‘Russia’ Category

  1. Chekhov’s early maturity

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    February 15, 2018 by AK

    Almost three weeks ago now, the Argumentative Old Git (Himadri Chatterjee) wrote of his plan to re-read Ibsen’s mature works, which include Brand, Peer Gynt and the twelve plays from The Pillars of Society (1877) to When We Dead Awaken (1899). On the strength of these dozen plays, Ibsen is often grouped with Chekhov and …
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  2. The way it should be

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    February 5, 2018 by AK

    Central Russia has gotten too much snow in the past week – ideally, it should have fallen over a few weeks, not days – but the cities and the countryside are finally looking the way they ought to in the middle of a Russian winter. Yes, Moscow and the environs have put on their once-canonical …
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  3. Bolívar in winter

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    February 3, 2018 by AK

    The in fall of 2016, I wrote about the foundation stone for an equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar in the South-West of Moscow, unveiled by Hugo Chávez himself in October 2010. It was supposed to be a copy of Adamo Tadolini‘s monument to the Liberator as seen in Carácas and elsewhere. The first bronze cast of …
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  4. If you don’t have a billion…

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    January 31, 2018 by AK

    Ten years ago, Moscow developer Sergei Polonsky greeted guests at his party with an affectionate disclaimer: “If you don’t have a billion, you can go f— yourself.” Before long, the Fates ejected him from the billionaire camp: bankruptcy, flight to Cambodia, extradition, a stint in jail, conviction and release for time served all followed in …
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  5. The Thunderstorm

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    December 29, 2017 by AK

    I’ve seen a dozen and a half theater performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg this year. Some turned out first-rate, as I expected from their creators – Yuri Butusov, Mikhail Bychkov, Dmitry Krymov, Evgeny Marcelli, Andrey Moguchy, Rimas Tuminas. Andriy Zholdak’s production of The Three Sisters was a disappointment: so much talent and imagination gone …
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  6. “Help me, sister”

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    December 28, 2017 by AK

    The BBC’s Russian service has run the story of a young man from Kostroma, an old Russian city 185 miles northeast of Moscow, who was charged with insulting a government official for calling Putin a “thief” and a “miserable crook” at a public rally in 2012. He fled to the Netherlands and was granted political …
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  7. Pataphysica Borealis

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    December 27, 2017 by AK

    What’s the principal connection between this song, which Juliette Gréco recorded in 1952 and sang at concerts for decades afterwards, and this 1984 number by the semi-underground Soviet-Russian band called Strange Games (Strannye Igry; here’s the same song performed live at a brief reunion in the mid-1990s)? (Musical groups that failed to get or didn’t …
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  8. Mmes. de L. and R.

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    December 17, 2017 by AK

    On a slightly lighter note, Dmitry Bykov, “one of Russia’s most colorful, versatile, and recognizable public intellectuals” and currently a visiting professor at UCLA, occasionally suffers from a condition typical of preternaturally productive speakers and writers: getting facts wrong in an entertaining way. Last month, Bykov gave a short talk on Maximilian Voloshin on the …
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  9. Another trial in Moscow

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    December 17, 2017 by AK

    Shaun Walker reports from Moscow for The Guardian: A Moscow court has sentenced a former Russian economy minister to eight years in a high-security prison for corruption, in a verdict that is likely to send chills through the Russian elite… The trial was a rare case of the vicious infighting between government clans spilling out …
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  10. Navalny as Saakashvili

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    December 15, 2017 by AK

    At the annual presidential Q&A session yesterday, a pseudo-opposition quasi-politician asked the Russian president why genuine opposition politicians, including the de-facto opposition leader, had been effectively barred from running in the upcoming 2018 election: Ksenia Sobchak, a socialite-turned-journalist who wants to run for president… asked Putin why Navalny was not allowed to run. “Are the …
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