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.

You Might Also Like

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.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
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.  
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
Turgenev Bilingual

Turgenev Bilingual

A sampling of Ivan Turgenev's masterful short stories, plays, novellas and novels. Bilingual, with English and accented Russian texts running side by side on adjoining pages.
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.
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.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
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.

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.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955