boris the horse

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“Hobson had tried Boris as a racehorse, and he would have been a very good one were it not for his unbreakable habit, at the off, or attacking the horse next to him and jumping the railings at the first bend. Moist clamped his hand onto his hat, wedged his toes in the bellyband, and hung onto the reins as Broadway came at him all at once, carts and people blurring past, his eyeballs pressing into his head.” –Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

I think Boris was my favorite character in Going Postal, tbqh.

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On this day, 17 February 1905, the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, general-governor of Moscow, was committed in the Kremlin by the member of the Combat Organization of the Social-Revolutionary Party  Ivan Kalyayev. 

Grand Duke, son of Alexander II and uncle of Nicholas II, had a bad reputation and was known for his strong conservative position and antisemitism. Also he was accused of the tragedy on Khodynka because he was responsible for its organization in 1896. 

The bomb was thrown to the carriage with Grand Duke and tore his body to pieces. Kalyayev was arrested at the scene because he was in a daze and had no strength to escape. The last photo showed him after the assassination. Later Kalyayev was hanged. 

Among his comrades Kalyayev was known for his idealistic nature and romantic poetry. His figure inspired many authors - Alexander Block, Leonid Andreyev (The governor), Zinaida Gippius, Maxim Gorky, Albert Camus (The righteous) and so on. Also there is a book of his comrade, revolutionary Boris Savinkov,“The pale horse” based on this story. Savinkov described there a psychological portrait of Kalyayev and the book contains a lot of interesting material about revolutionary activity of that time.