Portrait: Ayn Rand, the voice of libertarian Objectivism

24 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ayn Rand quote - American Adventure - Epcot Center - Walt Disney World © flickr.com - Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand quote – American Adventure – Epcot Center – Walt Disney World © flickr.com – Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand< was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, to a Russian-Jewish bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals. Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.   read more…

2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: The venues

7 May 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport

© FIFA

© FIFA

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. All but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable. The Lushniki Olympic Stadium in Moscow shall be the venue of the opening match and the final. Of the 12 venues used, the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and the Saint Petersburg Stadium (the two largest stadiums in Russia) will be used most, with 7 matches being played at each of these stadiums. In March 2018, the German Federal Criminal Police Office issued a clear warning about “high threats of terrorism” during the World Cup, so that it is recommended to visit the venues only after the World Cup (additionally: U.S. Department of State – Russia Travel Advisory). All other Western security services have issued similar warnings. The venues are similar to those of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, which was considered a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Russia has had to reduce the overall budget for the World Cup several times due to the country’s persistent economic problems, so that the original planning for the World Cup, with the approval of the FIFA, can no longer be met. The venues are:   read more…

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

17 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport

© GazThomas402/cc-by-sa-4.0

© GazThomas402/cc-by-sa-4.0

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will be the 10th FIFA Confederations Cup, a quadrennial international men’s football tournament organised by FIFA. It will be held in Russia, from 17 June to 2 July 2017, as a prelude to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia was announced as the host on 2 December 2010 after the country was awarded the hosting rights of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The matches will be played in four different stadiums across four cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, and Sochi. It will be the first time Russia hosts the tournament, and the third time the Confederations Cup is held in the European continent. As hosts, Russia qualified automatically for the tournament; they will be joined by the six winners of the FIFA confederation championships and the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, Germany. The final tournament will be played in two stages: a group stage and a latter knockout stage. In the group stage, each team will play three games in a group of four, with the winners and runners-up from each group advancing to the knockout stage. In the knockout stage, the four teams will compete in single-elimination matches, beginning with the semi-finals and ending with the final match of the tournament. A third-place match will also be played between the two losing semi-finalist teams. The following teams have qualified for the tournament: Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts, Germany 2014 FIFA World Cup winners, Australia 2015 AFC Asian Cup winners, Chile 2015 Copa América winners, Mexico 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners, New Zealand 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners, Portugal UEFA Euro 2016 winners and Cameroon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners.   read more…

The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg

3 December 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Winter Palace at night © Robert Breuer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Winter Palace at night © Robert Breuer/cc-by-sa-3.0

The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. Beside the Louvre and the Prado, Hermitage Museum houses one of the most important collections of classical European art.   read more…

The Russian warship Aurora

30 August 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

© Fisss/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Fisss/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aurora is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in St. Petersburg for service in the Pacific Far East. All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War. The second ship, Pallada, was sunk by the Japanese at Port Arthur in 1904. The third ship, Diana, was interned in Saigon after the Battle of the Yellow Sea.   read more…

The Alexander Palace in Pushkin

4 May 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Painting 'Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo'. Series 'Views of St Petersburg and Moscow' by Alexey Maksimovich Gornostaev, produced as a gift to Queen Victoria on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of her reign.

Painting ‘Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo’. Series ‘Views of St Petersburg and Moscow’ by Alexey Maksimovich Gornostaev, produced as a gift to Queen Victoria on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of her reign.

The Alexander Palace (Russian: Александровский дворец) is a former imperial residence at Tsarskoye Selo, on a plateau around 30 minutes by train from St Petersburg. It is known as the favourite residence of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, and his family and their initial place of imprisonment after the revolution that overthrew the Romanov dynasty in early 1917. The Alexander Palace is situated in the Alexander Park, not far from the larger Catherine Palace. Today it is undergoing renovation as a museum housing relics of the former imperial dynasty.   read more…

The Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo

14 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

North facade © Morburre

North facade © Morburre

The Catherine Palace was the Rococo summer residence of the Russian tsars, located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 25 km south-east of St. Petersburg, Russia. The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russia engaged the German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1733, Empress Anna commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand the Catherine Palace. Empress Elizabeth, however, found her mother’s residence outdated and incommodious and in May 1752 asked her court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years and on 30 July 1756 the architect presented the brand-new 325-meter-long palace to the Empress, her dazed courtiers and stupefied foreign ambassadors.   read more…

Art, Culture, Sankt Petersburg

28 November 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Eremitage at night © Robert Breuer

Eremitage at night © Robert Breuer

Sankt Petersburg is probably the most unusual, “un-Russian” city of the country. This is because the origin history and historical and urban development of the “Venice of the North”. Sankt Petersburg has a little more than 300 years of history full of ups and downs. Visitors who are strolling around the streets soon have the feeling to visit one of the great European cities of the 19 century rather than a Russian city. The city at the river Neva has, compared to other capitols in the world, the most extensive historic downtown and can be described without exaggeration as an open-air museum of architecture.   read more…

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