‘At the moment it’s an examination in foreign languages,’ a lieutenant explained. ‘It’s something to do with selection for some special school, or possibly a college,’ another added. ‘The first requisite is knowledge of some foreign language, and graduation in secondary education. Obviously it’s something important. It’s even said to involve return to Moscow...’ he said in a nostalgic tone, and clicked his tongue hopelessly.

    An officer, very red and sweating, shot through the door. ‘Oh, hell!... What’s the German for ’wall’? I knew ’window’, I knew ’table’, but I simply couldn’t remember ’wall’. Damn it all! Listen, boys! Mug up all the names of things you find in a room. He points with his finger and asks their names.’

    Of the officers in that reception room, two knew Finnish, one Rumanian, and the others had school knowledge of German and English. I knew well enough what ’school knowledge’ meant. But the less chance a man has, the greater becomes his desire to reach the mysterious spot where this linguistic knowledge is required. Everything in any way associated with the thought of ’abroad’ automatically stimulated one’s curiosity and imagination.

    I couldn’t help smirking. So here we wouldn’t be concerned with the five parts of the breech of an 1891 rifle! I stretched myself comfortably on a distant bench and attempted to continue my rudely interrupted sleep. When my name was called I went in, clicked my heels with all the precision laid down by Hitler’s army regulations and reported in German in such a thunderous voice that the major sitting at the desk started back in alarm. He stared at me in astonishment; possibly he was wondering whether he should ask me the German for ’table’ or ’window’. Then he asked me a question in Russian. I answered in German. He spoke again in Russian, I once more answered in German. At last he had to laugh. As he invited me to sit down he asked:

    ‘Where have you picked it up, Captain?’

    I took out the documents relating to my civilian life before call-up - it was a miracle that I still had them safely - and laid them on the table.

    ‘Ah, this is wonderful!’ he remarked. ‘I really took you for a German at first. I’ll present you to the colonel at once.’

    He showed me into the next room and introduced me to the head of the Personnel Department. ‘Comrade Colonel,’ he said, ‘I think we’ve got a genuine candidate this time! You needn’t worry about his language; he really put the wind up me. I thought he must be a diversionist.’ He laid my papers on the desk and withdrew.

    The colonel took his advice, and did not bother about language tests. He started at once on the moral aspect. The moral and political reliability of an officer is the most important factor, and he is subjected to strict tests in this respect.

    ‘You see, Captain Klimov,’ the colonel began, ‘we’re thinking of sending you to a responsible and privileged higher school of the Red Army.’ He spoke in tones of great solemnity. ‘You will understand me better if I describe the position to you. Moscow demands a fixed quota of candidates from us every month. We send them to Moscow, and there all those who fail to pass are sent back to us. We send all failures to a punitive company,’ he remarked casually, giving me a meaning look. ‘Every day Moscow bombards us with the demand: ’send us men’. But we haven’t any.

    That’s one aspect of the problem. Now for the second. You’re in the K. U. K. S., and there are a lot of men with doubtful pasts in the K. U. K. S. I don’t ask you your record. But one thing is sure: you’ve got to be spotlessly clean! Otherwise you’ll find yourself in a different place from the one we propose to send you to. And we’ve got to send you! Get that?’

    I liked the colonel’s unusual frankness. I assured him that I was quite immaculate.

    ‘I don’t care a damn whether you’re immaculate or not,’ he answered. ‘You’ve got some extraordinary fellows in your K. U. K. S. Only yesterday one of your former colonels swore to me that he was a lieutenant of infantry. We wanted to send him to the intelligence corps school, but he dug his feet in like a mule and said he couldn’t write.’

    I was not in the least surprised. Men who had held responsible posts and had passed through the usual preliminaries to K. U. K. S. lost all desire for rank and responsibility and had only one wish-a quiet life.

    ‘You may try to think up something on those lines,’ the colonel went on. ‘So I repeat, this is a serious matter. If we consider it necessary to send you we shall send you! And no monkey tricks or we’ll report you as refusing to perform military service. You know what that means! Field court-martial!’ he explained weightily. He knew well enough that members of K. U. K. S. courses and former storming battalion men were not to be intimidated with threats of punitive companies. Only a court-martial, with certain death to follow, made any impression on such cases.

    He gave me a critical glance and picked up the telephone to get contact with the staff of my K. U. K. S.

    ‘We’re sending your Klimov away. Get his documents ready. He must leave for Moscow by the twelve noon train,’ he told the chief of staff. ‘And one other thing: why do you let your men go around looking like tramps? Fit him out at once. He mustn’t bring shame on our front when he arrives in Moscow.’

    A few minutes later, in an adjoining room, I was handed a sealed and stamped packet which contained my personal documents and traveling passes for Moscow.

    Back in the reception room, an excited crowd of candidates surrounded me. ‘Well, how did it go? Sunk? Were the questions lousy?’

    I shrugged my shoulders and showed my order for Moscow. ‘So it really is Moscow!’ they exclaimed. ‘Well, good luck!’ and they shook my hands.

    Out of the cool twilight of the archways, I stepped into the sunlit Winter Palace Square. I simply couldn’t believe that I wasn’t dreaming! In three hours I would be on the train to Moscow! Such luck, such incredible luck, made me feel queer. I knew of lots of officers, men whose homes were in Leningrad, who had served on the Leningrad front for three years without a single leave in the city. Even in the K. U. K. S. officers who came from Leningrad were not allowed local leave. When we went to the town-baths or on sightseeing tours we were marched in formation. As for Muscovites, even such a short and official visit to their home city was an unrealizable dream. Was it really possible that I was going home?

    I looked about me. Yes, this was Leningrad, but in my pocket was a voucher opening my way to Moscow. Standing in the middle of the empty Winter Palace Square, I took it out and read it. I deliberately refused to give way to the patrols in green caps who were to be seen everywhere on the sidewalks and at the street-crossings. Leningrad was in the frontier zone, and the patrols of the Narcomvnudel frontier regiments were particularly strong in the city. The greencaps were the bitterest enemies of all men in uniform. It was not so long since I myself had spent two days and nights in a cold cell at their headquarters, without food and without cigarettes, until an officer armed with a machine-pistol had come from K. U. K. S. to take me back. My crime had been that I had left the baths and gone out into the street. While our command was having a steam bath I had a quick wash and slipped out into the fresh spring air. Right outside the door I had been picked up as a deserter by the greencaps. But today I could cock a snook at them. Today I was going to Moscow.

    In the K. U. K. S. staff headquarters a princely reception was awaiting me. In half an hour I was completely refitted from head to foot; new cap, new uniform, even a new pack, filled with cans and cigarettes. Punctually at midday I presented my traveling voucher at the October railway station ticket office.

    ‘Fifty-six rubles,’ the booking clerk said. I felt hurriedly in my pockets. Hell, of course I needed money! The one thing I lacked. During my soldiering I had quite forgotten what it was. My pay was sent home automatically. A hopeless situation? Not at all! Under socialism everything is very simple, life is absurdly easy. I darted out into the station square, tore open my pack, and whistled. Hardly had I got the pack open when customers came running up. Five minutes later lighter by a few cans of food, but with my pockets full of rubles, I was back at the ticket office. And ten minutes later the train was carrying me to Moscow.

    Through the carriage window I gazed at the straw-thatched roofs of villages, at poverty-stricken fields and glittering lakes, bombed-out stations. And yet I felt very light-hearted. Despite all the German resistance, our army was advancing. The scales of history were sinking slowly but surely in our favor.

    It was not much more than a month since the K. U. K. S. had buzzed like an excited swarm of bees: the Allies had landed at last on the Normandy coast. For several days we had lived in the fear that the landing troops might be thrown back into the sea, or that it was only another diplomatic, not a military, maneuver. I had no connection with the men in the Kremlin and had no idea what they thought about it. But we in the Red Army had read all the Soviet papers with their continual appeals for help, and even their frequent charges that the Allies were pursuing a policy of deliberate inactivity.

    We who were serving in the immediate vicinity of the front knew only too well what sacrifices were called for in an offensive, what sacrifices lay behind the laconic report of the Information Bureau: ’On the Narva front, no change.’ We knew that whole divisions were being slaughtered to the last man in fruitless attempts to break through the Narva front. The Estonian detachments fighting with the German Army held those positions on the frontier of their native land, and they held out to their last breath; they were even more obdurate than the Germans. But the Information Bureau reported: ’No change’. The only important things were visible results, not human lives. And that is the case wherever war is waged.

    But now we felt grateful to our Allies, not only for their mountains of canned foods, soldiers’ greatcoats, and even buttons, but for the blood they were shedding in the common cause. An iron grip had closed round Germany’s throat. Even though life was hard, though hungry women and children held out their hands, begging, at every railway station, despite everything we were going forward to victory. We believed in victory, and even more strongly in something different that would come after the victory.

    The story goes that when he heard the Allies had landed in France Stalin stamped his foot with rage. I don’t know whether the story is true, but I know we soldiers were filled with joy. The politicians share out Europe, we soldiers shared out our bread and our blood.

    So now I was returning to Moscow. My thoughts wandered back to the day I had left it. It seemed ages and ages ago. After a fine day in the country, Genia and I were returning in the cool autumn evening by the suburban electric train to Moscow. I took the city military command’s order that I was to re-register out of my pocket and re-marked: ‘I’ll go along and get them to stamp my exemption to-morrow morning, and then I’ll come along to you. And we’ll see about it....’

    ‘But supposing they keep you there!’ Her voice quivered with agitation, her black eyes looked at me anxiously. I was terribly grateful for those words and that look.

    ‘Don’t talk rubbish! It isn’t the first time!’ I answered.

    Next morning I went in my padded military jacket, in my blue trousers thrust into my military boots, and my extraordinary headgear, to report to the Military Commissariat. By wartime standards I was dressed like a gentleman. It was common form to be dressed like that in wartime Moscow, and it saved you a lot of hostile scowls. In my pocket I had Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four, which I read in the Underground to practice my English.

    After handing in my papers at the Second Department of the Military Commissariat I slipped into a corner and took out my book to pass the time. The room was crowded with an extraordinary collection of men: chalk-white faces, unshaven cheeks, and shabby clothes much too light for the time of year. Two militiamen were leaning lazily against the door. I read while I waited for my exemption paper to be handed back, stamped: ’re-registered’.

    After some time the head of the department came out with a list. He read out a number of names, including mine. I had no idea what the list was for. The moment he left the room the militiamen gave the order: ‘Fall in the street’.

    We were all, including myself, with my index finger still between two pages of my book, driven out into the yard. What joke was this? They couldn’t do this to me! I’d got exemption! I tried to turn off to the left, and found myself looking into the muzzle of a revolver. To the right: another revolver.

    ‘No protests!’ the militiamen shouted. ‘So long as you’re in our charge you’re prisoners. When we’ve handed you over at the assembly point you’ll be free again....’

    Thus I marched through Moscow, guarded by militiamen with revolvers at the ready.

    A mistake, you think? Nothing of the sort. There was a terrible shortage of reserves for the front. Yet the needs of the rear were just as great. The rear issued exemptions from military service. But the front carried off the men, together with their exemptions. Behind it all was the ’Plan’.

    According to the Plan the Military Commissariat had to send fifty men to the assembly point that day. What else could they do but rake them in wherever they could? So they hauled the short-term prisoners out of the prisons-most of them were in for turning up late or slacking at work-took them under escort to the Military Commissariat and then to the assembly point. And if they were still short of men for the Plan, they threw in a few ’exempted’ men.

    And that was how an exempted scientific worker in the Molotov Energetics Institute, which had been awarded the Order of Lenin, became a soldier. Neither Lenin nor Molotov made any difference. This was more exciting than Conan Doyle. The one pity was that I had no chance to say goodbye to Genia.

    I soon learned to march as bravely as the rest. We were dispatched to the front, and I bawled out the Russian folk-song at the top of my voice:

    ‘Nightingale, nightingale, little bird, why don’t you sing me a cheerful song....’

    All the songs of the pre-war period, about the ’Leader’, the ’proletariat’, and similar eyewash, had been swept out of the army as though by the mighty incantation of a magician. Instead, the genuine Russian marching songs conquered the soldiers’ hearts. Even quite unmusical fellows bawled them out, simply because they were now again allowed to sing about neighing steeds, old mothers, and young beauties. The magician in the Kremlin realized that such things were closer to the soldiers’ hearts than Karl Marx’s beard.

    Now I was returning to Moscow. Only yesterday I had not dared even to dream of such a thing. I recalled when I had last thought of Moscow. One sunny spring day, as I wandered through a lonely glade in the dense forest of the Karelian Peninsula, I had come upon a deep shell crater overgrown with young green. At the bottom, greenish bog-water shimmered like transparent glass. Forest water, as clear as crystal, which we often scooped up in our helmets, to drink. But there, head in the water, his arms flung out in a last spasm, lay the body of an enemy soldier.

    As I descended, digging my heels into the soil, clumps of earth rolled down into the pool. Little ripples wrinkled the surface and set the dead man’s hair in gentle movement with their mournful caresses. Oppressed by this close union of life and death, I squatted down. But at last my curiosity overcame my respect for death. I carefully opened the man’s breast pocket and took out a packet of papers.

    The usual military documents, with the eagle astride the swastika, letters from home, and the photo of an attractive, fair-haired girl in summer dress. The photo was carefully wrapped in paper. On its back was written: ’To my beloved from his beloved’, the date, and the name of a town far away in the south of the Reich. I looked at the dead man’s hair in the green water, then again at the face of the girl on the bank of the Rhine. Where she was the orchards were now in full bloom and the vines were showing green on the slopes. One warm spring night this girl had gently caressed the hair of her beloved; now it was being caressed by the cold bog-water of a forest somewhere in Russia.

    I took out my notebook and, sitting on the edge of the crater, wrote a melancholy note to Genia: ’Perhaps tomorrow I too will be lying somewhere with my face turned upward, and nobody will tenderly caress me, not even the green water of a bomb crater.’ Women like a touch of the romantic. And I, too, am not exactly made of iron.

    At that time, when I had no hope of seeing Genia again for a long time, I had written simply, as all soldiers write to their sweet-hearts. Letters are almost the soldier’s only joy and comfort.

    Stepping out of the Komsomolsk railway station in Moscow, I plunged into the bustle of the Underground, whistling a front-line song as I went. I had given a whole eternity to the State. It could not be regarded as a great crime that I now wished to devote a few minutes to myself. Besides, Genia would never have forgiven me if I had preferred any military unit whatever to her.

    I found her door locked, pushed a little note through the crack, threw my pack over my shoulder again, and gave myself the order: ’Left turn, quick march!’ Having dealt with my personal affairs, I returned to affairs of State.

    Half an hour later I arrived at my service destination. As I walked down a long corridor I was amazed. True, there were many men in uniform scurrying around like ants disturbed from their ant-hill, but the place reminded me more of a university during finals than an army unit.

    Some men put their books down open on windowsills to enter into an excited argument, others hurriedly repeated their lessons, wrote notes, and hurriedly took them off somewhere. Nobody taking any notice of distinctions of rank, or shoulder-tabs, nobody was thinking of saluting. They all had other cares. Most of them wore expressions very different from those of army officers, whose faces, as well as their souls, are imprinted with the stamp of barrack drill.

    Close by me two officers were conversing in some incomprehensible language. I noted shoulder-tabs of all kinds, from air force to infantry. And even the black coats of the navy. But most astonishing of all was the large number of women and girls in uniform. Hitherto only a few women had been accepted for propaganda purposes in certain military schools. Here was a very different situation.

    I felt a little awkward, and decided to try to get my bearings. At one of the windows I noticed a first lieutenant in a sand-colored greatcoat, and riding breeches of similar material. He must be from Leningrad! I was wearing exactly the same sort of uniform, and I had never come across it outside the Leningrad sector.

    When the Americans were preparing for the landing in North Africa they ordered an enormous number of cool, silky, sand-coloured uniforms for their soldiers. Later, they found they had such a superfluity of this ’African’ clothing that in their friendship for their Russian allies they transferred it to us. So our resourceful supreme command presented this tropical attire to the very coldest, namely the Leningrad, sector of the front. And thenceforth we had no difficulty in picking out our colleagues from that front on any occasion.

    ‘Tell me, lieutenant,’ I addressed the officer in the sand-colored uniform. ‘Are you from Leningrad too?’

    Yes, the Karelian sector," he answered very readily. Apparently in this hubbub he felt as lost as I did, and was glad to meet a friendly colleague.

    ‘Well, how are things?’

    ‘So far, not bad. I think I’ve fallen on my feet,’ he answered. But despite the confident answer there was a hint of disillusionment in his tone.

    ‘But what is this show: a boarding house for respectable girls?’ I asked him. ‘I’ve only just arrived, and I don’t get it at all.’

    ‘The devil himself wouldn’t get it! For instance, I’ve been assigned to Hungary. The devil can take the whole of Hungary!’ The disillusionment in his voice was now more pronounced. I grew more and more puzzled. ‘Now if I could get into the English Department,’ he sighed. ‘But that’s hopeless, unless you’ve got connections. You have to be a general’s son at the least. See them swarming around? And every one of them with a letter of recommendation in his pocket!’

    He pointed to a door. On it was a notice: ’Head of the Training Department,’ and before it was crowded a group of officers in elegant boots of the finest leather and in extra-smart uniforms. They certainly didn’t look like front-line officers.

    ‘Then what’s the best way of tackling the situation?’ I asked. ‘What languages do you know?’

    ‘A little German, a little English, a certain amount of Russian...’ “Quit fooling and tell them you know only English. The English Department is the best of the lot,” the future Hungarian advised me.

    From various conversations I began to realize that this mysterious educational institution was concerned with training personnel for abroad. None of the novices appeared to know its name. But after I had had a talk with a flying officer, a student at the air force college, who-apparently through influential connections-was attempting to get transferred from the third course of the college to the first course of this mysterious school, I felt convinced that the place must offer considerable advantages.

    During the next few days I filled in a sheaf of questionnaires which attempted to establish all my past: whether I had any relations or acquaintances abroad; whether I had any relations ’in areas temporarily occupied by the Hitlerite land-robbers’; whether I had ever belonged to or had any sympathies with groups hostile to the Party or was planning to have such sympathies; whether I had ever had any doubts of the correctness of the Party line. The questions which showed interest in the negative aspects of my life far exceeded those that were concerned with my positive qualities. I had already brought all these questionnaires with me in a sealed envelope from Leningrad; now I had to fill them in all over again.

    I remember a scandal that occurred over a questionnaire, which one of my colleagues of student days had filled in for the Special Department of his Institute. He gave his year of birth correctly as 1918. The next question, ’What were you doing when the revolution broke out in 1917?’ he answered with the precise statement: ’I was in the underground movement.’ Because of this answer he was summoned again and again to the Narcomvnudel for interrogation.

    I spent several days being examined in German and English. Those who failed in the language tests were excluded from further tests and were returned to their previous units. However, the favorites of patronage were an exception: they were all assigned to the first course, and were not subjected to such strict requirements. All others were thoroughly sifted out; if they had sound knowledge they were assigned to one of the higher courses, otherwise they were returned to their units.

    After the questionnaires and the language tests came examinations in Marxism-Leninism. In my twenty-six years of life I had passed all the half dozen normal and three State examinations in this branch of knowledge. These were followed by quite insignificant tests in philosophy and dialectical materialism, in general and military history, the Russian language, and economic geography.

    All this procedure left me pretty indifferent. There was no knowing when the war would end, but one thing was certain: it had already passed its critical phase and was coming to its close. My one idea was to get out of uniform as soon as possible after it was over. Against that, this educational establishment might prolong my time of service in the army, if not extend it into eternity. For the majority of the youth, this school was a means of learning a profession, which would enable them to earn their living after the war. I was less interested in that aspect. But the army was the army; here orders were supreme, and one could only obey them.

    It was a fierily hot summer. Entire caravans of barges laden with timber were being hauled along the River Moskva. All through the war Moscow had been heated exclusively with wood, even the locomotives were burning wood instead of coal. The city was uncommonly still and peaceful. The only variety was provided by the patrols of the town command, which checked your papers at every step. They treated me with particular distrust: I had a front-line officer’s tabs on my shoulders, but I sauntered about like an idler.

    All my private plans had collapsed like a house of cards on my being drafted into the army. When I returned to Moscow I had unconsciously assumed that now life would return to its old courses. But life doesn’t stand still, and I, too, had changed, after my experiences of front-line life. And now, during my aimless wanderings around the battlemented walls of the Kremlin, I felt only a vague yearning and an empty void. Just one thing seemed to be clear: the war must be brought to an end. For so long as this war lasted there would be room neither for private life nor for personal interests.

    After I had passed the questionnaires and the tests I was summoned to the head of the Educational Department, Colonel Gorokhov. Behind a large desk sat a little man with the blue tabs of a cavalry officer and a cranium that was as bald as a billiard ball. In his sly, foxy face twinkled colorless, watery eyes.

    ‘Sit down, Comrade Captain,’ he said courteously, pointing to a chair on my side of his desk.

    This was a very different reception from normal army discipline. It was much more like the atmosphere of university lecture hall and absentminded professors. The colonel ran his thin fingers through the numerous documents devoted to my moral and political standing, the attestations of my participation in battles, my questionnaires and test reports.

    ‘So you’re an engineer! Well, well!’ he observed in a friendly tone. ‘Speaking quite generally, we don’t give a warm welcome to engineers. We have a few here already. Too self-opinionated and not sufficiently disciplined. What is your view of your future career?’

    ‘As the interests of the State require,’ I answered prudently, but without the least hesitation. I wasn’t to be caught by such questions.

    ‘Do you know what sort of educational establishment this is?’ he asked.

    When I answered vaguely he began to tell me slowly, with many pauses: ‘It is the Military-Diplomatic College of the General Staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. You must be aware of the fact that, according to the law, men with military high school training, in other words men who have graduated from the military colleges, are obliged to give life-service in the army. The State spends an enormous amount on your education, and so it cannot allow the men to do, as they like afterwards. The State has poured out quite a considerable sum on you personally.’ He glanced at my diploma testifying that I was a graduate of the Industrial Institute.

    ‘I should feel very sorry to sacrifice more time and money on you’ he continued with the air of an economical housewife. ‘And so I must make it perfectly clear that if you are accepted in the college you must throw overboard all your civilian stuff and forget all about demobilization. There are some that think that when the war’s over they can slip away out of sight. Forget it! You are of interest to us in so far as, judging from your documents and tests, you have a solid groundwork of knowledge, such as we need. You will give us less trouble to train than others will. For that reason, and solely for that reason, we are interested in your case.’

    After this introduction he proceeded to details. ‘What made you take up foreign languages after you had graduated from the Industrial Institute?’

    ‘I considered a knowledge of foreign languages was essential for an engineer.’

    ‘Good! But what the devil made you’-he took another glance at my papers-"graduate from the First Moscow Institute for Foreign Languages, and the Pedagogical Department at that? Didn’t you like being an engineer?"

    The colonel was well posted in all the subtleties of the changes of interests and professions which so frequently occur in present-day Soviet society. Owing to the comparative ease with which one could get higher technical education in pre-war days, the students at the technical high schools included quite a large percentage who were completely unsuitable. As soon as they started practical work they found it unsatisfactory both morally and economically, so they packed their diplomas away and went off to seek a more lucrative or less responsible profession.

    For engineers were frequently imprisoned for the most trivial of technical mistakes, and they received relatively low pay. Also, many women with high school education preferred to get married and stay at home rather than follow their profession, provided their husband’s salary was large enough. If not, they, too, went in search of a new profession. And so people traveled with their diplomas from one end of the country to the other. The State took steps to stop this: it tied the young specialist down to a definite works or factory for five years, and if he broke his contract arbitrarily he was imprisoned.

    ‘How did you come to know foreign languages at all?’ the colonel continued. ‘You must have had a governess, surely?’

    This was as good as a Narcomvnudel interrogation! In my childhood, to have a governess signified that you belonged to the people of the ’old days’. But now the word ’governess’ no longer had this compromising connotation: in the Moscow parks swarms of children from the Kremlin’s upper circles were to be seen accompanied by governess who talked to them in French or English. After they had overthrown and libeled their predecessors the new ’upper ten’ had quickly adopted their habits.

    ‘I learned languages parallel with my other subjects. I took my finals in languages and the State examination as an internal student at the Moscow Institute at the one time,’ I answered.

    ‘Aha! So you studied at two institutes simultaneously. You must be very studious!’ the colonel deduced, and stroked his baldhead thoughtfully, as though some new idea had occurred to him.

    I simply don’t know what made me decide to study foreign languages. Every student has some bee in his bonnet. I happened to discover that in the Moscow city library there was a mass of unsorted and uncatalogued works in foreign languages. There was nobody to put them in order and submit them to the censorship. Yet until they had been censored they could not be used. I quite quickly obtained permission to work on these materials, and a completely new world, closed to all others, was opened to me.

    My linguistic knowledge was far from brilliant, but in Soviet conditions even restricted knowledge of foreign languages was exceptional. A Soviet citizen has such a small chance of making practical use of such knowledge that it doesn’t occur to anybody to waste time studying languages. ’It might easily bring you to the notice of the Narcomvnudel’, was the way people reasoned.

    ‘Well, now to business.’ The colonel tapped his pencil on my papers. ‘We can pack whole street-cars with German linguists. And we’ve got more than we need of English. But as I see you’re studious and you’re not a child, I’ll make you a much better proposal.’ He paused significantly, carefully watching my reaction. ‘I’ll assign you to an exceptionally important department. In addition I guarantee that after you’ve passed out you’ll work in San Francisco or Washington. What do you say to that?’

    I didn’t bat an eyelid. What was he after? Neither English nor German.... Work in Washington.... I know: as a liftboy in some embassy! I had heard rumors of such things happening.

    ‘I’ll assign you to the Eastern Faculty,’ he added in a condescending tone. I went hot and cold. ‘The Japanese Department,’ he said in a tone of finality. ‘And you’ll find more use for your English there than anywhere else.’

    I shivered a little across the shoulders, and felt thoroughly uncomfortable. ‘Comrade Colonel, isn’t there something just a little less complicated?’ I said feebly. ‘I’ve only just recovered from a head wound....’

    ‘This isn’t a shop. The choice is limited.’ His face changed completely, it went cold and hard. He was obviously regretting the time he had wasted on me. ‘Two alternatives: either the Japanese Department or we send you back to your unit. That’s settled. I give you two hours to think it over.’

    The colonel in Leningrad had threatened me with a court-martial if I was sent back. And here I was faced with lifelong forced labor on the Japanese language. ’It strikes me, my dear Klimov, you’re in a jam!’ I thought.

    When I left the room I was surrounded by a lively group of my new acquaintances, all anxious to know the result of so protracted an interview.

    ‘Well, how did it go? Where are you assigned to: the Western Department?’ they clamored.

    ‘The geisha girls!’ I answered dejectedly.

    For a moment they stared at me in silence, then there was a roar of laughter. They thought it a good joke; but I didn’t see it.

    ‘Do you know how many signs they have got to their alphabet?’ one man asked sympathetically. ‘Sixty-four thousand. An educated Jap knows about half of them.’

    ‘There have been three cases of suicide here during the last year,’ another told me cheerfully. ‘And all three were in the Japanese Department.’

    One of them took my arm. ‘Come and I’ll show you the Japanese,’ he said.

    When he opened the door of the department I saw a disheveled creature sitting with his legs tucked under him on a bed; he was wearing pants and horned spectacles. He took no notice of us whatever, but went on with his occupation, muttering some exorcism and simultaneously describing mysterious figures in the air with his finger. I saw several other similar individuals in the room. They were all in various stages of Buddhistic trance; their naked skin showed through their undergarments.

    ‘These are your future colleagues,’ my companion informed me cheerfully. ‘Here is the source of all wisdom. And every one of them is an epileptic, so beware!’

    A swarthy-skinned, lean and lanky lieutenant-the only man in the room still wearing epaulettes-was sitting at a desk, describing artistic figures on paper. He had begun at the bottom right-hand corner and was continuing his course upward, from right to left. Outside the window was the hot Moscow summer; hopeful youngsters were swarming in the corridors, but these poor wretches were stuck here with the droning flies on the wall and were harassing them-selves stupid in their endeavor to split the granite of eastern wisdom.

    During the next few days I wandered about the college like a deceived lover. I had been promised a fabulous beauty, but behind the veil I had seen a toad. I made the firm decision to drop Japanese at the first opportunity. But as I saw no possibility of doing so at the moment I began to settle down in the college.

    It had only recently returned from evacuation, and had been given temporary accommodation in several four-storied buildings standing on Tagan Square. The various faculties were scattered all over the environs of Moscow. Our building was in a quiet side-street high above the granite embankment of the River Moskva. The windows looking out over the river afforded a view of the Stone Bridge and the Kremlin walls on the farther side.

    Of an evening we frequently enjoyed the cheerful and fascinating sight of the victory salutes thundering over the city. The picture of the city lit up by the fire was one of exceptional beauty. The batteries were grouped round the Kremlin in concentric rings. It was said that Stalin often went up one of the Kremlin belfries to enjoy the sight. Our Military-Diplomatic College had been founded in the war years, when changed international relations necessitated the extension of military-diplomatic ties with countries abroad. By the repeated changes in the college curriculum it was possible to trace the course of Soviet foreign policy for several years ahead.

    The college was based on the pattern of the High School for Diplomacy, the Military Intelligence High School, the Institute for Eastern Culture, and several other higher military and civilian educational institutions. To give an idea of the difficulties attending the selection of candidates, one need merely mention that the High School for Diplomacy only accepted men with completed secondary education and who in addition had at least five years’ Party membership.

    The Eastern Faculty of the college covered not only Japanese and Chinese, but Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Indian, and Afghan Departments. In addition to English, German, and French, the Western Faculty had Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, Italian, and other departments. There was also a Naval Faculty, which had departments for all the various naval powers. The Air Force Faculty had been temporarily transformed into a Faculty for Parachute Groups, with special emphasis on countries with which Soviet forces might shortly be making contact. As the college itself had been founded only recently, the students attending the first course were numbered in thousands, those in the second course in hundreds, and the third course students numbered only a few dozen. The last, the fourth course, was only in process of organization.

    In the case of the Eastern Faculty there was an additional fifth course. For entry to the higher courses the requirements were extremely high, while the number of candidates was very small, and so suitable men had to be sought all over the Soviet Union. Foreigners were not allowed to attend the college, but on the other hand Russian citizens with knowledge of foreign languages were a rarity. Approximately half of the students in the first course were the children of generals or high officials in the Party or State service; it was practically impossible for a man of ’ordinary’ origin to get accepted in that course. However, ’Heroes of the Soviet Union’, young officers who had particularly distinguished themselves in the war, and celebrities generally were the exception to this rule.

    All the college knew the young Tadjik girl named Mamlakat. During the ’thirties her picture had been distributed all over the Soviet Union. In distant Tadjikistan the little Mamlakat had achieved a record in cotton picking. About that time a conference of Stakhanovite workers on collective farms was being held in Moscow, and so Mamlakat was brought to the city and decorated with the Order of Lenin at the conference. Stalin personally gave her a gold wristwatch and was photographed in a fatherly pose with her.

    Since then years had passed. Mamlakat had long since stopped picking cotton, but she still sunned herself in her fame and the favor of her leader. There were smirks as the college students told the details of her career. On returning to the luxurious apartment of the Hotel Moskva after the conference, she had been so excited over her fame and Stalin’s gift that she jumped into her bath without stopping to take off the watch. The watch stopped, and she put the whole hotel in turmoil with her wild wailing.

    Now she was twenty years old. Since that time she had graced four different institutes in succession with her presence, attacking each in Stakhanovite tempo, and now she had entered the haven of our college. She found it necessary to change her subjects and place of study after each examination. But if Lenin Orders and Stalin watches cannot affect cerebral activity, at least they open many doors to their possessors. It was rumored that Mamlakat was again on the point of changing the scene of her operations. The college students included a number of such parasites living on past glories.

    Somewhere on the outskirts of Moscow a second educational institution existed which had tasks similar to those of our college, but where the students were all foreigners, being trained on the recommendation and instigation of the officially dissolved, but in fact highly active, Cornintern. They formed a reservoir for Soviet foreign agents. They had no diplomatic passes at their disposition, but their labors were more important and in any case far more active than those of the official diplomats.

    In addition, many well-known foreign communists, such as Rakosi, Dimitrov, and Anna Pauker, took training courses at the Sun Yat Sen University or at the Lenin Political Academy. You don’t know everything! Our college wasn’t talked about much, for that matter, though its objects were quite legal, namely, the training of personnel for Soviet military missions abroad. An interesting and quite safe job. If you did happen to come to grief, you were only sent back home. What happened when you got home was another matter.

    Strange to say, Jews were rigorously excluded from our college. Here for the first time I found official confirmation of certain rumors, which had been persistently circulating in the country. On the nationalities question the Kremlin had taken a largely unexpected course. Until recently the Jews had played, and they still do play, an important part in Soviet diplomacy and the foreign service generally. Yet now the doors of a diplomatic college were closed to them. Perhaps Stalin could not forgive the fact that in the Moscow trials of 1935-38 a large number of the accused was Jews.

    I could not help recalling certain incidents that had occurred comparatively recently. During the retreat of 1941, Jews were not evacuated from the abandoned areas, but were left quite deliberately to be exterminated by the Germans. The people of Moscow well remember the autumn days of 1941. Hardly any of the Moscow Jews, apart from the Party and government officials, obtained per-mission to leave the city. When the Germans captured the approaches to Moscow on October 16, thousands of people sought salvation in panicky flight. The majority was Jews, for the ordinary Muscovites had neither the possibility nor the desire to flee. Stalin sent Narcomvnudel forces to block the Moscow-Gorky main road, and gave them orders to shoot at sight anybody who tried to flee without an evacuation pass. This order was published only after the Narcomvnudel forces had been posted, and the result was hecatombs of Jewish bodies on both sides of the Moscow high road.

    During the war years the unity of the peoples of the Soviet Union was put to a severe test. The national minorities had not justified the Kremlin’s hopes. In the army a new, incomprehensible insult came into use: ’Yaldash’. In the language of the Asia Minor peoples the word means ’Comrade’. Introduced to them during the revolutionary period as an official form of address, it was now transformed into a term of contempt.

    Another Asiatic word, which enriched the Soviet army vocabulary during the war, was ’Belmeydy’. In the early days the national minorities went over to the Germans en masse, practiced self-mutilation, and later resorted to the passive ’Belmeydy’, ’I don’t understand’. With true Asiatic impassivity the Turkmen and Tadjiks called up for the army answered every question with the brief ’Belmeydy’. And if they were ordered ’left turn’ they unhesitatingly turned right.

    General Gundorov, the President of the Pan-Slav Committee, was responsible for putting into circulation the term ’Slavonic Brothers’. And after that, whenever some filthy trick, some act of looting or some senseless stupidity was observed and discussed in the army, the remark was made: ’That’s the Slavonic Brothers!’ This was the ordinary soldiers’ own way of criticizing certain things that were encouraged by the higher authorities, things which unleashed the dark instincts of the less responsible sections of the army. When each of these ’campaigns’ had served its turn the same higher authorities threw the whole blame on to those who had carried it through, issuing an indignant order and having the scapegoats shot.

    The derisive term ’Slavonic Brothers’ was often applied to the Polish and Baltic formations of the Red Army. The Red Army men spoke of the Estonians and other Balts who fought on the German side with more respect. The Soviet soldiers had no idea what sort of ’autonomy’ the Germans contemplated conferring on the Balts, but they knew quite well what sort of ’independence’ these peoples had received from the Soviet regime in 1940. The Russian soldiers had been thoroughly trained in the spirit of abstract internationalism, but during the war they had had an opportunity to view events from the national aspect, and they appreciated even their enemies’ fight for national freedom.

    ‘They hold on, the devils!’ they frequently remarked with more respect than anger in their tones.

    Some months after the war had begun, during the construction of the second ring of landing grounds around the city of Gorky, I came across thousands of foreigners engaged in excavating and leveling the sites. Their dress at once revealed them as foreigners. Their faces were sullen. They were former citizens of the Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian Soviet Republics, who had worked hand in hand with the new Soviet rulers. They had become militiamen and Party and State officials of the new republics. When they fled before the Nazi forces into the homeland of the world proletariat, spades were thrust into their hands, so that they could learn what it meant to be proletarians. Later still they were transferred to the Narcomvnudel’s forced-labor camps. And when in due course it became necessary to organize national army units, they were sent into the Estonian and other national brigades, where the majority of them finished their days. Such is the career of the petty opportunists.

    August passed into September, and we began regular instruction. I still could not reconcile myself to being condemned to a diplomatic career in Japan. When I talked it over with acquaintances they laughed as though they thought it a good joke.

    One day, as I was hurrying across the college yard, I collided with a woman in military uniform. A military man’s first glance is at the tabs. Astonished to see a woman with the high rank of major, I looked at her face.

    ‘Olga Ivanovna!’ I exclaimed joyfully, surprised at this unexpected meeting.

    Olga Ivanovna Moskalskaya was a doctor of philology, and had been professor and dean of the German Faculty in the First Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages. I had met her there in the days of peace, and she had been pleasantly touched by my interest in foreign languages. She was a woman of great culture and unusual personal charm.

    ‘Comrade Klimov!’ she exclaimed, just as astonished as I. She gave me a swift look up and down.

    ‘In uniform? What are you doing here?’

    ‘Oh, don’t ask, Olga Ivanovna!’ I replied, rather crestfallen.

    ‘But all the same... Have you taken up German again?’

    ‘No, Olga Ivanovna; even worse... Japanese!’ I answered gloomily.

    ‘What? Japanese? Impossible! You’re joking!’

    ‘It’s no joke, I can tell you.’

    ‘I see!’ She shook her head. ‘Come along to my room and we’ll have a chat.’

    On the door of her room was the inscription: ’Head of the Western Faculty’, and her name. So she held an important position in the college.

    ‘What idiot has put you in the Japanese Department?’ she asked. I saw at once that she was well acquainted with conditions in the college.

    ‘It wasn’t an idiot, it was Colonel Gorokhov,’ I answered.

    ‘Would you agree to being transferred to the German Department?’ she asked in a curt, businesslike tone. When I said yes, she added: ‘I’m just engaged in making a selection of candidates for the last course, and I’m racking my brains to know where to get the people from. If you don’t object I shall ask the general this very day to have you transferred. What do you think?’

    ‘Only for God’s sake don’t let Colonel Gorokhov think it’s my personal wish... Otherwise I don’t know what will happen,’ I replied as I gratefully shook her hand.

    ‘That’s my headache, not yours. See you again soon!’ she laughed as I left her room.

    Next day the head of the Japanese preparatory course sent for me. As though he were seeing me for the first time in his life he asked distrustfully:

    ‘So you’re Klimov?’

    ‘Yes, Comrade Major,’ I answered.

    ‘I’ve received an order from the general to transfer a certain Klimov’ - he contemplated the document - ‘to... the fourth course of the Western Faculty.’

    He gave first me, then the paper, a skeptical look.

    That look was quite understandable. Conditions’ in the college were decidedly abnormal. The students of the preparatory course lived in a state of bliss. Those assigned to the first course, especially those concerned with the ’leading’ nationalities, were inflated with conceit. Those attending the second course were regarded as made for life. Of the members of the third course it was secretly whispered that they must have pulled unusually effective strings. As for the fourth and last course, little was known about it, but it was regarded as the dwelling-place of the gods.

    ‘Do you know anything about this?’ he went on to ask suspiciously.

    ‘Oh no. Comrade Major,’ I replied.

    ‘Very good! Here’s the order-as we haven’t any other Captain Klimov at the moment-and you can go off to the West. But I think there must be some mistake, and we’ll be seeing each other again soon,’ he added.

    ‘Very good, Comrade Major!’ I clicked my heels.

    So now I was in the final course of the German Department. Fortune had smiled on me after all.

    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • Kadinjača Memorial Complex – Zlatiborski okrug, Serbia - Atlas Obscura

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kadinjaca-memorial-complex

    A grand Yugoslav memorial to the group of partisans who fought and died resisting western Serbia’s Nazi occupation.

    In western Serbia, a pink and white stone complex sits on a mountaintop overlooking many miles of green valleys. But the soft pastel colours and scenic views of this sprawling memorial belie a history of struggle and sacrifice.
    Top Places in Serbia

    The city of Užice, in western Serbia, was the first region to win its independence from World War II-era Nazi occupation. In late 1941 partisans recaptured the city from the Germans, and declared the city and its surroundings the “Republic of Užice”—but it would be short lived.

    #spomenik #mémoire #ex-yougoslavie #serbie


  • Database Tracks History Of U.S. Meddling In Foreign #Elections : NPR
    https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=506625913

    Article de décembre 2016,

    Sans même compter les #coup-d'état dont ils sont les instigateurs, les Etats-Unis se sont mêlés d’élections étrangères plus de 80 fois entre 1946 et 2000.

    This is hardly the first time a country has tried to influence the outcome of another country’s election. The U.S. has done it, too, by one expert’s count, more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000. That expert is Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. I asked him to tell me about one election where U.S. intervention likely made a difference in the outcome.

    DOV LEVIN: One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupts the Balkans and his human rights violations.

    So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide. And according to my estimate, that assistance was crucial in enabling the opposition to win.

    SHAPIRO: How often are these interventions public versus covert?

    LEVIN: Well, it’s - basically there’s about - one-third of them are public, and two-third of them are covert. In other words, they’re not known to the voters in the target before the election.

    SHAPIRO: Your count does not include coups, attempts at regime change. It sounds like depending on the definitions, the tally could actually be much higher.

    LEVIN: Well, you’re right. I don’t count and discount covert coup d’etats like the United States did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954. I only took when the United States is trying directly to influence an election for one of the sides. Other types of interventions - I don’t discuss. But if we would include those, then of course the number could be larger, yeah.

    #Etats-Unis


  • #Nando_Sigona: “The camp as a social and political space” (video)

    HOMInG seminar no. 5/17 with Nando Sigona (University of Birmingham), July 3, Dipartimento di Sociologia. “The camp as a social and political space” This paper engages with current debates on the sociology of camps and camp-like institutions in contemporary society. Drawing on ethnographic material collected in Italy in ‘nomad camps’ where forcibly displaced Roma from former Yugoslavia were sheltered in the 1990s and 2000s, it argues that Agamben’s conceptualisation of the camp as a space of exception, by constructing the camp as other to an idealised notion of citizenship and the rule of law, offers limited purchase for a sociological investigation of the complexity and ambiguity of social relations in and around camps as well as residents’ everyday practices and experiences of political membership.

    https://homing.soc.unitn.it/2017/07/27/nando-sigona-the-camp-as-a-social-and-political-space-video
    #camp #camps #espace_politique #espace_social #conférence #vidéo #Italie #Roms #Agamben #espace_d'exception #citoyenneté


  • Lack of birth certificates leaves Roma children in Balkans at risk of statelessness and without healthcare or education

    http://www.errc.org

    Living without documents is having a profound impact on thousands of Roma living in the Western Balkans and Ukraine, warns a report from the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), and the European Network on Statelessness (ENS).

    The report calls on governments in the region to focus attention on statelessness among Roma and to reform complex civil registration procedures which hinder access to crucial documents needed to prove their identity and nationality. It highlights that leaving Romani children without a birth certificate means that they are growing up without a nationality. Because of this, thousands of Roma are left struggling to access key services such as education, healthcare and housing.

    One Romani man in Macedonia told the researchers “I have not gone to school. I went once, but when they asked for a birth certificate, I was very ashamed and left. I never went back…”.

    The research reveals the immense impact of the protracted wars following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, coupled with the systemic exclusion and discrimination of Roma, on their lives, a fact made worse if they can’t prove their nationality. Being forced to leave their homes during the war, sometimes without any documents, left Roma struggling to navigate complex procedures and to produce necessary records to solve their documentation issues when they return home. Additionally, institutional racism and pervading antigypsyism identified in some research countries puts up barriers which hinder Romani access to their basic rights as citizens.

    The research also points to some of the positive work in the region done by civil society organisations in cooperation with governments and UNHCR to simplify civil registration procedures, fill the gaps in legislation and raise awareness about the importance of addressing the issue. Such efforts show that it is possible to tackle statelessness with a proactive approach in line with the recommendations set out in this report, which lays out a road map for countries to follow to end statelessness in the region.

    The report also issues a call to the European Commission to make stamping out the problem of statelessness and antigypsyism a priority issue when countries negotiate their membership of the Union.

    1. “Roma Belong – Statelessness, Discrimination and Marginalisation of Roma in the Western Balkans and Ukraine” report was produced by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), in collaboration with country project partners Tirana Legal Aid Society (TLAS – Albania), Vaša prava BiH Association (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA – Macedonia), Mladi Romi (Montenegro), Praxis (Serbia) and Desyate Kvitnya (Ukraine).

    2. Embargoed copies of the report are available on request. Please email Jan Brulc at jan.brulc@statelessness.eu

    3. The launch event will take place on the 26 October at a regional conference at the Marriot Hotel in Skopje (Plostad Makedonija 7). The full conference programme is available online.❞

    For enquiries please email ENS Head of Communications Jan Brulc on jan.brulc@statelessness.eu or +44 7522 525673 or Jonathan Lee, ERRC Communications Coordinator on jonathan.lee@errc.org or +36 30 500 2118

    #rom #balkans #minorités #discriminations



  • Württ. Kunstverein Stuttgart: Titos Bunker

    The point of departure for this exhibition, on show at the Württembergischer Kunstverein from May 27 to August 6, 2017, is a particular place, Tito’s bunker in Konjic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), which is equally negotiated as concrete location and as open-ended metaphor.

    From 1953 to 1979, the former head of state in Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, initiated the top-secret construction of a gigantic and—at least theoretically—nuclear-safe bunker in Konjic, a town situated around 40 kilometers south of Sarajevo (and today located in Bosnia and Herzegovina). This shelter, drilled 300 meters deep into the mountain and occupying a space of 6,500 square meters, was conceived for the survival of 350 chosen representatives of the country’s political and military elite of that time—including just one woman: Jovanka B. Broz, Tito’s wife. Tito himself outlived the accomplishment of the structure by just one year.
    Not until the 1990s did the existence of this construction project, which cost 4.6 billion US dollars, become public knowledge. At this time, still no global atomic war had happened, fortunately, but the nation (or more precisely: its “elites”) that was (were) to be rescued in this bunker had disappeared: it was quasi atomized.

    In 2011, the two artists Edo und Sandra Hozic succeed in launching the Project Biennial D-0 ARK, whose site was to be Tito’s Bunker. From the very beginning, their aim has been to amass a collection of art through the biennial that would ultimately serve as a basis for a museum in the bunker.


    http://www.wkv-stuttgart.de/en/program/2017/exhibitions/titos-bunker
    http://www.wkv-stuttgart.de/en/program/2017/exhibitions/titos-bunker/konjic

    #tito #bunker #art #exposition


  • 3quarksdaily: Terror on Trial 2: Counter Forensics
    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2017/04/terror-on-trial-part-two-counter-forensics.html#sthash.1uR4KGYr.uxfs
    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/.a/6a00d8341c562c53ef01bb0991743e970d-pi

    While the murder series of the right-wing terror trio National Socialist Underground (NSU) has generally escaped major international attention (especially in comparison with Islamist terror attacks), one of the assassinations continues to come up. The murder of Halit Yozgat, the 9th assassination of the NSU, resists the fate of the others, because of one rather delicate detail: a secret service agent was present at the crime scene at the time of the murder. When Halit Yozgat was shot in the head by two members of the NSU on April 6, 2006, from a close distance with a silenced Česká CZ 83 pistol (the signature style of the NSU assassinations), Andreas Temme, an agent of the Hessian domestic intelligence service, was in the internet café in Kassel. When Halit Yozgat’s father, İsmail Yozgat, found his son when he returned to the café a few minutes after the murder, Temme was gone.

    Architects seek to debunk spy’s testimony in neo-Nazi murder trial | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/07/architects-called-upon-to-aid-neo-nazi-trial?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Nearly five years into the trial of a German neo-Nazi gang who went on a killing spree against immigrants, relatives of the victims have become so frustrated with the police’s inability to untangle the case they have turned to a an unlikely profession in search of clues: architects.

    Forensic Architecture, a London-based organisation started by architect Eyal Weizman have previously investigated war crimes in Syria, Palestine and the former Yugoslavia, using modern technology to search urban areas for evidence.

    “If a pile of rubble is what’s left of your crime scene an architect may be better qualified to analyse it than [the police],” Weizman said.

    For the 11th anniversary of the death of the ninth and final victim of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground attackers, Weizman’s researchers have turned their attention to the case of a western European state allegedly colluding in a brutal crime.


  • Supreme Court rules against exposing Israel’s role in Bosnian genocide
    By John Brown* (Translated by Tal Haran) | Published December 5, 2016
    http://972mag.com/israels-involvement-in-bosnian-genocide-to-remain-under-wraps/123503

    Citing potential damage to Israel’s foreign relations, the Supreme Court rejects a petition calling to reveal details of the government’s arms exports to the Serbian army during the Bosnian genocide.

    Israel’s Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to reveal details of Israeli defense exports to the former Yugoslavia during the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s. The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country’s foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and the possible prosecution of those involved.(...)


  • Official Washington’s ‘Info-Wars’
    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/01/official-washingtons-info-wars

    Le porte-parole du Département d’Etat étasunien ne veut pas donner d’explications à une journaliste de « Russia Times » (quelle que soit la pertinence de ses questions) sous prétexte que RT appartient à l’Etat russe, mais n’est nullement dérangé que la BBC ou l’Australian Broadcasting Corporation soient également étatiques et ce même porte-parole crierait très certainement au scandale si quelqu’un s’avisait à traiter de la même façon les radios-propagande étasuniens comme Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty (Central/Eastern Europe), et Radio Marti (Cuba), sans compter localement le NPR (National Public Radio), alias « National Pentagon Radio ».

    De plus,

    As to the non-state American media … There are about 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam while they were happening, or shortly thereafter? Or even opposed to any two of these seven wars? How about one?

    In 1968, six years into the Vietnam War, the Boston Globe (Feb. 18, 1968) surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading U.S. papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out.” Has the phrase “invasion of Vietnam” ever appeared in the U.S. mainstream media?

    In 2003, leading cable station MSNBC took the much-admired Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq. Mr. Kirby would undoubtedly call MSNBC “independent.”

    If the American mainstream media were officially state-controlled, would they look or sound significantly different when it comes to U.S. foreign policy?

    #propagande #Etats-Unis


  • Barbie typewriter
    http://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/mehano/barbie

    The Barbie Typewriter E-118, is a low-cost electronic typewriter, developed as a childeren’s toy by Mehano in Slovenia (formerly: Yugoslavia) and sold worldwide by Mattel (US) 1 . The E-118 is the latest model in the product line that started with the E-115. The electronic typewriter was the successor to the earlier purely mechanical Barbie typewriter models. It is little known that all electronic variants have a hidden built-in cryptographic capability that allows secret writing.

    • When the E-115 was adopted by Mattel as an addition to the Barbie™ product line, it was aimed mainly at girls with a minimum age of 5 years. For this reason the product was given a pink-and-purple case and the Barbie logo and image were printed on the body. As it was probably thought that secret writing would not appeal to girls, the coding/decoding facilities were omitted from the manual. Nevertheless, these facilities can still be accessed if you know how to activate them.
      […]
      Although there are many different models and country variants of the Barbie typewriters, and the internal PCB was redesigned a number of times, the encryption/decryption facilities seem to be present on all electronic models. The crypto facilities can be accessed by pressing SHIFT and LOCK in combination with one of the highlighted keys in the diagram below.

      Pas vraiment besoin de #NSA_backdoor, le chiffrement se fait par substitution monoalphabétique, normalement à la portée du cryptographe débutant ;-)


  • Inside Roméo Dallaire’s brutally revealing new memoir - Macleans.ca
    http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/inside-romeo-dallaires-brutally-revealing-new-memoir

    Dallaire was back home in Canada in September 1994, hard at work in a new job in Ottawa as deputy commander of Land Force Command, when his boss, Gordon Reay, called him in for a brief chat. Something new and troubling seemed to be happening in the Canadian Forces, something to maybe keep in mind, the chief of Land Staff told Dallaire: “We are starting to see some issues with guys coming back from [peacekeeping tours in] Cambodia and Yugoslavia,” said Reay, as Dallaire recounts in his memoir. “Fatigue, a few cognition problems, some trouble readjusting. Nothing more. Nothing to worry about.”

    #rwanda #génocide #onu #romeo_dallaire


  • MAPS: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood

    The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - Floods - ECHO Daily Map | 08/08/2016
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-floods-echo-daily-map

    Skopje - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016, Delineation Map, Monit 1
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/skopje-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    –> Skopje - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Pre-event situation, Reference Map (11 Aug 2016)
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/skopje-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-pre-event

    Cento - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016, Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/cento-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    Creshevo - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016, Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/creshevo-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    Lisice (Skopje) - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016, Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/lisice-skopje-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood

    –> Lisice (Skopje) - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Pre-event situation, Reference Map (11 Aug 2016)
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/lisice-skopje-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-pre

    Gazi Baba - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016, Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/gazi-baba-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    –> Gazi Baba - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Pre-event situation, Reference Map (11 Aug 2016)
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/gazi-baba-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-pre-event

    Butel - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016 - Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/butel-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    Ilinden - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Situation as of 10/08/2016 - Grading Map
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/ilinden-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-situation

    Aracinovo - The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Flood - Pre-event situation, Grading Map (11 Aug 2016)
    http://reliefweb.int/map/former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia/aracinovo-former-yugoslav-republic-macedonia-flood-pre-event

    #FYROM #Maps #Flood #Former_Yugoslav_Republic_of_Macedonia
    #ARYM #Cartes #Inondation #Ancienne_République_yougoslave_de_Macédoine
    #Balkans #Cento #Skopje #Creshevo #Lisice #Gazi_Baba #Butel #Ilinden
    #Risques #Géographie #Géographie_des_Risques


  • Photos : These 1970s brutalist buildings in Serbia look like Star Wars spaceships — Quartz

    http://qz.com/655106/photos-these-1970s-brutalist-buildings-in-serbia-look-like-star-wars-spaceships

    Signalé par @isskein que je remercie

    Mirko Nahmijas has lived in Belgrade his whole life, but looking through the lens of his Canon 6D has helped him see the futuristic buildings looming over his city with new eyes.

    “When you’re born here you never appreciate it,” he says. “You never notice the buildings.”

    Nahmijas started shooting images of the brutalist buildings of his hometown in January. The style of architecture, also known as socialist modernism, was popular in Serbia in the 1970s when the country was still known as Yugoslavia and was under the communist rule of Josip Broz Tito. His images capture the stark, almost alien beauty of the structures against clear blue skies, free of their urban context and empty of humans.

    @serbie #architecture #brutal_architecture #brutalisme


  • #Brexit has echoes of the breakup of Yugoslavia

    s the stability of the European Union as a whole now under threat following the UK’s decision to leave? Catherine Baker draws a number of parallels between the dynamics that preceded the break-up of Yugoslavia and the ongoing developments that have followed the EU referendum. She highlights that while the demise of Yugoslavia was itself not inevitable, the violence that accompanied it could certainly have been spared. This represents a warning for political leaders, who should now be careful to listen to the alternatives proposed by the public and heed them, instead of suppressing them.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2016/07/05/brexit-echoes-yugoslavia
    #Yougoslavie #ex-Yougoslavie
    En lisant ce titre j’ai envie de dire #it_has_begun (mais j’ai pas lu l’article...)