January 01, 1990

Publishing Green


Publishing Green

Where We Are Coming From

RIS Publications, the publisher of Russian Life magazine, was founded in 1990 on the principle that paying attention to international issues matters. While U.S.-Russian relations and the history and society of the world’s largest country are important, there is no larger international issue than the health of this planet. We believe that all magazines - not just those focused on environmental issues - should be published with as small an environmental impact ("footprint") as possible.

The 1% Difference
Of the 18,000 magazines published in the United States, just under 1% are like Russian Life and publish on post-consumer recycled paper. Get the facts on the environmental costs of magazine publishing as practiced by the other 99%.

RIS has had Russian Life printed on paper with Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) content since 2006, while keeping an eye on our high standards for quality. Since late 2009, our paper has also been FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, meaning the pulp is harvested from sustainably managed forests.

Our magazine printer (Ovid Bell Press, in Fulton, MO — founded 1924) has a broad commitment to green publishing. OBP uses agricultural-based inks and recycles ink waste for use as fuel in cement kilns. OBP also recycles used printing plates for the aluminum and recycles its paper waste. Our magazine is printed direct to plate, which means no use of film to create plates; we also use digital photography almost exclusively.

Beyond the Magazine

We are a small company, but one sincerely concerned about our impact on the environment. Therefore:

  • All of our operational material (letterheads, marketing material, renewal notices, envelopes, etc.) are printed on paper with the highest recycled and PCR content possible,* with agricultural-based inks, and preferably FSC-certified;
  • We purchase only 100% recycled paper for our office paper (laser-printing and copying needs);
  • All our books, maps or publications are published on paper with the highest recycled and PCR content possible,* with agricultural-based inks; a possible exception to this will be short-run digital publications, which are environmentally-advantageous by virtue of the fact that product is printed only to demand;
  • We practice waste-reduction and smart recycling practices with regard to all office waste.

We welcome feedback from readers, clients, and persons and companies which have assistance and advice to offer us in this transition. While we realize that our small company’s changes will not reverse global warming or staunch the relentless depletion of natural resources, our example does show that even a small company with limited resources can, through research and commitment, make the changes necessary to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.


* We word this carefully ("the highest recycled and PCR content possible") for the time being. Research into potential paper stocks is ongoing. To date, we have found that PCR stock is hard to come by and not perfectly verifiable. Our immediate goal is a minimum 30% PCR stock on all the above items, if we can find printers close enough to us geographically that stock this. Our long-term goal is 100% PCR content stock on all items we produce. Currently our letterhead, renewal notices and envelopes can be printed on 30% PCR.

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Some of Our Books

White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
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. 
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.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
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.

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.

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