Russian Life magazine (RL) is published bimonthly, in January, March, May, July, September, and November. If you expect us to give your submission or query careful consideration, it must reflect an understanding of the magazine. Please read our publication thoroughly so you have a good grasp of our style and content (not doing this is the surest way to have your submission rejected; it is quite easy to tell who understands our style and mission, and who does not). Back issues are available for $7, plus postage. Subscriptions cost $39 per year. To find out if we have previously covered a story you are pitching (we avoid repetition), search our online archive. It may also be helpful to understand the history of the magazine.
Most RL features, both in print and online are written by experienced and talented freelance journalists and writers, with professional photography and/or illustrations. RL covers Russian culture, travel, history, cities, towns, politics, art, geography, issues, business and society. RL often focuses on current issues and events facing Russia and Russians. But it is not a newsmagazine. The majority of RL print magazine content is feature articles, many of which are tied into a round (5/10/25-year multiple) anniversary or other seasonal "hook." Online articles tend to be shorter (500-1000 words) and run the gamut in terms of subject matter.
RL's writing style is terse and readable. The model is third-person American magazine journalism style (and spelling) on the lines of the AP stylebook. We seek to provide coverage of Russia that is free of illusions (but not blemishes) and full of hope (but not ideology or agendas). Our job is to present a realistic, truthful, and independent view that balances these realities, providing enjoyable, insightful reading. It is also helpful to remember that RL is a very visual magazine; few stories do not include photographs of professional caliber.
Freelancers should also familiarize themselves with our transcription and dating guidelines.
Issue-focused articles rely on heavy reporting and excellent sourcing. Historical articles must use a well-balanced choice of sources and, where applicable, publications. Travel articles must draw on rich quotes and real events that provide local flavor, and not simply first-person narrative. Writers must be willing to prove and demonstrate their sources and reporting at the request of the Editors.
All manuscripts are thoroughly edited for style, consistency, and clarity. The final title of the published article, subheads, captions, photographs, and illustrations, are all the Editor's prerogative.
poetry or fiction (unless you are an established Russian author)
stories about how Russia (or Russians) changed your life
editorials or personal viewpoints on developments in Russia
unsolicited travel photos
articles with a hidden or open intent to advertise the services of a company, non-profit organization or governmental agency
articles espousing the viewpoint of specific companies, organizations or governments
articles about events outside Russia (e.g. reviews of foreign performances or exhibitions)
These are the different departments or sections of the magazine and what we accept from freelancers:
Readings: If you have a book coming out from a major publisher, we may be interested in publishing an excerpt here. Or, if you are in Russia and have a short story that is not getting covered elsewhere, this would be a good place for it.
Russian Chronicle: On occasion, we accept short (500-800 word) freelance submissions to this section on Russian history. This is the place for biographies, short historical curiosities, and date-related stories that do not expand to feature length.
Events Calendar: We do not accept freelance submissions for this department, but we are always happy to hear about Russian-related events going on around the world. Please submit them to our online database.
Survival Russian: We do not accept freelance submissions for this department.
Russian Cuisine: We accept freelance submissions for this department.
Feature Articles: This is where most freelance work in our magazine is published. Each issue of the magazine has 4-5 feature articles, usually between 2000 and 5000 words in length, with 6-10 photos.
Travel Articles: Often, one of the feature stories will be a travel journal type of story, which allows the use of first-person and freer narrative forms than might be typical for an issue- or history-focused feature article.
Photo Features: Only rarely do we publish photo features without editorial.
Interviews: We are interested in exclusive interviews with Russian newsmakers who have something interesting to say about current events, history, or culture.
Post Script: We do not accept freelance submissions for this department, although we do at times commission editorials for this page.
Online Blog Posts: We welcome pitches for blog posts on all aspects of Russian life, culture, and society. Rarely are we interested in editorials or opinion pieces, however, unless one's position and experience offers a rather unique insider perspective.
Persons interested in submitting articles (or photos) to RL or being assigned freelance work should follow these procedures:
Use the form below to send a message and introduce your proposed piece to our editors. Succinctly summarize the proposed article, how you think this will fit into our editorial mission, and why you think you are uniquely qualified to offer this piece. Also include a few sentences about your past publishing experience and what type of work samples you can supply. Only rarely do we accept the work of unpublished freelancers. The means of communicating that will get the quickest response is email. If you send something to us through snail mail, we will still want to reply by email (or at a snail's pace via analog mail).
Do NOT submit unsolicited manuscripts without first submitting a query. We feel that it is most productive to work with writers ahead of time – to hone story ideas to fit our needs. Queries by phone are strongly discouraged.
NEVER send us images over email. We hate that. If we are interested in a story or feature idea, we will supply you with upload links for thumbnails and/or full-resolution images.
We are usually quick to respond to queries sent over email, indicating whether we have general interest or not. Please note, however, that if we are under production or other deadlines, it can take us a few weeks to respond to an email. Be patient. We respond to all requests sooner or later.
RL publishes most submissions 3-6 months after acceptance. Seasonal material must be submitted earlier: up to nine months in advance of the anticipated publication date.
Manuscripts, photographs, slides, and other submissions sent in non-digital form are returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. RL is not responsible for any materials submitted on speculation, and no items will be returned to you without sufficient pre-paid postage and packaging. Submissions may also be made electronically, but only with prior approval.
Fees for freelance work are agreed upon on an individual basis, depending on the scope, difficulty, and nature of the story being written. Payment is upon publication and fees vary depending upon the length and difficulty of the article.
Written correspondence should be sent to:
Russian Life magazine
PO Box 567
Montpelier, VT 05601
Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567