Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 15:35:35
23 September 2018


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Culture

Covering the broader realm of culture, plus humor, food and drink.

The Long Kiosk Goodbye
The Long Kiosk Goodbye

The destruction of 97 kiosks around Moscow opens up the controversies of architectural preservation, the plight of small businesses, and the rebuilding of history itself. 

Tags: moscow, metro, business, russian architecture, politics, economy, kiosks
8 Sci-Fi Futures That Explain Russia Today
8 Sci-Fi Futures That Explain Russia Today

In honor of Evgeny Zamyatin's birthday, here are eight Russian sci-fi novels that reveal something about Russia and the world beyond.

Tags: science fiction, literature, history, fantasy, bogdanov, zamyatin, strugatsky, voinovich, lukyanenko, yeskov, sorokin, elizarov
13 Crazes Proving Putinmania Is Here to Stay
13 Crazes Proving Putinmania Is Here to Stay

Join with us in a celebration of 13 inspired displays of Putinalia (not as nasty as it sounds) that Russia has gifted to the world.

    Tags: Putin, politics, culture, humor
    More Dangerous Than Gunpowder
    More Dangerous Than Gunpowder

    Under Stalin, a poem could mean life or death. For many poets, it was a one-way ticket to the Gulag. Today, poems can be a means to face cultural memories of arrests in the night, forced labor, and the silence demanded of people fearing those fates. 

    Tags: poetry, gulag, prison, memory, history, literature, Akhmatova, Ozerov, Samoilov, censorship
    How to Celebrate the New Year
    How to Celebrate the New Year

    Are you sure you know how to appease the Fire Monkey and get your New Year off to a good start? We have tips! Learn how to decorate your house, what food to serve, and what to wear to ensure good luck in 2016.

    Tags: new year's eve, holidays, traditions
    5 Reasons Silver is Precious
    5 Reasons Silver is as Precious Poetically as Metallically

    As a metal, Silver means second place; as a period of poetic production in Russia, the Silver Age is unparalleled. The years 1890-1925 (give or take) stand out for the explosion of poetic voices, forms, and innovations. With help from the recently published Russian Silver Age Poetry, we explore what sets that period apart.

    Tags: poetry, silver age, symbolism, history, literature, Merezhkovsky, Gippius, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Khodasevich, Khlebnikov, Balmont, Severyanin, Bryusov
    A Survey of Russian Humor (and it rhymes!)
    A Survey of Russian Humor (and it rhymes!)

    There's plenty of talk about how Russia is dark and dismal, its writers pathologically depressed, and the general mood among the populace about as cheery as a Siberian winter. These stereotypes give short shrift to Russian humor...

    Tags: poetry, humor, literature, Oleinikov, Khlebnikov, Boroditskaya, Prigov, satire
    Venedikt Erofeev's Art of Alcoholism
    Venedikt Erofeev's Art of Alcoholism (and how to say nyet)

    Vodka gets its fair share of PR as far as Russia is concerned. But is it always for the right reasons? October 24 marks the birth of Venedikt Erofeev, at least as well known for his drinking and vagrancy as for his writing.

    Tags: vodka, Erofeev, Soviet
    I'm Vysotsky: The Legend of Russian Songwriting
    I'm Vysotsky: The Legend of Russian Songwriting

    Everyone in the Soviet Union knew his songs, despite constant censorship and troubles with the Soviet regime. To this day, any Russian will recognize his raspy singing voice and silly falsetto. But what was the great Vladimir Vysotsky like in person?

    Tags: music, soviet union, vladimir vysotsky, bards
    How to Celebrate Russia Day
    How to Celebrate Russia Day

    The history of Russia Day is both complicated and controversial, with its origins in the dusk of the Soviet Union. Even its name causes confusion, with only about half the Russian population correctly identifying the holiday observed on June 12. We dig in to ferret out the facts.

    Tags: holidays, russia day, june 12
    The Controversial Composer
    The Controversial Composer

    The personal and professional have become increasingly intertwined in considerations of the life and work of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Music historian Richard Taruskin shows that this is nothing new – it all began shortly after the master composer's death.

    Tags: music, history, tchaikovsky
    The Most Useful Russian Inventions
    The Most Useful Russian Inventions

    What do radio, television, the periodic table, and helicopters have in common? Russians were involved in developing all of them – and more!

    Tags: inventions, science
    How Well Do You Know Russian Fairy Tale Characters?
    How Well Do You Know Russian Fairy Tale Characters?

    Sure, everyone knows the name Baba Yaga. But do you know where she lives? Do you know Koschey the Immortal, or Zmey Gorynych? How well do you know the spirits of the forest? Read up on these key characters of Russian fairy tales!

    Tags: fairy tales
    Celebrating Women on Women's Day
    Celebrating Women on Women's Day

    International Womens' Day; Russia honors the role of all women in Russian culture.

    Tags: russia, women, international
    Decoding Leviathan
    Decoding Leviathan

    Leviathan is not, as virtually every mainstream critic has presumed, “anti-Russian.” I watched the movie resolutely prepared to intensely dislike it. I fully believed it would shamelessly pander to an American public eager to see a film that demonized Putin and made the country seem like a hellish landscape of unsalvageable bleakness. But that was not at all the case. 

    Tags: leviathan, film, oscars, zvyagintsev
    Our First Cold War
    Our First Cold War

    When the Editors at Russian Life asked me to write about how my friends and I (“the younger generation”) view the current state of Russian-American relations, given the events of 2014, I honestly had to pause and think about it.

    Tags: us-russian relations, cold war, putin, youth
    Yolka
    Yolka

    As a special gift, we share a somewhat untypical holiday story, reprinted from the pages of Chtenia, by the master humorist and short story writer Mikhail Zoshchenko. 

    Tags: zoshchenko, christmas, holidays, fiction
    Grandfather Frost: More than Just Santa Claus
    Grandfather Frost: More than Just Santa Claus

    Don't be fooled: the old man with a white beard and red coat is not Santa Claus. It's Grandfather Frost! Learn how to tell the two apart with this handy list.

    Tags: ded moroz, grandfather frost, holiday, new year's eve
    Unity Day: Whose Unity?
    Unity Day: Whose Unity?

    November 4 is now the Day of People's Unity in Russia. But what unity? What people? A look at the holiday's history brings up more questions and confusion than it does answers – but Russians don't let that spoil their long weekend.

    Tags: unity day, holiday, Russia, 1612, communism, liberation
    Russian Exceptionalism According to Boris Dubin
    Russian Exceptionalism According to Boris Dubin

    A social state, a sense of community and shared decision making, an oddly distant government, home-grown values, and being split between Europe and Asia – according to Russians, this is what makes Russia special. But Boris Dubin's findings show that what really makes Russia special is Russia's ability to pretend no one else exists.

    Tags: sociology, russians, russia