Special Projects

Posts related to special book projects and other article series of interest.

Samples from the Archive

You Be the Judge

You Be the Judge

There is never a shortage of political-cultural land mines on which to trod when one’s brief is to cover all things Russian.
The Shah Bird

The Shah Bird

An excerpt from the fine new novel Zuleikha, by Guzel Yakhina, about a woman's survival in Siberia exile, inspired by childhood memories of the author's grandmother.
The New Ideological Fetish

The New Ideological Fetish

"A classical authoritarian power... does not pay that much attention to what the population thinks, and when it does, this attention is usually limited to a bunch of platitudes loudly proclaimed as the official ideology..."
At Zima Junction, 1943

At Zima Junction, 1943

A poem from the new volume Alcestis of the Underworld, by a regular translator of works published by Russian Life Books.

Piter's People

Piter's People – Sergey Goorin

Piter's People – Sergey Goorin

St. Petersburg is often thought to be a gray city, as it only has about 75 sunny days each year. Still, photographer Segrey Goorin finds inspiration here for his black and white photography, capturing street life, extraordinary locals and numerous parties.   
Piter's People – Nikolay Predtechensky

Piter's People – Nikolay Predtechensky

St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 as a port on the Baltic Sea, and about 10% of its surface area is water. So we meet a boat rental company owner and find out the best place for pizza in the city.
Piter's People - Katya Kotlyar

Piter's People - Katya Kotlyar

Graphic designer, traveler, instagram explorer, Katya Kotlyar knows her home city inside out, and sees it as an artist would, as a beautiful backdrop for living.
Piter's People - Ekaterina Khozatskaya

Piter's People - Ekaterina Khozatskaya

Ekaterina is an artist who is constantly sketching in St. Petersburg bars. Her hobby led to the creation of the Instagram blog “Between the Bars,” where she captures the city's bohemian atmosphere.
Piter's People – Natalia Kapiturova

Piter's People – Natalia Kapiturova

We begin a new project, in which readers meet regular St. Petersburgers, to learn about their lives and their favorite places in the Northern Palmyra. First up: coffee!

Everyday Russia

Smolensk

Smolensk

Irina Novikova explains the resilience of Smolensk, its legends, ghosts, churches and fortress. Oh, and why people stop by a city park to stroke the genitals of a bronze deer.
Samara

Samara

Photographer Kristina Syrchikova explains what a goose has to do with Samara and the Volga River.
Kaluga

Kaluga

Photographer Svetlana Tarasova takes us to the heart of Russia: Kaluga. Here, along the Oka River,  the Russian space program began. 
Krasnodar

Krasnodar

Olya Virich takes us to the Kuban, more specifically Krasnodar, the capital of Russia's breadbasket.
Pskov

Pskov

Accomplished photographer Dmitry Markov takes us on a tour of Pskov, "Where Russia Begins."
St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

Mikhail Mokryshin gives us a short trip around Russia's northern capital and some unusual photos.
Khabarovsk

Khabarovsk

Timur Zarudny takes us to Khabarovsk, the second largest city in the Russian Far East.
Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

Photographer Daria Kozinova takes us on a tour of the capital of the Urals: Yekaterinburg.
Kamchatka

Kamchatka

Alexander Gaivoron and his wife Anastasia took their pre-wedding honeymoon on Kamchatka, land of bears and volcanoes. And they invite us along!
Mtsensk

Mtsensk

Pavel Byrkin is a photo editor in Mtsensk, south of Moscow. This is his view of his city.
Moscow

Moscow

Ekaterina Klyueva takes us to the capital, the center of empire, a city everyone knows but no one every sees in full: Moscow!
Tomsk

Tomsk

Vladimir Dudarev takes us to Siberia's wooden architecture and university capital, Tomsk.

The Children of 1917

A One Act Play in Nine Scenes

A One Act Play in Nine Scenes

Any good expedition has its lighter moments. We have collected nine such scenes from recent days into a one-act play for your enjoyment.
Scenes from the Road

Scenes from the Road

Photographic proof that all we have done on this trip is work, work, work... and nap.
Two Samara Stories

Two Samara Stories

In which we move east to Samara, on the Volga River, and meet two centenarians living alone in very different ways.
The Full 100

The Full 100

On the eve of our visit, the ambulance came for Maria Nikolayevna Ryabtsova: there was something wrong with her neck. The doctor examined her, but found nothing serious. He did an EKG and was surprised: “if only everyone had a heart like yours,” he said.
Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Since we will be asking lots of questions of our interview subjects, we thought it only fair to answering some questions about ourselves, so that readers can get to know us all a bit better.
Countdown to Departure

Countdown to Departure

So, what exactly have we been doing in the two months since the successful closure of our crowdfunding for this project?
Stage 2: Siberia or Bust

Stage 2: Siberia or Bust

A second, more intensive phase of the Children of 1917 project has begun. Seatbelts fastened? Poyekhali!
Marfa's Three Lives

Marfa's Three Lives

Krasnoyarsk: knocking down stereotypes about Siberia and meeting a centenarian who will not be stopped.
First Love

First Love

On the importance of coffee, academicians, a museum, a rooster, the harvesting of turf, and collectivization.

Russian Patriots

Larisa Safronova

Larisa Safronova

Editor of the newspaper Elektron-TV, Krymsk I can say that I love Russia. But patriot, non-patriot, there are so many definitions of this word, both as a curse and as praise. Therefore I love my motherland and divide it into rulers and people, into what I have loved since childhood: school, parents, the city where I was born and raised, and in which I now live. That is everything that I love. But to be a patriot, does that mean to defend the national interests of one’s country? If they are just, then yes, I will defend it to the last. IF not, then I will also defend it. Perhaps that’s simply how we are built. Mine, ours. That’s all.
Nadezhda Alexeyeva

Nadezhda Alexeyeva

Director and artistic director of the Maly Theater, Veliki Novgorod Patriotism is a very personal feeling, just like religion. I don’t want to rank myself among the patrios that yell from every television, in all the mass media, that this is some kind of requirement. Yet recently I have been asking myself this question quite often. It has simply slashed me, because I pose this question to myself and answer that “yes, of course, I am a patriot and reside in that sphere of culture that is my motherland, and a reside among a sphere of people that truly comprises for me my small motherland.” From these small things the whole of everything is created. And my understanding of “motherland,” I repeat, is for me mainly tied to the people and and our culture. Therefore, yes. And in this regard, if I were answering a question about religion, I would also answer unequivocally. Unequivocal in the sense not becasue I don’t belive in God, but because this too is a very personal question. And nevertheless, I answer it, “Yes, of course.” But I don’t want to rank myself among patriots who yell about Russian lands. I want to rank myself among patriots who speak of Russian culture. First and foremost, this is people, our asset, human and rich. Оf course it is our people.
Andrei Pletnev

Andrei Pletnev

Professional yachtsman, boat owner, Novorossiysk Naturally, I can call myself a patriot. A patriot of my country, a patriot of the sport of sailing. And I make every effort so that everything I love lives, grows and prospers.
Sergei Troyanovsky

Sergei Troyanovsky

Historian and deputy director of the Kremlin Museum, Veliky Novgorod This is a very difficult question. Because of “Country or Death,” as Fidel Castro said, when he conquered Cuba. To be a patriot does not mean to hate other nations, other peoples. To be a patriot means to love one’s own. I love my country a great deal. I am by birth half Belarusan and half Russian and have many relatives in Ukraine. And I cannot say that I am a patriot of the Russian Federation of today. I love people in general. That is what a patriot is, in my opinion. 
Valery Nikolaev and Larisa Ilyinikh

Valery Nikolaev and Larisa Ilyinikh

University professor, Oryol (Valery) I am a patriot of my city and my country. Why? Of course there are many shortcomings and many problems in our country, but I probably don’t know a better country than Russia.  Economist, Oryol (Larisa) I too am a patriot of my city and country. Most likely because I was born here and my famly and all of my life is here, and because I like it here. 
Valentin Svatovoy

Valentin Svatovoy

Owner of Valentine’s bakery, Petrozavodsk Unequivocally. There’s no need to shy from this. I am a patriot of the land where I live, because I am proud of what was done before me, and I need to do things that those who come after me will be proud of.
Vadim Markelov

Vadim Markelov

Businessman, producer of barbells and weight machines, Petrozavodsk I am not ready to give some sort of high-falutin answer. Patriotism – what is it? Love for one’s country, we love it; the government, not so much, because we can distinguish between the two. We love the place we live, and all of those who surround us. This is a fact. But what patriotism is, I don’t know... I just don’t know what patriotism is, truly. That is all.
Alexandra Turchenkova

Alexandra Turchenkova

Vocal student at the Gnesin Academy of Music, Moscow I am now am studying in the Gnesin Academy, an academy which has a really huge musical tradition. And for a musician, there should be no limits, a musician should create and be capable of expressing herself. And I, of course, am lucky to have been born in Russia, and to know Russian, to be able to interpret Russian music, because I can feel it. I feel that the main patriotism of a musician is to be able to perform Russian music. But, of course, to always seek to widen her horizons and be engaged in music more generally, that is in its broadest sense.
Leonid Baluyev

Leonid Baluyev

Blacksmith, Novaya Ladoga I am not a patriot. I am a Jehovah’s Witness. I serve God.
Ksenia Tsukareva

Ksenia Tsukareva

Deputy Director for Marketing and PR, Sochi Hockey Club I can call myself a patriot, because I am committed to my family, my business. I give my full 100 percent not because that is what is needed, but because that is what I want. Because I truly believe that if it comes from within, then it is much stronger than any affixed stamp of citizenship or responsibility. Patriotism is that which comes from within.
Valeria Miloslavskaya

Valeria Miloslavskaya

Tea Sommelier, St. Petersburg I am a patriot of my country. Really, this is a very strange question. Can I have a moment? Because I truly love my country, my relatives, and they live here. And therefore I adore my country. I cannot tear myself away from my relatives, my work, my friends.
Marina Kozlova

Marina Kozlova

Jurist, single mother, mother of Lev and Marta, Moscow I cannot call myself a patriot. I believe [the author Sergei] Dovlatov said something about uniting people on the basis of nationality or the place where they live – that it is at the very least stupid. People should unite around and be proud of other sorts of things. I am not a patriot.

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