January 01, 1990

Publishing Green


Publishing Green

Where We Are Coming From

RIS Publications, the publisher of Russian Life magazine, was founded in 1990 on the principle that paying attention to international issues matters. While U.S.-Russian relations and the history and society of the world’s largest country are important, there is no larger international issue than the health of this planet. We believe that all magazines - not just those focused on environmental issues - should be published with as small an environmental impact ("footprint") as possible.

The 1% Difference
Of the 18,000 magazines published in the United States, just under 1% are like Russian Life and publish on post-consumer recycled paper. Get the facts on the environmental costs of magazine publishing as practiced by the other 99%.

RIS has had Russian Life printed on paper with Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) content since 2006, while keeping an eye on our high standards for quality. Since late 2009, our paper has also been FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, meaning the pulp is harvested from sustainably managed forests.

Our magazine printer (Ovid Bell Press, in Fulton, MO — founded 1924) has a broad commitment to green publishing. OBP uses agricultural-based inks and recycles ink waste for use as fuel in cement kilns. OBP also recycles used printing plates for the aluminum and recycles its paper waste. Our magazine is printed direct to plate, which means no use of film to create plates; we also use digital photography almost exclusively.

Beyond the Magazine

We are a small company, but one sincerely concerned about our impact on the environment. Therefore:

  • All of our operational material (letterheads, marketing material, renewal notices, envelopes, etc.) are printed on paper with the highest recycled and PCR content possible,* with agricultural-based inks, and preferably FSC-certified;
  • We purchase only 100% recycled paper for our office paper (laser-printing and copying needs);
  • All our books, maps or publications are published on paper with the highest recycled and PCR content possible,* with agricultural-based inks; a possible exception to this will be short-run digital publications, which are environmentally-advantageous by virtue of the fact that product is printed only to demand;
  • We practice waste-reduction and smart recycling practices with regard to all office waste.

We welcome feedback from readers, clients, and persons and companies which have assistance and advice to offer us in this transition. While we realize that our small company’s changes will not reverse global warming or staunch the relentless depletion of natural resources, our example does show that even a small company with limited resources can, through research and commitment, make the changes necessary to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.


* We word this carefully ("the highest recycled and PCR content possible") for the time being. Research into potential paper stocks is ongoing. To date, we have found that PCR stock is hard to come by and not perfectly verifiable. Our immediate goal is a minimum 30% PCR stock on all the above items, if we can find printers close enough to us geographically that stock this. Our long-term goal is 100% PCR content stock on all items we produce. Currently our letterhead, renewal notices and envelopes can be printed on 30% PCR.

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Some of Our Books

Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955