Film & TV

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Decoding Leviathan
February 23, 2015

Decoding Leviathan

Leviathan is not, as virtually every mainstream critic has presumed, “anti-Russian.” I watched the movie resolutely prepared to intensely dislike it. I fully believed it would shamelessly pander to an American public eager to see a film that demonized Putin and made the country seem like a hellish landscape of unsalvageable bleakness. But that was not at all the case. 

The Many Homelands of Sergei Parajanov
January 07, 2014

The Many Homelands of Sergei Parajanov

Start with an Armenian base, drop in some Tbilisi, some Moscow, some Kiev, stir in amazing cinematography and strong political convictions, season with a Siberian labor camp – and voila! You're getting close to the legendary filmmaker Sergei Parajanov.

Spies Like Us
April 17, 2013

Spies Like Us

The Americans, on FX, is a brilliant episodic drama that recreates the 1980s with only minimal anachronisms but plenty of tension, plot twists, double-dealing and moral relativism.

Anna Karenina: The Puppet Version
November 19, 2012

Anna Karenina: The Puppet Version

The movie is almost too silly to discuss, as if Saturday Night Live decided to do a parody, but nobody but the costume-director and scene-making crew were ready. A puppet resembling Keira Knightley plays Anna; although thin, even scrawny, the animators make her look almost human.

Anna Karenina The First Time
November 09, 2012

Anna Karenina The First Time

In this, the second of two posts on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the author recounts his discovery of the greatest novel of all time: "I had never lived a book as I lived Anna Karenina."

Anna Karenina Every Day
November 08, 2012

Anna Karenina Every Day

Lev Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been called the greatest novel of all time. But can one really appreciate it as much in English translation versus the Russian original?

Lyubov Orlova
January 03, 2012

Lyubov Orlova

Lyubov Petrova Orlova was born January 29, 1902 and became the first Soviet movie star and sex symbol. She was also Stalin’s favorite film actress and a highly gifted singer. This is an extended biography of the artist (an abridged version ran in the JanFeb 2012 issue of Russian Life).

Chtenia 15 and Summer Movies
July 01, 2011

Chtenia 15 and Summer Movies

In her introduction to the next issue of Chtenia (coming in July to a mailbox near you!), Tamara Edelman writes several Russian films set in summer, including a Mosfilm classic I Step through Moscow. "Summer," she writes, "is a time for growing up, a time for educating the senses, for better understanding one's self. It is a time for transformation."

On PBS this Month: The Great Famine
April 01, 2011

On PBS this Month: The Great Famine

Today, Herbert Hoover – the 31st president of the United States (1929-1933) – is probably most associated with the onset and deepening of the Great Depression. Few know that prior to his presidency he was a successful international mining engineer (and had some lucrative investments in Russia before the Revolution), and later headed up the ARA (American Relief Administration), designed to deliver needed foreign aid to Belgium in the aftermath of World War I. 

 

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Russian-Language Gallery Tour
February 22, 2022 to February 22, 2032

Russian-Language Gallery Tour

Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY

Russian-language tour exploring our collection in depth, second Sunday of each month at 1 pm. Free, reservations required

A Few of Our Books

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.
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.
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.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
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.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
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...
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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 Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.

Popular Articles

Russian Genealogy
February 20, 2014

Russian Genealogy

A comprehensive listing of resources, online and off, for researching your Russian roots, courtesy of Ginny Audet.

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