Sailing Into the Past in Lipetsk

Flags flutter above linen tents, musicians play ancient melodies on old musical instruments, craftsmen peddle their wares… This might look like the film set for the latest television series, but it’s actually a historical reenactment festival called Ladeinoye Pole that has been held every year since 2007 in the Lipetsk region, about 500 kilometers to…

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Dmitri Shostakovich, Football Fanatic

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and prolific composers, whose symphonies, concerti, string quartets and dozens of other works became the musical backdrop for several generations of Soviet citizens. A slim man in thick glasses, Shostakovich was fastidious, diffident, and orderly, the very image of an intellectual composer. But Dmitri Shostakovich…

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Russia’s Good Year at the Awards

Despite concerns over censorship, the film and performing arts in Russia remain largely free of government interference. While the government can certainly impact the film industry and theater through funding and sometimes, with film, by withholding screening permits, there are many independent companies that can produce whatever they want. Now that the awards season for…

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Fabergé and the Link of Times

No object is as synonymous with Romanov Russia as a Fabergé imperial Easter egg. Each of the fifty eggs commissioned by the last Russian tsars is intricate, flawless, and unique. Gleaming and glittering behind bullet-proof glass in well-fortified museums, they are vibrant talismans of the lost sepia-colored world of the Romanovs. Of the fifty imperial…

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‘It’s Only a Joke, Comrade!’

Saturation There is no doubt that many Soviet citizens venerated Stalin, but in political humour we can hear many others sharing critical opinions about him and his Cult on a day-to-day basis that rapidly presents us with a very different, more complex image. Let’s consider two  anekdoty which turned up numerous times in the archival…

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80 Years Strong: The VDNKh Experience

The VDNKh park has had a long history as one of Moscow’s main exhibition spaces. Constructed in the 1930s, it was first known as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition before it was renamed in 1959 as the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, or Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva. Today, VDNKh is home to a number…

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Happy Birthday, Muzeon!

On Saturday Muzeon is celebrating its 27th birthday. The park on the banks of the Moscow River has a short but fascinating history. It began as nothing more than a construction site where all the detritus from building the New Tretyakov Gallery and the (then) House of Artists’ structure was deposited. In the 1980s artists…

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Russian Artist Takes to Apartment Wall to Highlight Country’s Social Issues

Arseniy, an artist from the Russian city of Samara, has recently made waves on social media with a series of photographs made against the backdrop of an abandoned five-story building. The project is called “1m²” and addresses social issues and experiences encountered by normal Russians. The performances include showing a simple factory worker’s dinner, dreams…

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‘Chernobyl’ Nominated for Emmys

HOLLYWOOD—HBO’s runaway hit “Chernobyl” captured the nomination for the best television movie or limited series category in the 71st annual Emmy Awards. The series’ actor Jared Harris also scored a nomination in the lead actor category in a limited series or TV movie. Rounding up the total of four nominations for “Chernobyl” are Emily Watson…

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‘Chernobyl’ Nominated for 19 Emmys

HOLLYWOOD—HBO’s runaway hit “Chernobyl” captured 19 nominations in the 71st annual Emmy Awards, including for the best television movie or limited series category. The series’ actor Jared Harris also scored a nomination in the lead actor category in a limited series or TV movie. Rounding up the total of four nominations for “Chernobyl” actors are Emily…

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On This Day Anton Chekhov Died

On January 29, 1860 in the Russian city of Taganrog on the coast of the Azov Sea, one of the world’s most famous playwrights and short story writers, was born.  Chekhov had a difficult childhood shaped by his physically abusive father and his family’s precarious financial situation. From his school days, Chekhov supported his family…

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On This Day Writer Isaac Babel Was Born

On this day in 1894, the writer, journalist and playwright Isaac Babel was born in Odessa, present-day Ukraine, to a middle-class Jewish family. Called “the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry” and considered one of the luminaries of 20th-century Soviet literature, Babel is best-known for the semi-autobiographical short story collections “Red Cavalry” and “Story of…

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Julia’s Phillips’ ‘Disappearing Earth’

Set on the Kamchatka Peninsula, “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips explores questions of gender and race ignited by the mysterious disappearance of two ethnically Slavic young girls, Alyona and Sophia. The novel follows different but interrelated female characters wrestling with these questions in their daily lives. A New Jersey native and graduate of Barnard College,…

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