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Troublesome times - what strange words, if you think about it. Vaguely in the heart, in the mind, and in the consciousness, we pass on the blame, and blame faceless time.

National Unity Day on November 4th falls at the same time as the holy day for the icon of Our Lady of Kazan. In this "coincidence" there are many symbolic meanings that are so closely intertwined with each other, which do not leave indifferent even those who believe in chance ... Let us start with how the icon was miraculously found.

Like a huge abscess, Iran infects the political world around itself. The political phase of the preparation for a military operation began with Washington's attempts to pacify the Palestinians with Israel. If the Arab elite in Tehran show irritation and even hostility, the same cannot be said about the Arab in the street. Obama does not want to undermine the Iranian campaign and has proclaimed a course of building bridges with the Muslim world. For this it is necessary to break Netanyahu’s resistance, who is in fear of losing face in Israel and the reaction of the opposition, and is in no hurry to extend the moratorium on the construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Once Washington and Israel agree upon the Palestinians, we can assume that the initial stage of preparation for the operation will be complete.

I'm not talking about Luzhkov, I'm on about the stars in the Kremlin and the Kremlin itself.

80 years ago, on October 1st, 1930, the Chudov monastery inside the Kremlin was blown up, the beauty and grandeur of which were not inferior to other monasteries, and which bore the name of the Great Monastery in the heart of Moscow. It was founded by Metropolitan Alexius, who not only blessed and spiritually inspired  Dmitry Donskoy, but all the scattered people of Rus to fight against the Mongol yoke ... 

Anatoly Chubais believes that the elite lack intelligence, but as a classic political joke of the 1990s said of Chubais: - "He is the smart one." Speaking at an economic forum in Perm, the head of RUSNANO lamented the fact that Russia has no overall innovation strategy, the modernization of which is currently determined only by a "set of reasonable  steps" and not through a thought out systematic approach. Chubais gave an interesting explanation for his speech in Perm to "RBC daily” newspaper, which indicates that "not from the government, was Anatoly Chubais awaiting intellectual turmoil" since "the government cannot decide on something if it has not been produced by the elite. The authorities may, at best, authorize and take responsibility for its choices."

"In Yekaterinburg, controversy erupted around the decision of an international judge, which rehabilitated foul language, recognizing three popular words, "not as insults, but interjections." The headline of a small newspaper article, which quite possibly did not belong to the author, also sounds like a sentence: "No censorship! The theme justifies obscene language ". The third sentence, however, is for all of us, and lies in a profound summary: "Unfortunately, swearing in the Russian language has become so common, and the judge's decision only recorded a sad reality."

The context of this unusual story belongs to Gogol's style.

Wohin treibt die Bundesrepublik? (Munich, 1966, Piper Verlag, 288 pp.) by famous German philosopher Karl Jaspers (the English translation of which The Future of Germany appeared in 1967) still stirs up discussions and is behind numerous publications in Germany and elsewhere. Despite the lessons of its recent past which should have supplied Germany and theGermans with an immunity to all sorts of "ideological confusion" the identity crisis which spread far and wide affected Germans as much as other nations, individuals and institutions.

Until recently the "self-purification" idea the importance of which Jaspers had never failed to stress remained Germany's postwar identity which forced the nation to cast off its historical skin in a painful process. This dented the divided nation's stamina yet in the final analysis it adjusted itself to postwar Europe. America did a lot to help the Germans acquire their postwar identity in the country which served the border between the world of capitalism and the camp of socialism.

THE SMOKE OF BURNING PEAT BOGS and forests and the losses they caused detracted us for a while from the far from comforting picture of planetary dimensions. Here is the frightening statistics of the year 2010 when big and small catastrophes shook the world: erupting volcanoes grounded aircrafts all over Europe; earthquakes hit many countries; the record-hot summer caused drought in Russia while Europe was nearly inundated. This suggests a logical question: what next? Indeed, to be pre­pared we should know what is in store for us. The answer is simple: any­thing might happen.

I wrote about this in my article "Kto bezymen: my Hi Vezuviy? " (Who is Madder: Us or Vesuvius?) which appeared on 22 April 2010 on the RIA NOVOSTI). Today, "enlightened madness" is everywhere: we are con­vinced that we should "control the climate" while we should master self-control. This attitude is caused, among other things, by the "superiority complex," the product of human history. The desire to play-act against the background of multiplying catastrophes in line with the slogan "The global challenge of climate change offers the European Union a global role to play" looks strange indeed. We are up against something in which there are no roles to play: "Mineral water is no cure for terminally ill."

The political intrigue in Ukraine is spinning off. Signs are everywhere that serious developments loom on the horizon, a rumor of big asset grabs goes around, the natural gas pricing theme constantly pops up in the headlines, and, accordingly, Russia is at the epicenter as the media debates rage. Driving down the Yalta-Sevastopol expressway, you would see bunches of bikers racing past at brealneck speeds and greeting each other with gestures of the initiated. Chances are the kids gave in to the irresistible temptation to hang out by the seaside for a little extra time in the wake of the bikers' convention to which Russian premier V. Putin paid a snap visit, causing news outlets - Ukrainian nationwide not to mention Crimea's local – to explode with illustrated accounts of the otherwise niche event.

The worst kind of crashing bores are those who believe in the universality of formal logic and align their whole lives with its dictate. Sooner or later life does find a cure for most, but some manage to cling to their ways all along. In many cases, such people dive into academic careers as a form of escape  likely due to the illusion of personal success that easily comes with a scholar title. Their invasion into the spheres of history or arts creates particularly lifeless pictures which are completely detached from reality with it vibrant colors and shadows of meaning. To make things worse, oftentimes these very types tend to vindicate their narrow-mindedness by dishing out textbooks.

I happened to tour the Middle East back in the mid-1990ies, at a moment when the Intifada peaked. My colleague and I stood at the top of a hill overlooking a spectacular landscape, on a site decorated with a UN flag. Here, the abbreviation is decoded as 'United Nothing', said my companion with bitter irony. Given the  situation we were witnessing, the remark sounded upsetting but  realistic. The EU sanctions slapped on Tehran atop those imposed by the UN Security Council will have multiple dire consequences, and not only for Iran.