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All posts in category Russia

Four short links: Russian icons

Continuing the theme of traditional Russian culture, icons, even though they are part of other cultures too, are among the most recognizably Russian art works (although they’re not works of art at all…). They’re also possibly the most mysterious. For me the mystery lies in the idea that they access the spiritual world whilst being entirely […]

Four short links: Russian folk art

Like many people who’ve spent time in Russia, I’ve picked up various bits of decorative art over the years. I’ve always liked the contrast between the really beautiful side of Russian folk art, such as Palekh boxes (the picture on this one is from Ruslan and Liudmila): and its amusing and slightly vulgar side – […]

Forest palaces

I recently discovered a great website by a Russian photographer, Andrei Kuzman, or Qzmn. He specializes in travel photography, the Russian wilderness, and its architecture. It’s really worth exploring the site, whether you’ve ever been to Russia and long for the birch forests (I’m a city girl but the Russian countryside definitely speaks to me), […]

Marriage in late imperial Russia

Today I went to a really great seminar given by Barbara Alpern Engel at SSEES on marriage breakdown in the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. Engel is very well known as a specialist on women’s history who, among other things, has written the brilliant Mothers and Daughters: Women of the Intelligentsia in Nineteenth-Century Russia. […]

Four short links: Alexandra Kollontai

I’ve been interested in Alexandra Kollontai’s work for a while, and would like to do some research and write about her at some point. But at the moment I’ve got so many other projects on the go that I can’t see how I can possibly fit anything else in. So, as a statement of intent […]

Chto delat? at the ICA

Chto delat? (What is to be Done?) is a collective of artists, theorists and political activists from Moscow, Petersburg and Novgorod, formed in 2003. In general I’m more au fait with their political work, via their Russian blog, where I’ve been reading intermittently about the activities and persecution (both official and unofficial) of anti-fascist, ecological and […]

Vavilov and the Pavlovsk Experimental Station

My knowledge of science in Russia is pretty limited. Like most students of Russian literature, I know that Dmitry Mendeleev, of periodic table fame, was the father-in-law of the poet Alexander Blok. Shalamov, in his story Courses, tells the tale of having to pass an oral exam in Chemistry, his weakest subject, in order to […]

Four short links: old Russian photos

I’ve been interested in old photos of Russia since visiting a fabulous exhibition at the Manezh in St Petersburg in late 2004. I still have vivid memories of pictures of the elderly Tolstoy riding his horse with his beard streaming, and a fascinating set of photos of the first trams in Petersburg. My love of […]

Siberian narratives on archive.org and Google Books

While I’ve been working on my article on narratives of imprisonment and exile, I’ve come across a fair amount of digitized material on the subject. Particularly surprising was the number of works about Siberian exile published in English in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — aside from George Kennan’s wonderful Siberia and the Exile […]

Porfiry: a poor pastiche

In response to the disappointment I expressed in my review of Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44, a reader alerted me (please note: not ‘recommended’) to the existence of a series of crime novels by R. N. Morris set in 19th century St Petersburg, and featuring Porfiry Petrovich. The detective from Crime and Punishment is a […]