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Featured Articles

December 15, 2014
The Winter War: More than a Prelude
The Winter War: More than a Prelude
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

The Soviet war with Finland in 1939-1940 tends to get overshadowed by its notable neighbor, World War II. But in fact, the Winter War was a disaster all its own.

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Tags: winter war, soviet union, finland
December 1, 2014
The Mystery of the Kirov Assassination
The Mystery of the Kirov Assassination
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

The assassination of Sergei Kirov on December 1, 1934, set off one of the bloodiest periods in Russian history. Was it a conspiracy involving the highest ranks of leadership? Or was it all planned and carried out by one "lone gunman"? We may never know.

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Tags: stalin, kirov, soviet union, ussr
November 18, 2014
Grandfather Frost: More than Just Santa Claus
Grandfather Frost: More than Just Santa Claus
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

Don't be fooled: the old man with a white beard and red coat is not Santa Claus. It's Grandfather Frost! Learn how to tell the two apart with this handy list.

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Tags: ded moroz, grandfather frost, holiday, new year's eve
November 4, 2014
Unity Day: Whose Unity?
Unity Day: Whose Unity?
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

November 4 is now the Day of People's Unity in Russia. But what unity? What people? A look at the holiday's history brings up more questions and confusion than it does answers – but Russians don't let that spoil their long weekend.

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Tags: unity day, holiday, Russia, 1612, communism, liberation
October 31, 2014
Idols and Anniversaries
Idols and Anniversaries
By Paul E. Richardson

Twenty-five years ago, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, it was a time of hope and relief. Since the 1940s we had held our breath, limping from crisis to crisis, hoping that Dr. Strangelove was not hiding in a dark corner, waiting to make his play.

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Tags: gorbachev, cold war, history, berlin wall
October 15, 2014
Russian Exceptionalism According to Boris Dubin
Russian Exceptionalism According to Boris Dubin
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

A social state, a sense of community and shared decision making, an oddly distant government, home-grown values, and being split between Europe and Asia – according to Russians, this is what makes Russia special. But Boris Dubin's findings show that what really makes Russia special is Russia's ability to pretend no one else exists.

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Tags: sociology, russians, russia