Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 19:48:04
15 November 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

May/June 2011

May/June 2011
Cover: Pavel Lunin

7: Let the Games Begin
Maria Antonova
In less than a year, Russia will go to the polls to vote for president, and the winner – for the first time – will be awarded with a six-year term. While intrigue swirls over which of the ruling tandem – President Dmitry Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – will be the anointed candidate of the ruling party, United Russia, wobbly economic conditions have led to declines in both leaders’ favorability ratings (though still well above 60 percent), and there are new signs of strain between them.

12: Battle Him, the Tiger Minister
Maria Antonova
In the spirit of making the Olympic Games in Sochi a truly national event to unite the Russian people, the Sochi organizers last year launched a contest where artists could submit entries to be chosen as the official Olympic mascot, followed by internet voting and a final jury selection that was supposed to take into account the internet voting.

17: Rethinking the Unthinkable
Tamara Eidelman
Ask any Russian, “When did the War begin?” – just “the War,” not the Civil, First World, Chechen, or Afghan War – and the answer will be automatic: June 22, 1941. It goes without saying that the War is the one known here as the Great Patriotic War, the one that people cannot get used to calling “the Second World War,” especially since the Second World War actually began two years earlier and, strictly speaking, the Soviet Union was already participating in it, taking eastern Poland, fighting with Finland.
:: Translation by Nora Seligman Favorov

Russian Calendar

19: A 20,000 Candle Party
Tamara Eidelman
On May 11, 1791, one of the most extravagant and sumptuous parties of Catherine the Great’s reign was held in the Tauride Palace, the St. Petersburg residence of Prince Grigory Potyomkin. The celebration marked the successful capture of the Izmail Fortress from Turkey. Yet as significant as this victory was, what was really being celebrated was something much greater.
:: Translation by Nora Seligman Favorov

Russian Calendar

22: Slavic Adoration
Tamara Eidelman
There is a marvelous photograph taken by Yevgeny Khaldei in Bulgaria in 1944. Soviet troops, having just entered the capital of Sophia, are looking in amazement at a monument to Alexander II in the city’s main square. The base of the monument reads, “to the Tsar Liberator.” These young men, having received a Stalin-era Soviet education, undoubtedly found it strange to see a monument to any monarch, to say nothing of one of the Russian tsars, all of whom their official history had put down as exploiters and tyrants. The Bulgarians, it turned out, saw things differently.
:: Translation by Nora Seligman Favorov

Russian Calendar

25: Holy Trinity Monastery
Philomena Lawrence
Each year on June 13, Holy Spirit Day, Holy Trinity Monastery in upstate New York celebrates its annual feast day, opening its doors to the public. The largest spiritual center for the Russian Orthodox faith outside Russia, the monastery played an important role in preservation of Orthodoxy during the Soviet era.
Religion & Spirituality

26: Less than PC Russian
Mikhail Ivanov
The domino revolutions in the Middle East got me thinking about the word “Arab,” along with some other less-than-politically-correct Russian colloquialisms. Even if one never intends to use such terms, it is important to understand their meaning and usage.
:: Illustrations/Images by Victor Bogorad

Survival Russian

28: The Real Last Tsar
Rhonda Abner
History tends to record Nicholas II as the last Tsar of all the Russias. Not to put too fine a point on it, but History is wrong. There was one more, and this is his fascinating story.

34: Trekking In Partisan Footsteps
Lada Bakal
Eastern Crimea was a center for partisan activity during the Great Patriotic War. In honor of the May Day holiday, we trek through this wild realm along the Black Sea, hoping to recapture a sense of what it meant to fight and live here.
:: Translation by Peter Morley
:: Illustrations/Images by Lada Bakal


40: Russian Strings
Ilya Ovchinnikov
As a festival in Moscow brings together virtuoso guitarists from across Europe, the traditional Russian seven-stringed form of the instrument is enjoying a renaissance… in America.
:: Translation by Peter Morley


47: How the East Was Won
Nicky Gardner
Since Soviet Russia began domestic production of trucks and automobiles, the road rally has been a venerated pursuit. Yet, interestingly, Russian road rallies are not about winning a race, but finishing a quest.
Soviet Era

52: The All-Important Tavern
Darra Goldstein
Boris Kustodiev’s painting Moscow Tavern (1916) captures a world that was soon to vanish. Here, old-fashioned cabbies, wearing the telltale long beards and caftans of Old Believers, enjoy a break from their work as they relax over tea. Recipe: Herring in Dill Sauce

54: Fiction and Memoirs
Paul E. Richardson
Reviews of five books: Snowdrops by A.D. Miller; Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente; The Russian Word's Worth, by Michele A. Berdy; The Three Fat Men, by Yuri Olesha; Memoir of a Gulag Actress, by Tamara Petkevich.

56: Contemplating Chernobyl
Maria Antonova
Just as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were preparing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the deadly Chernobyl nuclear accident (April 26, 1986), the world faced a harrowing reminder of the possibility of nuclear catastrophe, as Japan’s Fukushima plant experienced multiple partial meltdowns, spewing radioactive material into the air and water.

58: Uchites #12
Susanna Nazarova and Evgeny Dengub
The 12th installment of our Uchites insert uses the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Russia as its theme.