I know a genuine human voice when I hear one — 1: Russians

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Dima

Here he talks with a fellow-exile.

Roman

Now in exile in Georgia, an experience he talks about in his latest vlog post.

Daniil

Yes, he is still around and now after a time in various places including The Netherlands he appears to be back in Russia. What he does is dangerous. Hence one of my most visited posts recently: Has anything happened to Daniil?

Daniil’s vlogging assistant being questioned by police in Moscow earlier this year.

More to come — including from Ukraine.

At the human level

A few of my posts in recent months have referred to such as W H Auden and E M Forster. Those posts are a personal rebellion against politicising everything, in defence of the human level, the unfashionably individual and personal, a resistance to ideology. So anti-Marxist of a hopelessly but enthusiastically “woke” person like me. See for examples: We must love one another or die… (September); Only connect (November).

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

A small example from my YouTube and Facebook explorations yesterday — young Nik (Nikita) from the Moscow region, 20 years old and determined to transcend what Russis confronts him with these days, but also aware of the danger he could face for simply posting what he really thinks, though he leaves little doubt about that, spelling it out quite clearly in his introduction to this post:

Nik is just beginning. He is not yet followed by over a million people like Roman the Russian. He has a little over 800 subscribers and that video has only had 87 views so far. I was entertained and moved by his video and chose to let him know, apart from sharing on Facebook — which he would not be able to access as my feed is restricted to friends, not to mention that Meta is a proscribed “terrorist organisation” in Russia! YouTube offers a means of encouragement.

Pleasing, that!

Talking about my generation… Your generation…

The idea has been around forever in some form…

“My Generation” appeared on The Who’s debut album of the same name. It was released as a single on 5th November 1965, reaching No. 2 in the UK charts and 74 in the US. “My Generation” was recently named the 11th greatest song by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Well I almost am in THAT generation, commonly known as Boomers.

That’s American of course, and I prefer “War Baby” to “Silent Generation”! You see, I AM a War Baby!

That’s me front left. My Uncle in the back row is in RAAF uniform. It is before the end of the war. 

So I am not a Boomer. In fact I am also somewhat sceptical about the whole concept, as I noted on Facebok yesterday. Referring to Baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z labels: Necessary or nonsense? — a 2020 Conversation post I said:

Glad I found this as I have a blog post in mind. I think they are just a marketing tool and largely nonsense, as one who is too old even to be a Boomer! (War baby, me!)

First they do not work outside the bubble of our own culture. Second when you reflect that Boomer finds commonality between Pauline Hanson and Archie Roach, the anti-war protesters and the supporters of and participants in the Vietnam War, Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard….

You might conclude that astrological signs and phrenology are more convincing!

I was contemplating (this) blog post after watching this excellent video by a most talented young Australian organist and composer:

To me that is as much about him as an individual as it is about supposed characteristics of people born in the years that define Gen Z or Zoomers. Wikipedia offers extensive material but one summary version says “What is Generation Z age range? Gen Z: Gen Z is the newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012.”

Of course there are differences between generations.

But let’s see what happens when we go a comparatively short distance from our own culture — to Russia for example. The majority of those young Russian vloggers I have been discovering in recent months are “Generation Z” — though I suspect they would avoid that term as Z has acquired rather different meanings in the past year! Zack the Russian (just turned 21) instantly comes to mind, and he in turn has pointed to an even younger vlogger who in fact is a Year 9 student in a Moscow school!

As I said about that on Facebook:

Fascinating — and she is a Year 9 student! Like Leo Puglisi! Came to her via this Community note from Zack: Zack the Russian — 2 hours ago — “While I’m being absent on my own YouTube channel, Nastia Zik and me filmed a video discussing our experience of the school education in Russia. Check it out!”

Nastia Zik @NastiaZik 2.15K subscribers

Description

My name is Nastia. I live in Moscow, Russia. I am interested in politics, history, urban studies and literature, and I want to develop and learn new things together. I run an English-language channel, where I tell what’s going on in the world in simple and understandable ways

She treads a risky path in some of her posts, as in this one where she carefull avoids saying certain dangerous things but her attitude is as clear as a bell! A very remarkable young person. Both she and Zack seem to have in common a resistance to the propaganda whuch appears to shape the views of so many. Technology has given them access to worlds of ideas, which they seek out diligently. Both also seem to have strongly developed “crap detectors” — to borrow a phrase I recall from Neil Postman — a bit of a guru in my teaching days..

(Paper, Delivered at the National Convention for the Teachers of English [NCTE], November 28, 1969, Washington, D.C.)

With a title like this, I think I ought to dispense with the rhetorical amenities and come straight to the point. And I almost will. Almost, because I want to make two brief comments about the title. For those of you who do now know, it may be worth saying that the phrase, “crap-detecting,” originated with Mr. Ernest Hemingway who when asked if there were one quality needed, above all others, to be a good writer, replied, “Yes, a built-in, shock-proof, crap detector.” I am sure he was right…

Titus, the young Australian whose reflections on being Generation Z triggered this post, is another remarkable young person, albeit 9 years older than Nastia and from a different milieu which in his case includes Wollongong!

Here in Oz we do in fact have a bit of a parallel to Nastia in Leo Puglisi, who runs a news channel and news site at the age now of 15! He has been doing it for around three years though. See my May 2022 post Amazing Aussie teens have started a news channel — and score interviews with the leaders of the land!

Now our Prime Minister of course — that is Anthony Albanese, not Leo. After al Leo is too young to vote yet!

Back to the vlogs — Russia and Ukraine

They have been active, as you would expect.

Russian

Zack the Russian

It was back in Augusr that I introduced Zack on this blog: A new (to me) Russian vlog — Zack the Russian — and provocative thoughts about customary reactions and pluralism.

He turned 21 since then and my admiration for him just grows and grows, but much of his activity now is on Telegram, to which I do not subscribe. But there is a great interview with him by a US vlogger just published.

Zack the Russian is a YouTuber who supports Ukraine and has protested the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine. In March he left Russia and is currently living in Tbilisi, Georgia. He posts content and livestreams about the war and is fighting for change in his home country.

OUTLINE: 0:00 – Welcome 0:43 – Zack’s Background 6:35 – Where were you living in February? 8:05 – What was protesting in Moscow like? 17:24 – You were almost arrested in Russia? 18:54 – When and why did you decide to leave Russia? 22:20 – Why did you go to Georgia? 27:50 – What does your family think of you now? 38:00 – Do you have any friends in the Russian military? 39:34 – Why did Russian propaganda fail on you? 44:19 – Did you have to learn English in school? 49:15 – What would need to happen before you return to Russia? 51:40 – Do you think Putin can be overthrown? 59:15 – Can you explain your Russia Tomorrow media idea? 1:02:05 – Final thoughts from Zack

Alexander

Dima

Half Russian

Ukrainian

That Lviv girl

Anna

Pavlo

See also

Many earlier posts, such as: Russia Ukraine vloggers update; An outstanding morning of vlog posts from Ukraine, Russia and places of exile… Today the Russians; Russian vloggers in and out of Russia.

Update — incomplete — on those amazing Russian vloggers

Incomplete because one post can’t cover all — even of the ones I follow — and because they are of course always being added to, and may that long be the case! So the last time I shared some of them was November 14th.

1420

Daniil (I think now in The Netherlands) and Artyom (still in Russia) continue their vox pops. The one I am sharing is one of the most powerful they have done showing also the reality of Russian life outside the big cities.

Do not miss a second of this!

That what they are doing is dangerous is clear to this young man who still lives in the Moscow region. Hence his perfectly understandable concerns.

Nik

Roman in Tbilisi

Roman I have been following for some time, since in fact he was still in university in his home town studying Linguistics — at which he is obviously brilliant.

Roman looks a bit different now but his insights and critical skills are still very much on display in exile, as often are his feelings about things. His most recent vlog is an amazing exercise that is weird but also most informative and entertaining. Young Roman is quite the genius really….

Niki from St Petersburg — originally from Omsk, now in Thailand

He left a personal note on YouTube recently:

I just realised this today. Forced relocation from Russia to where I’m staying now hit me in the way I didn’t expect: I am totally fine emotionally but a few of my habits are totally f’d. Since the end of September I find more difficult to control my eating habits, and even more difficult to control my working habits. There’s a few other minor things as well.

I’m working on this 🙂 and it’s actually getting better since I rented an apartment here in Bangkok, and got a certain vision for the next half a year. Thank you for staying with me. Your support means a lot for me….

Konstantin

For the context in which all these people exist see —

Dissenting Russian journalist Masha Borzunova

Though the broadcast has large German subtitles Masha speaks clearly in English. There are also English subtitles when Russian is being spoken.

One more from 1420