Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 20:06:11
12 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


History

The past is prologue.

70 Years After Victory, the Battle for Stalingrad Rages On
70 Years After Victory, the Battle for Stalingrad Rages On

The Battle for Stalingrad turned the tide of WWII in the Allies’ favor. Marked by the loss of nearly 2 million lives, it is one of the most devastating battles of human history. Yet it also continues to be embroiled in controversy, given the complex relationship Russians have toward Josef Stalin. 

Tags: stalin, wwii, war, stalingrad
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
Smoktunovsky: Portrait of an Actor
Smoktunovsky: Portrait of an Actor

A generation of Soviets grew up seeing the face of actor Innokenty Smoktunovsky in his varied roles, both on screen and on stage. But what was his actual life like? In this snippet, he gives a taste of the trials he underwent as a soldier fighting the Nazis.

Tags: world war ii, smoktunovsky, memoir
Dizzy with "Success": The Horrors of Collectivization
Dizzy with "Success": The Horrors of Collectivization

Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a time of hunger, suffering, and massive death tolls – even as the papers proclaimed phenomenal success. One former peasant's memoirs give us a window on that terrible time.

Tags: soviet union, collectivization, stalin, dekulakization
The Sino-Soviet Love-Hate Relationship
The Sino-Soviet Love-Hate Relationship

On Valentine's Day 65 years ago, the USSR and China signed their Treaty of Friendship. But their budding romance was not to last: just six years later the relationship went south, and nothing has been as rosy since.

Tags: china, ussr, russia, international relation, treaties
Trotsky on Trotskyites
Trotsky on Trotskyites

How can you be accused of wanting to restore the bourgeoisie when all you've said is that the current policy isn't anti-bourgeoisie enough? Leon Trotsky responds to the nonsense dominating Soviet courtrooms in the 1930's.
 

Tags: trotsky, kamenev, zinovyev, stalin, show trials, soviet union, russia
Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of All Russias
Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of All Russias

Tsar Ivan IV had a bit of a temper. When you look at his record of dramatic self-exile, tyrannical persecution, domestic abuse, and abrupt changes of heart, you realize that the current meaning of "Terrible" fits him quite well.

Tags: Ivan the Terrible, russia, tyranny
Ruble Rabble: The Kremlin's Grand Strategy
Ruble Rabble: The Kremlin's Grand Strategy

World oil prices are plummeting, the ruble is in free fall, the Russian economy is on the brink of a recession, inflation is climbing, and the Russian Central Bank’s benchmark interest rate has jumped to 17 percent. Meanwhile, President Putin still has popularity ratings in the 80 percent range and there is, seemingly, no panic in the streets of Moscow. What is going on? What is Putin’s game? 

The Winter War: More than a Prelude
The Winter War: More than a Prelude

The Soviet war with Finland in 1939-1940 tends to get overshadowed by its notable neighbor, World War II. But in fact, the Winter War was a disaster all its own.

Tags: winter war, soviet union, finland
The Mystery of the Kirov Assassination
The Mystery of the Kirov Assassination

The assassination of Sergei Kirov on December 1, 1934, set off one of the bloodiest periods in Russian history. Was it a conspiracy involving the highest ranks of leadership? Or was it all planned and carried out by one "lone gunman"? We may never know.

Tags: stalin, kirov, soviet union, ussr
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
Idols and Anniversaries
Idols and Anniversaries

Twenty-five years ago, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, it was a time of hope and relief. Since the 1940s we had held our breath, limping from crisis to crisis, hoping that Dr. Strangelove was not hiding in a dark corner, waiting to make his play.

Tags: gorbachev, cold war, history, berlin wall
A Soviet Leader in the US? Preposterous!
A Soviet Leader in the US? Preposterous!

When you're a Soviet dictator, it's rare that you get the chance to tour the US, visiting movie sets, meat freezers, and steel mills, being featured on TV, and laughing at angry farmers. Nikita Khrushchev got that chance 55 years ago. And he made the most of it.

Tags: eisenhower, khrushchev, united states
Tsarevich Alexei and the Worst 10th Birthday Ever
Tsarevich Alexei and the Worst 10th Birthday Ever

Late July and early August were busy times in 1914: not only was Russia's own heir apparent celebrating his 10th birthday, the world was devolving into the military chaos of World War I.
 

Tags: romanov, romanovs, alexei, rasputin, world war i, russia, russian empire, tsarism
Parley with a Gangster
Parley with a Gangster

A second sample from Alexei Bayer's mystery novel Murder at the Dacha. Here, inspector Pavel Matushkin redeems a favor to get some information from a gangster.

The First Russian Automobile
The First Russian Automobile

July 14, 1896, is celebrated as the birthday of the Russian automobile – on this day, the first Russian-built motorcar with an internal combustion engine was introduced to the public at the Arts Exhibition in Nizhni Novgorod. 
 

Tags: automobile, cars, inventions
Isaac Babel and Russian Jews
Isaac Babel and Russian Jews

Ever wonder why so many Russian Jews ended up in the US? Perhaps it was the educational quotas, or the restrictions on travel and residence, or maybe the rampant anti-Semitism and violence – and all the other miseries chronicled by Jewish writer Isaac Babel.

Tags: jews, isaac babel, russia, russian empire
The Great Moscow Fire
The Great Moscow Fire

June 21, 1547 is remembered as the day of the Great Moscow Fire. The wooden city was devastated, and the destruction was later taken as an omen portending the horrors of Ivan IV's reign. 

Tags: moscow, history, Ivan the Terrible
Russia's World Cup Record
Russia's World Cup Record

Russia is not known as a soccer powerhouse. But it does have a devoted fan base and will host the 2018 World Cup. We look back at 1994, the first time Russia qualified for the World Cup and a Russian player made history.

Measuring Like a Russian
Measuring Like a Russian

Ever wonder how many arshins tall you are? Or how many verst to the nearest grocery store? Get a sense from this list of old Slavic measurements.
 

Tags: russia, history