Now for a limited time: FREE GIFT to New Subscribers!       
May/June 2015 Current Moscow Time: 05:38:37
28 May 2015


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Chtenia 17 preview

by Nina Shevchuk-Murray
Chtenia 17

The next issue of Chtenia, #17, is being laid out this weekend, and as always, there's a deep satisfaction in seeing the whole team's work come to fruition. The theme of the issue is Sport, which at the moment strikes me as a great counterpoint to the winter season, when holidays and cold weather compromise one's fitness routine with such gleeful impunity.

One of the highlights of the new issue is The Tale of Vasilisa the Beautiful– an ancient bylina about a noble lady who, when crossed, puts the Kievan athletic elites to shame. Even though the lady has to compete in man's dress (she happens to be a persona non-grata at the court), the interesting thing is that no one disputes her winnings. In the tale, the contests in wrestling, archery and chess have enormous significance; the fate of the entire city of Kiev, at one point, hangs in the balance. 

In the world of Vasilisa the Beautiful, he (or she, as the case may be) who wins at sports, wins in life – a rather modern attitude, when you think about it. It is also unique to have a woman be a hero of a bylina, so when I was little, this was my favorite of all tales (which is saying something, given that the Ilya Muromets stories, for instance, have an awesome horse in them, and I love horses). So I'm delighted to find the animated version on YouTube:

May 8, 2015
70 Years After Victory, the Battle for Stalingrad Rages On
70 Years After Victory, the Battle for Stalingrad Rages On
By Alice E.M. Underwood

The Battle for Stalingrad turned the tide of WWII in the Allies’ favor. Marked by the loss of nearly 2 million lives, it is one of the most devastating battles of human history. Yet it also continues to be embroiled in controversy, given the complex relationship Russians have toward Josef Stalin. 

Read More
Tags: stalin, wwii, war, stalingrad
May 7, 2015
The Controversial Composer
The Controversial Composer
By Richard Taruskin

The personal and professional have become increasingly intertwined in considerations of the life and work of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Music historian Richard Taruskin shows that this is nothing new – it all began shortly after the master composer's death.

Read More
Tags: music, history, tchaikovsky
May 7, 2015
The Most Useful Russian Inventions
The Most Useful Russian Inventions
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

What do radio, television, the periodic table, and helicopters have in common? Russians were involved in developing all of them – and more!

Read More
Tags: inventions, science
April 17, 2015
How Well Do You Know Russian Fairy Tale Characters?
How Well Do You Know Russian Fairy Tale Characters?
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

Sure, everyone knows the name Baba Yaga. But do you know where she lives? Do you know Koschey the Immortal, or Zmey Gorynych? How well do you know the spirits of the forest? Read up on these key characters of Russian fairy tales!

Read More
Tags: fairy tales
March 28, 2015
Smoktunovsky: Portrait of an Actor
Smoktunovsky: Portrait of an Actor
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

A generation of Soviets grew up seeing the face of actor Innokenty Smoktunovsky in his varied roles, both on screen and on stage. But what was his actual life like? In this snippet, he gives a taste of the trials he underwent as a soldier fighting the Nazis.

Read More
Tags: world war ii, smoktunovsky, memoir
March 8, 2015
International Women's Day: A Look Back
International Women's Day: A Look Back
By Eugenia Sokolskaya

Tired of having to do Valentine's Day and Mother's Day separately? Try it the Russian way and combine them into International Women's Day! A closer look at this convenient holiday's socialist origins and not-so-socialist present form.

Read More
Tags: russia, holiday, women, socialism