June 25, 2023

A Day To Remember in Rostov-on-Don


A Day To Remember in Rostov-on-Don
A graduation on Rostov-on-Don with Wagner Group soldiers in the background. War Monitor, Twitter.

On June 23, Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin released a video on Telegram that unleashed the greatest threat President Vladimir Putin has faced in his multi-decade presidency: the next day, Rostov-on-Don awoke to Wagner mercenaries and tanks patrolling its streets.

How did Rostovans live through that moment?

The governor of Rostov Oblast, Vasily Golubev, issued stay-at-home orders three times, but Rostovans ignored him. DOXA collected testimonies of witnesses, who reported seeing some residents taking selfies with military equipment and wearing Wagner merch. Pavel, an anonymous Rostovan, said people approached the tanks as if there were "a second May 9 [Victory Day] parade." 

Most essential services such as hospitals, markets, and public transportation – excluding trolleybuses – continued operating. City properties, including the Don Public Library and Loga Park, were closed. The "Tom Sawyer Fest," a festival that gathers volunteers to restore monuments of historical relevance, suspended its activities, along with other weekend festivals. Students were told to stay in their dorms and take exams online. The UK and Italian visa application centers announced they would be closed for several days. But the city's zoo remained open.

Meanwhile, transport agencies reported a spike in demand for train tickets out of the city. No bus tickets were sold to cities where the highways were blocked. The governor of the oblast also reported residents had rushed to gas stations.

Late in the evening, Rostovan gathered to watch tanks retreat from the city after Prigozhin agreed to retreat and leave for Belarus.

You Might Also Like

Prigozhin's Uprising
  • June 24, 2023

Prigozhin's Uprising

Russia's home-grown mercenaries have taken over Rostov-on-Don and threaten to march on the capital.
  • June 14, 2023

"Go Defend Your Homeland"

In Chechnya, law enforcement uses threats and blackmail to send LGBT persons, drug users, and "disloyal" citizens to war.
The Wizard and His Little Wagners
  • March 09, 2023

The Wizard and His Little Wagners

The Wagner Group's new youth club sponsors pro-militaristic activities and suggests it undertakes recruitment by hypnosis.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
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.
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.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
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.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
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.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
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.

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.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955