History

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Make Not War Art
November 03, 2021

Make Not War Art

"In connection with the incident, the State Hermitage was forced to apply to the prosecutor's office of St. Petersburg with a statement to conduct a prosecutor's check and assess the actions of a citizen for possible violations of the legislation of the Russian Federation, including in terms of public insult to the memory of the Defenders of the Fatherland.”

– Press Service of the St. Petersburg Hermitage, announcing it would be reviewing an artist’s behavior for potentially insulting the veterans of the Patriotic War of 1812.
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.

All Good Things
November 01, 2021

All Good Things

In which we say goodbye to a longtime editor and look toward the future by looking back.

Dreadful Terror
November 01, 2021

Dreadful Terror

Dostoyevsky’s chance visit to a museum led to a chilling, life-changing encounter with an artist long dead, but whose work was very much alive. It would make an appearance in the writer’s next novel. 

 

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EVENTS FOR RUSSOPHILES

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.

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.

A Few of Our Books

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.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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. 
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
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.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.)

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