November 09, 2017

The Big 100


The Big 100
The Bolshevik Revolution, 100 Years On

November 7th marked the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, when the party that would rule for three-quarters of a century ousted the provisional government, seized major institutions with minimal bloodshed, and established the Soviet Government. Any hundred-year anniversary is at least worth its own text box.

  • 100 years later, what do Russians think about the Revolution? Some want to celebrate, but many don’t. Here’s why.
  • What did the Revolution look like, really? Take a peek – plus, click the image to see what historical sites look like today.
  • How did Soviet citizens celebrate? (Plus, try saying that ten times fast)
  • Into arguments? Read up on why the Kremlin’s not making the centennial a thing.

In Gassier News

1. There’s the environment, then there’s national security, and then there’s also how the higher-ups will judge you. Chelyabinsk is one of the most polluted cities in Russia, but it’s also hosting an international forum to be attended by President Vladimir Putin and other leaders. Environmental activists proposed roaming the streets wearing respirators and gas masks to call attention to the city’s pollution problem. But the mayor, citing security concerns, has banned their use during the president’s visit. Between breathing and behaving, it'll be a tough choice. 

2. In other gas-related news, this week a man poured gasoline on a monument to Boris Yeltsin and set it on fire. The arson attempt, outside Yekaterinburg’s Yeltsin Center Museum, was undertaken by a member of the Other Russia Party, affiliated with the National Bolsheviks (yeah, they're still hanging around). For folks like the perpetrator, the October Revolution of 1917 still outweighs Yeltsin’s 1990s democratic turnaround of post-Soviet Russia.

3. Want to make Russia’s state seal your Facebook photo? Now you can. Duma officials have proposed legalizing unofficial use of the state emblem, insofar as it’s not used for ridicule. The coat of arms is currently only permitted in administrative and other official capacities, but the new law would allow organizations and individuals to use the insignia for events, souvenirs, and other purpose. Officials hope this will help “popularize government symbols.” Who doesn’t love a reputation boost?

In Catter News
  • cat got stuck in a tree in Omsk. Residents were so worried they raised money to get a special truck to save the climbing kitty.

  • A man tried to illegally cross the Swedish border, allegedly to collect his cat. Problem is, the human had since 2015 been banned from entering the country – he only broke the law and returned, he said, because his cat doesn't like strangers...
  • One girl’s homework says that anything boys do, girls can do, too. The homework may be about laundry and cooking, but it’s also a boost to young girls.
Quote of the Week

“I think we should celebrate the anniversary, undoubtedly. There were pluses and minuses, of course, but we must celebrate it. The fact that there won’t be any large public events is fine, because likely there would have been violence.”
—Just one of a wide range of opinions on how to commemorate the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

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

Some of Our Books

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.
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.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
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.  
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

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.
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.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
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.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
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 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...

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