The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Spanning all things related to Russian and Russian literature.
Think you know Yuri Vizbor? Think again! Sure, you may have heard his songs, but did you know he was also a teacher? An alpinist? A journalist? A radio operator?
Today is Vladimir Nabokov's birthday, so we asked Russian Life contributor and Nabokov expert Diana Bruk where to start when reading the master. She offers with five annotated recommendations.
Whether you are a budding translator of Russian-English texts, are reading Russian literature in the original, or just want to improve your Russian, there are countless resources waiting for you on the internet. Here's our list of the best...
It is a common trope that Russians never smile. Which of course is interpreted to mean they are unfriendly, gloomy, sullen – positively Dostoyevskian. This, of course, is a complete misreading of body language and cultural norms.
Soviet sources praise the Bolsheviks for simplifying Russian spelling in 1918. Who was the real author of the spelling reform, and what was the Bolsheviks' actual role in making it work?
This editorial, by author (of The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas) Dmitry Chen, appeared last month on Bloomberg.com, and considers how the current crisis in Syria has its roots 13 centuries ago.
In honor of International Translation Day (September 30), we demonstrate rather graphically the value of having a good, human translator.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin offered a humorous critique of the state of Russian literature in the 1860s. He also wrote some parody "dreadful stories," one of which is translated and reproduced here.
The movie is almost too silly to discuss, as if Saturday Night Live decided to do a parody, but nobody but the costume-director and scene-making crew were ready. A puppet resembling Keira Knightley plays Anna; although thin, even scrawny, the animators make her look almost human.
Two stories out of Russia this weekend reinforced the stereotype that Russian entities (a) don't respect copyrights, yet (b) do value propaganda.
In this, the second of two posts on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, the author recounts his discovery of the greatest novel of all time: "I had never lived a book as I lived Anna Karenina."
Lev Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been called the greatest novel of all time. But can one really appreciate it as much in English translation versus the Russian original?
Reviews of five interesting new books for Russophiles: Former People, Nevsky, St. Petersburg Noir, Wooden Churches and Russian Film Posters.
It is conventional wisdom that old-fashioned, ink and pulp publishing is in its death throes. But what if there were a way to "flip" the publishing model in a manner that preserves what is good, adopts what is new and useful, and filters out what is harmful and useless? I think we have found a way...
The Russian writer Alexander Ivanovich Herzen was born in Moscow on March 25, 1812 (April 6, New Style). Thanks to a famous phrase from Lenin’s “In Memory of Herzen” – “The Decembrists awakened Herzen. Herzen began the task of revolutionary agitation.” – everyone who grew up in the Soviet Union knew Herzen’s name, whether or not they had ever read a line of his work.
William Ryan’s second book featuring MVD Detective Alexei Korolev, The Darkening Field, was released on January 3, 2012. Russian Life Publisher Paul E. Richardson interviewed Ryan about the genesis for his character and the challenges of situating a novel in Soviet Russia.
The next issue of Chtenia, #17, is being laid out this weekend, and as always, there's a deep satisfaction in seeing the whole team's work come to fruition. The theme of the issue is Sport, which at the moment strikes me as a great counterpoint to the winter season, when holidays and cold weather compromise one's fitness routine with such gleeful impunity.
Reviews of some recent books on Tolstoy, Spying and the end of the USSR. And a new translation of an often overlooked work by Dostoyevsky. As published in the November/December 2011 issue of Russian Life.
It should come as no surprise,” writes Vyacheslav Pyetsukh at the beginning of The New Moscow Philosophy, “that where literature goes life follows, that Russians not only write what they live but in part live what they write…”
It is the great, cruel paradox of World War II in Russia that heinous, unanswered crimes coexisted with truly heroic, astonishing human achievement. That – be it out of fear or love of the Motherland or self-defense – Soviets fought so bravely to defend a system that treated them like cattle, confiscating from them the land, the bread and the peace that the Revolution had allegedly been all about, shipping them and their relatives off to Siberian labor camps, sentencing soldiers unfortunate enough to have been captured in war into “penal battalions.”