7 Jan 2023

Going to commend to you for viewing / listening a recent video, below, by Vlad Vexler, whose stuff I follow fairly casually and by no means uncritically, for the compressed and (in his own word) ‘cartoonish’ account it offers of the enduring idea of Russian civilization as Christian heir of Hellenistic-Roman imperial world and Hellenic root. Perhaps especially noteworthy in it, for me, is brief mention of 1930s & ’40s Soviet architectural neoclassicism. (Stalin, too, indeed, by a certain implication, belongs to the line of Christian princes — if I can be forgiven a following-on in the cartoonish mode much too rash probably for most folks’ toleration.)

Just to be clear, I’m not so interested in where Vexler is going with his story in the video’s last third or so. His analysis and hedged bets about what’s next for Putin & regime may or may not be worth considering, I don’t know. Likewise those of that yet more prolific and compelling content creator Timothy Snyder! If Vexler’s very compact ‘cartoon’ of a history of Russian national-imperial genealogy in the video appeals to you, though, I’d like to suggest also checking out some, at least, of Snyder’s semester of lectures on Ukraine, completed last month, in which this theme features throughout (and gets developed in less cartoonish fashion — arguably!).

At the time of this posting, by the way, Vexler’s video has been designated ‘age-restricted’ by YouTube and can only be viewed on their site. YouTube’s judgment could be reversed at some point, so I’m keeping the video in my post. Your guess as to why it merits (for now?) the badge of shame is good as mine. [UPDATE: YouTube has rescinded (for now?) the badge of shame, and the video will play below.]

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