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10 Steps to the Edge of the Abyss

At this moment, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock now stands at only 90 seconds before midnight. Thus, as we move closer and closer to a nuclear World War 3, why not identify the major steps that took us to this dangerously slippery road? Who knows, perhaps this exercise could help to bring some perspective to those who are pushing us into oblivion. They have families and children too. Sometimes even the greatest villains have the moment of repentance.

Foreign Policy



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ACURA ViewPoint: David C. Speedie: Ukraine: A tragedy in three acts.

The War in Ukraine is a two-act tragedy, with a third quite possibly looming. Act one took place in late 2021 through February 2022, with the rejection of a Russian draft agreement, along with Ukraine’s refusal to implement the key provisions of the Minsk I and II agreements of 2014-15, which would [a] have brought about a cease fire of hostilities against Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lukansk regions, and [b] paved the way for referendums in those eastern regions on limited autonomy, under which they would remain within the borders of Ukraine.


US-Russia Relations

Аbout Vladimir Emelyanovich Maximov

Vladimir Emelyanovich Maximov (Russian: Владимир Емельянович Максимов, born Lev Alexeyevich Samsonov, Лев Алексеевич Самсонов; 27 November 1930, — 26 March 1995) was a Soviet and Russian writer, publicist, essayist and editor, one of the leading figures of the Soviet and post-Soviet dissident movement abroad.

Maximov Vladimir Emelyanovich


Born in Moscow into a working class family, Lev Samsonov spent an unhappy childhood in and out of orphanages and colonies after his father was prosecuted in 1937 during the anti-Trotskyism purge. He went to Siberia to travel there under an assumed name, Vladimir Maximov (to become later his pen name), spent time in jails and labour camps, then worked as a bricklayer and construction worker. In 1951 he settled in one of the Kuban stanitsas and started to write short stories and poems for local newspapers. His debut book Pokolenye na chasakh (Generation on the Look-out) came out in Cherkessk in 1956.

In 1956 Maximov returned to Moscow and published, among other pieces, the short novel My obzhivayem zemlyu (We Harness the Land, 1961) telling the story of Siberian hobos, courageous, but deeply troubled men, trying to find each their own way of settling down into the unfriendly Soviet reality. It was followed by Zhiv chelovek (Man is Alive). The former caught the attention of Konstantin Paustovsky who included it into his almanac Pages from Tarusa. The latter found its champion in Vsevolod Kochetov who in 1962 published it in Oktyabr, which he was then in charge of. It was met with both public and critical acclaim and was produced in 1965 by the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre. In 1963 Maximov became a member of the Union of Soviet Writers and in the mid-1960s joined the Oktyabr magazine's staff. All the while, though, his literary output was getting harsher, darker and more pessimistic.

Two of Maximov's early 1970s novels, Sem dnei tvorenya (Seven Days of Creation, 1971) and The Quarantin (1973) proved to be the turning point of his career. On the one hand, in retrospect they marked the high point of his creativity. On the other, steeped with the longing for Christian ideals and skeptical as to the viability of the Communist morality, both went against the grain of the norms and the criteria of Socialist realism. They were rejected by all Soviet publishers, came out in Samizdat, were officially banned and got their author into serious trouble. In June 1973 he was expelled from the Writers' Union, and spent several months in a psychiatric ward. In 1974 Maximov left the country to settle in Paris, and in October 1975 was stripped of the Soviet citizenship.

In 1974 Maximov launched the literary, political and religious magazine Kontinent to take up what many saw as the Hertzen-founded tradition of supporting the Russian literature in exile. It became the center point of Russian intellectual life in Western Europe, attracting such diverse authors as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Alexander Galich, Viktor Nekrasov, Joseph Brodsky and Andrey Sakharov, the latter describing Maximov as "the man of unwavering honesty." Maximov remained the magazine's editor-in-chief up until 1992, when, during one of his visits to Moscow, he transferred it to Russia and granted all rights to his colleagues in Moscow. He was also the head of the executive committee of the international anti-communist organization Resistance International.

Among Maximov's best-known works written in France were the novels Kovcheg dlya nezvanykh (The Arc for the Uninvited, 1976), telling the story of the Soviet development of the Kuril Islands after the World War II, an autobiographical dilogy Proshchanye iz niotkuda (Farewell from Nowhere, 1974—1982), and Zaglyanut v bezdnu (To Look Into the Abyss, 1986), the latter having as its theme Alexander Kolchak's romantic life. All three, based upon historical documents, portrayed Bolshevism as a doctrine of ruthlessness, amorality and political voluntarism. He authored several plays on the life of Russians in emigration, among them Who's Afraid of Ray Bradbury? (Кто боится Рэя Брэдбери?, 1988), Berlin at the Night's End (Берлин на исходе ночи,1991) and There, Over the River... (Там, за рекой, 1991).

The drastic change in political situation in his homeland and the fall of the Soviet Union left Maximov unimpressed. He switched to criticizing the new Russia's regime and, while still a staunch anti-Communist, started to published his diatribes aimed at Egor Gaidar-led liberal reforms regularly in the Communist Pravda, to great disdain of some of his friends.