Learning to Use Friendica

Finally I’ve run my own Friendica node, my profile is available here.

Unlike more familiar resources, such as Facebook, Instagram, X (former Twitter) etc., Friendica is a federative (decentralized) social network.  It has no central server (only public directories of nodes and users), everyone can run their own node.  If you don’t have such an opportunity, you may join one of existing nodes open for registration.  You can also download a full backup of your profile at any time and transfer it to another node if necessary.

All the nodes exchange data automatically, so that you can follow and send messages to all the other Friendica users no matter on which nodes they are registered.  Moreover, you can communicate with the users of the other federative social networks (a complex of such services is known as the fediverse) without registering there.  From the user’s viewpoint it looks as if you could follow microblogs on X, photo blogs on Instagram, or video channels on YouTube directly from your Facebook account.  It’s hard to imagine in the world of ‘traditional’ (that is, centralized) social networks, but not in Fediverse.

Friendica (as well as the Fediverse as a whole) is a purely non-commercial system, big nodes are usually funded through donations from their users.  As a result, there are neither commercial advertising nor artificial intelligence analysing your interests and preferences.  By contrast, significant attention is paid to the privacy of users: any private messaging is encrypted, as well as any locked posts and posts in closed communities, so that even the administrator of your node can’t read your messages.

There is also no centralized moderation.  Each node has its own rules, so you can choose not only a social network the functionality of which suits your own needs, but also a node the owners of which share your views.  Moreover, even the administrators of your node can moderate only your public posts.  The sanctions are used quite seldom, when the main principle ‘if you don’t like something—just don’t read it’ is not enough.  In exceptional cases, the administrator of a node may blacklist another node, thus blocking any data exchange, but such measures are mostly used against nodes that spread fraudulent spam or neo-Nazi propaganda.

All the feeds are sorted only chronologically, so you should be careful when choosing friends and subscriptions.  If the posts of some of your friends are of no interest for you, but you don’t wand to cancel your friendship, you may unsubscribe from their news.  They won’t notice that.

As to the weaknesses of Friendica and of the other federative social networks, the main of them is obvious: there are too few people in such services (all the Fediverse had only some 16 million users this May), so you will hardly meet there any of your ‘real’ friends or colleagues.  Unfortunately, the only way to resolve this problem is to join the Federation by yourselves 😉

The bibliography of Middle-earth, version 2

"Библиография Средиземья", обложкаThe second version of my bibliography on Tolkien has finally been printed on paper and is now available online as well.  After the first version was published, two of my colleagues sent me so much additional material that it took me almost one more year to finish the second version, but the number of references has increased from 2,500 to 3,100.  I’ve added, in particular, a lot of new literature into the section on the languages of Tolkien.  Besides that, the new version contains references to all the articles on Tolkien from the Anor journal.  An alphabetical index of the authors has appeared at the end of the book.

While I was working upon this version of the bibliography, it has become partly outdated because after 24 February, ProQuest closed their resources for Russian users in protest against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  I didn’t remove the references to ProQuest—partly because they may be useful for those colleagues who had to leave Russia, and partly in hope that the access will be restored after the war when Russia joins the civilized countries again.

As I had too much work with the second version, I didn’t manage to finish the English version of this bibliography yet, but I hope to publish it next year 🙂

The second day in the new reality

…had a surprising beginning. A strange man (pretending to be) from the police woke us up at a quarter past six this morning ringing at the door, to “warn” me against “taking part in unauthorized meetings and rallies”. (Actually all the oppositional meetings and rallies had been almost completely prohibited in Russia long before the invasion of Ukraine, officially due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The prohibition doesn’t cover pro-Putin rallies and other mass events organized officially by the authorities.) Two more persons came a half an hour later, they obviously didn’t know anything about the previous visitor. Of course we didn’t let them come in. I suppose they probably came for the first time yesterday afternoon: my mother preferred to ignore the calls from the door phone. Can’t say what was the reason for such a careful attention, because—to my shame—I’ve never taken part in any unauthorized events; will see how things turn out.

Bibliography of Middle-earth, version 1

Finally I have finished a “full-scale” bibliography on Tolkien. This is the Russian version of it, the English version is still in process.

The bibliography consists of two parts, part one “Primary sources” is designed not as a bibliographic list, but as an overview that describes shortly all the main components of the body of published works by Tolkien, mostly with references to the first printings; to make a full list of all the publications of his writings is already rather a complicated task. Part two “Research literature” is a traditional bibliographic list divided into topical sections. The list isn’t comprehensive, of course, but I hope it covers at least the most important books and papers. Materials published in Tolkien Studies, Journal of Tolkien Research, Mallorn are listed almost entirely, materials from Vinyar Tengwar and Parma Eldalamberon are also listed almost entirely (they include both primary and secondary sources). Articles on Tolkien from Mythlore and Journal of Inklings Studies are also put in the list. I only had to ignore the oldest issues of Vinyar Tengwar, Mythlore and Mallorn because available scans are of poor quality. I’ve also listed all the books from Cormarë series. The amateur publications are listed along with the professional ones.

I thought all of this would take me a half-year or a year, but it took me actually a year and a half. On the other hand, it fortuned that I made this bibliography right by the anniversary of Tolkien 😉

I hope the guide will be useful for researchers, especially for beginners. I’m going to add new information at least once a year. Will be grateful for any corrections or additional information 🙂

The Library of Congress


The Library of Congress is one of the biggest libraries in the world, its collections include more than 167 million items. Established in the early nineteenth century literally for the U. S. president, vice president and members of the both houses of the Congress, it’s now open for any adult readers including foreign citizens. The library is physically housed in three buildings at the very center of Washington, right in front of the Capitol. The oldest is the Thomas Jefferson Building, constructed in 1890–97. The second one, the John Adams Building, was constructed in the 1930s (opened for the public in 1939), after the Jefferson Building has run out of space. The James Madison Memorial Building was constructed in 1971–76 and opened in 1980; it’s the biggest one of the three buildings. It wasn’t enough either, however, so one more storage was built later outside the city.

All the three buildings are connected by underground passageways that is quite convenient. For me, the Jefferson Building is the nicest one, so all the photos are from there. The access to the entrance hall, by the way, is open for all the visitors; the library card is required only in the working area.




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Rebel movement in the North Caucasus in the first half of the 20th century

M. M. Mints, “Povstancheskoe dvizhenie na Severnom Kavkaze v pervoi polovine XX veka”, Sotsial’nye i gumanitarnye nauki: Otechestvennaia i zarubezhnaia literatura: Referativnyi zhurnal. Seriia 5, Istoriia, no. 2 (2018): 109–117.

Download full text (PDF)

A review of two monographs and an article published in 2016 that deal with the history of the conflicts between the population of the North Caucasus and the Russian government (imperial, later Soviet) during the first half of the twentieth century.

Gennadii Kurenkov, From conspiracy to secrecy: protecting party-state secrets at RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941

An unpublished translation of my review for Gennadii Aleksandrovich Kurenkov, Ot konspiratsii k sekretnosti: zashchita partiino-gosudarstvennoi tainy v RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941 gg. [From conspiracy to secrecy: protecting party-state secrets at RKP(b)—VKP(b), 1918–1941] (Moscow: AIRO-XXI, 2015).

The original review in Russian was published in Istoricheskaia ekspertiza no. 2 (2017), 258–262.

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The Great Fatherland War in Contemporary Historiography (in Russian)

My collection of abstracts published in 2015.  One of the first books printed at my Institute after the fire.  Initially we were going to show the current situation in historiography, but so many publications have appeared in recent years that we had to limit our work to a relatively small set of the most interesting books standing out for their subjects or research methods. As a result, most of materials in the collection are based on works of Western historians who still much more often use various methodological innovations than their Russian colleagues. Yet there are also abstracts of several Russian books that deal with some insufficiently explored aspects of the history of the Soviet Union in the Second World War. We used almost no works on history of military operations or of the Red Army as, in spite of their importance, they are not so interesting from the viewpoint of methodology. Instead, we devoted special attention to publications that deal with ‘non-military’ subjects and investigate a human dimension of the Second World War, its long-term consequences and historical context.

The contents of the abstract collection:

  • Foreword
  • Preddverie i nachalo Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny: Problemy sovremennoi istoriografii i istochnikovedeniia [The eve and the beginning of the Great Fatherland War: Problems of recent historiography and source criticism] (Abstract)
  • David M. Glantz about the Red Army in World War II (Joint abstract)
  • A. B. Orishev, V avguste 1941 [In August 1941] (Abstract)
  • The Blockade of Leningrad (Joint abstract)
  • Karel C. Berkhoff, Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda during World War II (Abstract)
  • D. D. Frolov, Sovetsko-finskii plen, 1939–1944: Po obe storony koliuchei provoloki [Soviet-Finnish Captivity, 1939–1944: On Either Side of the Barbed Wire] (Abstract)
  • Jörn Hasenclever, Wehrmacht und Besatzungspolitik in der Sowjetunion: Die Befehlshaber der rückwärtigen Heeresgebiete, 1941–1943 [Wehrmacht and the Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union: The Commanders of the Army Groups’ Back Areas] (Abstract)
  • Igor’ G. Ermolov, Tri goda bez Stalina: Okkupatsiia: Sovetskie grazhdane mezhdu natsistami i bol’shevikami, 1941–1944 [Three years without Stalin: Occupation: The Soviet citizens between the Nazis and the Bolsheviks, 1941–1944] (Abstract)
  • Bogdan Musial, Sowjetische Partisanen, 1941–1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit [The Soviet partisans, 1941–1944: Myths and Reality] (Abstract)
  • Evacuation and the Rear (Joint abstract)
  • V. N. Krasnov, I. V. Krasnov, Lend-liz dl’a SSSR, 1941–1945 [Lend-lease for the USSR, 1941–1945] (Abstract)
  • Irina V. Bystrova, Potselui cherez okean: ‘Bol’shaia troika’ v svete lichnykh kontaktov (1941–1945 gg.) [A kiss across the ocean: the Big Three in the light of personal contacts, 1941–45] (Abstract)
  • Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Abstract)
  • Soviet Jews in the Years of War and Holocaust (Joint abstract)
  • A. Iu. Bezugol’nyi, N. F. Bugai, E. F. Krinko, Gortsy Severnogo Kavkaza v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941–1945: problemy istorii, istoriografii i istochnikovedeniia [Mountain-dwellers of the Northern Caucasus in the Great Fatherland War 1941–1945: problems of history, historiography and source criticism] (Abstract)
  • Warlands: Population Resettlement and State Reconstruction in the Soviet–East European Borderlands, 1945–50, ed. Peter Gatrell and Nick Baron (Abstract)
  • The Veterans of World War II in the Soviet Union (Joint abstract)
  • The Significance of World War II for the History of the Soviet Union and the Post-Soviet States (Joint abstract)
  • Notes on Contributors

Download the full text (PDF, 3,4 Mb, in Russian).

Klingle Road—a ruined street in Washington, D.C.

Klingle Road is a small street in Washington, D.C., just near Macomb Street where I lived in 2012–13.  By now, it has been already repaired and transformed into a walking root, but eight years ago it was out of use and even closed to motor traffic.  The cause was that the main part of the road lies in a ravine, so that it used to be flooded by water and mud from the slopes after every heavy rain.  At the same time there are no houses at Klingle Road itself, all the nearest buildings look to other streets.  If I hadn’t been shown this street at the beginning of my stay in Washington, I would probably haven’t even noticed it at all.  The street is not too long, surrounded by nice and comfortable residential areas.  Its eastern end leads to Washington Zoo.  To see such a ‘secret’ small area of desolation at the heart of a big city was especially surprising.

Klingle Road
On 26 January 2013 I finally managed to take a photo of snow in Washington.  The previous days, it fell in the morning and melted away while I was having breakfast 😉

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