Tag Archives: Russia

Russia’s new/old cultural war

In The Moscow Times, John Freedman illuminates a striking parallel between the hysterical, xenophobic cultural attacks being directed against cultural figures in Russia and those carried out at the height of Stalinism: “I’ve seen this before. Not in my lifetime, no. I saw it unfold before my astonished eyes in crumbling, yellowing newspaper clippings from the late 1920s […]

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Dmitri Novoselov in B O D Y

“Alevtina” is a short story by Dmitri Novoselov, translated by Will Firth, recounting a woman’s odyssey through different husbands, lovers and wild turns of fortune whose chaos is highly suggestive of the post-Soviet Russia during which her adult life has played out. Read more Sunday European Fiction Photo – Russian graffiti that says “Kitchen and […]

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Literary roundup: Pushkin and Russian bombs

“Russia’s regular historical paradox is that its rulers want one thing but the result is often something entirely different. Peter the Great wanted to strengthen the empire, but instead he placed a bomb beneath it, which destroyed it. In our time, Gorbachev wanted to save communism and instead he buried it.” Author of Maidenhair, Mikhail […]

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Reading Russia: yesterday and today, true and false

At Russia Beyond the Headlines novelist Zakhar Prilepin has written a broadside against the neglect of contemporary Russian literature, ongoing simplifications of Russia he sees coming from the West, and makes a case for a non-parodic, traditional, conservative form of Russian writing as it existed in the time of Tolstoy and Chekhov. Well, he is […]

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Special Assignments Cover Art

Boris Akunin: Menace II Society?

It seems Russian book banning mania has not abated since I last wrote about the subject not all that long ago. The latest target – novelist Boris Akunin, author of the successful Erast Fandorin detective series among others. On October 27 the news got out that the senior investigator of the Moscow branch of the […]

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Interview with Black Raven-author Vasyl Shklyar

Earlier this year Vasyl Shklyar refused the Shevchenko Prize and the $32,000 in prize money as a protest against what he considers the anti-Ukrainian policies of current Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk. In an essay I linked to previously novelist Andrey Kurkov referred to Black Raven as “a rare literary scandal,” for being nominated for […]

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Pushkins popping up like mushrooms

There I was, taking a perfectly innocent stroll through the woods, passing an overturned tree stump I had seen a thousand times before when I made out a shadowy figure lingering behind it, standing there suspiciously still. He looked Russian, though it was hard to tell because it was foggy and he had such a […]

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1974 TUR Altin Kitaplar, Istanbul

Russian book-banners stay busy: Nabokov, Márquez, Bhagavad-Gita

Banned Books Week was recently celebrated in the US but the Russian Orthodox Church is choosing to mark the occasion with a somewhat different approach. Moscow Patriarchate PR director Vsevolod Chaplin stated that Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez should be banned because they “romanticize perverted passions that […]

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The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia

The first installment of literalab: Best Reads, in which sometimes neglected books from and about Central and Eastern Europe are put in the spotlight they deserve .. The Degaev Affair That reality is stranger than fiction must once have been an original and thought-provoking point. Today, it is taken for granted, a cliché even, leaving […]

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19th century Polish manuscript found in Moscow

When I hear of looted cultural artifacts I think of the image of train cars stuffed with Old Master paintings and objets d’art steaming back in the opposite direction of equally packed troop trains. Then come accusations and bitter quarrels, pleas of national patrimony and then lawsuits and more lawsuits. In fact many of the […]

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