Ekh Dorogi is a Russian popular favorite to this day. It was written in 1945. The famous Russian baritone Dmitry Khvorostovsky frequently performed it, so Western readers may find it familiar. The title means ‘Ahh, the roads’. Translation below.
Over the past few years one of my main efforts was to try to convince as many people as possible that Russia was preparing for war. I also tried to caution about the completely misguided notion that because the Russian people feared war (they do!) they somehow were not ready for it (they are!).
Now I am going to appeal to your hearts: just listen to this very famous WWII Russian song, watch these images, read the lyrics (translated by Scott) and just try to feel with your heart what war means or, better, what if *feels* to the so-called “mysterious Russian soul”. Then think of the faces of Trump, Mattis, May, Macron and the rest of them and reach your own conclusions.
This is not an argument, you will either “feel it” or not. I hope you do.
Hugs and cheers to all,
translated by Scott Humor
Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist, Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds. Not a soul knows of its fate, could your wings be folded in the midst of steppe?
Dust is swirling over boots, along roads, along fields. All around blaze is raging, pierced by bullets’ rings.
Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist, Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds.
Burst of gunshot, raven descends, Buddy mine lays lifeless in this wilderness. But the road keeps on going, the dust keeps on swirling, All around land is burning, not Russian – foreign land.
Land of pine trees, sun lights up the dawn, Mother on her threshold waits for son’s return. And along unending roads, along steppes, along fields, We are being watched and followed by our mothers’ eyes.
Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist, Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds. Snow or wind storms, friends, let’s behest, To each one those roads our eternal quest.
Эх, дороги, пыль да туман, Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян… Знать не можешь доли своей, Может, крылья сложишь посреди степей.
Вьётся пыль под сапогами степями, полями; А кругом бушует пламя да пули свистят.
Эх, дороги, пыль да туман, Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…
Выстрел грянет, ворон кружит, Твой дружок в бурьяне неживой лежит. А дорога дальше мчится, пылится, клубится; А кругом земля дымится, чужая земля.
Эх, дороги, пыль да туман, Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…
Край сосновый, солнце встаёт, У крыльца родного мать сыночка ждёт. И бескрайними путями, степями, полями Всё глядят вослед за нами родные глаза.
Эх, дороги, пыль да туман, Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян… Снег ли ветер, вспомним, друзья, Нам дороги эти позабыть нельзя.
A millionaire German doctor is facing criminal charges after vaccinating an estimated 20,000 people with a self-developed vaccine against Covid-19.
Some 200 people were queueing for a jab at the airport in the northern city of Lübeck on Sunday when police arrived and closed down the improvised vaccination centre.
A police spokesman said doctors had already administered about 50 vaccines: not from BioNTech or Moderna or another recognised producer, but a home brew by Dr Winfried Stöcker.
The controversial doctor, who is also the owner of Lübeck airport, insists his jab is 97 per cent effective against Covid-19.
Dr Stöcker was not present, did not administer vaccinations and faces no charges, according to his lawyer Wolfgang Kubicki, a leading member of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), which is part of Berlin’s new coalition government.
Lübeck state prosecutors see things differently. On Monday, they announced an investigation into four doctors, aged between 61 and 81, for involvement in the unauthorised vaccination centre.
Dr Stöcker may also face legal action for running an unlicensed vaccination campaign, which is considered a criminal offence under Germany’s Medicines Act.
Contacted by the Bild tabloid, Dr Stöcker said he had not submitted his vaccine for approval because the process would “take too long and cost millions”.
“We have a responsibility to the patients, not the state, but the police stopped everything,” said the 74-year-old.
In May 2020 Dr Stöcker claimed to have developed a traditional vaccine – without any external assistance – similar to that used against tetanus, using inactive pathogen cells to activate the body’s immune system.
The doctor says he tested the jab on himself and some 100 volunteers before rolling out the vaccinations around the country. In total, he claims some 20,000 people have received a dose of his vaccine.
“Some 2,000 of them are under observation, no side effects were noted to date,” he said. “There were virus breakthroughs in 10 people.”
On his website, he says his “Lubecavax”, a three-dose vaccine, has proven highly effective. Some 376 friends and colleagues were vaccinated with the substance during the summer, he wrote, and “97 per cent developed high concentrations of antibodies against coronavirus”.
“In our view the ‘Lübeck vaccine’ is safe, effective and presumably the most suitable vaccine for children,” he adds in a blog post. “Doctors have the right to mix together compounds that they believe will help people.”
In this assertion he is drawing on a 2000 German constitutional court ruling which forbade federal authorities from prohibiting an experimental treatment of two doctors using stem cells.
News of the rogue vaccination has horrified German medical authorities. The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for approval of medicines and vaccines in Germany, said on Monday it had offered Dr Stöcker assistance with testing in September and December of last year, but that he had not responded to the institute’s offers.
The hurdles to vaccination licensing “are deliberately high”, the institute added, “to ensure the maximum possible security for participants in clinical trials”.
Christmas trees aren’t just for Christmas, at least for the Cork business with a pot-grown tree initiative that sees householders rent their tree in early December and bring it back to the farm in early January, to be cared for all year around.
Colm Crowley from Glanmire says his 5ft trees, which are rented out for €40 a year, are a very sustainable way to celebrate Christmas.
Customers can rent or buy a living Christmas tree in a pot from Cork Pot Grown Christmas Trees. The rented ones are then taken back to the farm in Rosscarbery, west Cork, after the festive season.
“I started off with small pot-grown trees and I started selling them for €10 or €15 and a lot of customers were coming in asking, ‘have you anything bigger?’ It got me thinking that there was a market for bigger pot-grown Christmas trees.
“With the pot-grown trees, they are never dead. They are always alive. They continue to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen as well,” he says.
“They come with a care leaflet. The water would be the big one: making sure they have enough water but not too much because too much would cause root rot,” he says.
“I found that pot-grown trees are very big in America and it has started spreading to Germany and the UK. I knew that Irish people would love it.”
It takes 12-14 years to grow a Christmas tree from seed, with a lot of work involved in pruning, shaping and making the tree perfect.
“It is only used for four weeks. With the pot growns, we get to use the tree over and over. That said, cut Christmas trees are also very environmentally friendly because when a tree is cut in November, another one or two are planted in spring. With the pot growns, between November and spring that cycle continues, so for those few months the Christmas trees continue to take the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen.”
As rental trees will continue to grow throughout the year, Crowley is anticipating customers not recognising their tree when it is returned to them the following Christmas.
‘Exact same tree’
“They send me pictures looking for the exact same tree,” he says.“With the rentals, you are getting the same Christmas tree you liked and picked out. But it will have continued to grow. There is a lovely smell – you are bringing a bit of forest in your house.”
Crowley says the real Christmas tree business has grown hugely since he first started selling, from his mother Margaret’s house in Ballinlough, Cork city, in 1998 before moving to bigger premises.
Last year was particularly buoyant for sales as families sought to create a festive atmosphere during the pandemic.
“Sales right across the country were probably up around 50 per cent. People wanted a bit of happiness. They needed cheering up.”
Customers are encouraged to name their trees, with the two most popular names being “Spruce Springsteen” and “Woody”.
The father of two adds that he couldn’t survive the December whirlwind without the hard work of wife Jacqui and mother-in-law Rose.