In yesterday’s post, Elena and I included the famous scenes of nuclear obliteration that conclude Dr Strangelove.
Well who’d have thought it - our first day out in Moscow and North Korea threatens a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USA. We’re not laughing. In the marvellous Pushkin Museum today we saw a very large statue of David, he who slew the giant Goliath. The Parallels are obvious. David aimed for Goliath’s soft spot between the eyes. History shows that every empire has one.
Remember Admiral Kimmel of the US Navy. He was in charge at Pearl Harbour.
Here in Moscow we read that the prominent Russian author Shishkin has refused to represent his country at the New York book festival because he thinks it has been stolen by a gang of crooks and thugs. This statement proves him to be a brave man. Mr Putin does not take kindly to this sort of criticism from journalists and authors. You can take a man out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the man.
Everything connects....... destruction and creation are each waiting to be born at every moment.....the future hides away in the crannies of the present ( A.N Whitehead ) and today we visited the glorious Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In an act of vandalism that puts our Oliver Cromwell into the shade, Stalin destroyed the original in 1929 and replaced it with a swimming pool. Honestly, do these things have to be either or?
In 1998 it was rebuilt as an exact replica using funds raised from the public and taxpayers
money. It is a soaring invocation of the possibility of God, it raises your eyes to a possible heaven of endless youth, beauty, and the lamb lying next to the lion, even in an atheist hardened pair of hearts like ours.
But we were soon brought down to earth by the vendor outside the Cathedral who sold us a
cabbage pastry minus any cabbage and charged us a small fortune for a watery coffee.
If only the church would venerate life instead of death, speculate on the millions of mysteries that remain about life and mind and admit that none of us knows nor can ever know the half of it.
Jesus was kind and gentle most of the time, but he talked of putting the sword away and getting it out again. He wore sandals, despised wealth and power, and thought the world would end very soon. Let’s hope he was wrong. He was wrong about everything else. That’s what makes him so interesting - he was an influential human being, prone to error and full of contradictions. But he would never have worn an expensive watch, or high heels. Get with the message, clerics all!
Central Moscow has a church or cathedral wherever you turn, golden domes and crosses defy the freezing, sceptical and indifferent skies, sending the suns rays back with the message that the answer is within and they’re not letting it go.
No wonder Dosteovsky went mad with religion - he was brought up in Moscow. At the mock execution staged by the Czar with a bizarre sense of humour, Dosteovsky, wild eyed with excitement, said to his fellow putative victim, ‘ We are about to be with Christ’.
‘What’ replied Pleshnev, ‘with a speck of dust?'
Inside the Pushkin Museum, our blood started to circulate again and we were able to speak.
The museum has a brilliant collection of ancient Egyptian art and mummies. The paintings, miraculously preserved since the second century BC, put us straight in touch with the individuals depicted, we now know them, and we are certain that contemporary art from 1880 onwards is merely recycling the genius, media and techniques of the distant past, only this time it isn’t even original.
Look at these folk from 200 years before Christ. like us, we are sure you know them. it wasn’t that long ago. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said the end was coming soon. We’ve forgotten that we haven’t been here very long.
The museum has great piles of statuary looted from Greece and everywhere else - as does every museum in the world, but almost every piece seems to be about to come back to life - like the scene in The Winter’s tale.
Here is Tamara staring up in wonder at David.
Well, he was a big boy.