Interfax: Eighty-Eight NGOs registered as ‘foreign agents’ in two years, seven of them did it voluntarily – Justice Ministry

St. Basil's Domes

(Interfax – September 1, 2015) Less than 10 percent of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recognized as ‘foreign agents’ submitted by themselves an application regarding their status during the two years that the respective law has been in force, according to Dmitry Yermak, the acting director of the NGO department at the Russian Ministry of Justice. “Altogether, 88 organizations have been included […]

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Russians Consider Marrying, Giving Birth and Education Most Important Things

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 28, 2015) When asked what the most important things to do before turning 30 are, most Russians chose getting married, giving birth and receiving an education, while things like starting a business or traveling the world were at the bottom of the list, a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian […]

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Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Subject: Dom Knigi: Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:24:33 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Quotes from a bookshop, what people read, what people believe, and the Guardian Antony Penaud received his DPhil (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. A friendly pdf […]

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Putin’s ‘New People’ are the Black Hundreds of Today, Golts Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Windows on Eurasia – Staunton, August 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin’s “new people,” the lumpen who are prepared to take the law into their own hands in the name of advancing the goals of the Kremlin leader that they think are being undermined by the bureaucracy and oligarchs, are the exact equivalent of the Black Hundreds that carried […]

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More than just a pretty face: The secrets of the Russian matryoshka

dolls-nesting

When asked what to bring home from Russia as a souvenir, there’s one thing people are guaranteed to say: “A Russian doll, what else?” But the lacquered wooden “matryoshka” is not an exclusively Russian creation – and it is also a lot younger than many people believe. RBTH finds out a little about the history of the doll, a history […]

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Russia Takes On Louvre, Guggenheim as Putin Fights Pariah Status

Hermitage Museum

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – August 9, 2015) Since it opened in March, the Russian Museum in Malaga, the southern Spanish coastal resort, has been thronged by visitors who line up to see centuries-old icons and works by 20th century avant-garde artists Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Marc Chagall. The St. Petersburg landmark’s only foreign branch is part […]

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A Newbie’s Guide to Taking the Moscow Metro

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andreea Rujan – August 6, 2015) For tourists and residents alike, the metro is the simplest, cheapest and fastest way to get around the Russian capital. However, there are some basic things new arrivals should know before hopping on the subway in order to master the art of metro-riding like a true Muscovite. 1. Be […]

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Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization [The American Home in Vladimir]

American Home in Vladimir, Logo; Adapted from Image © Serendipity-Russia American Home

Subject: Crowdfunding Support for a Grassroots Organization Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:15:13 -0500 From: Ron Pope <ron42.pope@gmail.com> THE ISSUE: The American Home in Vladimir has encountered an unusual obstacle. After years of cooperative relations with our organization, the current Vladimir City Administration has decided to invoke what we thought was an outdated clause in the 1992 contract governing the […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: The changing face of Russia’s emblematic matryoshka dolls

dolls-nesting

AFP reports on Russia’s evolving matryoshka nesting dolls. From cheery peasant girls in Tsarist times to Soviet-era cosmonauts to today’s Pussy Riots, the changing face of Russia’s matryoshka nesting dolls reflects the country’s tumultuous history. Click here for AFP: “The changing face of Russia’s emblematic matryoshka dolls”

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NEWSLINK The Observer (UK): The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry review – the importance of rhyme and reason. An ambitious anthology spanning 200 years is welcome – though some of the translators need to work on their rhyming

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

This anthology is ambitious – in scope, biographical apparatus and in what it expects of its translators. Although the chronological arc is shorter than that of the granddaddy anthology, Dimitri Obolensky’s The Penguin Book of Russian Verse (1965), which included medieval oral poetry and a pair of important 18th-century literary writers, Lomonosov and Sumarokov, the present editors generously r

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The Russian Theater – What a Season It’s Been

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedmam – July 30, 2015) Another theater season bites the dust. And, therefore, wrap it up again we must. For three and twenty years without a break The Moscow Times has listed what is great Or maybe less, But worth a dwell To test our dares And quell our cares. And so, for now, […]

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Russia’s Book Industry Wanes as Russians Stop Reading

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

  (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – July 30, 2015) More Russian bookshops are facing closure every year, shaking the publishing industry and threatening writing as a profession. Bookselling, never the most profitable retail business, is struggling to stay afloat thanks to expensive shop rental rates and decreasing interest from customers. In Moscow, considered the most well-read city […]

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Architects Clash Over Vladimir Monument

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 29, 2015) On Monday evening, Rustam Rakhmatullin, the coordinator of the social movement Archnadzor, brought together eminent architects and architecture experts to discuss the proposals to erect a 24-meter monument to Vladimir the Great in the capital. Also present was Yury Nikiforov, a representative of the Russian Society of War History, which has started […]

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The Year in Theater: Murky Demons on the Loose

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

  (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – July 23, 2015) Words can be fashionable. They may be dangerous. The word of this year in Russian culture, I would argue, has shades of both. The lexical item of “obscurantism”-“mrakobesie” in Russian, suggesting demonic murk and gloom – is everywhere to be found in discussions of art these days. “In […]

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Why Russians fear August

Forest Fire file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – July 10, 2015) As we all know only too well, winters are long and cold in Russia while summers are relatively short but quite pleasant. Once Easter has passed, people start marking the calendar until they can throw off their winter armour and re-open their dachas. August is the […]

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Ukrainian Culture Ministry makes list of 117 Russian performers threatening national security

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – July 8, 2015) By way of implementing the law On Amendments to Certain Laws on the Protection of TV and Radio Space of Ukraine the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has made a list of 117 performing artists from Russia that has been submitted to the relevant authorities, the ministry’s website says. The report notes that by way of […]

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Angelina Jolie Buys Rights to Film About Catherine the Great and Her Lover

Catherine the Great

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ilaria Parogni – July 7, 2015) Hollywood actress, film director and producer Angelina Jolie has purchased the film rights to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book about the love affair between Catherine the Great of Russia and Prince Grigory Potemkin, the British author’s literary agency said Monday. Jolie’s production company, Jolie Pas, has bought the option to […]

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How culture continues to bring Russians and Americans together

Tchaikovsky Sheet Music

In an RBTH exclusive, Mary Ellen Koenig, Cultural Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in the Russian Federation, writes about the special unifying bond that culture can provide between Russia and the United States even in times when official relations between the two countries are tense. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Mary Ellen Koenig, special to RBTH – July […]

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The Top 10 Summer Books for Russia Watchers

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 3, 2015) Here at The Moscow Times culture desk, we like to think of ourselves as highbrows. We like opera. We spend our evenings reading the “Great Authors.” We think we understand the “Black Square.” But even we like to kick back on a hot summer weekend with a can of beer and a […]

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Quiet days for books on Russia published in first half of 2015

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – BOOK REVIEW: Chris Weafer in Moscow – June 18, 2015) The first half of 2015 can hardly be described as a vintage period for new books about Russia. It seems that the Ukraine crisis and recession have led to many authors delaying completing their work until there is a little more clarity on how […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian: Moscow 25 years on: do I still recognise the city?

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

It is 25 years since this correspondent first set foot in Europe’s largest city. In those days, the air was thick with cheap gasoline, cars were all Zhigulis (Ladas) and ZiLs – or else dodgy, paperless German saloons driven by men with thick necks and leather jackets. A chic lunch was a kebab at the Baku restaurant on Gorky street; […]

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NEWSWATCH Time Magazine: Russia Just Opened a Theme Park for Warmongers; There are army rations for lunch, and tanks and missiles to play with

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Time magazine reports on The Guardian reporting on Russia’s new “Patriot Park,” a military-focused theme park an hour outside Moscow. Want your child to learn how to use a grenade launcher? Now, they can at Putin’s ‘Patriot Park,’ a sort of Disneyland built to showcase Russian military prowess. Attractions include military rations for lunch and tanks and missiles to play […]

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Russians’ Social Bonds Increasing, Giving Them Resource for Protest, Schulmann Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 16, 2015) Social networks among Russians have grown and deepened over the last two years, according to a poll conducted by the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, thus creating the basis for the rise of civil society and more protests by making Russians less dependent on the state. In […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian: Moscow’s suburbs may look monolithic, but the stories they tell are not

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

At the end of the 1950s, the Soviet Union began the largest experiment in industrialised housing in history. Owen Hatherley visits three of Moscow’s resulting mikrorayons, where the majority of Muscovites still live today

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Eleven Russian Superstitions (Because We Were Scared to Do Thirteen)

Spilled Salt and Toppled Salt Shaker

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – June 9, 2015) Russians are a superstitious lot. A survey by independent pollster Levada Center in 2013 found that 52 percent of Russians believed in omens, prophetic dreams and astrology. Admittedly, this was a decline from 57 percent in 2000 – but still represented more than half of the population at the […]

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NEWSLINK The Guardian: Is the ‘Moscow experiment’ over?

Moscow Night Lights Satellite Image

The plan was to create a new type of city that answered the needs of Moscow’s creative middle classes. But did the exit of Sergei Kapkov, the culture minister who ushered in these changes, also signal the end of the city’s urban revival?

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Museum Director at Hermitage Hopes for Thaw in Relations With West

File Photo of Hermitage Art Museum

These days, Mr. Piotrovsky, 70, has a dual mandate: Maintaining the Hermitage’s centuries-old ties with the wider world amid the chill, and making the case to the international art world that Russia is still a respectable partner. The loan of the Elgin marbles helped on both counts. He is also hoping to help resolve an impasse that has blocked all […]

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Authorities Again Threatened by Bolotnaya Square

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – May 12, 2015) Yelena Gremina’s production of “The Bolotnaya Square Case” at Teatr.doc may be the most benign dangerous 65 minutes I have ever witnessed. A contradiction in terms, you say? Not in the land, which, as the great poet Fyodor Tyutchev put it, cannot be understood by mind alone. The fact […]

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Moscow Government Approves Plans for Russian Disneyland

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 12, 2015) Moscow’s urban planning commission has approved plans for a children’s amusement park along the lines of Disneyland to be built in the Nagatinskaya Poima park in southeastern Moscow, City Hall said in a statement. The amusement park will include an indoor theme park operated by Hollywood animation studio DreamWorks, another park operated […]

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Moscow Times: More Than 80% of Russians Favor State Censorship of Literature, Film, Art

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 8, 2015) Fourteen percent of Russians do not support state intervention when it comes to the content and dissemination of artistic creations, the survey also showed. A vast majority of Russians think the state should censor artistic creations believed to be vulgar, immoral or harmful to society, according to a survey […]

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NGO: Russia Among Top 60 Best Countries to Be a Mother

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 6, 2015) Russia is one of the top 60 countries in the world in terms of conditions of motherhood, according to a ranking published earlier this week by international advocacy group Save the Children. Russia ranks 56th out of 179 countries in Save the Children’s 2015 Mothers’ Index Ranking, which is […]

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Poll: Russians Haven’t Been So Positive About Their Country in 5 Years

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 22, 2015) Russians are more positive about their country than they have been since the state-run Public Opinion Research Center began surveys for its social sentiment index five years ago, the pollster said Tuesday. The index, based on a comparison of respondents’ assessments ranging from “everything is terrible” to “everything is […]

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Russian store assistants smiling more, says customer service report

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 7, 2015) Russia has come 15th out of 69 countries for the friendliness of its customer service, according to data from the Smiling Report, an annual evaluation of how warmly shoppers are greeted around the world. Analysts and industry insiders say that Russia’s approach to customer service has drastically changed in […]

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Few in the Russian Intelligentsia Oppose Putin Even if They Don’t Support Him, Kirillova says

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 7, 2015) Many members of the Russian intelligentsia do not support Vladimir Putin and his repression at home and aggression abroad, but a significant and surprising number of them do, the result of a complex combination of their experiences over the last generation and Putin’s actions as well, according to Kseniya […]

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Soviet-Style Censorship Returns to Russian Arts

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman, Moscow Times Theater Critic – April 3, 2015) How many bulls does it take to trash a china shop? We may have an answer by the time the dust settles in a seemingly self-refueling controversy that keeps swirling around an opera house in Novosibirsk. Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said this week on […]

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Moscow Times: Deeply Human Touch Brought to Erdman’s ‘The Suicide’

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – April 2, 2015) I have written about Nikolai Erdman’s tragicomedy “The Suicide” for 35 years and I have rarely seen it done with the deep, devastating understanding that Sergei Zhenovach brings to it at the Studio of Theatrical Art. That doesn’t mean this show is an unqualified success from beginning to end. […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Russian Artists Face a Choice: Censor Themselves, or Else

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

… In an interview last month in his office here, Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s culture minister, said it was the prerogative of experts at the research institute to look into Russian culture, such as the plays in question. “Maybe, that’s their right to do this,” Mr. Medinsky said. But he said the academics’ findings wouldn’t have repercussions for the theaters. …. […]

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Russian church denies filing complaint against controversial opera

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Interfax – April 1, 2015) The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has denied having filed a claim against Tannhaeuser opera production at the Novosibirsk State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 1 April. In a statement to Interfax-Religion it said: “The Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church points out that the […]

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Cultural Figures Demand Minister’s Sacking Over Opera Scandal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 31, 2015) Leading cultural figures launched a petition Monday calling for the dismissal of Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, saying his position on a controversial opera production was an attack on freedom of creativity, while the Kremlin said it had the right to influence the content produced by cultural organizations financed by […]

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Online film festival offers chance to view little-known Russian movies

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 30, 2015) The sixth annual Double Dv@ Online Festival of Russian Film will take place on the website of Rossiyskaya Gazeta from April 6-20. Most films will be shown with English subtitles. Each film will be available for 48 hours. http://d2.rg.ru/ According to the press release: “The aim of the program is […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Russian Theater Director Fired for Offending Christians

St. Basil's Domes

In the latest skirmish between the Russian Orthodox Church and the cultural elite, the culture minister on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater who included a controversial interpretation of the life of Jesus in the Richard Wagner opera “Tannhauser.” The director, Boris Mezdrich, had failed to apologize and to take other steps to mitigate the outcry among the […]

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Three Russian contributions to theater that changed the world

Anton Chekhov file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexandra Guryanova, RBTH – March 27, 2015) In honor of World Theater Day on March 27, RBTH presents three of Russia’s greatest contributions to the art of theater, from the plays of Anton Chekhov to the methodologies of Stanislavsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold’s “theater of the grotesque.” The plays of Anton Chekhov Chekhov’s plays […]

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NEWSWATCH Foreign Policy Magazine: Is Russian Literature Dead? How the land of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy became a book lover’s afterthought

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

[“Is Russian Literature Dead? How the land of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy became a book lover’s afterthought” – Foreign Policy Magazine – Owen Matthews – March 24, 2015] Writing in Foreign Policy Magazine Owen Matthews addresses the lack of attention and celebrity for Russian literature created in recent decades, at least among American readers. The last Russian novel to become a genuine […]

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Wagner Opera Scandal Reflects Deep Divide in Russian Society

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 26, 2015) An avant-garde production of a Wagner opera in a Siberian city that has seen conservative Russian Orthodox activists declare war on the liberal intelligentsia is a sign of things to come, some in Russia fear. The production of “Tannhauser” at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater is accused of […]

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