September/October 2011

Features in this Issue

In Tolstoy's Footsteps

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Lev Tolstoy made the first of several walking journeys from Moscow to Tula – a distance of nearly 200 kilometers. A pair of Americans retrace the great writer’s journey, in a considerably different Russia.

Rights of Single Fathers

A group of divorced Russian men have banded together to battle for equal child custody rights. The Russian legal system, they say, is stacked against them, and they have no intention of surrendering. We meet them and hear their side of the story.

Stenka Razin and the Russian State

Praised in Russian folklore, Stepan Razin reigns as Russia’s most memorable and popular rebel. On the 340th anniversary of the Cossack-led uprising, a noted historian considers the lessons of Razin for the Russian state.

Long Term Expats

There is a certain breed of expatriate in Russia who puts down deep roots and seems destined never to return home. Perhaps it is because, whether they admit it or not, Russia is now their home. We meet five American long-term expats whose ?stories reveal as much about them as about the attractive mystery that Russia exudes.

Departments and More

  • 5

    Letters to the Editor

    Readers comment and correct.

  • 7
    Note Book

    The Little Soyuz that Could

    The end of American shuttle flights gives Russia a de facto monopoly on carrying humans to the International Space Station. What does this mean for the future of manned space flight?

  • 8
    Note Book


    All the news that fits from all across Russia.

  • 16

    Seliger Summer

    Where we visit the annual summer Seliger Youth Camp - where the Powers That Be cultivate young activists.

  • 14
    Travel Notes

    Travel Notes

    The latest from the travel front.

  • 19
    Russian Calendar

    Lucky Murmansk

    Murmansk was founded 95 years ago this October. We look back at the history of its founding and its appearance in a particularly important piece of literature.

  • 19
    Survival Russian

    A Cheat Sheet for Tom Hanks

    The recent visit of Hollywood megastar Cameron Diaz to Moscow – to promote the launch of the movie Bad Teacher – started Mikhail Ivanov's creative juices flowing toward a seasonally appropriate theme: school slang.

  • 22
    Russian Calendar

    The Lyceum

    it was on October 19, 1811 that, in the presence of His Highness Emperor Alexander I, the Lyceum at Tsarskoye Selo was inaugurated. The institution’s first years, like everything associated with the name of Alexander Pushkin, has long since become the stuff of legend within Russian culture.

  • 24
    Russian Calendar

    Pyotr Stolypin

    The story of Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, arguably Russia's most significant reformer, can be told in very different ways.

  • 27

    Sergei Dovlatov

    This issue's Uchites language learning section focuses on writer Sergei Dovlatov, who would have been 70 this month.

  • 60

    Soviet Fast Food

    A look back at the many variants of Soviet Fast Food.

  • 62
    Under Review

    War and Literature

    Reviews of three non-fiction histories (Leningrad, by Anna Reid; Bloodlands, by Timothy Snyder; The Damned and the Dead, by Frank Ellis) and three works of fiction (The Sky is Falling, by Caroline Adderson; The New Moscow Philosophy, by Vyacheslav Pyetsukh; Separate Kingdoms, by Valerie Laken).

  • 64
    Post Script

    The Passing of Yelena Bonner

    An obituary of Yelena Bonner by a fellow dissident.


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