Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This appeared in the Dec 18 issue of USN&WR:
"Why not get ahead of the geopolitical curve and study Russian? Though it has never been a top foreign language among American students, Russian did grow in popularity during the Cold War. And the wealth of Russian history and literature has always made learning the tongue rewarding enough for many. Now, a resurgent and more nationalistic (though post-communist) Russia is again doing some muscle flexing, albeit much more modestly than in the past. American students currently rank Russian eighth on a list of foreign languages that interest them. But with Russia widely pegged as a re-emerging great powerâ??and taking a tough line against a range of American policiesâ??mastering the tongue of the Kremlin could well come to regain some cachet. And, if not, you still could read Dostoevski in the original form, not to mention order a vodka in Moscow with a certain grace."
Who is Russia's greatest hero? According to Russians, it's Alexander Nevsky, a military commander and ruler from the thirteenth century. And what did Alexander do that made him worthy of that honor? He took part in Russians' favorite historical activity: repelling German invaders.
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
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
What do radio, television, the periodic table, and helicopters have in common? Russians were involved in developing all of them – and more!Read More
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
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
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