February 19, 2014

Why do Slavs speak with deep voices?


I don't have a very good ear, so I may be getting this all wrong, but my impression (reinforced by listening to interviews with Slovenian lady skier Tina Maze) is that when Slavic speakers speak English, they tend to speak with deep voices. (I suspect that's also true for Middle Eastern languages to the south of the Slavic belt, as well.)

Russian choral music, such as the Russian national anthem sung by the Red Army Choir above, tends to emphasize deep male voices. (This martial chorus style has become quite common on Hollywood blockbuster soundtracks over the last quarter of a century.) By the way, the Russians have kept the dignified melody, the composition of which Stalin carefully oversaw, and changed the words.

So, assuming I'm not just hearing things, nature or nurture? For example, if you learn to speak a Slavic language, do they tell you to deepen your pitch? Or do you just pick it up? Or do people from that part of the world just have naturally deeper voices on average?
     

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

Also cigarette smoking.

Nothing will drop a person's voice by a full octave faster than a two-pack-per day habit.

More than anything else, I think that Obama's smoking and the resulting effect on the sonorousness of his voice is the key ingredient in his success [and the nicotine also suppresses his appetite, which keeps him rail-thin].

Can you imagine Obama achieving any success in life with the tinny high-pitched whine that he would have if didn't smoke?

Not to mention the extra 100+ lbs of blubber that he'd have around his waist?

Anonymous said...

BTW - and correct me if I'm wrong - but my recollection is that Vlade Divac used to smoke back when he played for the Lakers.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the sound of that anthem was the best. Digging around youtube, I found this rock and roll version of the Russian anthem. It actually sounds pretty tough in the rock format.

As for the deep voices, have you heard the dude on the PA system at the Olympics? The olympics has to use French and English, the official languages, as well as that of the host nation. At the opening ceremonies, the French and English speakers sounded normal. The guy who repeated everything in Russian sounded like King Kong.

Anonymous said...

Russian women sound more feminine speaking Russian than they do speaking English. Their voice is more melodic and higher pitched when speaking their native language. I have no idea why this is, but this has been my experience almost uniformly.

Anonymous said...

maybe a sharp diurnal and/or seasonal temperature gradient inhibits the gay lifestyle.

not going to parade very far at -13F or at the opposite extreme 100F.

better to stay indoors and interact vocally. deep voice much more powerful, better way to get attention in that climate.

Anonymous said...

This takes the cake for the deep voice. This guy is doing a rap/song video with Russian paratroopers as props. I guess saying he is a bass is an understatement.

Anonymous said...

Both Serbian and Coatian women speak English with a deepish voice(very squirrel and moose), so maybe what you detected is especially pronounced in South Slavs. Slavic women are pretty clearly the pinnacle of womanhood though, I'd guess it has something to do with how Slavic linguistic habits map onto English. I realize this isn't very insightful.

FredR said...

In this video from the Economist of a teenage hyperpolyglot, he mentions that when he's speaking Russian, he talks in a deep and manly manner, because all the russians he's met talk that way. So it could easily be a nurture thing, I suppose:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKlWBKhe2rs

Anonymous said...

Russian sounds like you're chewing on raw potatoes.

Baloo said...

Different languages are spoken at different pitches. I speak English like a Midwesterner, with a deep voice. But when I speak what little German I know, my voice automatically goes higher. I think it's true of my French and Spanish, too. But not of my Esperanto, which doesn't, in my mind at least, have a proper pitch.

Oh, I should be clearer. It's not just different languages, but different dialects. Listen to Hugh Laurie switch back and forth. His American is much deeper than his British.

Anonymous said...

Steve, that's not the Soviet anthem. It's the current Russian anthem. What's the difference? The lyrics.

Anonymous said...

The video is a mix of old Soviet and modern Russian footage, but the lyrics are modern.

Svigor said...

Only semi-OT, but I was just thinking yesterday how silly English sounds when spoken in that "grownup deep voice" Japanese voice actors use in anime, usually for the bad guys. It sounds fine in Japanese because it's so guttural, but preposterous in English.

Svigor said...

More than anything else, I think that Obama's smoking and the resulting effect on the sonorousness of his voice is the key ingredient in his success

Obama is half-black. That, more than anything else, is the key ingredient in his success.

DR said...

Research documents that men modulate their pitch lower when trying to dominate other men. One way to think about Slavs is they're what Western Europeans were like ~500 years ago before the rise of centralized states. A Strong state that monopolized the use of violence didn't form east of Germany until 1850 or later.

Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation. They don't have much sense ingrained sense of fairness, justice or empathy. That's why Russia is such an incredibly dangerous superpower.

Anonymous said...

Nature.

I'm Russian.
Noticed this long ago, being a professional interpreter myself and a singer (hobby :).

But first thoughts came when I was watching Eddy Murphy's "Raw", parts when he was showing what white people think about Michael Jackson (going to Oscars with Brooke Shields) and "White people can'd dance" : )

Svigor said...

Nothing will drop a person's voice by a full octave faster than a two-pack-per day habit.

More nonsense. Training will drop a person's voice by an octave faster than anything else.

jay said...

The vowel to consonant ratio would seem to make some languages easier to speak with a higher or lower pitch than others. My German last name has 6 letters and 1 vowel. It doesn't even roll off of my tongue with a lilt and I've had 50 years to practice saying it.

Anonymous said...

The immortal recruiting video for the Russian paratroopers service. The English translation sucks though. For example, the first line means "Cool guys from all over the country", but the translation says "tough guys from all nations". The voice and the attitude are beyond cool though.

Anonymous said...

This guy (very famous in early post-Soviet era) had a very deep voice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tq-s7EcwuU


Died in a helicopter crash.

Grumpy Old Man said...

They specialize in basso singing, like this by Vladimir Millier.

Anonymous said...

" A Strong state that monopolized the use of violence didn't form east of Germany until 1850 or later."

Not true. Ivan III (grandfather of the Terrible) created the centralized Russian state in the late 15th century. Russia has been super centralized ever since then, with only three short interludes of chaos (1598-1613, 1917-1922 and 1989-2000). During the last 550 years Russia has been more centralized on average than any Western state.

Anonymous said...

The Soviet/Russian anthem sounds so great because it uses essentially the same chord progression as Pachelbel's Canon in D, which also serves as a foundation for a whole lot of pop/rock songs.

Steve Sailer said...

Here's comedian Rob Paravonian's rant about about how much of rock music (e.g., Green Day big hit) is based on Pachebel's Canon.

Steve Sailer said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM

Lex said...

West Slavs - Poles, Czechs, Slovaks speak with normal voices. I think Americans speak with unnaturally deep voices(Texans especially?).

SFG said...

"Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation. They don't have much sense ingrained sense of fairness, justice or empathy. That's why Russia is such an incredibly dangerous superpower."

They have sense of fairness, justice, and empathy, just not with national enemies. How many times has Russia been invaded in the past few hundred years? How many Russians died in WW2? Having a long and bloody history makes you paranoid.

I'm not a huge fan of Putin or Russian corruption, but I don't blame the Rooskies for being paranoid, especially toward the USA, which humiliated them and destroyed their empire, then ripped them off. USA vs China is simple power politics; USA vs Russia is personal.

Fun said...

The guy who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek films uses a not-particularly-deep Russian accent. The actor is from a Russian-Jewish family.

Anonymous said...

Some have said that the melody for the Soviet/Russian anthem was borrowed from a 1892 piece by the Russian composer Vasily Kalinnikov. The melody in question starts at 10:03 here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disappoint you, Steve, but Slavs do not speak any deeper voices than English native speakers. Any perception to the contrary is your imagination fueled by some stereotype.

Anonymous said...

By the way, God Save the Tsar is a pretty impressive national anthem too; especially when sung in an Orthodox - male voice only - setting!

Anonymous said...

For example, the first line means "Cool guys from all over the country", but the translation says "tough guys from all nations".

Actually, the translation is closer to the original than your version: "крутые" = "hard boiled" ~ "tough".

Off-topic: "VDV - skol'ko pobed". And, really, how many victories? Afghanistan 1979? Anything else?

JayMan said...

"nature or nurture?"

Hmmm, is that even a valid question these days? I mean, all human behavioral traits are heritable.

In this case, the World Values Survey, and other things do point to nature.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a huge fan of Putin or Russian corruption, but I don't blame the Rooskies for being paranoid, especially toward the USA, which humiliated them and destroyed their empire

I don't blame the Germans for being paranoid either, considering the way the Good Guys (tm) treated them after the World Wars. African colonies gone, check. Did the British free their own colonies in 1918? Baltic coast, Pomerania, Silesia, Sudetenland gone. What about Ireland, Scotland, Wales? Germany and Austria partitioned. Holocaust guilt trip. What about the Irish Potato Famine and Bengal Famine?

DR said...

"Not true. Ivan III (grandfather of the Terrible) created the centralized Russian state in the late 15th century. Russia has been super centralized ever since then, with only three short interludes of chaos (1598-1613, 1917-1922 and 1989-2000). During the last 550 years Russia has been more centralized on average than any Western state."

There's a difference between a modern centralized nation-state and a medieval feudal kingdom. In the former the technological, logistical, and political structures exist such that the central state is more than capable of directly ruling its subjects. In contrast medieval kingdoms had to subcontract local governance to semi-autonomous fiefdoms.

The nobility in these fiefdoms maintained independent instruments of force that always posed a risk to ruler and inherently limited his power. The transition out of this occurred for most Western states much earlier. For example Louis XIV pretty much transformed France to a centralized state by 1700. Such that even during the chaos of the French Revolution regional attempts at insurrection were easily quashed by the central state.

In contrast the Russian Czars were inherently weak and quite vulnerable to internal rebellion and mutiny at least until the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. The 19th century was still a struggle by Russian Czars to weaken local nobility and centralize power, a transition that was already complete for centuries in Western Europe:

"Nicholas I emerged as the emperor in the wake of Decembrist revolt; subsequent investigation proved that disloyalty was deeply rooted within the noble estate – the sole foundation of House of Romanov.[9] His father and grandfather were killed by their own guards and statesmen in palace coups… He installed a highly regulated but ultimately inefficient government system of "anxious centralization", himself being the chief arbiter between rivalling statesmen.[5] But he also attributed the nobles' disloyalty to a Europe-wide conspiracy aimed at destroying ruling monarchies, religion and morale.[5]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodoxy,_Autocracy,_and_Nationality

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Obama achieving any success in life with the tinny high-pitched whine that he would have if didn't smoke?

A high-pitched, whiney voice didn't seem to adversely affect his little friend, Deval Patrick, Gov. of MA.

Chicago said...

They tend to have that recognizable voice so that sometimes a person can guess that they fall into that category without actually knowing anything more about them. Voices vary across Europe. It appears to be built in.

DR said...

"They have sense of fairness, justice, and empathy, just not with national enemies. How many times has Russia been invaded in the past few hundred years? How many Russians died in WW2? Having a long and bloody history makes you paranoid.

I'm not a huge fan of Putin or Russian corruption, but I don't blame the Rooskies for being paranoid, especially toward the USA, which humiliated them and destroyed their empire, then ripped them off. USA vs China is simple power politics; USA vs Russia is personal."

The USA gave the USSR its empire, by rolling over and letting it take half of Europe after World War II. It's well-documented by McCarthy and others that the Federal government was filled to the brim with Communist backchannels from FDR onwards.

The few non-Communist sympathizers knew that Russia needed to be death with immediately after WWII. Patton advocated that Moscow could be taken in a few months in their weakened state. Instead America not only left them alone, but was happy to allow Stalin to dismantle and appropriate most of Germany's industrial and military infrastructure.

The German military was evil primarily because of its leadership, and small segments of psychopaths tasked with carrying out atrocities. The common German man is quite civilized, and you find many example of good generals, like Rommel, in the Wehrmacht.

The Red Army was awful and brutal pretty much to the last man. Without exception they raped and massacred pretty much every enemy they ever fought. You can't find an example of a decent officer in the entire institution. Because Russians naturally lack empathy and are inherently violent and brutal.

It's critical that the Russian juggernaut be contained. Like Islam it's an existential threat to Western civilization. We're still paying the price for not killing it in utero in 1945, before FDR's traitors gave it nuclear immunity.

Hamsta said...

I am Canadian. Back in the late 70's the Red Army Chorus gave a big show in Toronto. The all male chorus was featured, but they had a lot of side acts and some tremendous clowning and dancing.

Anyway, the chorus did a rendition of "Oh Canada" that I can still remember to this day. It was simply spine tingling.

For all their historic and monumental difficulties, their is a streak of genius that runs through that people and I would never underestimate them.

TheLRC said...

I agree with anon right at the top of this thread: Obama's vocal quality plays an important part in his reputation as a 'great orator'. He really does have a nice resonant tone; it's reassuring and authoritative, and I suspect it's especially effective with female listeners. Its resonance also makes it good for broadcast media. I think it's been a significant, but largely unsung, plus for him.

Kibernetika said...

Here's a song that appeared in Russia during the USA-engineered, modern time of troubles ;)

http://youtu.be/S_UJy6Gsglk

This is a song that most normal Russian lads embraced and sang during drinking, and most Russian women hated. I think of of it as a natural product of the times; against Gorba4ev, against Clinton and his Harvard bandits.



David said...

I knew Serbian film director Srđan Karanović, and while he isn't a Russian, he had the deepest voice I've ever heard. No exaggeration, but his normal speaking voice could shake the paint off a wall.

I got a migraine every time we spoke longer than 15 minutes.

He was a chain-smoker and smoked everywhere, inside buildings and outside, "it matters not." He smoked with a vengeance, with a death wish.

Kibernetika said...

C/Shanson (Russian style, adopted from France) also has a big influence, I think. A most modern example:

http://youtu.be/_h_86kkeXik

The immortal Vystoskii.



Bill said...

This is too easy. It's because Slavic vowels are voiced lower in the larynx. Ever heard a Slavic language spoken with a nasal voice? Didn't think so.

Steve Sailer said...

"It's because Slavic vowels are voiced lower in the larynx. Ever heard a Slavic language spoken with a nasal voice?"

Sounds like an answer.

Does it apply to all Slavic languages? Did Meryl Streep speak Polish-accented English with a deeper voice in Sophie's Choice?

Prof. Woland said...

Most of Russian Orthodox choral music is sung by men whereas most of the baroque such as Bach is mixed.

The impression I get is that Russians are far more nasaly. The backwards Ns that are so common emanate from the upper middle or front of the voice box whereas languages such as German are guttural and sound like they are coughing up a lugie.

Reg Cæsar said...

The US releases of Thomas the Tank Engine were narrated by, among others, George Carlin and Michael Brandon (the straight actor, not the porn one). Both were competent, and sounded almost identical, what with their strong NYC accents.

The big difference showed in voicing the twin Scottish engines, Donald and Douglas. The Irish Carlin's Scottish accent was spot on. Brandon, Feldman, was wretched. Despite putting considerable effort into getting it right, his Scots kept drifting into Russian!


Anonymous said...

The USA gave the USSR its empire, by rolling over and letting it take half of Europe after World War II.

Letting Russia take it? I call BS. The USSR had over 100 divisions in that area after WW2. They were the largest, most battle hardened land force in the world in 1945. No way the US moves them out without nukes. And even then it would have been questionable given are low supply of bombs and the collateral damage we would have caused to the already destroyed Eastern Europe.

Patton advocated that Moscow could be taken in a few months in their weakened state.

The greatest army in the world did not take Moscow back when they were in a weakened state. By 1945, though much of their nation lay in ruins, their military was the mightiest on Earth. As noted above, without nukes there was no way the USA could have taken them out of that part of the world. And I doubt we would have had any help from our European allies who were in a weakened state.

The few non-Communist sympathizers knew that Russia needed to be death with immediately after WWII.

Weren't those guys anti-semitic?

It's critical that the Russian juggernaut be contained. Like Islam it's an existential threat to Western civilization.

Russia is no existential threat to Western Civ. The threats to Western Civ's are all home grown and center around its destructive cultural rot and open door immigration policy that is flooding the West with islamists and other third worlders.

Steve Sailer said...

The only Russian opera I've seen was Boris Godunov in Buenos Aires and the lead character is a baritone or bass.

Most Western European operas make the male star a tenor. For example, Placido Domingo is a natural baritone forcing his way up to tenor because in the West the biggest roles are written for tenors.

David said...

For the 1915 Moscow premiere of his All-Night Vigil (Mass), Rachmaninoff requested basses who could hit a low B-flat (the third B-flat below middle C).

The conductor fretted that he would never find such singers.

Rachmaninoff later reported: "Nevertheless, he did find them. I knew the voices of my countrymen."

Hunsdon said...

This is my initial take, before scanning through the comments and responding to what catches the eye.

When I was learning Russian, my mouth hurt. Well, my mouth didn't hurt, but my mouth got tired. This was at DLI, so I had some pretty fair Russian speakers as instructors. You use different muscles in your mouth speaking Russian than you do English.

I can say essentially the same sentence in English and it comes out higher than when I say it in Russian.

Quick further note: over half of my Russian language instructors were Russian Jewish ladies of a certain age, so it wasn't as if I was picking up "Ah Boris speaks deep, so I will too."

Hunsdon said...

DR said: Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation. They don't have much sense ingrained sense of fairness, justice or empathy. That's why Russia is such an incredibly dangerous superpower.

Hunsdon said: Yes, and the boring, white-bread English somehow bumbled their way to world domination. "Terribly sorry, old chap, we seem to have inadvertently conquer'd your hemisphere during a cricket match gone wrong."

Andrew said...

I spent two weeks in Russia a couple of years ago and thought Russians were noticeably soft-spoken. Actually, Poles find Russian pronunciation very soft-sounding compared to Polish.

For what it's worth, my background is 100% Polish and a female music teacher recently told me she was surprised I'm a tenor, considering that I'm 6 foot 3.

Hunsdon said...

DR said: The few non-Communist sympathizers knew that Russia needed to be death with immediately after WWII.

Hunsdon said: Freudian slip?

Anonymous said...

That's why Russia is such an incredibly dangerous superpower.

And America is not?

Hunsdon said...

If we're going to play the Vystotsky game, I've always been fond of "Leningrad blockade."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKwNBfodHaE

As for DR, I read further, and I must say, I have rarely seen race hatred taken to such an extreme; it's the "two girls, one cup" of hatery.

Anonymous said...

"The 19th century was still a struggle by Russian Czars to weaken local nobility and centralize power, a transition that was already complete for centuries in Western Europe"

DR, you don't know anything about European or Russian history. Ivan III crushed feudal Russian nobility in the late 15th century. His grandson Ivan IV mopped up the remains of feudalism in Russia. In contrast, Germany and Italy only became centralized states in the late 19th century.

The usual Western critique of Russia is that it is (and has been for half a millenium) too centralized and too authoritarian, that the czars controlled their subjects' lives way too much. How can you not know that? Those are your own side's talking points, and you seem unaware of them.

"The USA gave the USSR its empire, by rolling over and letting it take half of Europe after World War II"

The USSR did the bulk if the anti-German fighting, so it got the bulk of the gains. None of this stuff was America's to give away. You have to possess something before you can start imagining giving it away to anybody. At the end of the war Soviet troops were where they were. They got to those points the hard way. Even after D-Day the vast majority of German forces were kept on the eastern front.

Anonymous said...

A pretty amusing Russian accent instruction from Awesome Alanna a young Australian girl with a YouTube channel.

Anonymous said...

Take Two: Awesome Alanna

Bill said...

Does it apply to all Slavic languages? Did Meryl Streep speak Polish-accented English with a deeper voice in Sophie's Choice?

Not sure about Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice (never seen it), but she lowered her voice to mimic a Danish accent in Out of Africa, so it might just be an idiolect she uses to approximate northern European accents.

My philologist Baltic wife who speaks Russian fluently says that yes, all Slavic languages she's familiar with dig deep for vowels, and none are nasal. She says that only native Yiddish speakers speak Russian with a nasal voice, and they sound similar to Germans.

I've only studied a little Russian, but I have plenty of linguistic experience, and when you speak Russian you really go low in the throat compared to, say, Germanic languages.

It's one of those things you can clearly feel when you speak, so it seems pretty obvious to me.

DR said...

"Letting Russia take it? I call BS. The USSR had over 100 divisions in that area after WW2. They were the largest, most battle hardened land force in the world in 1945. No way the US moves them out without nukes. And even then it would have been questionable given are low supply of bombs and the collateral damage we would have caused to the already destroyed Eastern Europe."

Compared to the USSR the United States by 1949 has two times as many aircraft, twenty times as many naval ships, four times as many submarines, seven times as much crude oil, five times as much iron ore, four times as much coal, and an economy that was five times larger. The Soviet Union lost 14% of its population by the end of the war, the US lost 0.32%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II

Without question the US military would have total air, naval and economic dominance. The slight edge the Soviets had in tanks and artillery would be meaningless against endless airstrikes, impenetrable naval blockades, and a never-ending source of continuous military production. The German military was brilliant but it didn't even have one fifth the economic capacity of the US. America wouldn't even need to win battles, just starve and bomb the Russians until they implode.

That's not even counting all the neighboring countries that would have quickly signed up for an anti-Soviet attack. The remainder of the Wehrmacht absolutely would have fought to avoid Soviet occupation. As would the deeply anti-Soviet populations of Finland, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the Baltics, Poland, Yugoslavia, Manchuria, Romania and Chechnya.

The Soviets weren't dumb they knew all this. As did the American delegations at Yalta. But it was simply the case that Alger Hiss was working for the USSR, not the US. There's absolutely no reason that the USSR should have been allowed to retain any territory acquired after 1939.

Anonymous said...

I remember the older generation in the West having much deeper voices whereas boys now sound like girls to my ears so maybe smoking?

Anonymous said...

DR said: Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation.

Such an astute observation. Especially those brutal, war-mongering sadists - the Slovenians.

On topic, as a Slav, I've never noticed this. But if there really is such a phenomenon, I'm going with Bill's answer.

Anonymous said...

If anything, Lend Lease was a bad idea. It fueled Russian imperial power more than anything else. The Russkies could have fought off the Nazis in Stalingrad and the Caucasus quite easily without Lend Lease - but not advance well beyond that. The only good thing that came out of Lend Lease was a shorter war - and that's what the Americans wanted most of all.

Anonymous said...

"More than anything else, I think that Obama's smoking and the resulting effect on the sonorousness of his voice is the key ingredient in his success [and the nicotine also suppresses his appetite, which keeps him rail-thin].

To me at least, his voice is "sonorous" only for a couple of sentences; after that, at least in his speeches, his intonation pattern is so repetitive as to make me turn the channel or turn down the volume. I do mean that his voice or his rhythm starts to irritate me to the point I can't listen to him any longer.

Anonymous said...

It's critical that the Russian juggernaut be contained. Like Islam it's an existential threat to Western civilization. We're still paying the price for not killing it in utero in 1945, before FDR's traitors gave it nuclear immunity.

No, they're not "existential threats" (typical neocon-speak) to the West. You're confusing the West with Jewish supremacists like yourself:

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2011/07/petition-against-reactosphere.html#9198657079988924578

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2011/07/petition-against-reactosphere.html#560251665778896979

Hunsdon said...

DR said: There's absolutely no reason that the USSR should have been allowed to retain any territory acquired after 1939.

Hunsdon said: The US was tired of war. More importantly, the US GI was tired of war.

There's an old trope, so old it's been memorialized in "The Princess Bride" as an old trope: never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Despite your hand-waving about naval blockades, fighting the Soviet Union in 1945-46 would have been a land war in Asia, against the people that had just gotten done smashing the Wehrmacht.

Anonymous said...

DR said: Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation.

And Anglos and other Krauts aren't? True Mediterranean empathy is rare.

Mr. Anon said...

"DR said...

The USA gave the USSR its empire, by rolling over and letting it take half of Europe after World War II. It's well-documented by McCarthy and others that the Federal government was filled to the brim with Communist backchannels from FDR onwards."

Yeah, the Red Army had nothing to do with it.

"The few non-Communist sympathizers knew that Russia needed to be death with immediately after WWII. Patton advocated that Moscow could be taken in a few months in their weakened state."

And he would have proven to be about as right about that as Keitel was. It was foolish for Patton to have advocated such a thing.

As to the rest of your post, it was as foolish and ridiculous as anything you've written here - you maintain a high standard.

Anonymous said...

If anything, Lend Lease was a bad idea. It fueled Russian imperial power more than anything else. The Russkies could have fought off the Nazis in Stalingrad and the Caucasus quite easily without Lend Lease - but not advance well beyond that. The only good thing that came out of Lend Lease was a shorter war - and that's what the Americans wanted most of all.

At the price of a Cold War afterwards, though. Imagine a later, bloodier D-Day, an American drive to Berlin, a unified Germany, a free Central and Eastern Europe. Imagine Russkie mobs overthrowing that good-for-nothing loser Stalin in favor of capitalist democracy. Imagine a Ukraine were obesity is actually a health concern. Imagine no rapes of East German women or Bulgarian men.

Felix said...

Opening song of one of the more famous television series in my county, dating back from communist times. In my case, my voice sounds a lot deeper when speaking my native tongue than English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViZRzkobn2w

Mount Shasta Inquirer said...

Yakov Smirnoff was fairly high pitched. Borat was a highly exaggerated version of Smirnoff

Anonymous said...

Compared to the USSR the United States by 1949 has two times as many aircraft, twenty times as many naval ships, four times as many submarines, seven times as much crude oil, five times as much iron ore, four times as much coal, and an economy that was five times larger. The Soviet Union lost 14% of its population by the end of the war, the US lost 0.32%.

Those are great stats. But the key stats are this:

The US Army had approximately 100 infantry divisions and about 16 armor divisions. Not all were even in Europe. A nice chunk were in the pacific and others were at home. There were 6 USMC divisions that were tied up in the pacific.

The USSR had around 200 divisions in that part of the world in May 1945. Short of atomic weapons, we could not have dislodged them. The Red Air Force was much stronger than the Luftwaffe we had been facing the past 2 years. We would not have been shooting fish in a barrel like we did at Normandy when only 2 Luftwaffe planes sortied to oppose the invasion.

Plus, it is no insult to say this. The Red Army soldiers were tougher. They had just fought the largest land battle in history against possibly the best army in history. The US army had not experienced warfare on that scale.

Even with our overwhelming air, naval and economic power, it took us over 3 years to take out Germany, and we faced only around of quarter of their might. The other three quarters was on the Eastern Front.

Without question the US military would have total air, naval and economic dominance. The slight edge the Soviets had in tanks and artillery would be meaningless against endless airstrikes, impenetrable naval blockades, and a never-ending source of continuous military production. The German military was brilliant but it didn't even have one fifth the economic capacity of the US. America wouldn't even need to win battles, just starve and bomb the Russians until they implode.

The USSR was a land based power. Unless you planned on sending the navy to the Black Sea, it was immaterial. I suppose we could have taken the fighter aircraft from the carriers and reassigned them to land based units alongside the army air force. But the navy would not have been a factor.

Plus the US was in no position to take heavy casualties. We still had Japan to finish off. The people were tired of war and the US was not threatened. It is hard to sell a remote war to a population that has been told for 4 years that Uncle Joe was our friend. And we know that domestic opinion is very important. Just look at how we broke down in Vietnam.

The USSR had already faced near extinction. The Nazis would have probably enslaved the Slavs. The Slavs proved they would resist to the death. I imagine the morale of the Red Army would have been high if the US attacked. No way were they going to allow a Western power to invade Mother Russia again, and the people at home would have supported them, while it would have been a much harder sell in the US.

After the pounding they took from the Germans, and the scorched earth policy they used to deny Germans local supplies, I don't see how we could have bombed them worse than what the Germans and they themselves had done. Short of atomic weapons, we would not have been able to do it.

DR said...

"Such an astute observation. Especially those brutal, war-mongering sadists - the Slovenians. "

Slovenia has traditionally been under Germanic control. First Bavaria, then later the Austrians. As such they're a different breed than the Slavs you find around the Volga.

The extension is quite simple, all the post-Soviet states that Westernized and became rich have a history of being ruled from the West, not the East. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, the Baltics. They all had been civilized by states and ethnic groups from the West (usually Germanic).

The states that faltered post-1989 were historically ruled by Muscovites or Ottomans: Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Yugoslavia, Albania, the various 'stans.

This shouldn't be a hard concept for people to get on an HBD blog. Human populations have traits that reflect their historical evolution. Western Europeans are docile and fair because early centralization of states bred a population pre-disposed to that. Once you go East of German civilization that historical reality changes and you get a population that's violent and brutal. Not unlike what you find in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world or the indigenous people of Latin America.

The only difference is that unlike that latter group, the Russians have an extensive nuclear arsenal, are with a stone's throw of Western Europe and aren't even a little repentant about their recent history of brutal oppression.

That makes them extremely dangerous, and is why it's so important that the United States contain Russian expansion of its sphere of influence. Supporting pro-Western movements in Ukraine and neighboring states, pushing independence movements in Russia proper (particularly within the oil rich areas of Siberia), and making Russia dependent on trans-national Western institutions like international financial markets should be at the foundation framework of American foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Plus, it is no insult to say this. The Red Army soldiers were tougher. They had just fought the largest land battle in history against possibly the best army in history. The US army had not experienced warfare on that scale.

The Red Army was tougher and more numerous, and by the end of the war had good leadership. But their logistics sucked. Better to fight them in Germany, Poland, and the Balkans than in Russia.

Anonymous said...

"The USA gave the USSR its empire, by rolling over and letting it take half of Europe after World War II."

The Red juggernaut was almost unstoppable. To be sure, US could have saved chunks of Eastern Europe from Red 'liberation', but then, US would have to fight harder and lose far more men.
FDR was sensitive to public opinion in democratic America. So, he let Soviets do the brunt of the fighting.

Where US really erred was in Asia.
Asking USSR to enter the Asian sphere was a huge mistake. It gave the Chinese communists added momentum. US didn't really give Eastern Europe to Stalin, but it did allow USSR to ensure Mao's victory.

Anonymous said...

That makes them extremely dangerous, and is why it's so important that the United States contain Russian expansion of its sphere of influence. Supporting pro-Western movements in Ukraine and neighboring states, pushing independence movements in Russia proper (particularly within the oil rich areas of Siberia), and making Russia dependent on trans-national Western institutions like international financial markets should be at the foundation framework of American foreign policy.

So in other words you want to control Russia? I don't get this endless fascination with controlling the rest of the world while completely surrendering control of one's own country domestically. One the one hand people plan and scheme about how to make Russia or some other nation dependent upon us. On the other they completely allow their nation to be invaded by third worlders and allow leftists to destroy the society bit by bit.

What is the point of shaping the world to be friendly to America when America is no longer friendly to you?

Anonymous said...

"There's absolutely no reason that the USSR should have been allowed to retain any territory acquired after 1939."

These issues are never a case of right or wrong. It's about can or can't. USSR could. The end.

Bill said...

"More than anything else, I think that Obama's smoking and the resulting effect on the sonorousness of his voice is the key ingredient in his success [and the nicotine also suppresses his appetite, which keeps him rail-thin].

To me at least, his voice is "sonorous" only for a couple of sentences; after that, at least in his speeches, his intonation pattern is so repetitive as to make me turn the channel or turn down the volume. I do mean that his voice or his rhythm starts to irritate me to the point I can't listen to him any longer.

-anonymous


It's the Harvard "quack." Romney has it, too. Really grating to my ears.

Antioco Dascalon said...

Orthodoxy differs from the rest of Christianity in that the liturgy is solely choral, that is, no organ or other instruments. Russian Orthodoxy in particular evolved to favor the Basso Profundo because of the important role of the Deacon in the liturgy. Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGBtMcSOVQY

I think that it is definitely mostly nurture. It is enlightening, I think, to compare the custom of Japanese women (especially their laughter) compared to Russian women. Japan prizes girlish, high-pitched voices and Russian the opposite.

Anonymous said...

You may have a point when it comes to Eastern Slavs such as the Russians but not the Western Slavs like the Polish or the Czechs. As a Polish-born college professor I find that actually my pitch is a bit lower when I lecture in English. What is true is that in Polish the pitch is more variable than in English. English sounds monotone by comparison. Not sure if this applies to all Slavonic languages

Anonymous said...

During WWII Germans fought for lebensraum and Russians fought to avoid extinction. Both sides were openly nationalistic. Humans are tribal by nature. Nationalism really gets us going as a species. What were US troops supposed to fight for in Italy and France? What would they have fought for if they were ordered to go against the Soviets? "Democracy"? What sort of an incentive is that? Even if it was real, can you imagine yourself wanting to die for it?

In the openly nationalist setup men sacrifice themselves for their children or, if childless, for their siblings' or cousins' children. That's easy to understand. Compared to that, what the hell is democracy? Even if it was real, and not an empty slogan, as it was then and still is everywhere on Earth? Too abstract.

And that is why Britain and the US did so much less fighting in the war than Germany and the USSR. I'm sure that FDR and Churchill would have wanted their countries to take a greater part in the carnage. But without primal, easy-to-understand motivation at the cannon fodder level that was impossible.

No one will ever do for "democracy", even the honest-to-goodness kind that only exists in books, what Germans and Russians did to each other at Moscow and Stalingrad.

On the leader board of motivations for violence democracy is way below chicks, fun and "the hell of it." It is so far behind survival and ethnic pride that it wouldn't see them if it had a telescope.

Anonymous said...

I am Canadian. Back in the late 70's the Red Army Chorus gave a big show in Toronto. The all male chorus was featured, but they had a lot of side acts and some tremendous clowning and dancing.

Anyway, the chorus did a rendition of "Oh Canada" that I can still remember to this day. It was simply spine tingling.


Apparently they've done that a few times. This one's from 1971, it seems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzX9yWVomMM

Anonymous said...

Steve audience continues to surprise by knowing Vysotsky. His singing is surely an unusual experience for English speakers but in case anyone is curious, one of his most iconic songs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv9o5hbDYVE

A pretty decent translation:
http://www.kulichki.com/vv/eng/songs/hamilton.html#wolf_hunt

It is kind of on-topic here. Highly recommended!

Anonymous said...

Steve, you typically forget that there are two kinds of Europeans (at the very least): Those shaped by the Roman-Catholic-Protestant tradition and others shaped by the Greek-Byzantine-Eastern Orthodox culture. The Western Slavs (Polish, Czechs, etc) belong to the former, and the Eastern Slavs to the latter

Anonymous said...

Anyway, the chorus did a rendition of "Oh Canada" that I can still remember to this day. It was simply spine tingling.

Here is the Red Army Choir singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Speaking of low voices, here is American Paul Robeson singing the Soviet Anthem in English. This is about the deepest English voice I have ever heard.

Kevin B said...

I don’t know about other European countries, but from my travels and experience, the American accent is hard on the ears of the French, Spanish and English. We Americans, in general, use a nasal pronunciation in their home languages, whereas these three countries pronounce their vowels from the back of the mouth. The sound in Europe is crisper and gives the impression of precision.
In the Americas, American English, Latin American Spanish and Canadian French are all pronounced with a nasal intonation. I don’t know about Brazilian Portuguese, but it seems odd to me that the three major languages spoken in the Americas all have the same sort of nasal intonation. I would have put the Latin American Spanish intonation to an Amerindian influence, but that still leaves English and French.
Anyone have any knowledge about why this dialect schism occurred so uniformly between Europe and the Americas?

Mr Drab said...

"I don’t know about other European countries, but from my travels and experience, the American accent is hard on the ears of the French, Spanish and English."

It's also hard on the ears of many non-North American English speakers.

Mr. Anon said...

"DR said...

Supporting pro-Western movements in Ukraine and neighboring states, pushing independence movements in Russia proper (particularly within the oil rich areas of Siberia), and making Russia dependent on trans-national Western institutions like international financial markets should be at the foundation framework of American foreign policy."

Spoken like a true member of the financial parasite guild.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

So in other words you want to control Russia?"

And, presumably, exploit and profit from. DR is some kind of Wall Street cockroach.

szopeno said...

Well, this is a quote from Englishmen who in 1939 was British envoy to Germany (Henderson, AFAIK, "Failure of the mission"):

"no one can deny the German's tendency to be a bully when he is strong."
"put him [German] in any abnormal position of
authority, and in the majority of cases he will at once abuse it...
"I have endeavored earlier in this history to find some explanation for this in
the very considerable amount of Slav blood which flows in the German veins. The
mixture is probably a bad one; yet it cannot do more than account partially for
this distressing and distinctive trait."

"The German, who has a highly developed herd instinct, is perfectly happy when he is wearing a uniform, marching in step, and singing in chorus"
"The Germans are a strange people: they
seem utterly incapable of seeing any side of a question except
their own, or to understand the meaning of civilized decency
and moderation."

Saying that Germanics somehow civilicised wild Slavs seems absurd, especially given OUR stereotypes of what Germans are (in short: arrogant military obsessed guys which see no other side of the coin except of their own, happy with double standards and with no capability of empathy).

SFG said...

"For all their historic and monumental difficulties, their is a streak of genius that runs through that people and I would never underestimate them."

The Russians strike me as an example of the limits of smart fraction. There are plenty of brilliant Russians, as their contributions in music, literature, and mathematics make obvious. But the long history of corruption doesn't seem to allow them to make much of it.

As for kicking them out of Eastern Europe: yeah, right. The Red Army was just going to pick up and leave if we asked them nicely?

As for Russia being an existential threat to Western Civ, Jewish subdivision or otherwise: before 1989, they had nukes aimed at us and a rival ideology. After 1989 or so, not so much. It's a rival power, sure, but it doesn't have satellites in Eastern Europe backing it up. And it's not interested in nuking Israel--that's the Arabs, who are a common enemy. I think a strong Russia's actually potentially better for the Jews than it is for the rest of the West, which would face a renewed competitor, ironically.

Anonymous said...

DR arguing that America should have spent a million lives fighting a country that never wronged us to accomplish...what was done anyway, without firing a shot, is probably the single most evil, insane thing that I've seen anyone write in these comments sections. And that's saying something.

pat said...

You have posted his same subject twice and I have already written a long comment on the other one, but let me just add a few more anecdotes.

The greatest operatic bass of living memory was probably Nicolai Ghiaurov. But the greatest novelty bass was certainly Thurl Ravenscroft - who wasn't Slavic at all.

Operatic basses generally are not as low voiced as choral basses. In opera you have to sing from low F to high F. The high F is more important because you have to be heard over a chorus and orchestra and all good voices gain ring and power as they ascend. In choral music the basses can gang together on the low notes to be heard. I once had to sing a B Flat below Low C in a Negro Spiritual chorus. There is nothing remotely that low in operatic solo music. Probably the lowest operatic bass role is Polifemo in Handel's 'Aci, Galatea and Polifemo'. His aria sits down on Low C for long passages but then ascends to a High B Flat. No one has actually been able to sing this as written since Manna died in the eighteenth century.

Generally the great composers shut down the orchestra if the bass soloist has an exposed low note (e.g. Sarastro's opening scene). Most famous operatic basses have weak bottom notes.

Russian church music has a lot of low grumbling chanting and so does Some Korean music. Country and Gospel quartet basses often can sing incredibly low but usually they cheat. They exploit the 'proximity effect' of cardioid microphones. Many of them would be inaudible singing live.

But many famous operatic basses often sing higher than the average untrained tenors can. Cesare Siepi, Adamo Didur and Sam Ramey had no trouble with a high G.

Most of the famous Slavic basses were also rather high basses. The obvious example is Chaliapin. One reason for this is that the role of Boris Godunov is not really a bass part at all. It is a bass-baritone part. It has all those High G Flats in the Monolog. Varlaam and Pimen are the true bass roles in Boris.

Albertosaurus

Richard A. said...

Song of the Volga Boatmen - Red Army Chorus - Leonid Kharitonov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNb54rwDQJM

A live recording:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tw3g88JtWA

Anonymous said...

"I don't blame the Germans for being paranoid either, considering the way the Good Guys (tm) treated them after the World Wars. African colonies gone, check. Did the British free their own colonies in 1918? Baltic coast, Pomerania, Silesia, Sudetenland gone. What about Ireland, Scotland, Wales? Germany and Austria partitioned. Holocaust guilt trip. What about the Irish Potato Famine and Bengal Famine?"

C'mon. I hardly think the modest territorial price of defeat in 1918 is cause for that amount of angst, especially considering how Prussia/Germany acquired Memel [your "Baltic Coast reference I presume] and West Prussia/Posen in the first place. Only slivers of Pomerania, Silesia were lost in 1918 [these having also been acquired by conquest much earlier, like Prussia itself- turnabout is fair play.] When the rest of those territories were lost in 1945, I think the reasonable retort to any objection would be that if you start a war that big against that many enemies, make sure not to lose it spectacularly. And Sudetenland had been part of the German Reich for 7 years, the result of very recent adventurism. One doesn't get to keep gains like that after losing an all-out war against the whole neighbourhood. It's not like Hitler was defending the traditional Hapsburg or even an Austrian claim on Bohemian Crown lands inhabited by 800 odd years worth of German colonial settlers.

Of course Britain didn't free its colonies in 1918. They didn't lose. So it goes. Granted, Germany might not have freed Scotland and Wales, but I would bet a pro-German independent Ireland would have resulted in the wake of a German victory. The ground had been prepared. Britain didn't lose and Ireland went anyway. There was not much call in 1918 for Scotland to leave, as it happens. Nor Wales. The British PM was a Welshman. Many before and since were Scots. Any ethnic Poles ever serve as Reichs Chancellor?

Whatever may be said of the cynicism and or indolence of British polices wrt Ireland and Bengal, they do not equate to singling out and massacring a subset of your own citizens, launching a war of conquest against the majority of your immediate and near neighbours in rapid succession, the express goals of which include using that expansion to single out subsets of their citizens and massacre them, even diverting precious military resources to that purpose that you could use for real purposes, and expressly extinguishing the individual lives and cultures of millions and aspiring to do so to tens of millions.

The British never tried to round up and massacre Irish or Indians living in England, nor set out to exterminate all of either group at home, nor any subset thereof for the sheer sake of it. The only time English assimilationism in Ireland reached potentially genocidal levels was under Cromwell, and I'd bet he would have been overjoyed if they all up and converted to Puritanism. I doubt he would have still sacked Drogheda, let alone killed all Irish and extinguished the name "Ireland", as the Germans proposed to do to European Jewry not to mention the states and peoples of Russia. Just stealing land for Norman landlords or Scottish planters and suppressing a religion doesn't compare. That's more on the level of American sins, not Nazi ones.

Sorry to go on so long, though.

flavia said...

Never thought about it, but you're right. My female Slavic relatives all speak English with low voices.

Anonymous said...

"As for the deep voices, have you heard the dude on the PA system at the Olympics?"

In Russia, this style of public announcement is called Levitan's Voice. Yes, it has been originated by a Jew.

Here is Yuri Levitan announcing German invasion.

Anonymous said...

DR, those countries you mention as being different from the rest of the Slavs are half of Slavic Europe. Which is why it doesn't make much sense to say "Slavs are", especially on an HBD blog. There isn't really such a thing as "the Slavs" in an HBD sense, the Slavs are only a linguistic group, and are vastly different both culturally and genetically. Cultural westernization and ottomanization etc. have played a role, but also, different Slavic groups came about through Slavs separating from each other and conquering and breeding with vastly different populations across the eastern half of the continent. It's normal that it's all a blur to an average Western European or American, but to me "the Slavs" are a bit of a nebulous concept to discuss on an HBD blog.

To break it down into more sensible broad groupings, I haven't had that much contact with Eastern Slavs, so I can't say what they're like in this respect. I do know lots of Western Slavs and Southern Slavs (being one), and the "cruel and brutal" description frankly strikes me as bit funny, like an overly-exoticized idea from someone who hasn't had much experience with the areas in question. Which isn't to say South Slavs aren't screwed up in lots of ways from years of Ottoman rule. But, it's stuff like rampant corruption and bad management more than any such brutality and lack of empathy.

Also, Slovenia and the rest of former Yugoslavia aren't post-Soviet in any sense, just post-quasi-socialist.

Anonymous said...

Russians and Poles always seem nasally to me.

genocede said...

The British never tried to round up and massacre Irish or Indians living in England"

If the words "Irish", "English", and "genocide", are used in the same sentence, they generally refer to the famine(s) of the mid-19th century, for which the English do deserve much blame. They had confiscated lands, exported the grains for themselves (with cooperation from more prosperous Irish), encouraged the locals to live on potatoes (a dangerously non-indigenous crop with idiosyncracys the Europeans were still unaware of), and were largely indifferent to Irish welfare; I'm sure the feelings were mutual though. I sometimes think the British passed more humanitarianly motivated laws in India than they did in Ireland. The population went from 8 to 3 million (the population has never gone over about 4 million since), mostly due to emmigration, about a million to starvation. Yet boatloads of various foods were sent out from Cork harbor to England just a few miles from where some of the worst suffering was taking place. Tenants were evicted in the snow. Common occurrence.
It was not exactly Rwanda or Auswitch (even the new, reduced kill-count Auswitch), but dying of hunger in the snow after being thrown out of one's mud hut by the occupying guard, is the stuff that victimology is made of.
I don't call it genocide but most "genocides" are the byproduct of warfare and physical domination, and virtually all peoples (nations, ethnicities, religions, tribes) have suffered it, and perpetrated it, at one time in history or another. One reason why I have no patience with professional victims. Once the injustice has been addressed, it's over. On to the next issue, because someone, somewhere, is just going to do it again to someone else. Nobody has only victim or only oppressor in their genes.
Since we're talking of Irish, to quote Joyce, "all history is nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

Anonymous said...

SFG said...
"Slavs are naturally predisposed to violence, aggression, dominance and humiliation. They don't have much sense ingrained sense of fairness, justice or empathy. That's why Russia is such an incredibly dangerous superpower."

They have sense of fairness, justice, and empathy, just not with national enemies. How many times has Russia been invaded in the past few hundred years? How many Russians died in WW2? Having a long and bloody history makes you paranoid.

I'm not a huge fan of Putin or Russian corruption, but I don't blame the Rooskies for being paranoid, especially toward the USA, which humiliated them and destroyed their empire, then ripped them off. USA vs China is simple power politics; USA vs Russia is personal.
2/19/14, 5:00 PM

My comment to this comment:
1. what a stupid redneck yank,
2. your knowledge about Russia and the Russians is based on your state's brainwashing,
3.it is surprising that you have been barking against "communism" for decades and now you are relying on communist goods from China
4. If anyone is going to be dangerous to the US in the future, it is going to be muslim countries, so you are barking at the wrong tree, again