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Peter's War on Facial Hair
January 01, 2022

Peter's War on Facial Hair

August 27, 1698, was a day of historic importance for the grooming of the Russian male. It was then that Tsar Peter I (known to history as “the Great”), armed himself with scissors and undertook to mercilessly clip beards from the faces of summoned noblemen and boyars.

The First and Last National Census
January 01, 2022

The First and Last National Census

Late January 2022 marks 125 years since the first thorough count of the Russian Empire’s population was begun in 1897. What was the significance of this endeavor, how was it carried out, and what were its results?

Early Foreign Views of Russia
January 01, 2022

Early Foreign Views of Russia

Some thoughts on George Turberville, who served as secretary in the embassy of Queen Elizabeth I to Russia’s Ivan IV, and was one of the earliest observers (and reporters) of Russian mores.

The Timid Path
November 01, 2021

The Timid Path

On December 12, 1801, 23-year-old Tsar Alexander I issued an ukaz. This particular decree was not something historians have considered extremely significant in the scheme of Alexander’s reign, but it merits attention for a few reasons.

Death of an Empress
November 01, 2021

Death of an Empress

Empress Elizabeth Petrovna breathed her last in December of 1761, in her St. Petersburg palace. By any standard, Peter the Great’s second daughter had lived an unusual life.

The Road Ahead
November 01, 2021

The Road Ahead

People often ask me what lies ahead for Russia. This question always surprises me. It suggests that people think historians are part prophet, as if knowing a lot about the past means you can predict the future.

Sofia Gubaidulina
September 01, 2021

Sofia Gubaidulina

Listening to the intensely chromatic compositions of Sofia Gubaidulina can be challenging. You wouldn’t put her music on to relax or to be energized. As with any avant-garde work, taking it in can feel like work.

First Contact
September 01, 2021

First Contact

It is astonishing to think that as recently as the eighteenth century – not the Middle Ages, not the days of Marco Polo, but in the supposedly enlightened eighteenth century – people still had only the vaguest idea of where Asia ended and America began.

The Panic
September 01, 2021

The Panic

By mid-October of 1941, Moscow seemed on the verge of falling to the Nazis. German troops had reached the city’s edge, and there were rumors of fascist tanks closing in.

The Berlin Wall
July 01, 2021

The Berlin Wall

Why was so much manpower, money, and material expended on a project that flew in the face of the policy of “peaceful coexistence” that had been announced just five years earlier? It was classic Khrushchev.

 

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EVENTS FOR RUSSOPHILES

Roma Rhapsody
June 15, 2024

Roma Rhapsody

Capital One Hall | Tysons, Virginia

The Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra's Spring Concert, Roma Rhapsody, will be at 7:30 pm on Saturday June 15, 2024.

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 7
June 07, 2024

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 7

St. Mark's Episcopal Church | Berkeley, California

San Francisco's Slavyanka Chorus invites you to a concert featuring a colorful tapestry of folk songs and sacred hymns by renowned women composers.

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 9
June 09, 2024

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 9

Star of the Sea Church | San Francisco, California

San Francisco's Slavyanka Chorus invites you to a concert featuring a colorful tapestry of folk songs and sacred hymns by renowned women composers.

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 8
June 08, 2024

Songs of Faith, Love and Delight! June 8

First Congregational Church | Palo Alto, California

San Francisco's Slavyanka Chorus invites you to a concert featuring a colorful tapestry of folk songs and sacred hymns by renowned women composers.

A Few of Our Books

Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
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.
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.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
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.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
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 Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

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.

Popular Articles

Peace, Land, Bread
April 23, 2014

Peace, Land, Bread

Peace! Land! Bread! This was the battle cry of the 1917 October Revolution (old calendar) that changed the history of Russia and indeed the entire world. Since the time of Ivan the Terrible, the tsars concentrated on centralization of their power and control. The most common way of doing this was to take power away from the nobility, appeasing them by giving them dominion over their land and workers. This soon developed into the oppressive, slave-style condition known as serfdom.

Why Don't Russians Smile?
January 10, 2014

Why Don't Russians Smile?

It is a common trope that Russians never smile. Which of course is interpreted to mean they are unfriendly, gloomy, sullen – positively Dostoyevskian. This, of course, is a complete misreading of body language and cultural norms.

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.

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