March 5 in Russian history

1820: After the discovery of the Antarctica, Faddey Bellinsgauzen departs to Australia for repair. After that, he spends the summer of 1820 in the Southern Seas, where he discovers 17 previously unknown islands.

1877: Premiere of Swan Lake, the first ballet written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (other sources give the date March 4). The premiere took place in the Bolshoi Theatre. This ballet is sometimes called the most politicized ballet in the world. In the days of USSR, every time you saw the ballet on all (two) TV channels, you knew something had gone wrong in the country: either the general secretary died, or a coup had happened.

1901: The Russian Orthodox church officially announces that Leo Tolstoy is anathematized. He replies: "I am convinced that the teaching of the church is a harmful lie in the theoretical questions and the collection of the most vulgar superstitions in the practical matters, hiding completely the meaning of the Christian teaching."

1919: A peasants revolt, known as the chapan war, begins in the village Novodevichye in the Samara province (chapan is a peasants upper dress). The main reasons were the prodrazvyorstka (the governmental program of food expropriation, when all peasants were obliged to sell what the government considered a surplus to the government for a fixed, very low price), control over the Soviets established by bolsheviks, the red terror and the persecution of religion. In just a few days, the peasants managed to create a new political, social and military structures. A peasants' army was formed, the Soviets were re-elected and a newspaper was organized. The newspaper wrote that the rebellion is not directed against the Soviets, but against "the power of tyrants, murderers and robbers -- communists, anarchists and others, who kill people, take the last grain and kettle, destroy icons", etc. The revolt was led by the Union of Toiling Peasants, a mix of a trade union and a politicized co-operative, created during the revolution of 1905 and not controlled by any political party. There were about 150,000 people participating in the revolt and it was the largest peasants revolt in Russian history. Unfortunately, the rebels had only some hundred rifles and some machine guns. Others were armed with axes and pikes. And yet, they managed to establish control over Stavropol (modern Togliatti, the city where I was born). The province was located on the borderline between the Red and White armies and the rebellion was very dangerous for the bolsheviks. The revolt was suppressed in March 1919 and thousands were killed.

1942: The Seventh Symphony (also known as Leningradskaya) of Dmitri Shostakovich is performed for the first time in Kuibyshev (Samara). On March 29 it is performed in Moscow, on June 22 -- in London and Tashkent, on July 9 -- in Novosibirsk, on July 19 -- in New York.


TinyTornado said...

Dude, I love your blog. Love love Love. Please keep it up!! I especially love the "today in Russian history" posts- that fact about Swan Lake being a politicized ballet I hadn't heard before. :-)

Thank you so much!

Dmitri Minaev said...

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TinyTornado said...

I've been sending your link to all the major Russian Blog lists, and Sean's Russia blog is linking to you now, as is Siberian LIght I think. Those two should increase your readership tenfold; i'll get Darkness at Noon to do the same.

I think what's most insteresting are the blurbs like the Swan lake thing. For those of us who love all things Russian, we've seen and heard just about all teh cute things around and no matter how much we liked history there is no comprehensive place to absorb much information about the idiocyncrosies of Soviet living, beyond literature and over-dramatized movies with a political slant. That Swan Lake note was fascinating, my friends and I have all forwarded it to each other.

As much as it sucks, there are 3 types of comments people like: meat, potatoe, and pux. You need all 3 in a post...meat for them to find, potatoes for them to relate to, and pux to keep them coming back. Your "today in Russian history" postings are a perfect mix of the three, IMHO.

The other posts are good as well, but don't appeal to as wide of an audience.

Dmitri Minaev said...

Thanks again.

Ok, so I hope that 'days in history' will attract wider audience which might find other articles just as interesting :).

I will prepare some more chapters of Platonov's course this week-end and post them on the next week.

Hels said...

I realise your reference to Australia is too early for my post, but it was intriguing to read your post.

In my blog I wrote "As the city of Melbourne became wealthier in the mid 19th century, fears of invasion increased, particularly by the Russians who had just been defeated in Crimea 1853-6. As a direct result of this fear, a detachment of Victoria’s Volunteer Artillery formed in Queenscliff in 1859. A gun battery began at Shortland's Bluff and this in turn led to the building of two new lighthouses".

Now the forts really WERE built and armed with canons, but I wonder how much of the Australians' fear of the Russians was well based and how much was ridiculous. Do you have any evidence of Russian naval ships sailing near Australian cities after the Crimean War ended?

Art and Architecture, mainly