January/February 2010

Features in this Issue

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Chekhov was one of Russia's most prolific and influential writers, and this January marks his 150th birthday. We look back at his work, always worth another read.


No other part of Europe can match Berlin and its immediate hinterland for having such a prolonged engagement with Russia. In fact, locals sometimes refer to the German capital as Berlinograd.

Russia On Line

Lines are "a condition of the Russian soul," as expat Carl Schreck rediscovered recently. And it may be that the only way to cope with this condition is to submit...

Lev Tolstoy's Unhappy Family

Lev Tolstoy's family was unhappy in its own peculiar way, split by a three-decade-long disagreement between the writer and his wife about money.


It could be the world's longest New Year's celebration, stretching a whole month in midwinter. Indeed, this Buddhist holiday is becoming an important way that Siberian Buryats seek to preserve their cultural identity.

Departments and More

  • 5

    Letters to the Editor

    Readers comment and correct.

  • 7
    Note Book

    Terror Returns

    The November 27, 2009, train bombing turned public attention once again to domestic terrorism...

  • 8
    Note Book


    All the news that fits from all across Russia.

  • 14
    Travel Notes

    Travel Notes

    The latest from the travel front.

  • 12
    Note Book

    An Activist is Born

    Alexei Dymovsky becomes a YouTube star for highlighting police corruption, then loses his job... yet few Russians seem to know of him.
  • 19
    Russian Calendar

    Ivan the Terrible

    In January 1565, Tsar Ivan the Terrible split Russia in two. Five hundred years on, Russia still hasn't gotten over it...

  • 22
    Russian Calendar

    Literaturnaya Gazeta

    Founded in 1830 by Alexander Pushkin and Anton Delvig, this important newspaper has long been something of a bellweather for Russia's relationship to literature...

  • 24
    Russian Calendar

    Galina Ulanova

    On January 8, 1910, Prima Ballerina Galina Ulanova was born. Unquestionably a great dancer, she has somehow always been above criticism...

  • 26
    Survival Russian

    Tender Insults

    There is nothing like the tender, inoffensive insult to patch up strained relations...

  • 60

    Feasting with Angels

    A look at lubok and its use to promote etiquette, manners and morals at the dinner table. And a recipe for Steamed Trout.

  • 62
    Under Review

    Math and Memoirs

    A review of "Perfect Rigor" by Masha Gessen, "Anton Chekhov, a Brother's Memoir," by Mikhail Chekhov, three excellent new fiction volumes, and the first of a two part series on language learning aids.

  • 64
    Post Script

    Do Svidaniya Stirlitz

    "We were all Stirlitzes..." A fond look back at the stoic actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov, who brought to life the WWII spy Stirlitz.

  • 65

    Uchites 07

    The seventh edition of our Uchites language insert, sponsored by Russkiy Mir Foundation, uses the works of writer Lev Tolstoy to explore fruit, verb and adjective declensions, animals, and more. Three recordings are also available online. Language

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