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Putin, Poetry and Spies
March 01, 2016

Putin, Poetry and Spies

Reviews of Putin Country, by Anne Garrels, Russian Silver Age Poetry, Sibelan Forrester and Martha Kelley, eds., and Near and Distant Neighbors, by Johnathan Haslam.

Fiction, Ukraine and Civil War
January 01, 2016

Fiction, Ukraine and Civil War

Reviews of "The Big Green Tent," by Lyudmila Ulitskaya, "The Gates of Europe," by Serhii Plokhy, and a new translation of "Red Cavalry," by Isaac Babel.

Healers, Tsars and Gangs
November 01, 2015

Healers, Tsars and Gangs

Reviews of Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus, Stephen Meyer's The New Tsar, and Svetlana Stephenson's Gangs of Russia.

Tsars, War and Komiks
September 01, 2015

Tsars, War and Komiks

Books we liked, including Dominc Lieven's "The End of Tsarist Russia," Anthony Marra's "The Tsar of Love and Techno," Denise Youngblood's "Bondarchuk's War and Peace," and Jose Alaniz's "Komiks: Comic Art in Russia."

Stalin, Mythology and Faberge
July 01, 2015

Stalin, Mythology and Faberge

Reviews of "Stalin: A New Biography of a Dictator," by Oleg Khlevniuk; "The Great Glass Sea", by Josh Weil; and the documentary "Faberge: A Life of its Own."

A Dangerous Woman and a Soviet Kid
May 01, 2015

A Dangerous Woman and a Soviet Kid

In which we review "A Very Dangerous Woman," by Deborah McDonald and Jeremy Dronfield; "The Complete Folktales of A.N. Afanas'ev," by Jack V. Haney; "USSR: Diary of a Perestroika Kid," by Vladimir Kozlov; "Moscow, St. Petersburg & The Golden Ring," by Masha Nordbye; and "High Society Dinners," by Yuri Lotman.

Prison, Alexis and Siberia
March 01, 2015

Prison, Alexis and Siberia

Reviews of a book by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, "My Fellow Prisoners," "Alexis in America, by Lee Farrow, "Midnight in Siberia," by by NPR host David Greene, "Trepanation of the Skull," by Sergei Gandlevsky, and "An American Diplomat in Bolshevik Russia," by DeWitt Clinton Poole.

Two Megalomaniacs
January 01, 2015

Two Megalomaniacs

A review of two books on megalomaniacal personalities, The Baron's Cloak, by Willard Sunderland, and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrere. See our reviews section for full reviews.

Memoirs and History
November 01, 2014

Memoirs and History

A review of Elena Gorokhova's memoir, Russian Tatoo, The Devil's Alliance, by Roger Moorhouse, and The Kreutzer Sonata Variations, translated by Michael Katz. Also, a look at the amazing photo album book, Soviet Ghosts, by Rebecca Litchfield.

Poets and Steam
September 01, 2014

Poets and Steam

Where we review two books by and about poets, and one about banyas. All are highly recommended.

Putin, Lenin and Idioms
May 01, 2014

Putin, Lenin and Idioms

A review of two timely books on Russian political and expat culture, and an update to a most important language book.

 

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EVENTS FOR RUSSOPHILES

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.

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 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.

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.

A Few of Our Books

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.
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.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
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.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
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.
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.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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.
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.

Popular Articles

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.

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.

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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