Russian Life

Articles from Vol. 47, No. 4, July-August

Fern Flowers and Ant Oil
In July it is almost unbearable to be outside at midday, due to the heat and the great gadflies. Our only relief is the rain, which occasionally pours on our village of Chukhrai from thundering black clouds, accompanied by flashes of lightning. The...
Futurism a la Atkins
Gastronomic excess is well documented in travelers' accounts of Russian life, so it's not surprising that Russian literature is also filled with scenes of gourmanderie. One of the most memorable features of Chichikov in Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls is...
Golden Opportunities
There is a vein of gold running through this issue of Russian Life. I don't mean that as a comment on the quality of this issue--after all, we seek to make every issue of this magazine as "good as gold." What I mean, instead, is that the content of...
Happenings
SANTA FE, NM Russian Summer All summer long, the city of Santa Fe is hosting a festival of Russian culture. There are special art exhibits, musical and ballet performances (including a performance of Eugene Onegin, with members of the Kirov Ballet),...
Isaac Babel: A Rising Star Snuffed Out
Plenty has been written about Isaac Babel. Some consider him to be a romantic writer, while others call him a realist. Still others see him to be an author of epics. To some he was a novelist of genius, while to others he was a master of the short...
Kolyma Gold
Without slave labor there would be no Kolyma. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Since the late 19th century, prospectors have ventured to this inhospitable and remote region in the distant Northeast of Russia, searching for gold. But severe climate and...
Looking for Athenian Gold
When it comes to the Olympics, Bishop Ethlelbert Talbot's 1908 statement, that "the important thing in these Olympiads is not so much winning as taking part," has long-ceased to be true. Any country going to Athens thinks first about the number of...
Lost in Translation
This May I spotted a curious book in a Moscow bookstore. The softcover yellow volume promised 97 sayings by the Russian president in just 200 pages, covering everything from [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (oligarchs) to [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN...
No Jokes, Please: Moscow Alleges Chukotka Bankrupt; New Chukchi Bible Published
This spring the Audit Chamber's Sergei Ryabuchin declared Chukotka Autonomous Okrug insolvent. According to Ryabuchin, Chukotka's debts to the federal budget amounted to R9.3 billion, more than double its annual revenues of R3.9 billion. Russia's Budget...
Numbers
There are R69 billion in the investment portfolio of the Pension Fund of Russia. 4,860,000 individual entrepreneurs are registered in Russia. Russia was the 14th largest importer of Hollywood productions in 2003. Russian movie houses spent over...
Only in Russia: The Last Bus to Moscow University
I was late for the last bus back to Moscow University, but when I turned the corner at the Metropol Hotel, the bus was still standing there. The engine was already running, the driver next to the bus, agitatedly talking to someone who looked both puzzled...
Planet Hermitage
Two hundred and forty years ago, Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of European art, laying the foundation for what today is the Hermitage museum. On the occasion of this important anniversary, we turned to our Hermitage expert in St....
Runaway Juries
Jury trials have come under the intense scrutiny in Russia recently for making controversial decisions in prominent cases. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In late April, a jury trial acquitted four officers who had been charged with murdering six civilians...
Russians Take Paris
Oh, how the mighty fell: Capriati, Williams, Suarez, another Williams, Davenport, Mauresmo, Henin-Hardenne ... The list goes on and on. When the dust settled in Paris, two Russian women were faced off against one another in the final of the French...
Saving the Chelyuskin
In 1932, the Soviet merchant ship Sibiryakov had attempted to sail across the Arctic Ocean, to demonstrate that a Northeast Passage route was possible, linking European Russia with the Pacific Ocean ports of the Russian Far East. It was not successful;...
The Bear Whisperers
A GUNSHOT RINGS through the crisp January air. The sound rebounds off the tall conifer trees of the Russian taiga forest in the Tver Region, 100 miles north of Moscow. A hunter pulls a medium-sized brown bear from its snowy den and finds a litter of...
The Mummies' Return: Struggling with Curses in the Altai ... and the Duma?
Some residents of the Altai Republic have claimed that indignant mummies are causing a greater than normal frequency of earthquakes in the mountainous region. The mummies--a "princess" (above) and a man excavated from their resting place on Ukok plateau...
The Wild Edge of Vadim Gorbatov's Art
Vadim Gorbatov, one of Russia's best nature illustrators, has been drawing since he was four years old. "It was wartime," he said, "and, like all children of that time, I drew pictures of war. At the same time, I started to draw animals. One time in...
Vera Mukhina: Everyday Art
June 6 is the birthday (1889) of sculptor Vera Mukhina, who is probably most famous for her 24-meter Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, created in 1937 for the World Exhibition in Paris. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] After their tour of duty in Paris, the Worker...