11 December 2009

Gray Wolves - Serye Volki (1993)

Another interesting movie, let me first list the names of characters in the movie and you will agree with me:

Khrushchov -you know him :)
Brezhnev - you know him :)
Mikoyan - you probably know him:)
Semichastny - head of KGB who is replaced by Andrapov who later became Soviet President
Shelepin head of KGB before Semichastny
Podgorny Chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet
Suslov - Politburo member, he was the one accusing Jukov with 'Bonapartism'

Yes! , very rich number of Soviet politicians.The movie is on Coup_d'etat in 1964 that these listed politicians organized secretly against Nikita Khrushchov to remove him from power and replace him with Leonid Brezhnev. The movie shows Brezhnev as a stupid figure that everyone agreed upon since he is easy to manipulate.

The IMDB link is here and a detailed movie info is listed here.

I stongly advice you to see this movie if you are interested in Soviet History.

09 December 2009

Bucharest Parks -Bordei Park

Althought I had presented negative opinions on Bucharest in my previous blog entry, I must admit that it has a nice side also: the parks.Bucharest has several parks in it where people can recreate.The wiki entry says that there are 11.

I've only been to one of them,I 'guess' its name is Bordei from the list above.It was a small but nice,green park.

03 December 2009

Canon EOS 500D and choosing a SD/SDHC card

After I ordered online my Canon EOS 500D (a.k.a Rebel T1i) for replacing my Sony Cyber-shot P200 that I bought from Garbushka/Moscow in 2005 which performed bad in low light conditions ....

The camera does not come with a memory card so I had to purchase one,I looked at the forums and was totally confused.Reviews on amazon.com said some users had problems running with Kingston Cards, some users had problems with Transcend, there were also reports of issues related to 16GB/32GB cards and also the Class-4/Class-6 debates...so I decided to ask Canon for a clarification. Here is their answer:

"We recommend using memory cards with a Speed Class 4 or higher. (As of December 2008, the movie recording function has been tested using SD/SDHC memory cards made by Panasonic, Toshiba and SanDisk.

The SD Speed Class is a standard that indicates the minimum guaranteed data transfer speed of the SD/SDHC memory cards. When you buy a new memory card, look for the Speed Class logo on the package.

It is highly recommended that you format the memory card in your camera. Formatting the memory card makes sure that it is going to work properly in your camera. This would be the best way to delete all of your images at one time."

I hope this helps anyone having confusion with buying the correct card.I will go with a Class-6 card from Panasonic, Toshiba or SanDisk.

01 December 2009

Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?

Another '1984' book:) a future-prediction work written in 1970 by Andrei Amalrik,a Russian writer. Used copies of the books can be found on amazon.com.

977 Movie

I do not want to give any positive or negative feedbacks about this movie since I undestood nothing, absolutely nothing.See yourself here.

25 November 2009

MN@R - National Museum of Art of Romania

National Museum of Art of Romania is a huge building localed on Calea Victoriei. The museum is in fact consisted of two separate buildings, one is Gallery of European Arts and other is Gallery of Romanian Art.

I first visited European Arts section and surprised to see masters as Rembradt, Anton van Dyck, Rubens,Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Younger....they were also rooms for Italian masters,French,German and Spanish Schools which included a few El Greco pieces.

Then I advanced to Romanian arts section which consisted of several medieval Romanian pieces including orhodox icons, treasuries , clothes used in rituals ....the museum also inclused modern Romanian paiting artists.

Back In Bucharest

After one year,I am in Bucharest one more time.Not much has changed in Bucharest, even the huge artificial Christmas tree in Piata Universate is the same.

Bucharest is a still gray,depressive city, exteriors buildings are not taken care of, most are old,ruined, gray, dirty....Even in the most expensive streets.

But in the streets you can see many luxory cars, I guess the tax rate on cars is low so people can affort nice cars and relatively wealth people can affort very nice cars.There are more X5 on streets than Moscow.

Yes,I always tend to compare Bucharest to Moscow since they are both capitals of ex-communist states.I think the situation is better in Moscow in terms of houses, yes they are also in bad condition but Bucharest is worse. In terms of cars on the streets, you can still see very old, ruined,Lada or Jiguli or Volga, Bucharest sceene is much better.

photos by my good-old P1i.

22 November 2009

Benim Adim Anne Frank

After I visited Anne Frank's House few years ago in Amsterdam, I became interested in her story.I knew about her diary but only in last year I was able to read the book[shame on me:(( ].
You can find my previous entry on Anne here.

Althought the book title is my name is Anne Frank , the book is not written by Anne and even is not on her story.I guess this is a marketing issue.Anyway, the book is written by her best friend whom Anne mentions as 'Joop' in her famous story.

This is the story of Joop and her family but of course their ways with Anne cross at the same school during Nazi invasion in the Netherlands, there are sections in her book that she mentions about Anne and her relationships with her.
Also after the WWII and Holocaust, Anne's father Otto finds Joop and the books tells about their conversations.

I liked this book,it once again reminds us what the Nazis did in WWII and how cruel can the people be.

18 November 2009

Sen-Petersburg'da Beyaz Gece

A very nice novel! Indeed the book cover says that it is a memoir-novel so it has some historical information in it but I don't know which part is true and what percentage is fiction, still it was a very good reading.

Grandduke Nicholai Romanov falls in love with an American prostitute Fanny and faces many troubles due to this relationship including the ones coming from Tsar and his own family.

He is exiled many times to several places, his titles are removed and at last he is forced to stay in a mental instutituon since his family finds the only solution in declaring him as insane!!!

I highly recomment you to read this very nice novel even if you are not interested in Russia.
Details are here.

Tanri Rusya'yi Unuttu

A boring novel takes place at the last days of USSR, everthing is corrupted....
Young doctor graduates and is assigned to somewhere but faces problems of a dying state...

Nazım Hikmet Şiirinde Gizli Tarih

I was hoping to read days of Nazim in USSR & Moscow but this book dealt with his early career, his days in Turkey.The writer tries to find out whom Nazim was impling in his poems. There are many characters from 30s-40s-50s Turkey..many names that I am not interested in and many names that I have never heard, so this book was not a great interest to me...
Still, you may find it here

05 October 2009

Mehmet on Aeroflot's magazine!

My dear friend Mehmet Senvar-who has been living and working in Moscow for some time- has a blog that he shares in impressions and hints on Moscow as an insider.

His blog as listed in Aeroflot's journal , mentioned in the list of best expat blogs! You may see the details here.

Congratulations! Mehmet.

04 October 2009

Gruz 200 -Cargo (2007)

Another very nice movie from the Russians! This movie, Gruz 200, was shot in 2007.The events take place in 1984, a young girl is kidnapped by a mad police officer... I liked the Soviet air of the movie, the houses,steets, clothes...nice thriller.

The director Aleksey Balabanov is also the director of famous Brat movie which I reviewed shortly here,this time he made a better jog.

Sovyet Rusya Imparatorlugu (1967)

This book, published in 1967 contains observations of Samet Agaoglu - a right wing politician in Turkey at that time - during his visit to Soviet Union.

His observations are generally on high bureaucracy of the Soviets and the unefficiency of the system, poitical pressure on people especially the Turk and Muslim comunities, lack of necessary goods for the masses...I think most his observations were correct.It was a nice read, I must admit I was not expecting this in the beginning...the book was good

27 September 2009

Kin-Dza-Dza (1986)

This is the weirdest movie I've ever seen.It was competely absurd.Movie genre is noted as 'Cyber Punk' but IMDB states as 'Bizarre,Absurdism,Absurd Humor,Surrealism'.

Two Russians are transferred to an outer planet and they are trying to get back to earth.Meanwhile they meet with strange aliens[all exactly looking like Humans and knowing Russian] and those aliens have strange and funny customs.

Although the movie was so absurd I did not come to the point 'Come ooon' and shut it down but instead I wanted to continue seeing it to see what absurd will happen next.

IMDB rating of movie is fairly high: 8.1 and wikipedia says recently animated version of the film is completed for kids.Here is a small except from the movie on youtube.

It is also strange that this is a Soviet movie from Mosfilm studios.Anyway, if you want to see it yourselves check here.

19 September 2009

Hong Kong

Last week I was in Hong Kong for 4 days. I was there to attend Sibos2009 event.

Hong Kong has a terrible weather, humidity is too high, during my visit tempature was always above 30 and Humidity was %95 sometimes!

All buidings, event the smallest groceries shop have strong air conditioners which make interiors fairly cold but when you step outside a building a hot and thick weather just slaps on your face, it was terrible.

I also witnessed a typhoon, in fact I was inside so i did not witness anything literally.But there were typhoon alerts everywhere and also all TVs were mentioning about it. The day when typhoon occured when I got into my room I found a note from hotel management saying something like : There is a typhoon alert but there is not much to worry typhoons occur frequently in Hong Kong and they pass away just stay away from your window and keep your windows closed :)

I stayed at JW Mariott Hotel which I can mention with good impressions.The service quality was nice , staff was kind and helpful. It was near Admirality metro station which is the central place in Hong Kong island.

About the Hong Kong city...hmm...I did not like the city very much, there is not much to talk about, every where is full of skyscapers and they are build very close which makes them even boring. Even in very central districs there are ruined places and small dirty shops just a few steps from those tall buildings.

I should say that Hong Kong people are generally kind, willing to help and know to smile[none of these apply for Russians but I still like Russia better:)]

Also few words for Sibos organization...it was very well managed, Hong Kongers know how to do this stuff. There were people to assist the attending people everywhere, in many of central places. There were Sibos desks in many of the big events.Even there was a special passport check station at the HK International airport for people attending Sibos when entering the country.6 stars over 5!

10 September 2009


I have downloaded this film from http://www.foriegnmoviesddl.com but unfortunately it was so boring that I could not advance to the second CD. IMDB point is surprisingly high as 6.9.

08 September 2009

Kizil Babalar, Sovyetler'de Mafya (1991)

Although the book's title is Mafia in the Soviets it does not mention the Godfathers in the sense we understand. The author claims that Soviet mafia system is different than its western counterpart.Mafia is a civil organization bribing police and poiticians and stealing from people in western countries while in the Soviet Union mafia is characterized as a state organization. I mean higher ranking state officials steal from the state!.The author even claims that the system forces even honest people to the dark side, to steal from the state.

Another book on political corruption on the soviet union, special events on Brejnev era are worth reading.

07 September 2009

Lilja 4-ever (2002)

I have downloaded this movie sometime ago,but was down on my list then I saw Stilyagi and leart that the pretty main actress was also the star of this movie, Lilja 4-Ever so I decided to bring it to an upper position on my list.

I am glad I did so it is a very nice movie with a sad theme.Here is the summary of IMDB "Lilja is 16 years old. Her only friend is the young boy Volodja. They live in a poor village in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej. He is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life...."

Ben Bir Isik Ariyordum(1962)

Memoirs of a Kazan Turk born in today's Tataristan.The memoirs start during the Civil War era, just before the revolution, he went thought very troubling times... you might read this book as a thriller, an adventure book.

What is interesting is todays politically corrupted Russia, being able to solve all problems by offering money to the officials existed long before Soviet days...it is not a side effect/remains of Soviet system but Russian way of doing things:)

Details of the book can be seen here

22 August 2009

Vozvrashcheniye - The Return (2003)

Another sample of boring movie with many awards. The movie has 28 wins and another 12 nominations,see IMBD for details, by the way IMDB point is 8.1 with 10 thousand votes, i don't know why.This film is simply boring, i did not get its message.

The Rise and Fall Of the Russian Oligarks

This two part nice documentary tells the story of Russian oligarks, how they became rich and powerful during Yeltsin era, with their own words most of the time.And how they lost part of their wealth and power during Putin period.Very nice material with some historical footage from 90s Russia.
It is also available on Google Video.

20 August 2009

Kızıl Yıldızdan Hilale Haydar Aliyev'in Fırtınalı Hayatı

As the book title implies, the book is the life story of Haydar Aliev, second president of Azerbaycan Republic.The author mush have really tried hard to make this a book :) There is nearly no information in it,the book contains the longest preface i've ever seen in a book.

In fact the book has only one paragraph to say "Aliev raised to power with great help from Yuri Adropov and fall from power due to conflicts with Gorbachev" and Aliev is a good man.

That is all, you can not find any valuable info about his days in Politburo[he was a full member for a very long time] or his relationships with Turkey, power strugge with Elcibey, the Armenian wars...so little.

So they made a book out of a what otherwise would be a few pages booklet.Do not waste money on this.

This book made me wonder on Aliyev's life story.I will find a better book and read his life soon.

Pera'dan Beyoglu'na

This book is one of the unknown treasures.The book tells the story of buildings[houses,hotels,state buildings] including the history, achitectural properties, famous peoples lived there once....on the Tunel-Taksim path
The author is so succesfull that the book is very fun and fluent to read.

Same author also as another book,Son Istasyon Venedik where he tells his interrail memoirs but unfortunately I could not find it anywhere...

07 August 2009

The Red Stuff - The True Story of the Russian Race for Space (2002)

Yet another unfamous but very nice documentary. The Red Stuff tells the story of Soviet Space Program. This is very unique and valuable since all documents on this subject deal with Sputnik,Soyuz and Gagarin. This documentary tells the story of other cosmonauts with nice soviet archieve footage and interviews with people who REALLY went to space.

See DVD info on amazon.com or on IMDB.
There is another documentary on Soviet Space Program named "Red Star in Orbit" which I mentioned here.

26 July 2009

OLIGART- The Great Russian Art Boom

This new (published in 2008) documentary is on a very interesting subject. The new elite of Russia - the oligarks- are now interested in buying art, some are buying it as investment, some are buying it for political reasons and some simply for the love of art.

The result is simple: Russian art pieces worth millions and millions of pounds!! In the documenrary there were scenes from 2 auctions, the gross amount was 11 million founds for the first one and another 9 million was collected in the second action.

As I see pre-revolutionary art is very valuable but they also buy pieces built during Soviet union and simply traveled abroad or sold for a few dolars , today they are worth millions.

Natalia Goncharova is the worlds most expensive female artist as of today.See the article.

03 July 2009

Baroque by Taschen

Baroque is another nice Tashcen book.

Artists featured: Francesco Albani, Caravaggio, Valentin de Boulogne, Jan Breughel the Elder, Annibale Carracci, Anthonis van Dyck, Adam Elsheimer, Georg Flegel, Luca Giordano, Guercino, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Jacob Jordaens, Willem Kalf, Giovanni Lanfranco, Charles Le Brun, Johann Liss, Claude Lorrain, Batolomé Esteban Murillo, Nicolas Poussin, Mattia Preti, Rembrandt, Guido Reni, Jusepe de Ribera, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Stehen, Hendrick Terbrugghen, Georges de la Tour, Diego Velázquez, Willem van der Velde the Younger, Jan Vermeer, Simon Vouet, Francisco de Zubarán

Detailed info on the books is available on Taschen's site.

see my Gothic post for another Taschen book.

Gothic by Taschen

Taschen publishes great art books and Gothic is one sample.Here is the link to the whole series on amazon.

The book is published on bright, high-quality paper, starts with history and basic description of the Gothic-era then each artists gets 2 pages with one or more paintings and a short history of lige.

Artists featured: Giotto di Bondone, Duccio di Bouninsegna, Dieric Bouts, Robert Campin, Cimabue, Petrus Christus, Barthélemy d’Eyck, Jan van Eyck, Andrea da Firenze, Jean Fouquet, Nicolas Froment, Hugo van der Goes, Jaume Huguet, Stefan Lochner, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, Master Bertram, Master Franke, Master of the Glatz Madonna, Master of the Paradise Garden, Master of Saint Veronica, Master Theoderich, Master of the Wilton Diptychons, Master Wittingau, Hans Memling, Lorenzo Monaco, Lukas Moser, Michael Pacher, Martin Schongauer, Rogier van der Weyden, Konrad Witz

25 June 2009

Alla Pugacheva

I found two of her albums on the net.One is titled Best of Alla Pugacheva (2006) but i did not find such an album on any sources:) And the other is even worse, its name is only alla so I don't know which albums i am talking about but i like two albums of her :)

I like Million Roz,Primadonna,Arlekino,Madam Broshkina ...

See this blog for more info on her.

17 June 2009

Movie Review: Ironiya Subdy- Irony of fate (1975)

I have downloaded this movie sometime ago and heard about it at few places as a nice sample of Russian cinema. IMDB point is 8.7
It was waiting in my queue of 'Russian movies to bee seen' .

Last issue of Russian Life Magazine contained a list of 10 Russian Movies to be seen which included this one also so I decided to watch it immediately.By the way the list of the magazine can be seen on this link.

The topic is funny and can only be seen in Soviet Union, it is new years eve, Zhenya's marriage proposal is accepted by Galya but he gets too drunk during celebrations and goes to Leningrad by accident :)

Well...it is Soviet era,all buildings look same even in different cities, and cities share same street names...his key opens the door of the apartment in Leningrad on the street having the same name of his house in Moscow and the fun begins...

Movie Review: Catherine the Great(1995)

Yet another movie on some part of History of Russia. Nice coincidence that Catherine Zeta Jones is starring as Catherine the Great:)

As the name implies the movie is on the empress of Russia. She was married to Peter III who is far from being a rule and under strong influence of others. Catherine starts a power strugle which ends with her being an empress.

Nice movie(even though it is not well known ),nice costumes, on Russia..AND you will see young&lovely Zeta Jones...so...see it:)

Movie Review: Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

I came across this movie during my search on movies about Anastasia and Romanovs. The movie was nominated for 6 Oscars and got 2 in 1972 including Best Costume Design.

These two different covers are the original cover and the cover of the DVD release.

The movie tells the story of last tsar NicholasII and his wife Alexandra together with their kids ofcourse.

Tsar Nicholas' wrong desicions and bad luck lead to the Bolshevic revolution, soon after they are arrested as a family and sent to exile which will lead to their executions...

I found the movie quite interesting, although there are complaints on the net that the historical facts laid out are not always correct in the movie. I still consider it worth seeing even if for the great costumes and imperial athmosphere.

If you saw the movie and liked it or interested in the end of imperial Russia and Romanovs you might like the movie Anastasia or diary of Anastasia or the documentation named "Assasination of Tsar Nicholas II" or the book Romanov Prophecy which is a fiction book.

10 June 2009

5000 visitors in 8 months

In my previous blog entry, I announced visitors from 100 countries, this time I will announce the number of visitors as 5000 starting from the time I installed the counter which is 8 months (September 2008).

06 June 2009

Movie Review: 9th Company/9 Rota (2005)

During my web search on Turetsky Gambit I saw this movie as the most popular movie of 2005 outnumbering the Turetsky Gambit. With T.G $18M as the second and 9 Rota or 9th Company being the one with $25M according to this link.

And Dinc Arslan's Turkish Invasion was publishing posts on Afgan-Soviet war those days due to the anniversary so the topic gained my interest and I downloaded it together with some other Afgan war films which I reviewed here before.

I just had time to see this , it is quiete a nice war movie, a group of young boys are sent to war in Afganistan after a short traning and the movie shows their drama together with the Soviet Army and Soviet System.

The IMDB point is also high as 7.4/10.

Book Review: 1984 by Orwell

Well...I have 2 different and completely oppposite views about this book :) I could not decide on it

First View: The book is good. In 1949 when the world was unaware of the Stalin crimes[I accept that they were exposed in 1956 during the famous 20th congress] he depicted everyhing like a phophecy,the Party, Innerparty[politburo], ThoughtPolice[KGB], Big Brother[Cult of Personality] ,Forced-labour camps, purges, show trials and so on...

Second View: Why is this book so popular/important? some even adress it as the best product of 20th century English Literature but it is just a fictionary novel telling the life under a dictatorship with great clues from the Stalin-Era USSR, so what? what makes it so special?