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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

Russian-Language Gallery Tour
February 22, 2022 to February 22, 2032

Russian-Language Gallery Tour

Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY

Russian-language tour exploring our collection in depth, second Sunday of each month at 1 pm. Free, reservations required

Martin Roemers: Relics of the Cold War
April 10, 2022 to October 23, 2022

Martin Roemers: Relics of the Cold War

Wende Museum | Culver City, CA

On view in the Wende’s West Gallery and garden, this exhibition presents work by Dutch photographer Martin Roemers from 1998 through 2009, when he captured the structural and topographic remnants of the Cold War in both the East and West over an eleven-year period.

Tea Is For Tradition
February 03, 2022 to October 02, 2022

Tea Is For Tradition

Museum of Russian Icons | Clinton, MA

The objects associated with Russian tea are tactile reminders of this important tradition and evoke warmth, home, and family.

A Few of Our Books

Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
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.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
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.
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.

Popular Articles

Using Laughter to Cope
September 07, 2021

Using Laughter to Cope

These eight outstanding Soviet comedies show ​​some of what has made Russians laugh over the past century. Most are still watched today. (First in our new series on learning about Russia through its films.)

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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