Published July 01, 2016

The Spine of Russia

  • by Paul E. Richardson and Mikhail Mordasov

The Spine of Russia
  • Translated by Nadya Grebennikova
  • 200 pages
  • $60
  • Buy



In the Fall of 2015, Russian and American journalists Mikhail Mordasov and Paul E. Richardson traveled 6,000 kilometers from Russia’s northwestern corner in the Arctic to Sochi, in the tropical climes of the Black Sea.

The idea of the project was to get behind the headlines about worsening US-Russian relations and collect powerful images and honest human stories that offered a more subtle, complex picture of Russia than is normally seen in American mass media. We sought to tell the stories of Russians whose life and work is taking the country forward, and to ask them what they felt patriotic about, what was important to them.

If you want to understand another country, you need to ask their people what is important to them.

This coffee table book is the largely photographic journal of that epic road trip, which was underwritten by a successful Kickstarter campaign. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools. 

A high quality, hardcover photo book, The Spine of Russia is a vivid portrait of modern Russian life, and includes over 40 environmental portraits of “heroes” interviewed in depth by the journalists. Organized in a unique, non-linear style to allow readers to construct their own trip across Russia, this is a volume you will treasure for years to come.

Click through below for a sampling of the book:

About the Authors

PAUL E. RICHARDSON is a journalist and publisher. Editor of Russian Life magazine, he is author of Russia Survival Guide: Business & Travel (seven editions), three novels, and a humor book on running (Running is Flying, Rodale, 2012). He has written numerous articles on Russian history, culture and life published in Russian Life and elsewhere, and has  translated countless articles, short stories and longer works into English for both Russian Life and Chtenia, the company’s quarterly literary journal. Over the past two and a half decades, he has edited over two-dozen works of fiction and non-fiction, including two books to win the national award for the best Russian to English translation of the year: Ilf and Petrov’s classic novel, The Little Golden Calf, and Vladimir Gilyarovsky’s Moscow and Muscovites.

MIKHAIL MORDASOV is a photojournalist who was born in Novgorod and educated as a lawyer. After taking up photography during his military service, he shifted his professional goals to photojournalism. Since 2009 he has been traveling throughout European Russia working as a documentary photographer, visiting both the region’s wealthy cities and its poor villages. His work has been published by dozens of local and international news outlets, magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post, NY Times, GEO, Spiegel, Le Monde, Newsweek, BBC, Russian Reporter, Ogonyok, Forbes, Expert, Kommersant, The Boston Globe, Les Echos, Berliner Zeitung, Die Zeit, Die Presse, Reuters, AFP, AP, and others. He has participated in numerous photo exhibitions and won several photo awards, including the Sony World Photography Award, and the national contests “Sporting Russia” and “The Best Photographer.”

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.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567