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Empire and Paranoia
January 01, 2014

Empire and Paranoia

By Paul E. Richardson

This issue's review section considers Ben Judah's "Fragile Empire," Victor Martinovich's "Paranoia," C.P. Lesley's "The Golden Lynx," and Olga Fedina's "What Every Russian Knows (And You Don't)."

Baba Yagas, Kremlin and Cooks
November 01, 2013

Baba Yagas, Kremlin and Cooks

By Paul E. Richardson

A review of two books on Baba Yaga, one on the Kremlin, and one on Soviet cuisine and memoir. Also brief reviews of two movies and three other books on everything from Lee Harvey Oswald to emigres in Paris.

Russian Mysteries
July 01, 2013

Russian Mysteries

By Paul E. Richardson

Where we review "Murder at the Dacha," by Alexei Bayer, "The Twelfth Department," by William Ryan and "The House of Special Purpose," by John Boyne. Also reviewed in short are a few works of both fiction and nonfiction.

Decline and Stalin
March 01, 2013

Decline and Stalin

By Paul E. Richardson

Book reviews of "The Last Man in Russia," by Oliver Bullough; "Stalin's Barber," by Paul Levitt; "St. Petersburg City Pack," by Oxygen Books; "Happy Moscow," by Andrei Platonov (Robert Chandler, trans.); and "The Lying Year," by Andrei Gelasimov (Marian Schwartz, trans.).

Spies and Cats
November 01, 2012

Spies and Cats

By Paul E. Richardson

A review of two new works of fiction, Matthew Dunn's Sentinel and Ilya Boyashov's The Way of Muri. Both offer entertaining reading, for entirely different reasons.

Films, Noir, Churches and Aristocrats
September 01, 2012

Films, Noir, Churches and Aristocrats

By Paul E. Richardson

Reviews of "Former People" by Douglas Smith, "Nevsky" by Ben McCool and Mario Guevara, "St. Petersburg Noir," edited by Julia Goumen and Natalia Smirnova, "Wooden Churches," by Richard Davies and Matilda Moreton, and "Russian Film Posters," by Vivays Publishing.

A Wealth of Literature
May 01, 2012

A Wealth of Literature

By Paul E. Richardson

Our review shelves were overloaded this month, necessitating more and shorter reviews. There is both great fiction (Scar, by the Dyachenkos; The Twelve Chairs, by Ilf & Petrov; The Time of Women, by Elena Chizhova; 50 Writers) and non-fiction including two Putin-focused histories and a remarkable look inside Soviet era labor camps.

 

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EVENTS FOR RUSSOPHILES

20th Annual Russian Arts and Culture Festival
May 01, 2021 to May 31, 2021

20th Annual Russian Arts and Culture Festival

Virtual | N/A, N/A

The City of West Hollywood administration invites everyone to join a virtual celebration of Russian Arts and Culture this May. An array of musical events, activities for kids, workshops, virtual tours, concerts, contests, interviews with interesting people, and much more will comprise a month-long celebration. The program of our events will be published on the website of the festival and in the Facebook group.

A Few of Our Books

Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.

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