November/December 2013

Features in this Issue

In the Army Now

James Brown decided to test himself at the elite Russian paratroopers’ boot camp. This is his story.

The Plot Against the Big Three

Sixty years ago this November, the Soviets uncovered a Nazi plot to assassinate Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference. Or did they?

Fiction Contest

In which we announce - and print the entries - of the two winners of our fiction contest, based on a picture that appeared in our summer issue.

Stolby and Stolbisty

Just beyond Krasnoyarsk is a national park catering to adventurous travelers. Recent upgrades show what Russia’s national park system could become.

Departments and More

  • 4


    Putin sees the world in terms of judo, the sport closest to his heart, while President Obama sees it in terms of basketball.

  • 5


    Readers write back.

  • 7

    Science Wars

    The government wants to reform the Russian Academy of Sciences. Scientists are having none of it. Social Issues
  • 8
    Note Book

    Note Book

    From politics and sports to stats and quotable quotes.

  • 14
    Travel Notes

    Travel Notes

    Everything you need to know from the travel front.

  • 16

    All a-Twitter

    In our Trends section, editor Maria Antonova looks at Twitter accounts by dead writers, sex ed through literature, and poll results at psychiatric facilities in Moscow...

    Social Issues
  • 19
    Russian Calendar

    The Death of Vasily III

    When Grand Prince Vasily III died in late 1533, his second wife, Yelena Glinskaya made her move, ruthlessly so. In so doing, she paved the way for her son to take power. Ivan the Terrible would rule for 37 years...

  • 20
    Russian Calendar

    From Anna to Mikhail

    A short poem by Anna Akhmatova believed to be to Mikhail Lozinsky, who supported her through thick and thin.

    History Literature
  • 22
    Russian Calendar

    A Cosmic Wedding

    When two cosmonauts - Valentina Tereshkova and Andriyan Nikolayev - wed in late 1963, it was the event of the year. We print an extract from the diary of its stage manager.

  • 25
    Russian Calendar

    The Poet Turns Historian

    How Nikolai Karamzin transformed himself from a noted poet into Russia's premier historian.

  • 28
    Survival Russian

    Verbs Take a Holiday

    A look at a four verbs that have had their meanings warped in recent years. Useful stuff to know so that you don't inadvertently order a hit when at the restaurant...

  • 29
    Language Learning

    Detskaya Zhelezhnaya Doroga

    The language learning insert focuses on the story on the Children's Railroad in this issue.

  • 38

    The Children's Railroad

    Ten miles outside Moscow is a functioning railway staffed and operated entirely by children. We go for a visit.

  • 50

    Night on Tsvetnoy Boulevard

    In this excerpt and preview from the forthcoming Moscow and Muscovites we hear of Gilyarovsky's harrowing nighttime adventure along a Moscow boulevard.

  • 54

    Russian Chicago

    This sprawling Midwestern city is arguably America’s most Slavic metropolis. Yet it is surprisingly challenging to locate its Russian center.

    Russians Abroad
  • 60

    A Mythical Dessert

    Explore a rich dessert named after the gourmand and minister of finance under Tsar Alexander I: Guriev Kasha.

  • 62
    Under Review

    Baba Yagas, Kremlin and Cooks

    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.

  • 64

    Navalny's Near Miss

    An insider's account of the Navalny campaign for Moscow mayor.


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