To our valued readers:
As the world reels from the horrific, criminal events being perpetrated in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, the Russian state, and the Russian military, all of us who nurture a love for Russian people, their culture and history, have been heartbroken. It is not easy to remain a Russophile when suddenly, all across the globe, the adjective “Russian” has become toxic.
Russian Life is an independent, privately-owned magazine. We have been clear from the first hour of the Kremlin’s insane war that we find it to be a vile, reprehensible action in violation of international law. We are appalled by what Putin and his regime are doing in Russia’s name. We also feel certain that if the truth was able to pierce the Kremlin’s propaganda veil, if Russians knew the crimes being committed in their name, they would try to put a stop to this.
I have been discussing all of this with our editors, contributors, board, and advisors. Russian Life magazine would normally be eager to step into the breach, to focus on printing important stories about Russia, about Ukraine, about human resilience and hope. But, regrettably, we cannot, for three reasons.
First, we cannot put our contributors in peril. A heinous new law in Russia puts writers and contributors at considerable risk for writing the truth, for calling this war what it is, for doing honest, independent journalism. We cannot ask them to assume that risk.
Second, we cannot pay contributors. Much of the magazine is written, photographed, and illustrated by Russians. With the complete shutdown of all means of finance and international money transfer, we cannot get any money to them. And we cannot ask people to work for free.
Third, it would be disrespectful to continue work as usual. As Ukraine fights for its life, pummeled by Russian rockets; as millions of Ukrainians flee their homes; as the Russian state erases all basic human rights – it would be tone deaf and insensitive to carry on as we have done before, and unrealistic to attempt, with our slow publishing cycle, to write meaningfully about this fast-developing war. We need time to reassess our approach.
And so we are temporarily suspending publication of the print edition of Russian Life. Your subscription will freeze in place and the number of issues you have remaining will be unchanged when we resume the print publication.
In the interim, we will explore ways to grapple with each of the issues noted above, and we will consider the role we can play in furthering the dialog between Russia and the world. We remain ardent Russophiles, and are not for the “cancelling” of Tchaikovsky and Pushkin, of Chekhov, pelmeni, and vodka. We also have profound respect for Ukraine, for its brave defense of its freedom, and for its rich and vital culture, that the current Russian regime seems intent on destroying.
Meanwhile, we will continue to publish freely available articles and information at Russian Life’s online publication (russianlife.com). There, we will focus on the stories that need telling now, tapping into voices not heard elsewhere. The flexible, speedy online publishing cycle will allow us to respond to unfolding events in a more realistic time frame. You can show solidarity with this free publishing effort by choosing to renew your print subscription, or by purchasing an online subscription.
Thank you for your continued support of Russian Life. While recent events may have tarnished the first half of our magazine’s name, it is worth noting that the second half gives cause for hope and rebirth.
We will find a way through this and come back stronger. In the meantime, let us all hope and pray for peace and sanity to prevail.
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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Montpelier VT 05601-0567