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Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
"Zdraviy Smysl" ("Common Sense") Magazine Elected Articles
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Issue 35


  • Valery Kuvakin The New Enlightenment — the 21st Century Paradigm. “The 21st Century opens up… an era inspired with the idea of cultural reformation, respect for human rights, free enquiry, free thought and planetary humanity”.
  • International Summer School. The Second Humanist School will begin in August 2005 at the Moscow State University. This time it is dedicated to “Humanism and Modern Philosophy”. Speakers will include Russian and US scholars.


  • Yuri Yefremov, Words and Actions in Russia. Notes on Science, Education and the Current Situation. “Science or education need no reform but rather rescue measures”. “The whole of Law 122 must be annulled. This multi-purpose law contains many provisions with the sole purpose to cut the funding for science and education…”
  • Garri Abelev, The Unpredictable Ways of Fundamental Science. Synopsis of Academician’s presentation at the Research Center for Oncology in which he argued that it is impossible to manage science using a hierarchical approach.”


  • Honoring our war veterans: B. Romanenko and L. Salyamon are also RHS’s oldest members.
  • A letter from P. Arsenov, WW2 veteran: “Only a neutral Atheism and an equally neutral Humanism can calm down and pacify the hotheads, both from among the rank-and-file believers and the over-militant priests…”
  • Leonid Salyamon writes about Mark Grigorievich Kachurin, as his wartime friend and publisher: “Well-educated, laborious and talented, he could not but attract sympathy”.
  • Mark Kachurin, “And so I live. And dare not disobey…” Poems and notes from a memoir book by a well-known Russian philologist and war veteran.
  • “So Many Hopes…” Letters to Vasily Chekalov. (From: “Vasily Chekalov: The War Diary / 1941. 1942. 1943”, published under the “Zdravy Smysl Library” series.)


  • The Faithful and the Atheists Searching for Common Ground. All of the round table discussants at the Sakharov Center agreed that human rights protection is non-confessional. Mikhail Sitnikov’s report from a forum that took place at the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Community Center “Peace, Progress, Human Rights” in Moscow.
  • NO to the Unconstitutional Religion Policy! State-Church Relations Must Be Subject to Public Review! Final document of the round table on “The Role of NGO’s and Human Rights Movement in Ensuring Freedom of Conscience in Russia”.
  • “What Makes us Human”. Citing from Round Table Speeches. “…One’s convictions are the very thing that makes us all human. If this is oppressed, how can we feel we are really human?” (Lyudmila Alexeyeva).
  • On the Way to Common Sense. Roman Peshenko’s brief account of a meeting between Russian and Israeli ecologists and public figures at the Israeli Embassy’s Cultural Center.
  • Our Honored Guest: President of the International Academy of Humanism. Professor Paul Kurtz visited the Moscow State University in late January, 2005.


  • Viacheslav Meider writes about Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, Enlightener and Pedagogue. Quite recently the academic community marked the 140th birth anniversary of the great Russian citizen, the natural scientist and philosopher (1863–1945).


  • Vladimir Vernadsky’s reflections on academic creativity and moral values (1918). “…Here we come across what might be the only case in the realm of moral values where we can have a positive, almost incontestable justification of our behavior, a goal in life.”
  • On the Front lines of the Culture War, a contribution by Dr. David R. Koepsell, Executive Director of Council for Secular Humanism (Amherst, NY USA). “War has been declared in America. The battle lines were drawn some time ago, in the early 80s, when a small but vocal element of fundamentalist Christians declared a certain segment of society to be public enemy number one. Since then, these forces… have been working to take power in the public sphere and transform this country into a form of theocracy”.


  • Alexander Kruglov Work and Creativity. “Creativity is the joy of Freedom reinforced by the joy of Work…”


  • The Defunct Science by Faddei Zelinsky. The last in a series of extracts from the article by the well-known Russian philologist and Antiquity scholar (1859–1944), dedicated to the genesis of Astrology.


  • Phoney Jurisprudence: a Mixture of Servilism, Quasi-Philosophy and Thriller. S. Buryanov and S. Mozgovoi responding to an academic thesis, “Sectarianism as a Social Phenomenon”. “It has happened many times in our national history that social sciences were used as a weapon against intellectual and religious nonconformism…”


  • Jean-Marie Guyau (1854–1888), the French positivist philosopher: “We have no more need of dogma…” Excerpts from his book “The Non-Religion of the Future”. “What is respectable about religions is precisely the grain of the same inquisitive mind, scientific and metaphysical, which is now striving to overthrow them, one by one.”


  • Yuri Shapiro, the prominent Russian surgeon, The Tajik Medical School. “The key to the well-being, and even to the very existence of diasporas is the respect of minority rights by the state and other authorities”. “The unwritten history of Russian diasporas in Central Asia in 1920’s and 1930’s is noteworthy…”.


  • “One of the Hardy Survivors”. Excerpt from Anatoly Tasminsky’s book “Mentors. Landmarks. Actions”. This is a sketch description of the life and character of A. Engelke, a remarkable translator and teacher, and former victim of Stalinist repressions. The author uses a “still frame” method, focusing on the brief period of “Khrushchev thaw”, still marked by the absurd and humiliating autocracy…


  • Valery Khaziev, Benevolence as the Basis of Humanism. “True benevolence will take shape in distant future…; that benevolence will not be instinctive, but cultivated, I. e., Humanism in the true sense of the word”.
  • Viktor Krotov: Scorpion’s Dictionary — aphoristic definitions full of humor and sarcasm.


  • Freedom of Conscience Declaration, adopted by the 2nd Anticlerical Conference ‘In Defense of Freedom of Conscience and a Secular State’: “We render it unacceptable to single out, by legal or practical means, any particular religion, confession or church as privileged, “traditional”, “native”, etc. within the Russian Federation…”
  • The Patriarchy must publicly denounce religious anti-Semitism. Address by the Public Committee for Freedom of Conscience signed by Rev. Gleb Yakunin. “We are convinced that, given the widespread racial and religious anti-Semitism among members of the Russian Orthodox Church, the top authorities of the Moscow Patriarchy must immediately denounce anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism”.
  • Appeal by creative intellectuals regarding the prosecution of the “Caution! Religion!” exhibition organizers and participants, filed to the Tagansky district Court of Moscow. “…Some kind of esthetic and philosophic “standard” is being imposed on the society, one that is ingrained with spiritual bigotry and fanaticism…”


  • A Man of Light, P. A. Trevogin (1933–2005) “…He left behind a book, the articles in newspapers, journals and on websites, transcripts of his radio lectures and recordings made from TV. They will continue to serve the worthy goal to which Pyotr Alexandrovich dedicated his brilliant life — to safeguard and enrich human intellect. This is what makes the personality of our unforgettable colleague and friend truly immortal”.