Huge Vinyl Collection to Hit Amoeba Hollywood on 7/21. Eastern European Classical Gems Galore!

Posted by Rubin Meisel, June 28, 2012 12:40pm | Post a Comment

We were lucky enough to buy a huge collection of vinyl from a well-known collector who lived in Kew Gardens in the New York Borough of Queens and collected a bit of every thing. My task is to describe what, in my 39 years of experience, is the most eclectic collection of classical music I have ever seen.

Normally, when one sees a large collection of classical, you see Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and so forth, performed by world renowned artists. But Ed (withholding his last name) collected mainly 20th-century composers from every European country and a lot of American music that has been unjustly forgotten.

I think I know my composers, but there were a number of them in this collection that I have never heard of and whose existence is scantly documented in reference books that are in the English language.

One of the few sanguine effects of Eastern European communism was that each country had it’s own state-run record label that methodically recorded the music of every prominent living composer.

Here are a few examples:


 Soviet Union  Melodiya
Romania  Electrocord
Bulgaria Balkaton
Hungary Hungaroton
Czechoslovakia Supraphon
East Germany Nova

I could go on but, suffice to say, even Slovenia is represented

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Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 20, 2009 09:14pm | Post a Comment

Today an estimated 15,000 Crimean Tatars gathered in Simferopol, Ukraine to mark the 65th anniversary of their forced deportation at the hands of Soviet authorities under Stalin. In 1944, approximately 200,000 Crimean Tatars were loaded onto trains and sent to Siberia, with roughly half dying along the way.

Since the collapse of the USSR, many have returned to their ancestral homelands, joining the 280,000 who currently live there. Around 150,000 have expressed their intention to return.

Many of the protesters held aloft their national flag and voiced their demands, which include calls for national recognition, autonomy and Crimean Tatar schools.


Without a doubt, the most famous Tatar in American popular culture of Tatar ancestry is actor Charles Bronson. They also gave us steak Tartare.

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Russia to pull out of Chechnya

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 16, 2009 04:57pm | Post a Comment

Cessation of operations

Russia has announced the end of its ten year “counter-terrorism” campaign in The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (aka Noxçiyn Respublika Noxçiyçö and Нохчийн Республика Нохчийчоь). Although Chechnya has been fairly peaceful for some time now, many allege that it is due to the ironfisted rule of Russian-approved-and-installed Chechen leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, who along with his private militia, Kadyrovtsy, faces widespread suspicion of kidnapping, torturing and murdering advocates of self rule.

Eliza Betirova

Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, having vowed to make rule of law the cornerstone of his government, may in fact be attempting to distance itself from the monster many say Moscow created by installing and giving free-rein to a scandal-plagued former rebel who some have compared to a cult leader who has described Chechnya as a “zoo filled with animals” and bragged, “I will be killing as long as I live."

Ali Dimayev

Russia’s involvement with Chechnya
Chechnya declared its independence in 1991, alongside many of its fellow Soviet republics. In what’s become an almost comically transparent double standard, Russia recognized the independence of former Soviet republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (since they’re within Georgia), and Georgia, which denied recognition to its breakaway republics, was one of two nations to recognize Chechnya’s independence (although the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is a member of the Unrecognized Nations and Peoples Organization), the other being Afghanistan.

Timur Mucuraev

Yeltsin, then president, was upfront about Russia’s unwillingness to let Chechnya secede, due, in large part, to its considerable oil reserves. Russia first invaded the newly-independent republic in 1994, sending in 40,000 troops. The war ended in the humiliating defeat of the Russians two years later.

Ramzan Pascaev
In 1999, Kadyrov’s private army switched its allegiance to Moscow and his family seemed to come into some money, beginning construction on a 54 million dollar palace and closing refugee camps, calling their inhabitants spies.

Makka Sagaipova

From a Russian standpoint, their involvement in Chechnya has been largely disastrous. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ordered Russia to pay damages to the families of thirteen people who disappeared in Chechnya between 2001 and 2003, finding the government guilty of violating the ban on torture and the right to life and freedom.

  Mariam Tashaeva

Most estimated that the Russians lost around 5,000 troops in the first operation alone (and killed at least 41,000 Chechens). The most widely recognized event of the second war was the Beslan Massacre in North Ossetia, in which over 300 people died.
Fatima Turtulhanova

A pattern of violence
In March 2005, the democratically elected Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov was killed by Russian special forces. His successor was Kadyrov’s Moscow-approved father, who was killed by a landmine in 2007. Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov is a former Chechen rebel (like his father) who assumed power in 2007. Shortly afterward, a pattern has emerged of his critics getting shot and killed.

Liza Umurova

In 2008, Ruslan B. Yamadayev was shot dead in his car whilst driving in Moscow. In January of this year, one of Kadyrov’s former bodyguards, Umar S. Israilov, was shot dead whilst buying yoghurt in Vienna after talking extensively to the New York Times about the Kadyrovsty’s widespread abuses.

Zina Anasova

Just this March, Sulim B. Yamadayev, one of Ruslan’s brothers and an elected member of Parliament, was shot dead in the parking garage of his apartment in Dubai. Dubai’s police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, said the killing was traced to one of Kadyrov’s associates, Adam S. Delimkhanov. Kadyrov came to Delimkhanov’s defense and countered that Yamadayev had tried to kill him by poisoning a lake as well as committing other abuses, including involvement in the death of Kadyrov’s father, also a former rebel who defected to the Russian side and subsequently governed Chechnya.

Ilyas Ayubov

A history of struggle
One thing is inarguable. After killing most of his opponents, Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, has achieved a peace that many thought would never come – especially as violence flares up in other parts of the region. Even before the twenty year violent struggle against Russia, Chechens have long been among the most embroiled people on earth. In the 1940s, Stalin deported the entire population to Siberia, charging them as a people with collaborating with the Nazis to weaken Russia’s imperialist hold on the Soviet-subjugated region. A third of the Chechen people died on the way there, another third died when they were moved back in 1956.

Imam Alimsultanov

Chechen culture
Chechnya is a mostly Muslim nation. Despite their language belonging to the Nakh family, Arabic was the only written language until 1923, when the Chechen alphabet was created. Chechnya converted to Islam under the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. Before Islam, their religion was largely based around rain rites and farming, including honoring the Thunderer Sela and the Goddess Tusholi.

Marina Aidaeva

Although Muslim, Chechen’s traditional culture imbues their lives, especially the concept of “nokchallah,” a term for the Chechen behavioral code which is roughly analogous to the dead concept of chivalry in the west.

Imran Usmanov

As with most cultures, a big part of Chechen cultural expression is their music. As with their spiritual views, their musical expressions are also closely tied to Chechen culture. Pkh'armat is a legendary figure who brought fire to the Chechens with a burning reed, who is thus honored with the music of the native reed pipe. The chiondarg is a fiddle-like instrument that, when played, is believed to lead to healthier crops. The pondur is a stringed instrument similar to the balalaika.

Bilo Haj

The Soviet composter A.A.Davidenko travelled to Chechnya in the 1920s and published arrangements of their folk music in 1926. Chechen musicians include Marina Aidaeva, Imam Alimsultanov, Ilyas Ayubov, Liza Akhmatovabulat, Zina Anasova, Aza Bataeva, Eliza Betirova, Valid Dagayev, Ali Dimayev, Amarbek Dimayev, Said Dimayev, Umar Dimayev, Khas-Magomed Hadjimuradov, Sultan Islamov, Sultan Makkayev, Raisa Malsagova, Timur Mucuraev, Ramzan Paskayev, Tatyana Rostova, Makka Sagaipova, Adnan Shakhbulatov, Maryam Tashaeva, Fatima Turtulhanova, Liza Umarova, Imran Usmanov and Malika Utsayeva.


Chechnya has been the subject of several documentaries and features, albeit nearly all focused on more recent, traumatic events: From Chechnya to Chernobyl, Rights and Wrongs: Chechnya - Russia's Human Rights' Nightmare, Guerrilla Tactics – Total Resistance, Kavkazkie plenniki, Terror in Moscow, Mountain Men and Holy Wars, Disbelief, Coca: The Dove From Chechnya - Europe In Denial of a War, Beslan: Siege at School No. 1, Kavkazskaya Rulyetka (Caucasian Roulette), Marksman, Alexandra and Russian Triangle.
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Ossetia - Ир, Ирыстон

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 8, 2008 03:41pm | Post a Comment
Remember how Russia was grousing when Kosovo declared independence? Remember how they said it would open a Pandora's Box of evils like autonomy, diversity, cultural expression and self-determination? Well, in an unprecedented about face, Russia invaded the breakaway region of South Ossetia today to repel US-encouraged Georgia's forces who launched a surprise attack on the hapless Ossetians at the encouragement of the Bush administration, killing unconfirmed numbers of Ossetian civilians without provocation. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how most of the media have used this to denounce Russia, and not to defend the Ossetians, whose homeland was invaded without apparent provocation.

Condoleeza Rice said, “This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” she said. “Things have changed.” It's sort of funny coming from the people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied their capitals, overthrew their governments and got away with it. But they're not our neighbor so it's ok. So why did the media throw their support behind the breakaway republics of Yugoslavia but not Georgia? Because Georgia is a tool and partner in the US's efforts to expand influence in the area, so they aren't beholden to the same standards as our enemies.

The Ossetians homeland lies both in Russia and Georgia. They're an Aryan people who moved to the region some 7,000 years ago. The word "Ossetia" comes from the Georgian name for them. Their own name for their country is Irættæ. Their ancestors founded the kingdom of Alania, which was a beneficiary of the Silk Road. They migrated to their current home in the Caucasus to flee the Mongol Horde. When the USSR collapsed, some Ossetians proposed reviving the name of Alania. Soon afterward, the term Alania was revived in many enterprises and added to the official title of the Russian-occupied north, making it Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

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