March 26, 2020

TBT: Two Births



TBT: Two Births

This week is the anniversary of two important Russian births.

Well, there are plenty of others, of course, but we felt we should highlight these two.

First, there is the writer, memoirist, philosopher, dissident publisher and founder of Russian socialist, Alexander Herzen. Born March 25, 1812, he published much of his most influential work while living abroad, in London exile. We published a bio of him in 2012, the centenary of his birth. In the words of Dostoyevsky, with whom Herzen had many differences, “Without a doubt, this was an extraordinary man, a great wit, and a remarkable conversation partner.”

Second, there is the cellist, humanist, conductor, and human rights activits, Mstislav Rostropovich, who was born March 27, 1927. We did a short article on him back in 2002, when he turned 75, and you can of course find out much more about him on Wikipedia. Like how he not only enthralled audiences with his performances, but sheltered and advocated for those who the Soviet authoritarian state had in its sites.

Non-superflous Sidenote: On this day 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin was first elected Russian President. Yes, it has been 20 years.

Departures
  • November 01, 2019

Departures

Two leading lights of theater and film who passed on this fall.
World Citizen
  • March 01, 2002

World Citizen

Cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (1927) turns 75 on March 27. Born in Baku (capital of Azerbaidzhan), Rostropovich took his first music lessons from his father—a teacher at the Baku Conservatory.
Alexander Herzen
  • March 01, 2012

Alexander Herzen

He was a poet, revolutionary, memoirist, publisher and emigre. He was a scion of the Bolsheviks, but he would have wanted nothing to do with them. 
Rostropovich, Chechnya and Pushkin
  • January 01, 2008

Rostropovich, Chechnya and Pushkin

A review of recent books on Mstislav Rostropovich, Chechnya and the future of Russia, plus a new translation of Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter.
Galina Vishnevskaya
  • January 01, 2013

Galina Vishnevskaya

A look back at the life and contribution of opera singer, actress and dissident Galina Vishnevskaya, who passed away in December.
Rediscovering Herzen

Rediscovering Herzen

The NY Times looks at Herzen and his connection to the Stoppard play that has been getting buzz in recent years.
Alexander Ivanovich Herzen
  • February 29, 2012

Alexander Ivanovich Herzen

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.
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