August 17, 2022

My God, a Symbol of Separation


My God, a Symbol of Separation
"Fraternal Kiss" by Dmitry Vrubel German Bundesarchiv

“There was a certain girl here who was handing out some permission to paint to artists, complete nonsense. I gave her this work, and the first thing she said was that it was a very dangerous job, because if Gorbachev saw it, he would not allow the unification of Germany and that she will send it to the senate of West Berlin, which was a different country, for approval.” 

                                   –  Dmitry Vrubel, the artist behind the Berlin Wall's "The Fraternal Kiss"

At the age of 62, Dmitry Vrubel, the Russian artist behind one of the Berlin wall's most famous work of graffiti, passed away due to complications caused by coronavirus.

"The Fraternal Kiss," or "My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love," is a representation of two socialist leaders entangling themselves deeper into their woes. It depicts Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing the East German leader Eric Honecker and is based on a photograph taken of the leaders in 1979. 

Vrubel used the image as a symbol: "In this painting, there’s one German and one Russian, and the Berlin Wall is about the same thing but in reverse: here [in the painting], there’s total love, while the Berlin Wall separates two worlds — it was a perfect fit."

Painted in 1990, the fresco remained on the wall, gradually being covered by graffiti over the years until, in 2009, it was erased so that the wall could be restored. Vrubel later repainted the image. 

 

You Might Also Like

A Kiss is Still a Kiss
  • July 01, 2014

A Kiss is Still a Kiss

What is the deal with Russian men locking lips in greeting? Is it a thing? Or was it just a Brezhnev thing?
  • June 12, 2017

"Tear Down This Wall!"

Thirty years ago today, US President Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Two years later, the wall came down after a German bureaucrat misspoke.
Life Impacts Art
  • August 07, 2022

Life Impacts Art

Two female Russian artists discuss how their life and work has been impacted by Russia's Ukraine War.
Artistic Apoliticality
  • July 25, 2022

Artistic Apoliticality

Russian event promoters have begun requiring artists to promise that they won't include political statements in their performances.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
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.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
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.
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.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.

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