Author: Contributors

Moscow’s Theater Square: History in Old Photos

Moscow’s Theater Square is not only one of the most beautiful and popular squares, but also one of the oldest. There are three theatres in total that surround the square—the Bolshoi, the Maly, and the Russian Youth Theatres. At the beginning of the 19th century, the square was named Petrovskaya Square, after the nearby Petrovka […]

Crime and Publishing: How Dostoevskii Changed the British Murder

A few words on this book: Described by the sixteenth-century English poet George Turbervile as “a people passing rude, to vices vile inclin’d,” the Russians waited some three centuries before their subsequent cultural achievements—in music, art and particularly literature—achieved widespread recognition in Britain. The essays in this stimulating collection attest to the scope and variety […]

Old Moscow In Paintings. Part 1.

The only way to peek into Moscow’s past prior to invention of photography is through paintings and works of masters of historical reconstruction. In this article, we will compare the look of old Moscow with how we see it today. Past painting: Louis-Pierre-Alphonse Bichebois. Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, Beginning of 19th Century. Present […]

Irkutsk’s Old Houses: Windows to Siberia

The following was contributed by Renee Stillings, Program Director following her recent visit to Irkutsk to check up on SRAS programs there. Those programs include Russian as a Second Language, Siberian Studies, and more. My first visit to Irkutsk happened over twenty years ago, when I was looking to expand study abroad options for SRAS […]

The Tragic and Triumphant History of the Girl with an Oar

The Girl with an Oar sculpture was re-introduced to Gorky Park in 2011. Originally installed in 1935, it was then a controversial piece of art, and endured criticism, a likely theft or vandalism, revision, and then destruction by Nazi bombs. Everyone associated with the statue died the year the statue was destroyed: 1941. The statue […]

Alyona Dergilyova, My Moscow (Cityscape in Watercolors)

I was born in an old one-story merchant’s house in the Taganka District of Moscow. Our house stood on the corner of Vorontsovskaya Street, which then had a tram track, and Mayakovsky Pereulok. At one time, Vladimir Mayakovsky lived at the end of that pereulok, and my grandmother used to tell me how more than […]

Vladimir Kachanov – Painting Moscows Past

A native Moscovite, Vladimir Kachanov has been painting Moscow for over forty years. His paintings depict old Moscow that many Moscovite’s today are unfamiliar with. Kachanov’s paintings of old Moscow courtyards and boulevards now serve as historic documents showing what Moscow was like before the construction and demolition boom of the 1990s. Kachanov paints with […]

4 Painters Enchanted by Winter

Winter is the most fairytale-like time of year. Everything around is covered with a sparkling white quilt; only purity and mystery remain. It is impossible not to fall in love with winter. AdMe.ru, a Russian site, has put together a list of four artists in Russia who capture the beauty of the season. This translation […]

Irony and Trauma in ‘Ordinary Fascism’

There are three central issues at stake in Ordinary Fascism (Obyknovennyi fashizm, 1965): the return of fascism, the exposure of parallels between Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism, and the Soviet Union’s effacement of Jews from Holocaust representation. At the time the film was released, recycled images of Nazi crimes in previous documentaries, newsreels, and newspapers had made warnings […]

Photography in the Late Soviet Period: Ogonek, the SSOD, and Official Photo Exchanges

Khrushchev’s reorientation of Soviet life during the cultural thaw of the late 1950s and early 1960s shifted official representations of Soviet people to focus on the more humanizing aspects of life and the everyday: the new Soviet citizen may be a worker, but work no longer defined personhood. Unlike in the Stalinist period, where photography […]

A Conflict of Traditions: Caucasian Cultural Barriers in 19th Century Russian Literature

Much as the romantic ideology attached to the “Wild West” captivated the imagination of the United States in the second half of the 19th century, the primal beauty, proud warriors, and wild culture of the Caucasus regions fascinated Russian writers and heavily influenced Russian literature for centuries. However, this fascination was accompanied by years of […]

The Hero of Cana: Alyosha’s Ode to Joy

Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov opens with a particularly unsatisfying note. The fictional narrator declares in his “From the Author” that the hero of the book is Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov. Quickly following this declaration is a confession: “To me he is noteworthy, but I decidedly doubt that I shall succeed in proving it to the reader” (Dostoevsky 3). […]

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