March 07, 2022

Russian Life Takes a Pause


Russian Life Takes a Pause

To our valued readers:

As the world reels from the horrific, criminal events being perpetrated in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, the Russian state, and the Russian military, all of us who nurture a love for Russian people, their culture and history, have been heartbroken. It is not easy to remain a Russophile when suddenly, all across the globe, the adjective “Russian” has become toxic.

Russian Life is an independent, privately-owned magazine. We have been clear from the first hour of the Kremlin’s insane war that we find it to be a vile, reprehensible action in violation of international law. We are appalled by what Putin and his regime are doing in Russia’s name. We also feel certain that if the truth was able to pierce the Kremlin’s propaganda veil, if Russians knew the crimes being committed in their name, they would try to put a stop to this.

I have been discussing all of this with our editors, contributors, board, and advisors. Russian Life magazine would normally be eager to step into the breach, to focus on printing important stories about Russia, about Ukraine, about human resilience and hope. But, regrettably, we cannot, for three reasons.

First, we cannot put our contributors in peril. A heinous new law in Russia puts writers and contributors at considerable risk for writing the truth, for calling this war what it is, for doing honest, independent journalism. We cannot ask them to assume that risk.

Second, we cannot pay contributors. Much of the magazine is written, photographed, and illustrated by Russians. With the complete shutdown of all means of finance and international money transfer, we cannot get any money to them. And we cannot ask people to work for free.

Third, it would be disrespectful to continue work as usual. As Ukraine fights for its life, pummeled by Russian rockets; as millions of Ukrainians flee their homes; as the Russian state erases all basic human rights – it would be tone deaf and insensitive to carry on as we have done before, and unrealistic to attempt, with our slow publishing cycle, to write meaningfully about this fast-developing war. We need time to reassess our approach.

And so we are temporarily suspending publication of the print edition of Russian Life. Your subscription will freeze in place and the number of issues you have remaining will be unchanged when we resume the print publication.

In the interim, we will explore ways to grapple with each of the issues noted above, and we will consider the role we can play in furthering the dialog between Russia and the world. We remain ardent Russophiles, and are not for the “cancelling” of Tchaikovsky and Pushkin, of Chekhov, pelmeni, and vodka. We also have profound respect for Ukraine, for its brave defense of its freedom, and for its rich and vital culture, that the current Russian regime seems intent on destroying.

Meanwhile, we will continue to publish freely available articles and information at Russian Life’s online publication (russianlife.com). There, we will focus on the stories that need telling now, tapping into voices not heard elsewhere. The flexible, speedy online publishing cycle will allow us to respond to unfolding events in a more realistic time frame. You can show solidarity with this free publishing effort by choosing to renew your print subscription, or by purchasing an online subscription.

Thank you for your continued support of Russian Life. While recent events may have tarnished the first half of our magazine’s name, it is worth noting that the second half gives cause for hope and rebirth.

We will find a way through this and come back stronger. In the meantime, let us all hope and pray for peace and sanity to prevail.

Paul Richardson
Publisher

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Some of Our Books

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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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.
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93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.

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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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