Formation of the first president of Kazakhstan through the events of the upraise and decay of the Soviet Union and its final desintegration into independent states. The origin and working experience of Nursultan Nazarbaev are characteristic for those Soviet politicians who welcomed political changes. He grew up in the years after WWII and like many of that generation have always shown great optimism, self confidence, love of life and fortitude. These features have formed him both as a man and as a politician. He came to power in Kazakhstan due to the reforms of Gorbachev. But differently from many others just from the start was aimed at creating and not destruction. He has succeeded in providing a stable peace in his country, has built up a modern society and partnership with ex Soviet republics as well as with other primary West and East states. His role in closing the nuclear testing area of Semipalatinsk and in different international peace initiatives has made him a well-known and respectable leader of the modern world.
For a long time till 1984 Brunei has been a British protectorate. Since gaining independence till now Hassanal Bolkiah has been its leader and has made his country known to the modern world. The sultan of Brunei is a metaphor of wealth, not only a personal one, but of the country. Brunei has become a leader of quality of life in the world's ratings. But the country had to make a long way to reach it, overcoming backwardness and poverty. The way wasn't an easy one. Brunei has found itself in the epicentre of the struggle of great powers during the WWII, had to reconstruct the country, survive in the process of decolonization of the 60th, restore state administration and build a modern independent state. A young sultan has shown consequence and firmness in achieving ambitious aims. He has made function ancient power institutions, preserved traditions, created an effective state administration and realized radical social reforms.
Nowadays Brunei is a well-educated society, an economy based on a rational use of natural resources and ecological security with a highly developed private initiative. These are achievements of Hassanal Bolkiah's rule. He has created a stable base for a future secure development and prosperity of the country and a hope to avoid the risks of globalisation preserving its originality.
The principal Svyatoslav of Kiev was the first to create the Russian multi-ethnical state, the base of which was made of eastern Slavic tribes. The country up built by the principal–warrior stretched from the White Sea up to Bulgaria and exceeded the territories of the empires of Charles the Great and that of Bysantia. When Svyatoslav defeated Khazars nothing could prevent Russia from expanding to the east. His early death stopped these plans. The expansion began only five centuries later.
The wars conducted by Svyatoslav are explained by the author as of a titanic struggle of the pagan North against the Christian and Judaic South. This struggle conducted for many centuries has not come to the end – as we see from the debates regarding the monument to Svyatoslav, erected some decades ago, wanted by many people and hated by many others. The reasons of is this great confrontation help to understand the natural laws and significance of geopolitical changes of nowadays.
The book presents Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani as well as of the ruling dynasty on a historical background.
An impressive progress reached by the country during the years of independence is guaranteed by a well-thought strategy of development. Beginning from the first modest projects that have created an infrastructure in its deserted territory and notably raised well-being of the population, the emirate has passed to a large-scale programmes in economy and social sphere. By now Qatar has turned to be a super-modern industrialized country with the highest living standard in the world and its capital Doha – in a flourishing cosmopolitan megapolis. Qatar has become one of the leaders of gas export, has gained considerable political weight, will soon receive a world’s football championship. All these achievements have a visible imprint of his ruler’s will. His choice of political and social reforms, his generous charity and care of culture and sports – these are the main topics of the book.
Biography of the last Russian Emperor based on personal research of the author and not widely known facts. Nicolas II is presented as an interesting and whole-hearted personality. The statesmen put forward by him such as Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Petr Stolypin, general Alexey Brussilov and admiral Stephan Makarov though not equally well seen by contemporaries and descendants witness the Emperor's ability to stay above his subjective likings. The author tries to dethrone propaganda myths and efforts of pseudo historians aimed at minimizing the scale of the Russian leader and his deeds. The collapse of the monarchy in Russia is seen as a part of the crisis of the Christian civilization and the tragedy of the czar's family as a prologue of a never seen in history enslavement of a free nation.
At the end of April 1945 instructor of intelligence school SS-Hauptsturmführer Felix Stark was seized by Americans. He managed to escape but his very important documents remained in hands of Americans. The same day Stark fell into a «time channel». He found himself in the first century AD.
Fifty years after the documents of the SS-officer were declassified by the CIA and furnished to a Jewish foundation in search for former Nazis. A former Soviet journalist, Yehuda Schochet, emigrant in the USA takes care of the «Stark case». He comes to the small Bavarian town where Stark was last seen and… finds himself exactly at the same time spot as Stark.
The third character of the novel is a Russian philology student Ivan Ilyin, who also found himself in the first century AD. Unlike the previous two men he perfectly knew what he had to expect climbing down to the centre of a meteorite crater.
After many adventures all three men come to Palestine.
Felix is well acquainted with this country as the Middle East was his speciality, he knows Semitic languages as well as European ones. Besides he was in this part of the world in his young years during of test-rally as a member of the BMW team.
Yehuda’s first emigration experience was Israel, so he also understands the local language. Besides he has a striking likeness with the executed leader of Jewish rebels Yehuda the Galilean. This similarity makes him think he can become a leader of a new movement pretending to be the survived Galilean.
Ivan speaks Greek, which helps him adapt to life in the East of the Roman Empire.
In a country teemed with revolutionaries, prophets, miracle-makers and healers it is not easy to tell a real one from a fraud. There is only one figure that is out of question – John the Baptist. Jesus meanwhile is not known at all.
Yehuda puts together a gang aimed at liberation from Roman domination. The former SS-man and his Russian friend join the group as they hear something similar to Gospel texts in his speeches. Soon it becomes clear that the imposter lacks a leader's charisma. He is in fact an elderly man tired from life and reflexion. The small community is torn by the struggle for leadership that ends in the victory of the youngest and more charismatic one – that is Stark. While Schochet agrees to become a treasurer.
The Russian student has much influence on the former SS-man obsessed by race ideas at the beginning and finally helps him become «humane». Step by step everyone sees the figure of the one, who is meant to be the Messiah. The three of them realize who will become the Saviour of the mankind. The following events advance exactly as in the Gospels, though the texts known as the words of Jesus in reality are dialogues between Felix and Yehuda.
However at the end of the novel Pontius Pilate takes a decision that leaves Stark who waits to be crucified perplexed. And the readers sure of the outcome has thus to face an equation with two unknown quantities: Who is Judah a traitor or a founder of a religious community? Who is Jesus – a rabbi or a conscious destructor of the Old Testament? Is it true that he was crucified?
A Wise Man of the Persian Gulf
The presentation of S. N. Plekhanov's book A Reformer on the Throne. The Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said, went off at the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman. The book portrays the life of a statesman who, within a generation or two, has led his country to the heights of modern civilization right out of the Middle Ages.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur has been the ruler of Oman since 1970. At the time he came to power, the political and social conditions prevailing in the country were described as a catastrophe. Sultan Qaboos undertook resolute measures to introduce a program of reforms, which later would make up a basis for the country's democratic development. The religion of Islam turned out to be a great help for the regime that embarked on the road of dynamic growth. The way covered by the sultanate along the road of modernization within 33 years is impressive, sums up the author. The changes that have occurred within the short span of time are truly wondrous. Oman has become an oasis of progress and stability. What the sultanate has achieved is the best corroboration of the theory, according to which in a traditional society economic and political reforms implemented under strict government control can produce quick positive results. The adoption of a Constitution was another convincing confirmation of the fact that democratic reforms are taking root in Oman's legal system and society. The monarchy of Oman has proved to be successful not only in economic reforms, but also in forming and following an independent line of foreign policy.
The book was presented by its author S. N. Plekhanov.
Text of the book can be found here