March 01, 2016

Bricks in the Wall

Back in February, I was researching a blog post for our website on the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill (we are significantly expanding our online offerings, by the way, be sure to check it out). The post explains the causes and consequences of the Great Schism of 1054 that led to separate Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. While reading historical accounts written from both sides, I was struck first by how events so well documented could be interpreted so differently, and second how such a massive chasm could develop over just a few words, a few differences in ritual, and a few personal slights.

But of course we are talking about matters of religion and faith here, and if history teaches us anything, it is that these are the most intractable of issues. They go to the root of who we are and how we see the world and our purpose here. Not an arena conducive to compromise.

We see a similar dynamic with the subject of our magazine (by which I mean the country we call Russia). Read the copious output from any of the Russian government-financed publications or Kremlin apologists (Russia Behind the Headlines, Russia Direct, Russia Today, Sputnik, Russia Insider) and you get a very different take on the same events than if you read non-Russian media like Radio Free Europe, Meduza, The Russophobe blog, The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.

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About Us

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.

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