Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 07:23:25
23 September 2018


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History

The past is prologue.

Russophile's Bookshelf
Russophile's Bookshelf

A few books we have received recently that we thought Russophiles should know about.

Tags: books, history, memoir, fiction
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
Happy Chekhov Day!
Happy Chekhov Day!

Today is Chekhov's birthday (he's 156). We celebrate by kicking of several months of Daily Chekhov quotes, and share a few other things...

Tags: Chekhov, quotes, literature, russian literature
On This Day
On This Day

Quite often, I am intrigued by the juxtaposition of events that show up in our "On This Day" listings. It is almost as if there were a thin thread across time, linking things together that one might never expect.

Tags: history, dates, Sakharov
Russian Life Book Receives National Award
Russian Life Book Receives National Award

The classic work of Russian journalism, Moscow and Muscovites, by journalist Vladimir Gilyarovsky (translated by Brendan Kiernan), received the prestigious 2015 AATSEEL Award for Best Scholarly Translation into English.

Tags: Gilyarovsky, Moscow, history, journalism, books, translation
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
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
The Course of Revolution Is Not Smooth
The Course of Revolution Is Not Smooth

With the temporary triumph of Russian workers in the 1905 revolution, every opposition party expects a piece of the pie. But not if it's the anarchist party! Just ten years after his own politically-motivated arrest and exile, Vladimir Lenin wrote a scathing critique of the anarchists' attempt to join the revolution and work toward a better society.

Tags: lenin, 1905, anarchism, socialism
Poetry, The Russian Riddle, and International Politics
Poetry, The Russian Riddle, and What Both Have to Do with International Politics

What can we learn about Russia, now and throughout history, from its poetry? This month we try to find out, with help from The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, to be released later this month, as reviewed in the Nov/Dec issue of Russian Life.

Tags: Tyutchev, poetry, history, international relations
Ten Years of Napoleon
Ten Years of Napoleon

In 1805 Napoleon was crushing the Russian army. In 1815 victorious Russian troops were stationed in the French capital under the just-signed treaty of Paris. And in between there was a peace treaty and yet another war. How did they have time for all of that?

Tags: 1812, napoleon, war
Stars and Purges
Stars and Purges

Eighty years ago, the Kremlin towers acquired their first stars, gleaming with gold and diamonds. But meticulously collected records show that on those same days, people were being arrested and sentenced across the country. On this Day of Memory for Victims of Political Repression, we recall a few of their names.

Tags: political repression, stalinism, stalin, kremlin, purges, gulag
The Other Russian Revolution
The Other Russian Revolution

What do you know about the Russian Revolution of 1905? Are you surprised to hear that there was one in 1905, not just in 1917? Then this article is for you!

Tags: revolution, russian revolution, 1905
City Under Siege
City Under Siege

The Siege of Leningrad started 74 years ago, September 8, 1941. Over 70 years after the defeat of the Axis powers, we look back at the deadliest siege in human history.

Tags: world war ii, soviet union, leningrad, siege
Did Stakhanov Act Alone?
Did Stakhanov Act Alone?

Alexei Stakhanov mined 102 tons of coal in under 6 hours, sparking the Stakhanovite movement. But did he really do it all by himself, by his own initiative? The son of a miner from Blagoveshchensk recalls evidence of unnamed assistants and fishy bureaucratic orders.
 

Tags: soviet union, stalin, stakhanov, stakhanovite
Why Stalin Called Andrei Platonov "Scum" – with 8 Quirky Quotes
Why Stalin Called Andrei Platonov "Scum" – with 8 Quirky Quotes

Andrei Platonov spawned many an incongruous image and incomprehensible sentence. Compared by some scholars to James Joyce, he was critiqued by Stalin himself, yet he avoided prosecution. We dig into his challenging literary style.

Tags: literature, soviet, stalin
Caught in the Crossfire: The Annexation of Estonia
Caught in the Crossfire: The Annexation of Estonia

After just 22 years of independence, in 1940 Estonia was overrun by Soviet troops. The Estonian Socialist Republic was set up in the wake of th Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in violation of nearly all existing legislation. And Stalinism's evils had the Estonians, just a year later, greeting German invaders with open arms. But trading one totalitarian dictator for another didn't solve the problem.
 

Tags: estonia, soviet union, nazi germany
War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts
War and Peace: 7 Fun Facts

How many characters are in Tolstoy's War and Peace? Could it have been any shorter? Did Tolstoy himself love it or hate it? Find out the answers to these – and more! – questions in this quick list of little-known War and Peace facts.

Tags: Tolstoy, war and peace, literature
Faberge Documentary is a Jewel
Faberge Documentary is a Jewel

It is nice to come across a documentary about Russia that is not all Sturm and Drang, Stalin and Purges, mafia and Putin. The story of Peter Carl Fabergé and the jewelry empire he built is a truly remarkable story, and it is the focus of this new documentary from Arts Alliance.

Tags: Faberge, faberge eggs, Romanovs, art, history
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