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Alexander Solzhenitsyn has passed away. In the obituaries of truly eminent people, there is often the desire to limit one’s words to a single phrase. It seems as if so much is already so clear and that the rest is too difficult to explain within the confines of a single article. Of course, we can recall the writer's biography, the books he wrote, the awards, the articles both old and new, the speeches and the interviews. But these are hardly anything that needs explaining. Part of Solzhenitsyn’s creative legacy, of course, is that he will go down as one of Russia’s greatest writers, although he has arguably entered the top...

04.08.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Culture

The fact that the 1,020th anniversary of the baptism of Russia would differ fundamentally from the 1,000th could have been predicted long before the date itself. All the realities that existed in 1988 – state, political and ideological – have since disappeared, which, of course, requires us to rethink the colossal events that took place more than a thousand years ago. This is natural. Colossal events do not lend themselves to a single interpretation that can stand once and for all. It is always possible to draw attention to other aspects of any given event, or to consequences. Something that could be taken for granted 20 years...

03.08.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

The recent closing of Detsky Mir (Children’s World) on Lubyanka Square for a three-year renovation serves as a good illustration of the ominous slogan “Renewing Moscow!” that is plastered about the city. After the renovations, Detsky Mir will become a multifunctional shopping center with underground parking, a food court and a multi-screen movie theatre. In other words, the famous store will be transformed into something completely unrecognizable. It’s not surprising that the disappearance of yet another pre-Luzhkov symbol is receiving considerable attention in the press. But more often than not the press is writing...

20.07.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Diaspora

On June 23, 1889, Anna Akhmatova (Gorenko) was born in Odessa. It seems that everything possible has already been said about both her life and her work. To contemporary readers it is obvious that Akhmatova’s lines devoted to Pushkin – “idiot horse guardsmen and majestic privy counselors,” “oceans of dirt, betrayals, lies, indifference of friends and simple stupidity,” “heartless and, naturally, ignorant Petersburg,” “secret police surveillance of the poet,” and “the imperial court peeping into every nook and cranny” – relate largely to her own fate. But, on the...

25.06.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Culture

From the editors: Variations on the theme of “Clap, hear the thunder of victory, and celebrate brave Russian!” which is showing no signs of leaving the pages of the Russian media throughout the month of May, should cause us to think a bit, at least about why it is important to us. And, most importantly, about what we are to do with all of it. After all, nothing simply happens in this world without consequence. And if all the steam leaves through the fans’ cheering and discussion about how “Russia is finally lifting itself up off its knees,” then that means we are horribly ineffective and are in fact squandering...

27.05.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Culture

When commuter train operators outside Moscow went on strike in early May, executives from Russian Railways appealed to the courts with a request to stop “an illegal protest that presents a threat to the country’s defense and to state security.” In a formal sense, everything in the request was true, as labor legislation prohibits railway employees from going on strike. Whether such a prohibition is reasonable or not is another question. More interesting, however, is the language used by Russian Railways – “the country’s defense and state security.” How difficult it will be for strikers to talk about...

25.05.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

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