In Koktebel, on the southern coast of Crimea, artists have gathered for almost a century, attracted to the “particular light and kinetic landscapes.” Now, with the annexation of Crimea, Neil Macfarquhar of the New York Times reports that the summer writer’s colony is divided, and the otherwise communal atmosphere has given way to two competing factions: the pro-Russian Crimea and the anti-Russia Crimea....more
Posts Tagged: Russia
More people were reading Tolstoy than any other author in translation at the beginning of the 20th century, but as late as the 1880s, few non-Russians had even heard of him. Translators were deterred partly because of the length of his works and complexities of language, not to mention his overwhelming Russian-ness. At the Financial Times, Rosamund Bartlett provides an account of how English speakers came to the Russian novelist’s works....more
In the wake of American spies tapping into every form of electronic communication, Germany is considering typewriters for highly sensitive documents. The Russians have already instituted such measures. Typewriters aren’t foolproof though. In 1984, the Soviets listened to the keystrokes of US Embassy secretaries, looking for patterns....more
“If you are a critic of the Chinese government, it’s not easy to organize a physical gathering. Beijing cracks down hard on that kind of thing. But online, critics find they are not alone.”...more
A city in Siberia is reportedly offering free rides on the underground to people who can recite at least two verses from any poem by Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia’s greatest poets.
Writer and activist Joseph Huff-Hannon discusses Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories, an oral history collaboration with journalist Masha Gessen and a look at the human rights crisis currently affecting Russia’s LGBT population....more
Here’s some news out of Russia that isn’t related the Olympics: Nadia Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, who were recently released from prison, are no longer members of Pussy Riot, and it doesn’t look like the split was 100 percent amicable....more
In a luminous essay for the Morning News, Julia Phillips describes tagging along with the mushers of the Beringia, a Russian dogsled race that’s like the Iditarod but even more intense.
It’s a definite must-read in which Phillips deftly chronicles the simultaneous beauty and horror of half-wild dogs, a rainbow of Russian curses, the “mat of intimacies and betrayals” between contestants, and of course, the endless, unbelievable cold of the tundra....more
If you ask Kuzya, an assistant librarian at the State Hermitage Library in Novorossiysk, Russia, for a book recommendation, you might go home with A Tale of Two Kitties or The Brothers Kara-meow-zov.
Because he is a cat. And he wears a bow-tie and has a cat passport, which is apparently a legitimate legal document in Russia....more
Amid the flood of J. D. Salinger articles related to the upcoming biography and documentary about him, this New Yorker essay by Reed Johnson stands out.
It has nothing to do with the biography, actually. It’s about Russian translations of The Catcher in the Rye (or Over the Abyss in Rye as the most popular one is titled) and raises all sorts of interesting questions about how to convey American ideas about iconoclasm and conformity—not to mention slang—to Russian readers....more
When the people followed the Communists at the beginning of the twentieth century, they gave up Christ, but they found it impossible, as the revolutionary poets exhorted them, “to throw Pushkin overboard the steamboat of modernity.”
Prominent Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin has an essay up at The New Republic, translated from Russian, about the fundamental conflicts between his country’s society, its government, and its literature....more
Writer and Rumpus contributor Elliott Holt sits down to discuss her debut novel, You Are One of Them, her preoccupation with secrets, and working in 1990s Moscow during Russia’s economic transition....more
This Smithsonian article has been pinballing around the Internet, and for good reason.
It tells the story of a team of Russian geologists who went to remote Siberia in 1978 and stumbled upon a family who had been living there for decades in order to escape civilization and practice a religion so fundamentalist that bread was forbidden....more
“We couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us. Sure, Tsentr E tried to intimidate us by tailing us constantly. But unlike Putin, we’re not chickenshit—so we didn’t stop performing.”...more
Today in a Russian court, three members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30) of the all-female Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism.”
(For those unfamiliar with the story, here is a round-up of links that we published last week.)
The trio had been facing up to seven years, but, after much deliberation, was sentenced to two years in prison for an anti-Putin song they performed in a church....more
Sitting on the edge of the English language, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s new collection Apricot Jam and Other Stories pushes us into twentieth century Russia....more
Rejected by the early Soviet state, Sigizmund Krhizhanovsky published only nine stories in his lifetime; luckily his novel The Letter Killers Club is now available in English....more
Michael Alenyikov’s award-winning new book, Ivan and Misha, explores many-faceted love—from the intense and fleeting to bonds of familial obligation....more
Nick Spicer asks if BP might have something in common with Captain Ahab.
Apparently, there was a time when presidents weren’t all rich guys.
How an online community saved two Russian women from falling prey to sex traffickers....more