English Russia often chooses odd subjects but the ladies in this article have lived sadly sweet lives through some of the most intense and difficult years in an intense and difficult place. It was originally published in Russian Esquire if you prefer the Russian language version
"The verdict was read out after a few hours. The Ceausescus were sentenced to death. They had ten days to appeal, but the sentence was to be carried out immediately. A nod to Kafka." 20 years ago on Christmas Day, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were sentenced to death by an impromptu revolutionary tribunal and executed by firing squad. The Times speaks with one of the men who was there that day. Footage of their trial. Translated transcript of the trial, courtesy of the very informative ceausescu.org. [more inside]
Fifty years ago, on October 23, 1956, Hungarians rose up in a violent revolt against the Soviet occupation and Communist domination of their government and country. The revolt was not materially supported by NATO or its allies, and - given the timing - was doomed to failure. Today, many of the heroes are forgotten. After 16 years of democratic government, Hungarian politics is still bitterly divided and Hungarians are unable to celebrate this anniversary with a single united National ceremony.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. A key documentary artifact of the uprising is Magyarország lángokban (Hungary in Flames) [embedded .wmv], partly composed of footage shot by two young film school students using whatever equipment they could find. Narrowly avoiding capture by the Communists, the duo smuggled 10,000 feet of film out of the country in spare tires and potato sacks; there's much more to the story, but better to hear Vilmos tell it in his own words. [.rm] Eventually, they made their way to America, where László Kovács, ASC (Five Easy Pieces, Ghost Busters, more) and Vilmos Zsigmund, ASC (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Deliverance, more) became two of the most prolific cinematographers in Hollywood history. [more inside]
She interviewed Mussolini. She wrote plays for Eugene O'Neill's Provincetown Players. She got letters from Trotsky. Freud and Helen Keller were in her address book. She married journalist John Reed, and Diane Keaton played her in Reds. And she was nearly forgotten. Now, Louise Bryant is remembered. More here and much more here.
Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966 At the Middle School attached to Beijing Teacher's College, Yu Ruifen, a female biology teacher, was knocked to the ground and beaten in her office. In broad daylight, she was dragged by her legs through the front door and down the steps, her head bumping against the cement; a barrel of boiling water was poured on her. Though she died after approximately two hours of torture, it did not satisfy the students. All other teachers in the "ox-ghost and snake-demon team" were forced to stand around Yu's corpse and take turns beating her.