Tag Archives: Tsar

this day in the yesteryear: Ivan the Terrible Crowned Tsar of Russia (1547)

Ivan the Terrible Crowned Tsar of Russia (1547)

Following his parents’ deaths, Ivan IV became the first ruler of Russia to assume the title “czar” and to pursue a czarist autocracy by limiting the power of the Russian nobility. He also expanded Russian influence by conquering Kazan and Astrakhan, acquiring Siberia, and seeking better access to the Baltic Sea. A serious illness and the death of his wife, however, caused Ivan to become increasingly tyrannical and volatile. Why did Ivan murder his son—and only viable heir—in 1581? More… Discuss

The fault in our czars | The Verge

Ebola Czar

via The fault in our czars | The Verge.

At first blush an Ebola Czar, or any czar really, invokes an image of a cruel and omnipotent character parading around in heavy velvet robes, and carrying a jeweled scepter. Not an obvious choice for someone to manage a national healthcare crisis. But take a look under that robe and you’ll find that “‘czar” — at least in the context of American politics — is a relatively meaningless term, largely crafted by the media as convenient shorthand for long, cumbersome titles. It’s a blustery euphemism meant to inspire confidence when in fact, these czars are little more than run-of-the-mill government appointees, often faced with the same challenges as less imperious workers. Just like other employees, czars are eventually replaced, retire, or their positions are scrapped.

Today’s Ebola czar joins a long and storied rank of czars who have reigned over political kingdoms large, small, and on occasion, bizarre. So we thought we’d pull together a sample platter of our favorite presidentially-appointed government czars. It will, I’m certain, leave you czar struck.

Manpower Czar – Appointed in 1942 by Franklin Roosevelt
Rubber Czar – Appointed in 1942 by Franklin Roosevelt
Shipping Czar – Appointed in 1942 by Franklin Roosevelt
Cleanup Czar – Appointed in 1952 by Harry Truman
Missile Czar – Appointed in 1957 by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Savings & Loan Czar – Appointed in 1990 by George H. W. Bush
Border Czar – Appointed in 1995 by Bill Clinton
E-commerce Czar – Appointed by Al Gore in 1998
Bioethics Czar – Appointed in 2001 by George W. Bush
Reading Czar – Appointed in 2001 by George W. Bush
Cyber Security Czar – Appointed in 2001 by George W. Bush
Science Czar – Appointed in 2001 by George W. Bush
Bird Flu Czar – Appointed in 2004 by George W. Bush
Democracy Czar – Appointed in 2005 by George W. Bush
Birth Control Czar – Appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush
War Czar – Appointed in 2007 by George W. Bush
Weatherization Czar – Appointed in 2008 by George W. Bush
Copyright Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Urban Affairs Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Ethics czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Great Lakes Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Guantanamo Base Closure Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Iran Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Safe School Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Weapons of Mass Destruction Czar – Appointed in 2009 by Barack Obama
Asian Carp Czar – Appointed in 2010 by Barack Obama

Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: great compositions/performances


Alexander III of Russia (1845)

Alexander III was tsar of Russia from 1881 until his death in 1894. As ruler, he sought to counteract what he considered the excessive liberalism of his father’s reign and pursued a reactionary policy that promoted Russification and the persecution of religious minorities. Still, economic policy during Alexander’s rule enabled rapid industrial development and allowed Russia to begin building the Trans-Siberian Railroad. To which of Alexander’s relatives was his wife, Dagmar, originally engaged? More…Discuss


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GREAT COMPOSERS/COMPOSITIONS: N. Rimsky-Korsakov – The Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite: Part I

The Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite from the Opera
by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
I. Tsar’s Departure and Farewell

  • Buy “Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan – Suite, Op.57 – 1. The Tsar’s departure and Farewell” on

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

File:Swan princess.jpgThe lengthy full title of both the opera and the poem is The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of his Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan.

Note: The name “Saltan” is often erroneously rendered “Sultan”. Likewise, another mistranslation of the Russian title found in English makes this a “legend” rather than simply a “tale” or “fairytale”.

Head of a man with dark greying hair, glasses and a long beardNikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov 

(Russian: Николай Андреевич Римский-Корсаков; Russian pronunciation: [nʲɪkəˌlaj ˌrʲim.skʲɪj ˈkorsəkəf]; 18 March [O.S. 6 March] 1844[a 1] – 21 June [O.S. 8 June] 1908) was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five.[a 2] He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas.Scheherazade is an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects.


Rimsky-Korsakov believed, as did fellow composer Mily Balakirev and critic Vladimir Stasov, in developing a nationalistic style of classical music. This style employed Russian folk song and lore along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism, and eschewed traditional Western compositional methods. However, Rimsky-Korsakov appreciated Western musical techniques after he became a professor of musical composition, harmony and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1871. He undertook a rigorous three-year program of self-education and became a master of Western methods, incorporating them alongside the influences of Mikhail Glinka and fellow members of The Five. His techniques of composition and orchestration were further enriched by his exposure to the works of Richard Wagner.

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Today’s Birthday: SOPHIA ALEKSEYEVNA (1657)

Sophia Alekseyevna (1657)

Alekseyevna seized power in Russia after the death of her father, Czar Feodor III, and became regent during the minority of her disabled brother, Ivan V, and her half-brother, Peter I. She brutally eliminated her opponents and ruled dictatorially with her lover, Vasily V. Gallitzin. She aspired to be crowned czarina, but lacked support from the nobility and clergy. When it was rumored that she intended to kill Peter to become sole ruler, he overthrew the regency and confined her where? More… Discuss